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N/A | National [Aus] Mandatory ABS & traction control for motorcycles.

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' at netrider.net.au started by robsalvv, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. 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????
  2. From another point of view, if you look at ABS development on bikes over the last few decades - systems are now coming out that are regarded as a massive step forward and very usable without getting in the way. With future developments it'll be 100x better. By requiring ABS on new bikes, development of the technology will surge. Which will lead to it becoming cheaper and invisible when not ideal.

    Question is, whether the downsides of implementing it now (such as low quality versions on cheap/small bikes) are worth the benefit of the technology being fast-tracked..
  3. If theyre so great then how about presenting the option to riders and not politicians, and let riders decide.......not politicians.
  4. Er, not quite. The question is: by the Australian Government mandating ABS and Traction Control, will international manufacturers (ie. all of them) change the way they make bikes. Or simply withdraw from the Australian market?
  5. The idea of requiring ABS on something like an MP3 (3-wheel) makes me giggle too~ (It's already expensive, and can already handle a rear wheel lock pretty damn well.)
  6. I would have thought ABS on a motorcycle would have been a great feature to have. I'm not too bothered either way to be honest. I think my braking skills are ok but if there was something there to assist me, especially in an emergency braking situation, can't that only be a good thing?

    Why are people negative about it? What don't you like about ABS and should it become mandatory, how is going to affect you?

    I understand that it will probably push up the price of bikes (at least initially) but it certainly wont take long for those prices to come back down - especially if people adopt the technology and take to it quickly.
  7. Why does it need to be mandatory?
  8. As I understand it, Australia is jumping on the band wagon with EU and if the EU mandates it, will likely follow here.
  9. I suppose it's being considered made mandatory because, like stability control for cars, the early indicators are that ABS for motorcycles will be the biggest step-change in improving the motorcycle roadtoll in a very, very, very long time and all it takes is $500 worth of hardware.

    Robsalvv's right; it's hard to tell if the comparisons between ABS and non-ABS versions of the same bike are confounded by riders willing to buy ABS models being 'safer' riders than people who loathe ABS, just like it's hard to tell if the Hurt Report's research suggesting that riders with solid-white helmets are massively underrepresented in multi-vehicle accidents says more about the helmet or the people who buy white helmets.

    Statistically it's pretty early days for ABS on bikes; mostly it's just insurance-claim data AFAIK.

    As another example; the USA's making stability control mandatory for cars from September 2011 onward because across the board there's something in the order of a 34% drop in the number of fatal single-vehicle accidents, 59% drop in single-vehicle SUV crashes and even fewer rollovers, on vehicles with stability control - it's the biggest difference technology has made to the road toll since seatbelts were introduced.

    Hopefully (like car stability control) it'll be switchable. ;)
  10. My only concern with this is the added cost to new models fitted with ABS, I really don't believe that having people learn on ABS equipped bikes will make them lesser riders as its normally at the last sec (before traction is lost) that it kicks in - essentially it is a safety feature not a new method of riding where you e-brake every time and let ABS take care of the rest. Perhaps I'm overlooking something here.

    I've had to e-brake a number of times in my car which has ABS, normally it doesn't need to kick in but in the few occasions it has I've been glad to have it. Given the lack of supplementary safety systems on a bike I think ABS fits in quite well for a road bike.
  11. Biggest issue over mandatory ABS is how it would affect dirt bikes - which make up a very large proportion of all bikes sold and registered in this country.

    I've seen a few studies showing how having ABS on a car can be more dangerous on a dirt road than not having it. Not sure though how it would affect riding a bike through the bush though since I've never really ridden one, and I'm guessing the Government doesn't have any idea either.

    It's ridiculous to make something like ABS madatory when you still have bikes (and cars) being sold with drum rear brakes and/or crappy tyres fitted as standard.
  12. Nucles, I'm beginning to wonder whether you read posts or just work of the subject title.

  13. It won't matter if it's mandatory here or not if the EU mandates it. Manufacturers won't make special non-ABS bikes for our market. We may get some Chinese and Taiwanese scooters and small bikes without it but that's all.

    Lights-on isn't mandatory here any more but how many bikes and scooters don't come with it hard-wired on?

    It's a bit like stability systems on cars - how many new cars come without it now?

    I think rather than stopping mandatory ABS we should be saying that we're comfortable with having it but it must be switchable - given the issues around gravel roads and ABS for bikes there are very good arguments there.

    There's some good material on stopping distances wiht and without ABS - it seems very much to come down to the individual bike - even more so than the rider.

    Some ABS papers


  14. Good point I would say for Aus road conditions
  15. I think in the long term ABS and maybe traction control will be almost standard on motorcycles, much like it is with cars now, so we may not have much choice anyway.
  16. If it does get mandated first in EU, then I have no problem. Not against ABS and not against TC (although I would prefer switchable). It may not affect me anyway but the only problem I have is if Australia is intent on forging ahead of the industry worldwide and in doing so kills the local industry.

    If enough bikes are already being made with the technology, there will not be a problem.

    (Except for the one highlighted by several reviews of RSV4SEs and S1000RRs, that you can ride around with the throttle pinned to the stop all day in the belief that the technology will always save you. Could just lead to crashes at higher speeds :bolt:)
  17. Not having a go at you Spots, but that's exactly the car-centric thinking from the authorities that concerns me. It worked for cars, so it'll work for bikes.

    Thing with a car, there are sensors that will detect yaw and which wheel is loosing traction, so the computer can grab control of an appropriate wheel and keep a car from spinning... but bikes are single track. On a motorbike, traction control is pretty much launch control. Depending on the type, it might help avoid a highside where the rear wheel spins up and goes sideways... traction control wont stop a lowside.

    Once again a car analog is not a good one for a bike.

    If a rider does take on a "I can mash the lever to the bar simply because the ABS will do the rest" point of view, then they're turning off their brain and not developing their braking skill. The false sense of security is actually a recognised downside of ABS for novice riders. The other issue is that on cheap bikes, a competent rider has to the potential to outbrake the ABS, so maintaining skill is the key.
  18. I don't know why. I've seen various posts recently that imply negativity to ABS being mandatory.

    I thought my questions were fairly straight forward. :?:
  19. Oh, and I did read the entire OP from start to finish, not just the title.
  20. technology saving the muppets of our community, i am all against it