Insurance Group Calls for ABS in all Motorcycles

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a non-profit research group funded by automobile insurers, is pushing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to mandate all motorcycle manufacturers equip their new units with an antilock braking system (ABS).

As support for their call to action, IIHS cites a study it conducted in March that shows ABS-equiped motorcycles are 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash. What’s more, ABS-equipped motorcycles see 22 percent fewer damage-related insurance claims, according to a study from the Highway Loss Data Institute. (These statistics are calculated as a percentage per 10,000 vehicle years. One vehicle year is one vehicle insured for 1 year, two insured for 6 months, etc.)

“The best motorcycle crash is one that never happens,” says IIHS President Adrian Lund. “Traveling on two wheels instead of four is always riskier, but our new research shows that antilock brake technology can make motorcycle riding a much safer way to get around.”

An ABS system is optional on 44 new 2010 units and standard on 15 of them, IIHS found, from BMW, to Harley-Davidson, Honda and Triumph. Depending on the timeframe if this measure was ever signed into law, it could put certain OEMs in a very difficult position in the U.S. motorcycle market.

The Motorcycle Industry Council says there is not enough research available to show ABS systems were so valuable that they should be mandated, according to New York Times blog on the topic.

View the IIHS mandate release here. View the IIHS’ March ABS study here.

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