According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle deaths happen 27 times more frequently than fatalities in other types of vehicle crashes. Without the protection that cars, trucks, or vans provide, motorcycle riders are more vulnerable in a collision. Given the statistics, it is surprising that the federal government has not yet required anti-lock brake systems (ABS) for all new motorcycles, as it did back in the 1990’s for passenger vehicles.
An ABS prevents wheels from locking or seizing during hard braking, while also improving tire control during wet or slippery road conditions. Prior to a crash, most riders instinctively press heavily on the brakes. When brakes are pressed too hard, they can lock up sending the vehicle to the ground or into a tailspin. This is especially dangerous in motorcycles, because both wheels have separate brake controls, locking up one or both wheels. ABS prevents brakes from locking and maintains steady pressure until traction is restored. Surprisingly, many motorcycle rider groups oppose across-the-board safety mandates such as required helmets and ABS.
Requirements Vary by Location
Many major agencies already require all vehicles to have ABS, including the New York City Police Department and the California Highway Patrol. In Europe, all new motorcycles must be equipped with anti-lock braking systems. Countries like Japan and India are following suit. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that around one third of all fatal motorcycle accidents that occur each year could be prevented with ABS.
Given those statistics, many argue that the government is not doing enough to protect motorcycle riders. However, prior efforts by regulators have not proven successful. In 2009, the NHTSA was close to mandating ABS on new motorcycles, but later shelved the proposition. NHTSA officials claim there was not enough proof that the benefits of ABS outweigh the costs to manufacturers.
In spite of the NHTSA’s hesitation, some manufacturers are opting to include ABS on some or part of their inventory. As of 2012, BMW is currently the only motorcycle manufacturer to include ABS on every model they sell in the U.S. The largest motorcycle manufacturer in the U.S., Harley Davidson, has been offering ABS as standard or optional on every model since 2014. The company acknowledges the safety benefits of ABS, but also recognizes that some riders want the freedom to make their own choices about their bike’s features. ABSs are currently offered as a pricey safety upgrade on many Harley models.
In spite of the data showing these features save lives, rider groups feel that government involvement interferes with the sensibility of motorcycle culture. As it stands, the NHTSA dropped ABS regulation from their agenda, pending further research. Right now, it is up to riders and their clubs to protect themselves and their peers, using any safety equipment available to ensure that every trip is a safe one.
Delaware County Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Fight for Motorcycle Accident Victims
If you are injured because of another driver’s carelessness, you may be entitled to compensation for your motorcycle accident injuries. Contact the Delaware County motorcycle accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC to discuss your legal options by calling 215-569-8488 or contact us online. Our offices are located in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania, as well as Haddonfield, New Jersey and Wilmington, Delaware to serve clients throughout the area.