ABS could reduce motorcycle fatalities and severe injury crashes by more than one-third, according to a report by VicRoads and the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.
This follows reports last week that India has moved to make anti-lock brakes (ABS) mandatory for all motorcycles with an engine bigger than 125cc from April 2017 as a portent to similar moves around the world.
The Australian research found that ABS could help in 93% of crash situations and could reduce the rate of death and serious injury from motorcycle crashes by 31%.
“ABS technology could be as significant for motorcycles as the introduction of seatbelts in cars,” says Director of Vehicle and Road Use Policy at VicRoads, Robyn Seymour.
“ABS is available now, both as standard and as an option, however, we want to encourage more riders to buy motorcycles fitted with this life-saving safety feature.”
She says the research, conducted by Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC), found that at the current rate of motorcycles purchased with ABS, the technology had the potential to save 22 lives in Australia between now and 2025.
According to the report, this figure could rise to 35 if ABS was made standard on all new motorcycles from 2018.
Federal Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects, Paul Fletcher says ABS technology is common in passenger cars sold in Australia, but in only about 20% of new motorcycles sold.
Mr Fletcher says researchers believe the current road safety benefits of ABS would be increased by up to 60 per cent if ABS became standard on all new motorcycles from 2018.
While there are no calls yet for the mandatory introduction of ABS, it could be taken out of the customer’s hands with a market as large and important as India moving to ABS as manufacturers will be unlikely to make ABS just available for the Indian market.
The mandatory introduction of ABS to motorcycle would add between a few hundred dollars up to $1000 to the cost of a motorcycle.
It would also add some weight to small-capacity bikes, although modern ABS units are much lighter and have already been included in many learner bikes such as the new Kawasaki Z300.
The Australian Federal Chamber of Automated Industries supports the “continued development, introduction, and promotion of better technology for safer motorcycles” such as ABS and traction control.