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A new motorcycle accident study from Northern Ireland has warned that ABS braking systems are no replacement for effective rider and driver training

A recently released motorcycle accident study that examines a number of fatal motorcycle collisions in Northern Ireland between 2004 and 2010 has called for a stronger emphasis on rider/driver hazard perception training, rather than focusing simply on the adoption of automotive technologies such as ABS (anti-lock braking systems).

Titled Northern Ireland Motorcycle Fatality Report 2012, the study was conducted by a collaboration of academics on behalf of the Northern Ireland riders' rights group, Right to Ride Ltd. The paper takes an in-depth look at a total of 36 motorcycle accidents which resulted in the deaths of 41 motorcyclists, and attempts to analyse the widely varying conditions and circumstances that led to each -- and their underlying causal factors -- before making recommendations that may potentially reduce motorcycle fatalities.

With the proposal of mandatory ABS systems currently before the law-makers of the European Union, in its recommendations the paper has called for caution when it comes to the adoption of technology. "This [ABS] technology is relevent in some circumstances but not all," the paper states. "At this point in time, the application of ABS is limited to straight sections of road; it is not yet designed to work when the motorcycle is in a lean. The development of braking systems that can function as efficiently when the motorcycle is leaning either left or right may improve casualty rates. However, care should be taken about too much focus on technology rather than on good training and attitude," it continues.

The paper identifies that in two of the 39 accidents, the deaths of the riders involved may have been prevented had their bikes been fitted with ABS systems.

The paper also calls for a greater emphasis in training drivers to scan the road ahead for vulnerable road users by using driving simulators, and that a rider's hazard perception skills were a vital key to their on-road safety. "The consensus was that the only reliable way to prevent motorcyclist injuries and deaths is to prevent the collision in the first place, which means the rider needs to get his/her eyes up and scanning ahead, before taking evasive action when a potential collision is still several seconds from happening," it states.

Click here to download the full 32-page report.

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Published : Thursday, 3 May 2012
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