Tuesday, December 14, 2010

EU Commission recommends mandatory ABS for motorcycles

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Regardless of the kind of bike that you may be riding, the EU proposal wants you riding with ABS. Which is just as well, we suppose, since ABS really does boost safety in a very big way...

The EU Commission has presented a proposal for new framework regulation for motorcycles in Europe, whereby anti-lock brakes (ABS) will be mandatory for 125cc and above motorcycles, from 2017. The proposal is currently passing through the EU legislative procedure and will likely be adopted next year. This year, only 16% of all new bikes sold in the EU were equipped with ABS.

By making ABS mandatory for motorcycles, the EU commission hopes to boost safety for motorcyclists. While a lot of bigger bikes have been fitted with ABS for some time now, the new EU proposal is looking to extend this safety feature to smaller bikes as well. German automotive components manufacturer, Bosch is likely to be a key player in this segment, since the company has developed an ABS system specifically for smaller bikes.

‘The ABS 9 systems for motorcycles are the world’s smallest. This is our way of encouraging manufacturers to install this life-saving safety system in all motorcycles equipped with hydraulic brakes,’ says Dr Werner Struth, President of the Bosch Chassis Systems Control division. Bosch began producing the new motorcycle ABS in late 2009.

In 2008, 5,520 motorcyclists were involved in fatal accidents in the European Union, representing 14% of all road deaths in the EU. Unfortunately enough, this figure hasn’t changed much for approximately the last 15 years, while the number of fatal accidents for car drivers has declined by a significant 49%. In fact, according to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), the risk of suffering a fatal accident is 18 times greater for motorcyclists than for car drivers in Europe, assuming that the distance travelled is the same for both.

With a view to reducing cost, weight and complexity on motorcycle ABS systems, Bosch’s engineering centre in Japan has designed the ‘ABS 9,’ which is supposed to be the lightest, most compact ABS system for motorcycles anywhere in the world. Bosch, who’ve been making motorcycle ABS systems since the mid-1990s, claim that this is also the most cost-effective motorcycle ABS system available anywhere.

According to a study carried out by the EU, making ABS mandatory for motorcycles could cut down the incidence of fatal crashes for motorcyclists by almost 50%. Since ABS allows motorcyclists to brake very hard – without the fear of the bike’s wheels locking up and the bike sliding uncontrollably and crashing – even on wet and slippery tarmac, the safety factor definitely gets a major boost. Here’s hoping that manufacturers won’t wait for mandatory fitment laws and take it upon themselves to fit ABS on all new motorcycles as soon as possible!
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