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ABS VicRoads Always On safety campaign and quiz brakes

A new motorcycle “Always On” safety campaign featuring an online 10-question quiz and video has just been launched by VicRoads but has already attracted some criticism.

Quiz quizzedABS VicRoads Always On safety campaign and quiz brakes

Most motorcycle representatives we spoke to are pleased there is a campaign about motorcycle safety.

However, there was some criticism of the quiz wording, the video edits and the over-reliance on electronic rider aids.

Motorcycle instructors and Victorian Government’s Motorcycle Experts Advisory Committee were consulted in the initial stages, but not the final edit.

MEAP rep Dean Marks says the test wording and video are consequently “flawed”.

“VicRoads will get eaten by experienced riders and instructors and the rest of the MEAP group and instructors,” he says.

Fellow MEAP rep and Victorian Motorcycle Council chair Peter Baulch says he hopes riders “get something out of the survey”.

However, he says the producers “have again adopted the ‘we know best’ attitude”.

Video errors include the rider entering a corner and gearing up, not down, and at a hairpin the rider accelerates instead of slowing.

Rider aids

One of the main flaws is the over-reliance on electronic rider aids such as ABS to save lives.

The video features a new Triumph Street Scrambler (good taste!) that comes with ABS and traction control.

ABS VicRoads Always On safety campaign and quiz brakes

The questionnaires states: “ABS stops wheel lock, traction control senses traction loss and stability control monitors the way you’re riding. These technologies work together to keep you on your bike.”

Peter queried the emphasis on upgrading your motorcycle.

“I think road safety messages to riders should shift focus to becoming a better rider, rather than focussing on ‘get a better bike’ (that is, get bikes with ABS),” he says. 

“Rider skills and decision-making are proven critical elements of safer motorcycling.”

Mandatory ABSABS VicRoads Always On safety campaign and quiz brakes

ABS becomes mandatory in November on new motorcycles over 125cc, while bikes with lower engine capacities must have either combined brakes systems (CBS) or ABS.

While authorities promote ABS as reducing crashes by 30%, motorcycle experts dispute the figures and say it dangerously gives riders a false sense of security.

The 2009 Maids Report reverse engineered almost 1000 accidents and found that in 80-87% of crashes riders took no evasive action such as braking, sub-limit braking or swerving.

Therefore, ABS would have had no effect.

VicRoads blunders

It’s not the first time VicRoads has overstated the effect of ABS on road safety.

In 2016, university safety researcher Ross Blackman criticised a VicRoads brochure that stated: “A motorcycle with ABS enhances your riding skills and techniques by preventing the wheels from locking, skidding and sliding under.”

Quite simply, no technology makes you a better rider. It only helps compensate for poor skills or emergencies, he said.

The VicRoads brochure also suggested riders retro-fit ABS, but there is no known aftermarket product.

VicRoads apologised for the misleading information and error when we pointed them out.

ABS is simply no substitute for good rider skills and the only way to get them is through training and practice.

  1. Darn, I tried to get every question wrong but I got two right. Maybe I should have paid more attention. Maybe I don’t rely on electronic aids enough.
    I notice that I took too long to answer the questions. I assume that means I should not watch the ABC news on another screen while riding.

    Hopefully smarter bikes will not resulter in dumber riders. I think we have all seen how smarter cars seem to result in dumber drivers who use tech to make up for a lack of attention span.

  2. Riding on the road requires a specific set of skills. One important skill is riding so you are able to be seen by other road users . ABS, traction control and stability control don’t assist with this.

  3. Bizarre.

    Apparently traction control is important for emergency braking. Question 1

    Question 10 is badly written. By focussing on how to apply the brake in this question, they dismiss the importance of road position.

  4. Some of the stuff here is strange.. Always slowing down when a vehicle approaches from the opposite side makes no sense and can be quite dangerous.

    1. “in 80-87% of crashes riders took no evasive action such as braking, sub-limit braking or swerving.” This figure seems very high. Are they saying in the majority of rider crashes, the rider doesn’t react to the situation or is it because the bike is rear ended or sideswiped before the rider notices the danger?

  5. 10/10 here.
    After 46 years as a full time rider starting in 1973 with a Yamaha RD350, I’ve learnt heaps.
    I embrace every safety technology currently available to me over the years & in the last with 2018 R1200R LC with the full suite.
    A bike that enhances my motorcycling experience by allowing me to position myself well, watch out for stray anythings without having to compute how to SLAM the brakes on without locking them on various surfaces, as I did in 1973.
    Thank you technology, you take my breath away with an even better chance of survival.

  6. There is one absolute fundamental fact and that is counter steering. If you ride a motorcycle and you are not atune with counter steering then you are a potential white cross on the roadside.

    1. Yes and ‘fixation’ where a rider is focused on where not to go rather than the right path around the object or corner etc. Given the extremely short time involved in correcting a fixation moment, if the rider has the ability to recognise what is happening, counter steering is essential in correcting error.

  7. ABS nonsense.
    It only assist those that do not know how to brake.
    Any trained rider can outbreak ABS.

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