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Motorcycle Mandates Falling Short

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2023 | Personal Injury

Antilock braking systems (ABS) exist on almost every type of motor vehicle. One two-wheeled transport, in particular, goes without that critical safety system.


After their first attempt failed, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) filed a second petition with federal regulators to require antilock braking systems (ABS) on all new motorcycles.

The Mandate Push Continues

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has pushed this mandate for motorcycles for ten years. Currently, multiple countries outside the U.S., including the European Union, Taiwan, and Australia, have requirements in place.

The good news is that domestic manufacturers have stepped up to increase the number of bikes with standard ABS, bringing percentages close to 60 this year. However, the bad news is that 40 percent of cycles lacks the potentially life-saving system.

Recent IIHS studies revealed that rates of fatal clashes for motorcycles, SuperSport bikes, and cruisers with optional ABS are 22 percent lower than the same models going without the technology. Looking at insurance claims shows motorcycles with ABS are up to 24 percent lower than those unequipped.

Concerns exist when it comes to installing ABS on all motorcycles, with one claiming the inherent dangers when traveling on gravel and similar loose surfaces. Off-switch systems could help turn off the system when traveling on other loose surfaces, combined with an indicator that reminds the rider to restart ABS when on a paved roadway.

Technologies on motorcycles and other motorized transports are not foolproof. However, certain technologies can help riders avoid serious, if not life-threatening, accidents.