IIHS Asks NHTSA to Make ABS Brakes Mandatory for All Street-legal Motorcycles in US

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute have submitted a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration petitioning in favor of making anti-lock brakes mandatory for all new on-highway motorcycles.

The letter, addressed to David Strickland, NHTSA administrator, included a recent IIHS study on the effects of ABS on motorcycle fatal crash rates. The report found ABS technology reduces the rate of fatal crashes by 31%, while collision claim rates were 20% lower with ABS-equipped motorcycles.

The petition also acknowledges concerns of ABS in off-road riding situations, and suggests manufacturers introduce switchable ABS for dual-sport models so the system can be disabled when riding on unpaved terrain.

The IIHS and HLDI letter follows new legislation introduced by the European Parliament in 2012 making ABS mandatory for all on-highway motorcycles with engines larger than 125cc by 2016. Manufacturers are already getting a head start on the new European regulation. BMW for instance has already made ABS standard equipment on all 2013 models.

Click here to download the letter.

[Source: IIHS]

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  • k3ith

    While I would like to see ABS available as an option for all bikes, I’ve often wondered if the safety stats aren’t affected by the fact that many of the riders that would choose ABS are the same riders that are less likely to do something stupid. (No offense meant to anyone BTW, I’ve done my share of stupid riding too. :-D )

  • Konsatantin

    Finally someone saw the light!
    I hope this request will be accepted.
    It is not easy to find a bike that I like with ABS these days.
    I think ABS should be mandatory on all road bikes, at least as an option.

  • gerald estes

    acceptable as an option. funny thing, those insurance safety organizations will never fully grasp – lets say if ABS is mandatory, maybe 50-75% of the end users will likely disable it. will they learn anything about electronics, fluid mechanics, and/or mass production in the process? doubtful. then there will be the one original owner anomoly guy, wanting to add it to a highway legal ’82 husky xc-430 to compete in some sort of vintage stadium endurocross event because he beleives further product development is neccessary. sell that

  • Tony Pace

    I’ve been riding (legally) on the street for 30 years. I am astounded this is not already in place. No single piece of technology provides a greater benefit to the “common man” . . .as it is an uncommon man who regularly PRACTICES “anchor out” full bore STOPPING on their motorcycle.

  • Rob

    If you like ABS, buy it. If you don’t, don’t.

    We shouldn’t all be forced to use it.

  • John A. Stockman

    When safety-crats and insurance companies get involved in anything to do with motorcycling, they always seem to mess it up. I agree that ABS is an effective way to help people with a low skill-level up through veteran riders in a quickly developing dangerous situation. It won’t save riders from poseur-mentality…those that do not care about training, wearing gear and practicing skills. Skills that can easily be practiced and perfected in an empty parking lot, only requiring less than an hour a month. Poseurs only care about having butt-jewelry, thinking a bike will shore up their sagging ego, low self image, and somehow making them cool. I guess I’m that “uncommon” sort who realizes the value and “safety” of the Sunday morning practice sessions. I get some friends together and we do it together…much more fun and effective when you have others around to help and watch for various things that can improve your skills. “Insurance Institute For Highway Safety”? Sounds contradictory to me. Insurance companies have no business mandating anything regarding making motorcycling “safer”. If they had their way, motorcycles would be off the road permanently. No such thing as a “safe” motorcycle, only “safe” riders because of training, skills-practice and wearing some good riding gear. Insurance companies believe in “the tail wags the dog” approach, instead of approaching it from the correct end, the rider.

  • joe thornton

    ABS is okay, but there are some flaws! If you already know how to ride and are able enough to know how to lock up your bike while riding,ABS is actually a hazard. I have riding for 3 years on a bike with ABS and found that although it is good on stopping in gravel, it is not needed by experienced riders. ABS INCREASES the distance you use in stopping! When a driver pulled out in front of me I believe that without ABS I would not have tapped his rear fender. ABS increased my stopping distance causing me to hit his fender. In a situation like this when there is no alternative route to go, ABS was SAFETY HAZARD!