Safety: Make ABS compulsory on big bikes, says IAM

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Experts at leading motoring organisation the IAM are supporting calls to make anti-lock braking systems (ABS) compulsory on all new large motorcycles by 2015.

MEPs will shortly debate proposals that would force manufacturers to introduce ABS as standard on all new motorcycles over 125cc.

The proposals set a deadline of 2017 for this, although the IAM and the FIA would like to see this brought forward by two years so that the safety benefits can be seen as soon as possible.

In 2010, the number of motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents in the UK came to 403 – 21 per cent of all road deaths.

Yet motorcyclists make up just four per cent of road users. The risk of being killed or injured is 50 times greater for motorcyclists than for car drivers, over the same distance.

Based on recent research by the FIA and from experience in Italy, where nearly a quarter of all new large bikes already have ABS, the IAM estimates that compulsory introduction would save 1500 lives a year across Europe.

In the UK three quarters of all bikers killed are riding the biggest bikes so this technology has huge potential to save lives here.

The IAM’s report Licensed to Skill also shows that ‘sudden braking’ and ‘slippery road’ are in the top 10 causation factors for motorcycle casualties.

IAM director of policy and research Neil Greig said: “ABS is available now on many new bikes and the evidence is clear from across Europe that it is delivering fewer deaths.

“Carefully crafted legislation making ABS mandatory for all large road motorcycles would make motorcyclists safer, although we do still have concerns about the long term reliability of some ABS systems.

“On motorcycles ABS is still prone to faults because it is more open to the elements and repairs can be very expensive.

“Compulsory fitment will bring down unit costs and allow all riders to enjoy the safety benefits.”