IAM want compulsory ABS by 2015

Call for all large bikes to come with anti-lock brakes

Posted: 20 September 2011
by Visordown News

THE IAM is 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.

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.

However, here at Visordown we think it would be better to introduce ABS as a compulsory option on learner bikes, 125cc or below, so new riders get to experience the benefits of ABS and therefore look to step up to a larger bike with ABS.

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Discuss this story

I'm not against ABS (I have it on one of my bikes, but not on the others) HOWEVER I am sick to death of people telling me what is good for me and or what I must do/have.
Thank God for MAG, at least there is one organisation that believes in, and trys to defend, the right to personal choice.
Anyone else who doesn't like being dictated too, might like to join (its NOT compulsory!) the Motorway Mayhem this Sunday the 25th (start points listed on the MAG webb-site).

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 12:26

Compulsory ABS - no thanks.

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 14:46

For the last 12 years all but one of my bikes has had ABS... I think it's great but I do not support the IAM in this... & it's "we know what's best for you" statements like this that put me off ever doing an IAM test.

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 15:10

Other than the idea of being dictated to, what is the technical reason for not wanting it for road bikes? Stopping in a much shorter distance without the chance of locking must be a good thing?
In know for trailies off road it's a bit different...

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 15:12

I used to race a bit (very badly I add) and always thought that ABS was a nice to have and not essential believing that I could always do better!!!! That was until about 4 weeks ago when test riding the new Honda CBR 600 F - now admittedly I was going fairly progressively coming out a quite twisty section. There is a garden centre entrance off the road but I was slowing already on engine braking (there is a set of traffic lights and a build up area (30) about 500 yards ahead) and was doing about 55 ish when a old ( I would say 70/80ish) lady driving a Micra shot straight out of the Garden centre road without stopping or looking. I was about 50 yards away - could not cross to the other side as there was a car coming (which she also just missed). I braked as hard as I could (did not have time or to be truthful the presence of mind to hit the horn) and felt both front and rear ABS cut in which caused both vibration and pulsing through the levers and brake pedal. I was also able to steer to the right and just missed her ending up on the grass verge while just managing to keep the bike upright. She drove off having not seen or heard me. All I would say was without ABS I would have at the very least been off and possibly much worse. It scared the S..... out of me and I was very grateful for the C-ABS on the CBR. There is no way I could have done better without ABS and believe the only reason I walked away was down to the system. If they made every bike for road use with ABS there would, in my belief, be a lot less casualties.

I'm now a firm convert to ABS and would not even look at a bike without it.

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 15:14

Ive ridden bikes for nearly 30 years, none of them have had ABS, and I'm not dead. Personally I think they can shove their proposals, if they want it on their bikes fine, but dont push it on me!!!

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 15:20

Steve, that's a good example of how ABS is better but as any MAG member will tell you (I hope!) - it's not a matter of what's best. It's a matter of choice. Every time we get on a bike, we're choosing not to use the safest form of transport. Steps towards forcing us to always make the safest choice might eventually end without us having the choice to ride a bike.

For that reason - I always find it hard to agree to compulsory safety features for our own good.

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 15:42

It's a bit like telling people not to smoke, drink or eat unhealthy food.
It is fine to advise and educate but once your choice has gone, then what next where does it stop?
No more danger or excitement in our lives? we may as well be dead, life is for living

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 16:02

What a load of twoddle some of you spout.
next thing youre going to be saying is you dont bother with a seat belt when driving cos its compulsory (even though it does save lives!)

My bike has an airbag - its available without one too - but I wouldnt even consider a non-airbag version because in my opinion I'd be nuts to discard it when its available and could possibly save my life.
It'd be great if all bikes had abs and an airbag - just like mine :)

Its Ok to have freedom of choice IF you can afford it, BUT - who picks up the tab for your hospital treatment and benefits when youre unable to work because of that 'avoidable acciden't that you didnt avoid because you didnt have ABS or some other beneficial technical safety feature.

I'm all in favour of safety progress and the more things we have to help protect us the better.

in my experience most people always think 'it wont happen to me' but over 400 motorcyclists are killed each year and maybe abs and other things might reduce the number of fatalities. I cant see why anyone would object.

Just my thoughts, rambling out loud, Ian.

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 16:04

Ian - Who picks up the bill for me living my life the way I want to? Should I get budget approval from the government before I go skiing in case I break a leg?

If you're that worried about the number of motorcycle deaths and want to reduce them - the best thing is to ban motorcycles. I can't see anywhere in your argument that allows for us to choose to ride a bike when there's things with many more safety features - like 4 wheels and side impact bars.

>I cant see why anyone would object.

It's clear you don't understand the issue of choosing to live your life in what might not always be the safest/most cost efficient way. Try thinking.

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 17:25

Here Here Miffo - personally I prefer to have choice but the way things are going, Europe, our government will take it away from all of us. 

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 18:03

Something like 80% of all motorcycle accidents are caused by car drivers pulling out in front of bikes, and on most occasions ABS would not make a scrap of difference.

"I'm sorry I didn't see you" means I didn't look properly....Automatic dangerous driving and a ban

"Kill someone pulling out"....Automatic 3 year ban AFTER they come out of prison.

Why are the politicians so hell bent on makes us 'the bikers' protect ourselves from the cocoon drivers more interest in texting and listening to Radio 2 Instead of apportioning blame were it belongs

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 18:14

Its all about choice I hear mostly, we should have a right of choice, fair point... perhaps, how many of you who speak against this would ride without a helmet, gloves, boots, leathers ?, of course you can't ride without a helmet, but most (not all) choose to wear gloves, boots & leathers why ? it makes you look cool ? or is it because its safer.

So as long as you decide its safer its OK, but if somebody else decides its not, utterly stupid logic especially when we have some proven facts, seat belts, ABS on cars, air bags all save lives and reduce the risk of injury, Honda did a study (look for it on the web) which proved that in an unexpected emergency situation the ABS will out performance any rider.

I have ABS on my Speed Triple, has it stopped me enjoying my bike, nope, make any difference to my riding, nope, saved my life, not yet and hope it never will, but I have it there... just in case.

Apart from choice is there any other argument against having ABS ?, I've not heard any other argument, and by the way, ABS will not come on if you brake with the correct technique, I can demonstrate by still doing stoppies!, but has Honda proved, in an emergency very few people do brake with the correct technique, they panic and grab a handful... and lock the front.

After saying all of this and completely contradicting myself, perhaps the best compromise is to make it mandatory to offer it as an optional extra, best of both worlds.

One last thing, when I purchased my bike, the dealer told me that 70% of Speed Triple that they sell have ABS on!

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 19:57

No NO NO to ABS or anyting else that takes away my freedom to choose.
I have been a biker for more than 40 years just turned 60 last month. I have three bikes a 57 plate R1 an RM250 Edmundson enduro bike and a cruiser. ABS on an enduro bike would be leathal, as to my R1 and cruiser both have lights on permanently and loud exhausts, nothing more.
Yes I have had my share of accidents most were due to drivers not being awake enough or in too much of a hurry to drive responsibly.
Being a biker over many years makes for a very careful and observant road user as in any incident the biker is the victim.
The drivers amongst us need to have greater awareness of the increasing numbers of bikes on our roads. I suggest new road users should have to learn to ride and pass a test on a motorcycle before being allowed to drive a car, van, lorry.

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 21:41

Its all about choice, nothing to do with motorcycles, if you want a sanitised world with no risk then go for it but its not my CHOICE

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 21:43

NO! Even as an IAM member as much as I am sure that ABS is a life saving tool it should not be compulsory. We must retain freedom of choice.

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 22:11

Lets look at the 403 figure from government statistics

"There were 403 motorcycle users killed in 2010, 15% fewer than during 2009. The number reported as seriously injured fell by 11 per cent to 4,780. Total reported motorcycle user casualties decreased by 10 per cent to 18,686 in 2010. However, motorcycle traffic also fell by 10 per cent over the same period."

Yes it said 15% fewer than 2009 and yes I can see we had 10% less motorcycle traffic, but I can reduce that even more,
1) make the test harder, 2 years study, IAM and 1 season of motocross, fewer riders and better quality.
2) Increase the age limit for the motorcycle license to 50, not big risk takers.
3) Increased safety legislation, compulsory ABS, Air bags, air jackets, traction control, intelligent automatic braking systems, .etc
4) Make motorcycle too expensive to buy.

The point I make is there is only one way to completely eliminate the fatalities, you know the answer, lets not go there

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 22:36

This is nothing to do with safety, the German ABS manufacturers are pushing Eurocrats to make their products compulsorily purely for financial reasons.

For that reason alone every one of us should refuse to accept this legislation. If you want to buy an ABS system for your own bike, fair enough, but having products forced onto us by big business via government just so they can make more money?? Fuck off!

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 23:08

Life is about living and choice, not living in nanny's cotton wool lined cell.

Naive old IAM duffers are leading us straight into the trap of agreeing compulsory safety measures are good for us. Once that precedent is set they kill biking.

Posted: 20/09/2011 at 23:34

Safety is a sh1t idea as the basis of a decision.. Fvcknn cowards approach.. If we wanted safety we wouldnt ride! Why not just cut to the chase and make it compulsory to drive an ABS Volvo? The precedent is just way too dangerous, and more important than the issue itself!

Posted: 21/09/2011 at 03:02

ABS has its place, but there's NO PROOF that it will comprehensively save lives.

All those studies that are trotted out about what percentage of lives will be saved have serious flaws and confounds in them. If you're a conservative rider and take up the conservative ABS option on your bike purchase, you and riders just like you are very likely to show up LESS IN THE CRASH STATS because you're conservative riders to start with. You take less risks, you ride more carefully. Is it any wonder when comparing the crash stats of the same bike without the ABS option that those bikes feature more? They aren't being ridden by conservative riders.

The type of ABS can have big impacts on the bike depending on the way you ride. Of course you don't notice the ABS until it's called on... and then you'll notice the impact. Is the ABS triggered by wheel deceleration, prediction of lock up, actual lock up, percentage slip, differential wheel speed? Does it have anti stoppie properties? Do you ride in wet weather? Dirt? Are the brakes linked?

If you can't answer these questions and see whether your riding style will enhance or hinder the ABS, how can you possibly say you will be safer?? Reinterpretations of MAIDS and HURT could not show that ABS would have been beneficial in a significant number of crashes, so what does that tell you?

What kind of ABS would you expect on a 125cc cheapie bike? We're not talking S1000RR flagship ABS folks. How will a cheap coarse ABS impact a bike with crap suspension?

Too many riders take a carcentric view about ABS and show little if any significant thought about the issue. In the wet ABS rocks. Do you ride like you usually do when it's wet? Do you ride more conservatively? Will ABS be beneficial??

ABS will save you from a spill in a vertical straight line hard braking manouvre. But if you've snapped on the brakes carlessly and the ABS system is a wheel lock up predicter system which means you will have a longer braking distance than what you could have done under your own steam... will you have avoided a collision - or just stacked into the obstacle upright?

ABS should be optional or at least switchable is mandatory.

Posted: 21/09/2011 at 06:14

Chuntering on about it here does nothing! Join MAG and go tell the IAM what you think.

Posted: 21/09/2011 at 07:01

Fair point COOK1E, see they are have a UK demo on the 25th

Posted: 21/09/2011 at 07:27

NO THANKS!!! WHATS NEXT Traction Control!!! TUV!! 4.2.2 on mots. NO THANKS!! Freedom Of Choice...JOIN MAG

Posted: 21/09/2011 at 10:02

Road Safety Authority in Ireland has confirmed that it intends to make hi-viz clothing compulsory for all motorcyclists from 2014, what and who next?
It will not stop there, I would bet bicycles will be wearing compulsory helmets and hi viz soon.
All these safety measures are good but I don’t like the word compulsory!
Think I'll join the MAG demo on the 25th

Posted: 21/09/2011 at 11:03

Totally against Compulsory ABS, unless it is able to be switched off. This is because not everyone rides purely on the seal. As a dual purpose/Adventure rider ABS can be a serious hazard when negotiating steep/slippery downhill tracks.

Posted: 21/09/2011 at 11:41

I'm a member of MAG and IAM - I need to find out how to feedback my views to IAM.

Someone up there asked what other reason there is other than freedom of choice for objecting to ABS. Sometimes MAG gets into this and will say it's a matter of choice and then wibble on about how there's no proof of device xyz. I think this is a scatter gun approach and just complicates matters. Freedom of choice is the reason - we don't need another one.

But I can't help myself! Find out about Risk Compensation. Here's the details of an experiment with ABS - http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk/wiki/Road_safety/Risk_compensation

"Among a total of 747 accidents incurred by the company's taxis during that period, the involvement rate of the ABS vehicles was not lower, but slightly higher, "

Now that might not apply if all bikes/cars have ABS - I don't know but it shows that it's not as clear cut as you think.

I've got an ABS bike, and would (given the choice) wear a helmet and seat belt (in the car!). But it should be up to the individual in an ideal world.

Posted: 21/09/2011 at 13:10

Quote - introduce ABS as a compulsory option on learner - unquote. Oh come on editor - what is a compulsory option???
If you mean fitted to all bikes, with a switch so the owner can turn it off, fair enough!
For me, as a mere commuter biker, I would welcome it, especially for winter, when the roads haven't been gritted, and I absolutely HAVE to go to work.
I ride a trail bike, which although a handful on a greasy road, gives me SOME grip on ice and snow, where a road tyre doesn't. The more upright stance gives me better vision, too, I believe. (I can see over Disco roofs at what is in front!)
For a trail bike used off-road, abs on a scree slope woulds be lethal, because you want rear brake, but not front, and you have to be able to lock the rear, or you end up in a heap.

Posted: 21/09/2011 at 15:43

If you need ABS on a bike, you need riding lessons simple as that!!

Posted: 21/09/2011 at 17:14

I'm old enough to remember the debate that surrounded the compulsory wearing of a car seatbelts. The arguments were remarkably similar to what is now being said about ABS - "my freedom is being taken away…" "the government has no right to tell me what to do in my own car … " "wearing a seatbelt will restrict me… " etc etc. When you boiled them down the arguments really amounted to "I have the right to put my head through the windscreen if I want to". Nowadays no responsible driver or passanger would consider not wearing a seatbelt any more than a responsible motorcyclist would think about riding without a helmet. ABS is a proven safety aid and I don't get the opposition to it.

Posted: 21/09/2011 at 17:22

Hi David - I'd be interested to see the proof of ABS reducing accidents. That is - proofs that factor in risk compensation like the experiment I mentioned (where ABS was shown to be of no benefit) - http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk/wiki/Road_safety/Risk_compensation

I've had to write all my thoughts down - http://someblokeontheinternet.blogspot.com/2011/09/introduction-of-compulsory-abs.html

Posted: 21/09/2011 at 17:52

I always said the IAM were a bunch of wankers. Now I'm certain they are. Never trust anyone who likes warm beer, that's what I say.

Posted: 21/09/2011 at 19:19

Once ABS is mandatory will fatalaties cease? No!

So what will be the next step? Well I don't know, but I do know that the logical(?) conclusion to the approach currently being taken is the banning of all motorcycles. It's the only way to make them entirely safe.

Posted: 22/09/2011 at 09:10

Miffo: "Freedom of choice is the reason - we don't need another one."

Spot on, mate. ABS may be brilliant, it may not be. That is not the issue. The state telling us how we may run our lives, that's the issue. For the record, I always wear a seat belt in a car, and I always wear a helmet and gloves, boots etc when riding. My choice. But I oppose compulsion in each of these areas. If you want to kill yourself, feel free. If you want ABS, feel free. It is not my business to tell you how to run your life, and it isn't the state's business either.

I have written to the IAM asking for clarification, in case this is something cooked up by journalists to make a story. But if they reply that this is definitely IAM policy, then it's a resigning issue for me.

My favourite quotation from P J O'Rourke: "There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences."

Posted: 22/09/2011 at 12:42

The trouble with that is very few people will accept the consequences of their actions these days, it’s a ‘lets blame everybody else’ society.

Posted: 22/09/2011 at 13:37

I have several bikes one has ABS and I believe that it has saved me on two occasions the others havent got it and yet i have always managed to stop. My bike with ABS rides no differently to my bikes without it so to be honest you never know its there until its needed and then it shudders the lever and pedal and I know it would have slid without it...again I have my other bike slide on occasion with no great problem of releasing the brakes and re-appying them without panic.

The fitting of ABS to the BMW GS's and the like will stop them ever being used off road because on a dirt track and going down a steep hill the bike simply will not stop, However 99% of GS type bikes dont go off road.

Posted: 26/09/2011 at 02:52

Compulsory ABS will bring the cost right down (cost economy of scale) so everyone can ‘afford’ it. If you don’t like it and for riding dirt and trail you can always switch it off. What’s the issue? The best, fastest, safest bikes out there (examples such as sports bikes from BMW and Aprillia) are loaded with electrickery like traction control and ABS. Modern ABS is unobtrusive. Is progress so scary to the ‘its my choice’ luddites that they hark back lovingly to the days of drum-brakes and spindly forks and basic suspension? Will these same luddites say no-thanks to a set of Ohlin shocks or Brembo brakes? Well they can all wobble around on their 1960’s BSA’s and Triumphs (been there done that), I’ll take the technology thank-you …. I’ll be waiting at the café for you.

Posted: 30/09/2011 at 11:00

Talkback: IAM want compulsory ABS by 2015

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