Last summer we reported the NHTSA planned to decide by this year whether to mandate anti lock brakes on new motorcycles. Late last week, the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) issued a new call for the ABS systems on motorcycles citing a one third reduction in crashes when comparing similar motorcycles with and without ABS.
Institute researchers compared the fatal crash experience of antilock-equipped motorcycles against their nonantilock counterparts during 2003-08. The main finding is that motorcycles with antilocks versus without are 37 percent less likely to be in fatal crashes per 10,000 registered vehicle years. Bolstering this finding is a separate analysis by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), an affiliate of the Insurance Institute. HLDI analyzed insurance claims filed for crash damage to motorcycles. Bike models with antilocks have 22 percent fewer claims for crash damage per insured vehicle year (a vehicle year is 1 vehicle insured for 1 year, 2 insured for 6 months, etc.) than the same models without antilocks. The results update earlier studies by the Institute and HLDI published in 2008.
This issue, like many similar safety related issues, will be and has been debated endlessly with both sides seldom changing their positions, safety advocates in the government and insurance industries will, in almost every case, call for the additional systems, while motorcycle riders would prefer to have a choice.
Adrian Lund, president of the insurance industry funded institute, states the mandate is necessary because manufacturers are reluctant to make ABS standard. What that sounds like he's saying is companies must do what the IIHS says or they should be forced to do what the IIHS says. Don't you think the people who make and buy motorcycles should have a say in the matter?