Compulsory ABS and traction control coming for American bikes

US Transportation Safety Board votes for safety tech to be mandatory on new machines

Compulsory ABS and traction control coming for American bikes

IT MIGHT be the land of the free in terms of centrefire semi-automatic rifles and handguns. But it looks like our freedom-loving colonial cousins* are about to take a nanny-state headshot in terms of what bikes they can buy. Federal safety agency the National Transportation Safety Board has voted to recommend that bikes come with ABS and traction control systems fitted in future.

The rules are part of ten recommendations**, aimed at cutting the still-massive numbers of riders killed and seriusly injured on the roads in the US. Like most other countries, advances in car technology has reduced the number of deaths in car crashes. But while bike deaths have come down a little, they’re still much higher than with cars. Per mile traveled, motorcyclist fatalities occurred nearly 28 times more frequently than passenger vehicle occupant fatalities in traffic crashes. Which is a pretty bad stat.

It’s not all on the bike manufacturers though. The NTSB also recognises that future tech has a part to play, but there is currently no requirement for car-based accident-avoidance technology to include bikes in their systems. So it’s also recommended that smart cars and highways are compelled to include bikes in their systems – so that cars must be able to communicate with and avoid bikes as part of their accident avoidance systems. That means that future self-driving vehicles, and other driver aids like it, should integrate bikes into their warning systems.

So – future bikes in America will all be tooled up with ABS and stability control/traction control setups. But they’ll also be integrated into smart highway and smart car crash avoidance and communication systems. All of which should improve safety on two wheels…


* We're only kidding about being colonials. We love you all really.

** The full report is worth a look, find it here (linked at the bottom).