Here's something that might have caused considerable uproar a few years ago, but that will likely be uncontested by today's motorcyling world: The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended mandatory ABS brakes on all motorcycles as a part of its latest safety report.
Today's motorcycle ABS systems, particularly those with IMU-driven, lean angle-sensitive cornering functionality, are frankly pretty stunning. We reckon that most people who have tried the latest gear would agree it can stop faster and safer than they can in the vast majority of conditions.
So it's hard to find too many good reasons why you wouldn't want ABS on a new bike these days. Perhaps you don't like the added weight or cost, perhaps you want to race or stunt the bike, perhaps you're a purist and you prefer old-school bikes without rider aids, but it's hard to argue that most riders aren't safer with a good ABS system on board.
Hence, there might not be too much argument against the NTSB's latest motorcycle safety recommendations, which include the following:
"4. Require all new motorcycles manufactured for on-road use in the United States be equipped with antilock braking system technology."
ABS seems like a reasonably uncontroversial idea, but traction control? The Board's other recommendations include running tests and developing national standards around stability control, eventually requiring systems that meet these standards on all new road motorcycles. That'll be an annoying cost addition to a 50cc scooter that couldn't break traction if it was riding on butter.
It's not all about motorcycles themselves needing to change; the report also recommends that safety systems for cars such as automatic emergency braking should be tested to make sure they can see and react to motorcycles as part of their standard development. And there's also talk of incorporating motorcycles into upcoming vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications protocols, as well as your standard drug and alcohol and licensing policy review recommendations.
The abstract from the NTSB report can be read in full here.
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