Date: 7th August 2017
Client: Motorcycle Council of NSW
Press Release: Mandatory ABS on Motorcycles Position Statement
Do you want mandatory ABS on your motorcycle?
The Federal Government is proposing mandatory Antilock Braking System (ABS) on motorcycles over 125cc and either ABS or Combined Braking System (CBS) mandatory on motorcycles between 125cc and 50cc. The Federal Government view is that mandatory ABS or CBS will result in significant reductions of injury, serious and fatal crashes.
MCCNSW, in its latest position statement, do not believe mandatory ABS will reduce the number of crashes. Until this statement is proven, the MCCNSW’s view is that the additional cost of fitting ABS should be optional for riders.
As of 2017, approximately 40% of all motorcycles sold in Australia are equipped with ABS. And several manufacturers only sell motorcycles equipped with ABS.
Saving lives with ABS — too good to be true
The Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) released by the Department for Infrastructure and Regional Development predicts that the introduction of ABS on motorcycles will result in a 33% reduction in injury crashes and 39% in serious and fatal crashes.
Mr Steve Pearce, spokesperson for MCCNSW said, ‘This significant reduction in crashes seems “too good to be true” as it suggests that a third of current crashes involved a locked wheel. This is a number the MCCNSW has difficulty comprehending.’
Mr Pearce also said ‘There is also the problem if motorcycle ABS is made mandatory, the Government hasn’t made any provisions to provide riders with education or training on ABS. Riders need to be taught in a controlled environment by trainers who can demonstrate how ABS works on a motorcycle and how to use ABS to its best advantage in an emergency.’
Depending on the road surface, the ABS, suspension setup and weight of the rider interact to stop the motorcycle, so riders need to practice on real road surfaces on the motorcycle that they own.’ said Mr Pearce.
‘We also have the situation where ABS does not perform well on dirt roads, so we also advocate the ability to switch off ABS on bikes that are likely to be used on dirt roads.’
Background: The introduction of vehicle ABS
When ABS was introduced on cars in the 1980s, it was predicted that it would result in a significant reduction in crashes. The reality is that mandatory ABS did not result in any significant change in the number of crashes.
Mr Pearce said, ‘It has been found that drivers don’t understand how ABS works and tend to over compensate in an emergency, believing that ABS will reduce stopping distances.
‘Recent advice given to drivers include practicing activating the ABS so they are familiar with how the brake pedal feels when the ABS activates, to reduce the likelihood of the driver releasing pressure on the pedal.’
MCCNSW have proposed the following if ABS is made mandatory on all motorcycles above 125cc:
- MCCNSW will form a Working Group of stakeholders to oversee the program and to monitor the reduction in road trauma to ensure that the predicted 33% of all injury crashes and 39% of serious and fatal crashes is achieved
- MCCNSW will continue to lobby government to provide education and training on ABS.
The education and training requirements to be provided should include:
- Information on how ABS works
- Information on stopping distance with and without ABS on a range of surfaces commonly encountered on the road network
- Demonstrations by expert riders
- Video clips on how ABS works and how it should be used to gain the best benefit
- Opportunities to practice on motorcycles equipped with outriggers and ABS
- Opportunities for riders to test their motorcycles on yet to be developed simulators.
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