Motorcycles

NTSB recommends mandatory ABS and stability control on all new motorcycles

NTSB recommends mandatory ABS ...
Under NTSB recommendations, all new motorcycles sold in the USA would require mandatory ABS - and stability control is soon to follow
Under NTSB recommendations, all new motorcycles sold in the USA would require mandatory ABS - and stability control is soon to follow
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Under NTSB recommendations, all new motorcycles sold in the USA would require mandatory ABS - and stability control is soon to follow
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Under NTSB recommendations, all new motorcycles sold in the USA would require mandatory ABS - and stability control is soon to follow

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.

Source: NTSB via Visordown

7 comments
Nik
Having ended up sliding down the road on my arse, more than once, from lack of an ABS system in the past, due to a combination of rain water on the disks, and oil on the road, the last bike I bought had ABS, and traction control, and I can thoroughly recommend it. Maybe there should be a power requirement on traction control, so that below a certain level, its not required, because it would be superfluous, but usually ABS, and TC are an integrated system. Balance control? Well my ''old school'' feelings on that tend to bring to mind outrigger wheels, on kiddie bikes! Perhaps if you need it, then you shouldn't be riding a motorcycle....!
Terence Hawkes
As an ex motorcyclist who even toyed with the idea of racing, I say a big fat unqualified yes to ABS. I have some scars that wouldn’t exist if I had ABS. Traction control yes, as long as the engine actually has enough power to break the rear wheel away. Requiring it on a moped would be a silly expense.
Lardo
Then again... maybe it should be up to the rider - if he/she wants ABS and traction-control - rather than being mandated by government. Why the heck is everyone so eager to surrender their liberty? All in the name of some myth called "safety".
rude.dawg
Most new ABS and traction control systems can be switched on or off. So it's still up to individual riders which settings to choose. These systems only need to save your arse once in order to justify themselves. Clutchless shifting should also be an option to help reduce the incidences of whiskey throttle. https://www.google.com.au/search?q=whiskey+throttle&source=lnms&tbm=vid&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiQkoua8srdAhULfrwKHWnZDuwQ_AUIDigB&biw=883&bih=248
JasonH
Let the market decide. Regulations have defined an automobile so specifically that start-ups and unconventional ideas cannot flourish.
kswaid
rude.dawg - I doubt that these systems will be switchable for very long (and really only high-end bike allow you to do that now). If it is government mandated to have ABS then it would be hard to argue the case against lawyers that the system should be switchable by the user. Most current bikes on offer from the big Japanese manufacturers require you to pull a fuse or only allow you to disable rear wheel ABS.
Fastship
I can think of one very good reason: personal choice. Libertarian values seem to be a dwindling commodity in this world. More to the point, such as the author are all too ready to surrender MY freedom of choice for me.