Safer Motorcycles

Every year, more than four-thousand people die on motorcycles. An important safety feature-antilock brakes-makes motorcycles safer. But until now, ABS has only been available on expensive motorcycles.

Consumer Reports takes a look at the first entry-level bike that offers ABS.

Angela Annamalai has been selling motorcycles for the last several years. She encourages her customers to focus on safety and get antilock brakes whenever possible.

Annamalai says, "I've seen a lot of folks that have injuries from accidents, and I feel that when you're only on two wheels, why not do your very best to be safe."

Antilock brakes have been standard safety equipment on cars for years.

But they're even more important for motorcycles.

Jim Travers of Consumer Reports says, "On a motorcycle, if you lock up a wheel, you're going to go over in a heartbeat. Faster than you can possibly imagine."

A test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety clearly shows the danger.

With the anitlock brake system turned off, the motorcycle they show goes into a skid. But with the ABS engaged, you can see how the motorcycle easily comes to a stop.

Consumer Reports just checked out a Honda CBR 250-R motorcycle. Antilock brakes are an option. It's the first entry-level bike in the U.S. to offer ABS, and it goes for around $4,600.

Travers says, "It's going to appeal a lot more to a newer rider, a novice rider. And that's where we see ABS as having the biggest benefit."

A recent insurance-industry study underscores the pressing need for antilock brakes on motorcycles.

Those equipped with ABS are 37 percent less likely to be in a fatal crash than motorcycles that don't have antilock brakes.

Consumer Reports says other pluses with the Honda-it has a responsive engine...and it accelerates nicely without feeling intimidating.

Consumer Reports says there are other important safety moves if you're considering getting a motorcycle.

Taking a safety course is a very good idea. And be sure to get a good helmet.

You want to look for one that's been approved by the Department of Transportation.

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