Could auto indicators save riders’ lives?

Will self-cancelling indicators save lives? Smart Turn System

We’ve said it before, self-cancelling indicators can save riders from motorists driving right out in front of them thinking the rider is about to turn because their indicator is still on from a previous turn.

All cars have self-cancelling indicators as standard equipment, yet only expensive motorcycles fit them.

However, Slovenian company ABCS Sistem is planning to market their Smart Turn System (€149, A$228, US$160) to put this safety feature in the hands of riders on all bikes.

Will self-cancelling indicators save lives? Smart Turn System
Will self-cancelling indicators save lives?

Dr Ross Blackman, research associate at the Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) at the Queensland University of Technology suspects that riders who have forgotten to turn off their indicators could be involved in crashes when motorists mis-read their intention to turn.

“I dare say that there is not a rider on earth who hasn’t forgotten to cancel indicators for at least a short period of time at some stage,” says Ross. “As such, the crash risk associated with this (in)action is an interesting question but unfortunately there is little to no data on incorrect signal use as a contributing factor in these situations and no specific studies to my knowledge.”

If you’ve had that type of crash or incident, please leave a comment below and Ross will monitor them.

I’ll admit I do it frequently because I’m often testing bikes with self-cancelling indicators, then when I go back to one of my cheaper and older bikes, I forget to cancel the blinkers because I am used to them cancelling automatically.

The best self-cancelling indicators on motorcycles is the one used by Harley-Davidson which has a timer and lean sensor.

However, the Smart Turn System (STS) is more advanced than any of the units used by motorcycle manufacturers as it uses motion sensors to determine the bike’s direction, inclination, acceleration and even vibrations.

Will self-cancelling indicators save lives?
Will self-cancelling indicators save lives?

We’re not exactly sure what the vibrations from the bike and road surface would determine, but it seems the system takes account of all types of indication: turning a corner, changing a lane, and entering or exiting a roundabout.

The system will be Beta tested by volunteers and is expected to be available by July.

ABCS Sistem says the compact, waterproof device will fit “most” motorcycles with specific cables for your model.Will self-cancelling indicators save lives? Smart Turn System

There will be two versions: one for the universal left-switchblock and one for separate left and right indicator controls such as on BMWs.

They say it will be easy to install, but it also needs calibration and we’re not sure what that involves.

Meanwhile, to avoid SMIDSY T-bone style crashes, never assume a motorist has seen you and always double-check that you have not given them a false indication.


  1. As the rime passes new technologies are introduced in the market. I like your comment Robert but the thing is we cannot stick to our previous things. According to me the auto indicators are really good for the biker till it is working properly, it definitely contributes in saving rider’s life but what if it failed while riding? How come biker come to know that the indicators have stopped working?
    Click the site .

  2. Well My XR 1200 Harley Davidson 2009 model has self cancelling indicators.
    Who say Harley are old school!
    So the moral of my story is to BUY A HARLEY.
    ps I have 3 DUCATI’S also.(not cancelling either).

  3. I always wondered about a separate button for either side that only works when depressed.
    you are not going to forget and and it takes out just one more electronic thing
    go wrong. Too simple?

    1. It takes a surprising amount of concentration to continually hold down a button while negotiating a turn, not to mention the fact that you’ll probably let go of it due to working clutch brakes and throttle,so the simple thing that it takes out is more likely to be you.

  4. I’ve had a car that failed to turn left as it indicated and nearly got me when I pulled out in front of it, but as for bikes not turning off the indicators being a cause of accidents I’m not so sure. They have to see you in the first place and we all know motorcycles and bicycles are invisible to car drivers.

  5. Had to add this but you know what actually works?

    That stupid Buzzer attached to the blinkers of cheaper bikes eg: postie bikes.

    Yeah, 30 motorcycles on a ride turning right together beeping safely.. LOUD BLINKERS SAVE LIVES

  6. Interesting topic this one. I own 4 motorcycles and the only one which has got self-cancelling indicators is the Indian Scout but even then it doesn’t self cancel all the time so I still push the cancellation button just to be sure.
    I tend to think if you ride all the time as I do then it’s not a problem but if you ride only a few times a year then the system would be helpful but then again I think it’s a concentration issue not so much whether or not the indicators self cancel or not.

  7. Yep guilty as charged, I periodically seem to fall back for short periods into the habit of forgetting to turn my blinkers off, although there may be other factors involved since I seem to forget other things as well.

    However, none of my bikes I ever had had self-cancelling indicators and I can’t understand why that is not mandatory yet (like permanent headlights are). I have test ridden some bikes that had it and found that some of them turned off before I got to turn which was annoying because it’s just as dangerous to turn with no indicators as it it is not turning with them on. I would want to make sure that these new devices really only turn off when they are supposed to and not earlier. Hopefully you get to test them on your cafe racer and report to all of us …

  8. My old yamaha 500 single had self cancelling indicators in the 80’s, it used a combination of time and front wheel revolutions. Don’t no why that system was not continued.

    1. I wish that system was that smart. Its all time based and It sucks. When I ride my 1985 RZ250 today and am stuck patiently waiting to turn in traffic, i run more risk from getting fined for not indicating due to the time out. On top of that I question Alzheimer onset of me forgetting to indicate just like many Yamaha riders in the 1980’s must have and learn to stab the indicator every minute just for the sake of it. yeah, it auto cancels but you’ve wasted that much mental energy that you rarely forget to manually cancel anyways.

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