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Mandatory ABS Is Not A Solution

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The EU Commission presented its proposal for a regulation on type-approval and market surveillance of L-category vehicles.

The Federation of European Motorcyclists' Associations (FEMA) who were present at the meeting to exchange views, reports that the Commission has rejected FEMA’s objections to the Commissions mandatory approach regarding Advanced Braking Systems (ABS) and FEMAs compromise for the fitment of a mandatory “switch-off” option.

FEMA’s logic for a mandatory switch-off button for bikes equipped with ABS, is due to the fact that ABS is not suitable for certain riding conditions, especially with regard to riding on unpaved roads.

FEMA reports that, The Commission (…) considers the number of citizens living in areas with a high percentage of unpaved roads as negligible compared to the broader riding population. Indeed, the Commission fears that too many riders would switch off the ABS also when riding on common roads, due to “unjustified lack of faith in new technologies”.

Apart from the outrageously condescending comment by the Commission, suggesting that riders are unable to decide for themselves, it is apparent that the Commission has NOT considered duel purpose motorcycles nor those used in competition or recreation such as Trail and Enduro bikes that spend most of their time on unsurfaced public roads – which they are legally entitled to use – that are legal with number plates, silencers, tax and insurance.

In the UK alone, 42,500 Trail and Enduro bikes were registered between 2005 and 2009.  These represented 10% of all registered motorcycles in 2005 and 6% in 2009 (these figures exclude those not registered).

Larger adventurer motorcycles such as the Yamaha XT1200Z, Super Ténéré, BMW GS model range andKTM 990 Adventure all have means to disengage the ABS if fitted, the industry has recognized a need for this, or to offer motorcycles without ABS so that riders can choose the model that most suits their needs.  

At Right to Ride our position is simple and we will not cross the red line: 

  • We oppose the mandatory fitting of Advanced Braking Systems (ABS).  
  • We oppose any compromise that suggests acceptance of the mandatory fitting of Advanced Braking Systems (ABS). 
  • The motorcycle industry must be allowed to innovate these systems without legislative interference.  

We generally support the Department for Transport’s (DfT) response to the Commission’s public consultation in 2009 regarding advanced braking system for motorcycles.

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