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New York Motorcyclists Encouraged to Use Anti-Lock Brakes for Added Safety

Published January 3, 2012 by Scott Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney

At the start of the motorcycle season this spring, our New York accident attorneys reminded motorists to share the road with motorcyclists. Motorcycles are smaller, can be difficult to handle, and have no protection around the vehicle making the riders vulnerable in an accident.

However, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), motorcyclists now have an option for an additional safety feature – anti-lock brakes. According to the IIHS, motorcycles equipped with anti-lock brakes can cut the risk of a deadly crash for riders.

Braking on motorcycles is controlled by separate front and rear brake controls on the handlebars. When the brakes are suddenly applied, it is possible for either wheel to lock up. Passenger cars may go into a controlled skid if the wheels lock up, but on a motorcycle, it can lead to loss of balance for the driver resulting in a deadly crash.

An anti-lock brake system automatically reduces brake pressure when a lockup is about to occur and increases it again after traction is restored. This prevents the motorcycle from skidding or going out of control when brakes are applied suddenly, according to the IIHS.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYSDMV) reports that 5,150 motorcycle accidents occurred in the state in 2009, killing 155 people and injuring 5,042 others. In Onondago County alone, there were eight motorcycle riders killed and 125 who suffered serious personal injuries, according to the NYSDMV data.

IIHS reports that motorcycles equipped with anti-lock brakes have a 37 percent lower rate of fatal crashes than the same models without ABS. Further, the Highway Loss Data Institute, an affiliate of IIHS, reports that motorcycle collision insurance claims are filed 22 percent less frequently for motorcycles equipped with ABS than for those without it. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that stopping distances improve with ABS on both wet and dry surfaces.

New York requires all motorcyclists to wear helmets when riding within the state. Although not all states require helmet usage, IIHS statistics show that motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of crash fatality by 37 percent, and are 69 percent effective at preventing head injuries.

New York drivers can do their part to keep cyclists safe by keeping a proper lookout for motorcycles, leaving adequate room around motorcycles, and anticipating a motorcyclist’s actions.

Our NY accident attorneys also encourage motorcyclists to follow the rules of the road and ensure they are visible before making lane changes or turns and to wear their helmets. We also encourage you to read the IIHS pamphlet, “Motorcycle ABS: Why you want to ride with it,” regarding anti-lock brakes and weigh the benefits before purchasing a motorcycle.

About Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney

Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, handles all types of personal injury and motor vehicle accident cases, including cases involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles and boats. The firm also represents clients in actions for wrongful death, cancer misdiagnosis, dog bites, hunting accidents, birth injuries, brain injuries, construction accidents, fall down injuries and insurance settlements. The firm regularly employs accident reconstruction experts, investigators, photographers and economists to assist in evaluating and preparing personal injury cases. In 2008, the firm reached the $100-million mark in combined lifetime verdicts and settlements.

The firm features offices in Binghamton, Elmira, Rochester, Syracuse and Watertown. For more information, call (800) TALK-LAW or use the firm’s online contact form.

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