The draft national road strategy is pushing for mandatory ABS for motorcycles. There's only a few more days to submit a response. Anyway, here's my take on the topic of ABS for motocycles. I've been fairly consistent on these boards about being against the (car centric) mandatory imposition of ABS. Mandatory ABS for motorcycles and a tightening of laws to improve stability, traction and braking standards on motorcycles supplied to the Oz market is on the boards. Unfortunately, this reflect the EU stance - but this is being opposed by EU motorcycling organizations such as righttoride.co.uk and FEMA. Their arguments are worth looking at and are compelling... I guess watch this space! Anyway, from an ABS point of view, there are studies that conclude that ABS will save many riders from fatalities – one Swedish study claims there'd be a 50% reduction. (20% is the claim in one US study). The thing is, data is sparse. What most of these studies show is simply that the crash statistics of ABS fitted motorcycles are lower than non ABS fitted motorcycles. But is that really pointing to how safe these bikes are? I'm not convinced by a long margin! I reckon these studies largely show the conservative rider effect. These riders are conservative by nature and so have opted to take up the ABS option on their touring bikes. These riders however, simply crash less. IMO these studies should be taken with a grain of salt! The other day Spots linked to a 1992 BMW study where BMW riders were asked to log their ABS experiences and in their view whether ABS helped them avoid a crash. There was a bias towards a positive view. I'm not surprised by that result. ABS has it's place but then if I'd paid for it (fairly expensive option in those days) I'd want to think I got benefit out it. What these studies DO NOT SHOW, is in the incidents where ABS deployed, would better rider skills have avoided the scenario in the first place? There's no argument, ABS has benefits on wet roads, but then again, motorcycle use drops significantly in wet weather and in general, speeds are below posted limits. So is there really a benefit for mandating ABS solely for wet roads? Is the extra cost imposition across the board worth it? Hell, sometimes you want a skidding wheel for the extra drag - i.e., in a low traction environment. ABS and traction control aren't going to work for the rider in these cases. The key issue I have with mandatory ABS is with LAMS and smaller cc cheaper bikes - they will have simple hand me down ABS packages which are rough, destabalising and too simple to handle braking in curves. Plus they've been routinely outbraked by competent riders in the dry - which is where the majority of riding is done. They aren't your CBR1000rr state of the art ABS braking packages - so are inferior and I think could cause greater issues, especially from a false sense of security point of view. Novice riders are likely to under develop their braking skills because they've got ABS and feel that they can rely on it. Braking is one of the most central and essential skills a rider must possess - a rider still needs a good braking touch even with ABS fitted - I'm concerned that fitting ABS mandatorily, especially cheap packages on cheap bikes, will lead to a different range of incidents. Anyway, if you've gotten this far, do think about whether ABS is for you. If it's an optional extra that can be judiciously switched off, it's probably not a bad investment. If you're not on a state of the art flagship model though, are you really buying something that's gonna make you safer????