NHTSA Petitioned To Mandate Antilock Braking System On All New Motorcycles

400x279The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) maintain this step would significantly reduce crashes and deaths.

They petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to require new motorcycles to be equipped with antilock braking systems because they maintain this step would significantly reduce crashes and deaths.

Motorcycles with ABS are 31 percent less likely to be involved in fatal crashes than those same motorcycles without ABS, an IIHS analysis indicates, and a new study from HLDI found a 20 percent reduction in the rate of collision claims with ABS.

HLDI analysts concluded even greater gains result from ABS in conjunction with combined braking systems, which integrate a motorcycle’s front and rear brake controls. Together, they cut collision claim frequency by about one third.

“The data continue to accumulate in support of motorcycle ABS five years after we first reported on its effectiveness,” said Adrian Lund, president of both IIHS and HLDI. “We hope NHTSA will agree that it’s time to take action to ensure all riders get the benefit of this lifesaving technology.”

33 Responses to “NHTSA Petitioned To Mandate Antilock Braking System On All New Motorcycles”

  1. 1 mk Jun 25th, 2013 at 11:26 am

    as long as we have the ability to disable it. There shouldn’t be a problem. But now prices will go up. maybe the NHSTA should subsidized these mandates

  2. 2 Tobby Jun 25th, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Or maybe riders that purchase these expensive bikes with ABS are from a demographic that is much more safety conscious and as a whole would be 31% less likely to get into a wreck anyway.

  3. 3 Jun 25th, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Can’t put a price on life. Accidents happen hourly and entirely to many deaths take place on motorcycles, whether at fault or no fault. If ABS Brakes save just one life the costs are of third rank importance.

    I’ve used them since ’08 and the only time that I would not have them now would be a straight line race on a controlled track. It takes a set to stand down on them when in need to come to a quick controlled stop.

    Man up…take a factory test ride and try ’em if you haven’t. If you have them learn how to use them.

    Boss Hawg

  4. 4 Septic the Sceptic Jun 25th, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Maybe the demographic that would buy ABS would also buy a helmet.

  5. 5 Jeff Jun 25th, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    All of this would be a lot easier to accept if they would also mandate safety classes for drivers and remedial classes (or better yet, jail) for people who injure bikers out of negligence. ABS isn’t nearly the threat distracted driver’s are.

  6. 6 Jun 26th, 2013 at 2:55 am

    Learn to ride and learn proper braking skills and then try ABS if you are still scared of your bike.

  7. 7 Jun 26th, 2013 at 5:36 am

    I don’t know how a rider would practice and hone their skills in dealing with a washing out front end,a stepped out rear wheel or a locked up tire with a bike fitted with ABS.These types of skills are vital when riding a bike at highway speeds or in a sporting way.The ABS computer may stop the wheel locking dead up,but to move towards fail safe security a bike needs a big gyroscope and a stability program computer.

  8. 8 Stephen Jun 26th, 2013 at 6:51 am

    I agree with Boss Hawg, I would not ride without them. If you don’t believe me do a google search for a comparison of the same bike with and without ABS it was a British comparison of a Ducatti from memory. I got ABS on my 2010 Honda Fury and it’s the best braking bike I’ve ever owned (the ABS Goldwing is better but I don’t own one yet). The ABS Fury out brakes the Non ABS Fury in normal braking, no doubt about it. Before you get all upset I have riding buddies who have non ABS Furys and I have taken them for a spin so I do know what I’m talking about.

  9. 9 Jun 26th, 2013 at 7:12 am

    I Am Against It Because of the word Mandate!

    Please note this is being pushed by- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) maintain this step would significantly reduce crashes and deaths. INSURANCE COMPANIES!!!!!

    I have regular brakes with traction control braking added on my 2004 Harley FLHTC and Anti-Lock on my 2009 FLHTC and I do prefer the braking of the 2009 and Yes I have used the anti-lock more than once and they made all the difference in the world.

  10. 10 Jun 26th, 2013 at 7:31 am

    I’m with Boss Hawg and Stephen on this issue. ABS equipped bikes are much safer than non-equipped ones in every way. This is unarguable. To do so clearly demonstrates a moronic mentality. That said, I am not in favour of mandatory measures of almost any kind. mk – disable them? Really? That kind of thinking is the real problem!

  11. 11 Smitty Jun 26th, 2013 at 7:39 am

    The government just can’t stop telling us what we must have in order to protect ourselves. We the people, are just not smart enough to figure that out. Pretty soon two wheel motorcycles will be outlawed and everyone will be mandated to ride trikes because they will be deemed safer by the non-riding politicians in Washington!
    Mark my words, as soon as Obamacare is officially enacted, a national helmet law will be passed because Washington knows best. (some of you will be very happy about this!)
    If Stephen and Boss Hawg don’t want to ride a non-ABS motorcycle, Don’t ride one. That’s called freedom of choice. Don’t sit back and make everyone else conform to what you think is best. Some people always make the statement “look how many lives that could be saved”. How about the lives that are lost in auto accidents? does this mean the government should make it mandatory to wear a helmet while operating a Ford Focus or making it illegal to drive during peak accident times during the day?

  12. 12 Shanedrive Jun 26th, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Educate, don’t legislate.
    Anyone behind the wheel (or handlebars) should simply take a written CDL (commercial driver’s license) test. It’ll open your eyes and should be required reading/testing of everyone carrying a driver’s license. Then there’s the specialty stuff such advanced motorcycle training etc. etc. too.

  13. 13 Jun 26th, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Mandatory ABS is not a solution for the motorcycle industry or the motorcyclist. Many starter bikes will be priced at a higher level and become unobtainable. This move by IIHS is designed to purge the roads of motorcyclists by mandating technology that is designed to protect the auto driver from high value claims against the insured auto driver for their stupidity that caused the crash.

    I received a response from Russ Rader of the IIHS about my concerns. “The IIHS petition to require ABS on motorcycles does not portend “death to motorcycling.” As we’ve seen with other safety equipment, the cost of ABS will decline with a mandate because volume will increase. Cost was one of the arguments against requiring frontal airbags in passenger vehicles 20 years ago. Airbags didn’t make cars unaffordable. The cost per unit declined to the point where cars today have multiple airbags designed to protect heads, chests and even knees. Airbags are taken for granted now, and they’ve saved thousands of lives. ABS won’t kill motorcycling. What it will do is prevent a lot of crashes and prolong the lives of many motorcycle riders.”

    My response to that is, “This one will over time take motorcycles out of the picture. No way that you can CHEAPLY put ABS on a two wheel tiddler. Then there is
    just how well does it work when leaned over….

    Second point. ABS does not prevent crashes, period. Crash survivability is not crash prevention. ABS will not extend the life of anybody. Actually, I take great umbrage at your tone. You are speaking for an insurance industry. Your main clients are drivers of other vehicles that include but are not limited to automobiles, SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks. It is your insured clients that are causing the majority of crashes and you are trying to make the motorcyclist victim, the bad guy. I respect your position and the myopic restraints that your environment has bestowed upon you. Let me see if I understand you correctly. You are in the business of making money and taking risks. Your clients have created too much exposure for your business and your fight with motorcyclists is the cost of injury or death caused by your clients. Your attack is designed to make motorcycling economically unattainable. Your clients that cause crashes obviously do not have to pass a vision test or otherwise, you would not witness your clients using the “I didn’t see ‘em” defense during the initial investigation, subsequent investigations and during litigation proceedings.

    To sum it up, Russ Rader, you want the motorcycles to become more expensive to possibly reduce your exposure to expensive claims based upon the idiocy and bad judgment of your clients.

    Slick public relations press releases will not reduce the crashes that your clients cause.”


  14. 14 Jun 26th, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Smitty, Rogue and Mike are stating the reality of mandated safety gimmicks. I would point out that seatbelts, airbags and ABS on four wheeled vehicles are suppose to save our lives in event of a crash. They are not 100% effective; people still have accidents, suffer injuries and die daily…in spite of grand technology.

    While technology is grand, it should not be legislated down our throats. Rather; not enough is invested into education and training. The requirements for a driver license and/or a motorcycle endorsement are ridiculous. NO serious training is required to be issued a permit to operate vehicles and thereby putting other lives in danger.

    I also agree with Mike on his view that the IIHS is more motivated by saving bucks; plain and simple.


  15. 15 Jun 26th, 2013 at 9:59 am

    This “Doc Robinson” guy often rides megalith garbage baggers at high speeds and now talks about safety issues,take this into account.Nothing will stop many bagger boys and other heavy bikers from falling off at high speeds and ABS will only embolden their sporting efforts and increase the velocity that they hit the deck.Riders are still captive to their individual braking reaction times and ABS will only create the illusion that they are riding in a larger”safety bubble” and therefore take more risks.That is human nature.I can’t think of any past situation when riding that I’ve ever needed ABS to kick in,like ever.An experienced rider like me would outbrake an ABS equipped bike in virtually every event short of riding on an iceberg.Doc it’s standard practice to turn off ABS on very slippery and dirt road riding,It isn’t moronic to apply choice intelligent options to bike control systems.If BMW motorrad fit an ABS on/off switch to many of their bikes.I guess they know what they are doing.It’s amusing to hear people when they ridicule others free choice.

  16. 16 Zyon Jun 26th, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I purchased a new 2013 Softail Deluxe about 3 weeks ago and I opted out of the $1,700 charge for installing ABS on the bike. I’ve been riding bikes my whole life and I’ve never felt the need for ABS. In fact, three days ago I had to lock up my wheels due to a pickup truck trying to cross against traffic. At 60 mph and riding two up, the motorcycle stayed in a standup skid long enough for me to steer left and avoid the accident.

    All safety equipment like ABS does is give riders a false sense of security. I’m not saying ABS is bad for everyone but I’ve been riding for so long that I just wouldn’t feel comfortable. I hate it when it activates on my car too.

  17. 17 Tobby Jun 26th, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    ABS is not $1700. HD charges $1195 for their security option package which includes ABS and the keyless ignition. HD’s implied MSRP for ABS is about $800 based upon available 2012 packages.
    The actual cost to a manufacturer is closer to $350 for the purchase and installation of an ABS module.

    It ABS is ever required prices will not go up that much.

    As an aside it should be noted that many opinions on ABS were formed based upon GEN I and II systems (HD now uses a modified GEN II). The newer systems that other manufacturers are using are substantially better. BMW has an experimental one that uses lasers pointing at the ground (just like your computer mouse) as a speed sensor. Youtube is full of comparisons using pro and inexperienced riders on all kinds of surfaces. Check out the newer videos to see how the newest systems compare.

  18. 18 Jun 26th, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Agree w Mike G. peace

  19. 19 Jun 26th, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Thats tripe man, riders choice. I would bet the 31% dont ride a whole lot

  20. 20 Jay Horton's Private Shop Jun 27th, 2013 at 7:46 am

    I’ll pull my own trigger, thank you very much. Later Jay

  21. 21 BobS Jun 27th, 2013 at 8:14 am

    I get a kick out of people opposed to an ABS mandate and turn around and say education and training is the answer. So it’s wrong for John to mandate ABS on Dave’s bike but it’s ok for Dave to mandate John go to a school he probably won’t get any benefit out of? Pretty darn funny. Several misinformed responses here show just why a mandate will probably be neccessary. Too many bikers are too stupid to realize that being able to stop in a shorter distance, under control…prevents accidents and deaths. I would love it if bikers were so passionate about their pastimes and lifestyles that they embraced the very technologies that extend their pastimes and lifestyles. But their resistance in the name of freedom makes my insurance rates higher. So don’t come crying to me.

  22. 22 LowriderLarry Jun 27th, 2013 at 9:16 am

    I have a Dyna with double discs. Brakes fine. I have always been able to stop even in extreme situations. But I have heared of bikers crashing in the back of a car wich suddenly stopped, because they thought their ABS would do the work, and therefore didn’t bother to avoid it…

  23. 23 Jun 27th, 2013 at 9:18 am

    @ BobS

    Well said !

    If you want to ride without ABS that’s fine with me, but then consider the fodder herein…most here are just keyboard commandos…hence the chatter….nuff said.

    400,000 miles accident free…can out ride and last most here….give ya something to talk about.

    Boss Hawg

  24. 24 Jun 27th, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Boss Hawg,assumption is a curse.Professional rider training for noobs and experienced riders alike reduces fatalities and accidents by about 50%.Every rider gains from rider training from the fat girl on a Vespa to the guy who thinks he’s fast.Every rider gains from rider training as do the emergency wards and the insurance companies.Mandated training for airline pilots seems a good idea,and a motorcyclist is exposed to way more risk than a plane.

    BobS..I’m a keyboard commando,also a qualified rider trainer,a dirt bike rider,thousand mile a day tourer and a very high speed sports rider on both road and the track.I’ve done very close to your total miles as well.I can stop quicker and safer than ABS kicking in 99.9% of the time on any riding surface.My braking program in my head has worked for 40 years without a single accident.ABS should remain a personal choice.

  25. 25 BobS Jun 27th, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Terence I have no doubt you are a very good rider and I agree training is great. As is ABS. If you’re telling me that you can outbrake a non ABS version compared to the same model with ABS 99.9% of the time…I say liar liar pants on fire. And I double down on that claim if the braking situation is an actual emergency and not some orange cone course test.

  26. 26 Jun 27th, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    BobS Yup and many experienced,police and pro racers/riders can do the same. It depends on skill to some extent. I have practiced my front brake technique to the point of often riding at about 50mph with a fully locked front wheel for about 100 feet at a time.That hones my braking skills,stability control and sensitivity somewhat.

  27. 27 Stephen Jun 28th, 2013 at 6:51 am

    @Terence Tory. The direct comparison of the same bike with and without ABS that I referred to was conducted with an experienced competition rider. With a racing rider the same bike with ABS was able to stop some 20 meters (65 ft) shorter than the non ABS version. That’s enough to save a bad situation even with a rider many time more skilled than the average joe.

  28. 28 Jun 28th, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Stephen,when Rossi,Hayden and Pedrosa have ABS on their race bikes,I might consider it.(With an on/off switch!).Fast bikes and sports cars are not designed to cater to “average joe”.Maybe Kymco maxi-scooters should all be sold with it fitted.I think average joe will tend to take even more risks with the idea in his head that the ABS will save his hog’s bacon,and his beef.Strange accidents are common with modern cars that just run off the road for no apparent reason due to (in part),all kinds of safety systems that do the thinking of the operator and allow them to rely on a mere machine instead of being responsible for their own risk management.

  29. 29 BobS Jun 28th, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Terence, for a rider as advanced as you, you seem quite confident that you know what’s going on in the head of other riders. The notion that someone will get in trouble because they’re overconfident in their ABS is just as logical as assuming someone will get themselves into trouble by being overconfident in their abiliity to out brake an ABS equipped bike. If we’re to follow this logic to it’s conclusion the safest streets would be filled with untrained riders on bikes with poor performing brakes. Only then can we be sure no one is getting in trouble because of over confidence.

  30. 30 Jun 28th, 2013 at 8:53 am

    BobS.I have some opinions that are merely my own which are worth about phhtt!,and I also mention things that have been researched and proven by learned experts. Like this :

    “Risk compensation (also Peltzman effect or risk homeostasis) is an observed effect in ethology whereby people tend to adjust their behavior in response to the perceived level of risk, behaving less cautiously where they feel more protected and more cautiously where they feel a higher level of risk. The theory emerged out of road safety research after it was observed that many interventions failed to achieve the expected level of benefits but has since found application in many other fields.”

    These guys seem to know whats going on in plenty of other peoples heads,and I go along with it.

  31. 31 BobS Jun 28th, 2013 at 9:55 am

    I agree that risk compensation is real but where is the recorded observation/evidence that riding an ABS equipped bike reduces the riders percieved level of risk? You sound pretty intelligent and competent with regard to riding. Would you feel less at risk If you got on a bike that could stop in a shorter distance and then modify your riding behavior to be more risky? ie ride more dangerously? I feel like I’m a competent rider with decent abilities. I would not modify my riding behavior to take on additional risk. As a matter of fact I can attest to this as last winter I switched to composite rotors and racing pads on my non ABS equipped Vic. It CAN stop in a shorter distance now but my riding style has not changed. I don’t wear the gear I do and my interest in brakes isn’t so I can take more risks, I do those things so the risks I currently take are less likely to result in my losing the ability to continue.
    To see me display the Peltzman effect you would have to immunize me from all known STD’s or put a net under a tightrope or something like that. That would change my perception of risk and I’d be more likely to engage in a behavior I otherwise wouldn’t. Riding a motorcycle the dangers remain constant so my perception of risk remains constant. I’m not reducing risk I’m increasing survivability.

  32. 32 Jun 28th, 2013 at 10:43 am

    BobS,consciously anybody with some appetite for survival on a bike will not rely on ABS much and ride with much more risk than without Having ABS.It’s the Peltzman effect on the subconscious attitude to risk management that probably holds greater sway in a fight or flight situation in a panic situation on a bike when the monkey brain kicks in.I tend to think that smart attentive humans have free will and a rather strong commitment to dealing with real time risks,but don’t discount the fact that you have a parakeet in your brain’s subconscious
    pressing buttons before you realize what is going on.If I was riding mega miles on the superslab,day in,day out with plenty of rain and bulk cars I would not have a problem with having ABS at all.But if I had such a love for precipitation and highways I’d drive an F truck.When insurance companies get a serious wedge in,next it will be “mandated” armored one piece riding suits with airbag back protectors,”legal” boots and hi-viz everything.

  33. 33 Jun 28th, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    As an integral safety item, yes, of couse it should be put on all cycles
    Mandated by “teh powers that be”? Not a chance!!!!
    People tend to forget about this little thing called Freedom
    that we all are suppose to rally around & celebrate.
    Freedom of choice is part of that

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