FRANKFURT, Germany – Motorcyclists love the feeling of freedom and adventure. But the open road conceals many hazards and motorcyclists are particularly at risk. A locked-up front wheel almost always leads to a fall. According to the German automobile club ADAC Accident Research, around a fifth of all motorcycle accidents could have been prevented if the bike had been fitted with an anti-lock braking system (ABS).
Just like cars, it is also important for motorcycles to remain stable during a panic brake. To improve the active safety of motorcycles, international automotive supplier Continental is expanding its range of electronic braking systems by introducing an one-channel ABS for smaller motorcycle and scooters. Based on its proven ABS technology for passenger cars it was developed especially for cost-sensitive markets such as Asia, whereat the wheelers must be equipped only with a hydraulic brake on the front wheel.
Production launch of the one-channel ABS is planned for the beginning of 2014. With a box volume of significantly less than 300 cubic centimeters and weighing roughly 420 grams the motorcycle ABS is very light and can be easily applied to suit the widest range of motorcycle and motor scooter models. ABS control of the front wheel stops it from locking up even during a panic brake by the driver and prevents a fall. A wheel speed sensor constantly monitors the front wheel’s turning speed and from this the algorithms in the control unit calculate whether braking could potentially cause the front wheel to lock up. If so, the system will reduce the brake pressure, thus preventing loss of directional stability and road holding.
The one-channel ABS is the newest addition to Continental’s portfolio of motorcycle systems currently in series production: Motorcycle Integral Brake Systems and Motorcycle Anti-Lock Brake Systems (2-Channel ABS). “In line with our Motto, ‘Safety for Everyone’, we want to make the one-channel ABS available to all road users and offer the world’s motorcyclists a significant safety gain”, said Lothar Kienle, Head of Development Motorcycle in the Business Unit Electronic Braking Systems of Continental’s Chassis & Safety Division. Just how great the requirement is, throughout Asia for example, is demonstrated by a study into global traffic safety carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2009. It found that roughly 28 percent of traffic fatalities in India and China were suffered by drivers of two and three-wheeled vehicles. In countries such as Indonesia and Thailand, the figure rose to 61 and 70 percent respectively.
The 2010 DEKRA Traffic Safety Report in Germany showed that ABS could either prevent many accidents or reduce the severity of their impact. It even concluded that 25 to 35 percent of the serious accidents analyzed in the report could have been prevented, had the motorcycles been fitted with ABS. “The widespread use of ABS for motorcycles and scooters would contribute considerably to reducing the number of serious injuries and fatalities”, said Kienle. Even in Europe, the ratio of motorcycles fitted with ABS is still low. This is something that the European Union (EU) intends to change: For all motorcycles over 125 cubic centimeters ABS will become mandatory Europe-wide. This regulation is effective for all new type-approved motorcycles from 2016 and for all new motorcycles from 2017.