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Safety, a priority


by Pascal Bastien ,

A lot of people believe that motorcycles are dangerous vehicles squarely intended for fearless -- or reckless? -- riders. Sure, they offer far less protection than cars or trucks and, based on the bigger-is-safer principle, they are more vulnerable in the event of a collision. However, one's got to face the facts: today's motorcycles are better designed and better equipped in terms of safety. They are also more user-friendly and learning how to ride them is easier than ever.

Honda ABS brakes

Electronics to the rescue
Some motorcycles feature multiple electronic systems to enhance safety and the overall performance. It is now possible to buy an ABS-equipped bike for less than $10,000. Let's not forget that rider falls mainly occur during emergency braking maneuvers. Inexperience or bad decisions in those situations can sometimes lead to deadly consequences.

When a wheel locks upon braking, you need to release the brakes as quickly as you can. If you lock the front wheel, it becomes extremely difficult and nearly impossible to control the trajectory of the bike. However, by releasing the front brake immediately, you can definitely avoid an accident. If your motorcycle is equipped with electronically controlled ABS brakes, the system will do the work for you and prevent you from being thrown off in the air.

When the rear wheel starts to skid, regaining control proves to be a bit more complicated because releasing the brake quickly is not the ideal solution. The bike could right itself too fast and begin to veer sharply from side to side, affecting what little control you have over the vehicle. The best thing to do is to let go of the brakes progressively until the rear tire regains maximum grip.

The Yamaha YZF-R1 features an advanced stability control system.

Yamaha developed a system to reduce rear-wheel skid. The engine of the 2007 YZF-R1 is fed by an electronic fuel injection system using YCC-T management. This revolutionary technology sharpens throttle response and also serves as a traction control device. Thanks to YCC-T, less experienced riders can be more confident and learn new techniques without risking losing control of the rear wheel.

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