January 29 2010.

Europe's largest automobile association has conferred an award on the new Bosch antilock braking system (ABS) for motorcycles. Presenting its 'Gelber Engel' (yellow angel) award, the German ADAC pays tribute to the great potential for improved road safety offered by this new Bosch development. The modular design of Generation 9 allows various levels of sophistication, from a system with basic functions to a high-performance ABS. The 'ABS9 base' variant weighs just 0.7 kilograms, and is half the size and weight of the previous generation. "Our entry-level ABS is by far the most compact system in the market," says Dr. Werner Struth, president of the Bosch Chassis Systems Control division. "Its cost-optimised design makes ABS affordable for all classes of motorcycle for the first time." The new system enables a wider proliferation of applications and can make motorcycling considerably safer.

Bosch has been manufacturing brake control systems for motorcycles since 1994. While all the ABS systems on the market were previously based on passenger car technology, engineers at the Bosch competence centre in Japan have now designed a new ABS specifically for motorcycles. The first variant of Generation 9 went into series production in November 2009. Up to now, only ten percent of new motorcycles manufactured in Europe are equipped with ABS. Worldwide, the figure is only one percent. By way of comparison, the figure for passenger cars worldwide has now reached 80 percent.

Because of the lack of passive safety, motorcyclists are at greater risk in accidents. In Europe and Brazil, for example, nearly one in six road deaths is a motorcyclist, and the proportion is much higher in India and China. For the same distance travelled, the risk of a fatal accident when riding a motorcycle in Europe is 20 times greater than when driving a car. In this context, experts believe that the antilock braking system provides a huge boost to safety. It allows motorcyclists to brake safely in critical situations without locking the wheels, and without having to fear an inevitable fall. Braking distance is also considerably reduced. A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the U.S., for example, shows that if all motorcycles were equipped with ABS, 28 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents could be prevented. A study presented by Vägverket, the Swedish highways authority, in 2009 showed that 38 percent of all motorcycle accidents involving personal injury and 48 percent of all serious and fatal accidents could be prevented with the help of ABS.