Did you know ABS became mandatory on motorcycles in India earlier this year and has already been mandatory on bikes in Europe for several years? My new explainer video outlines how and why motorcycle ABS will become mandatory in North America soon too!
The video covers:
- Who’s pushing to make ABS mandatory
- What their reasoning is
- Why some riders are for or against mandatory ABS
- And what does this mean for riders in the USA and even Canada and Mexico
Click the little unmute button in the bottom left corner to unmute the video.
To watch in full screen, click here. For more detailed information, read my full article from last week here.
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I have had ABS for years On my BMW and wouldn’t want to be without it. I wonder how many of these “freedom of expression” guys wear seat belts and buckle their kids in when driving their cars. It’s a matter of safety and a proven likely hood of reducing health care costs by reduced accidents. I am all for it. The cost is minimal when spread over the life of a bike and as the excellent video shows is likely to decrease over time. As I said before, I am all for it.
My first Harley touring model did not have ABS and the occasional panic stop left rubber on the pavement and the rear end sliding to one side. My current Harley touring model does have ABS and I have felt it engage on a few panic stops. No sliding. Bike stayed vertical. Much safer. Mandatory or not, I will have ABS on any bike that I ride.
The reason such laws are made is to cut down on the amount of money taxpayers need to pay in the event of prolong medical care that is either no longer covered, or was never covered in the first place.
I am all for helmet laws, (I consider anyone not wearing one, an idiot) ABS laws, no off switch for headlights and so on. Even up to and including wearing safety gear, including boots.
That can also help deter long term litigation.
I am 67 and been riding for most of my life, and at the very least I wear a helmet. Now before I get on my motorcycle I wear that, gloves, touring jacket and pants and motorcycle boots with steel toes. Plus I have a headlight modulator and a pulsating brake light. Since I adopted those last two items I have not had any close calls. I want people to notice me, not for my ego, but for myself as well as them.
Okay, so this is just my PERSONAL opinion and whether anyone agrees or disagrees with me is up to them. I personally have only ever had one bike that had ABS fitted to it as standard; a Moto Guzzi 850 T3 California, back in 1984. That’s ONE bike out of 14 that I have owned and ridden since I was 17 and I’m now 56 (and a half!). I CANNOT SAY THAT HAVING ABS MADE A BLIND BIT OF DIFFERENCE TO ME.
Now, let me quantify that statement a little further by saying that “panic stops” are something I generally try to avoid, and I do this by the simple expedient of not putting myself into the position where I have to carry them out. The Emergency Stop is NO substitute for proper awareness and planning strategies. Nor should it be a “go to” method for stopping, since one should NOT be riding/driving so fast that you cannot stop WELL WITHIN THE DISTANCE YOU CAN SEE TO BE CLEAR in the first place.
I have had my share of plastic torpedoes from Japan in my lifetime, great fun all of them, but I generally prefer cruisers/mild street customs over race inspired machinery. I have done a track day on a 750 Honda, which was not only thoroughly enjoyable but also a VERY valuable experience, but I do not ride in that style on the public road. I have also taken the RAC/ACU Motorcycle Course, I came 4th in the South East of England STAR RIDER event (1980) and I STILL regularly PRACTICE all manner of riding techniques (INCLUDING Emergency Braking!) on my current bike, a 1450 Harley Super Glide Sport, (without ABS) in an empty or near empty parking lot whenever I can.
I perhaps ought to mention that I am also a Grade A Driving Instructor and a Police Trained Advanced Driver. My point: TRAINING!!!! Update those riding skills, REGULARLY! I will have been riding motorcycles for forty years next June and I learned the hard way, by nearly getting killed in a bike v van collision, aged just 17 and a half. Since then, I have NEVER stopped learning and updating my skills. Above all: PRACTICE!!!! Keep your mind as well as your eyes OPEN. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been riding, NOBODY knows it all! There is always SOMETHING you can learn, even by going back to basics sometimes, because it is amazing how much you can forget!!
Finally, if you ARE one of those riders for whom the Emergency Stop is a regular fixture, you really ought to take a long hard look at your riding skills and strategies ABS, of it’s own, will NOT save you from having an accident. It is equally foolish to think that simply having mandatory ABS WILL reduce accidents. It is skilled riding that does that. ABS is purely a back-up system and one that should NEVER be relied upon.
Hey, mitch, I’ve been riding for about 58 years and I couldn’t agree MORE with you about training.
I, too, am a certified training instructor, and I/we always tell our students that if they have to use ANY of the emergency riding techniques we teach, (including swerving and braking) more than about ONCE a year…it’s time for a MAJOR reassessment of one’s driving habits.
I pride myself on rarely using the brakes AT ALL (other than to activate my brake light to signal following vehicles that I AM, in fact, slowing down) never mind utilizing them in “panic” mode. Extreme inputs of any kind are almost always harbingers of ‘unhappy’ outcomes!
Don’t get me wrong: motorcycle riding is an exhilarating and exciting sport, but that exhilaration should come from exposure to the elements, the thrill of gliding through space (as though “flying” at ground level) and the feeling of being “as one” with your vehicle…not from heightened levels of adrenaline caused by self-imposed risk or dangerous riding situations.
If you CRAVE those kinds of thrills, head for the track, where you’ll be in an environment built for the behaviour you plan to engage in, including being amongst like-minded people wearing lots of safety gear and………..surrounded by STRAW BALES!! LOL
Couldn’t agree more about the track and straw! I always start the “Emergency Stop” lesson by asking the student this question: “What exactly IS an Emergency Stop? I then listen to a variety of answers before smiling and telling them that in each case, they are wrong. The REAL answer is that an Emergency Stop is something that a good driver RARELY has to do!
I am based in the UK, in Kent. Where are you based?
I’m located in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. (Near Niagara Falls, which many people, especially amongst the locals, think is one of the 7 wonders of the world. It’s not! :-) No offense, people; it just isn’t on the list!)
Our course was created (and is therefore blessed by) our Provincial (Ontario) government. It’s also strikingly similar to an American training program and, truth be known, we probably BOTH got the guts of our programs from something in the UK!
The one aspect of motorcycle licensing that we (North Americans in general) have unfortunately NOT adopted from you is your “graduated” licensing strategy as it pertains to engine displacement.
In Ontario, new riders cannot ride at night, take passengers, ride on the 400-Series (busy, high speed) highways. (See all the licensing rules and regulations here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-motorcycle-licence#section-4 )
BUT……and it’s a BIG BUT……..a new rider CAN go to a dealership and buy and legally ride home on a Hyabusa on the day he successfully passes a vision and written test. You read that correctly: new riders who have just turned 16 years of age, and can memorize the meaning of numerous traffic, recall certain rules of the road and exhibit a rudimentary knowledge of motorcycles can immediately purchase a bike that will propel them at 190 MPH for their first day’s riding “experience”.
GREAT, isn’t it??!!??
Some greedy motorcycle manufacturers must perpetually lobby long and hard to keep THAT one alive.
People always jump on the Hyabusa… but… I’ve ridden Panigales that are 2/3 the displacement and feel much more aggressive. The Busa is misunderstood and we should be more accepting of it. #HugABusa
So I live in The Garden of England, you live in The Garden City of Canada and we are both Instructors! What a great connection!
I do find it somewhat incredulous that a 16 year old can legally jump on such powerful machinery with the minimum of training. We got our licencing system as a direct result of Messrs Yamaha and co, who back in 1980/81 gave us the then learner legal RD250LC, a road version of their TZ250 Racer. It was the first 250cc machine GUARANTEED to top the Ton, so of course, EVERY Boy Racer on the block who had previously bragged about getting the magic 100mph out of his air cooled RD250E, went out and got the LC, ran it in,then went out to discover what a guaranteed 106mph actually felt like. Of course, it usually felt like death! SO many young riders killed themselves on the LC that the government decided “something must be done”! We then got the 125cc limit for learners. Undeterred, Yamaha came up with a half-size version of the previous death torpedo, in the shape of the RD125LC and started pushing the speeds up on that model till the government said “Right; 12bhp limit for learners”. Also, the then current (and vastly inadequate) test began to finally get an overhaul and somebody looked at providing official training at last.
When I did my test, the Examiner followed me round on foot, which meant over half of my 30 minute test was spent at the side of the road with the engine off, with me waiting for him to catch me up. It consisted of him watching me pulling away then stopping. A right turn major road to minor road, a left turn minor to major, the emergency stop and turning the bike round using a sort of 2 wheel version of the 3 point turn. All in quiet side streets.The test finale was him asking me 3 Highway Code questions, (identify two road signs and one procedural question). Not surprisingly, I passed. I could now sell my Kawasaki Z250 Scorpion and ride ANY bike, ANY size, go on motorways, carry passengers and fit a sidecar if I wished!
As to Hugging a Busa, PLEASE see my post about NOT sucking on chrome, before it gets out of hand!!!!