New anti-lock brake systems have been a standard feature on many passenger vehicles since the 1990s and many experts in the field believe that they could be critical for reducing motorcycle deaths as well. U.S. traffic deaths have been on the rise in the last couple of years, despite a long downward trend prior to that. Motorcycle safety rules can be developed at the federal level for manufacturers to consider as they make bikes.
Federal regulators, however, have hesitated about requiring these anti-lock brake systems that could save hundreds of motorcyclists’ lives every single year. Major law enforcement agencies across the country, including the California Highway Patrol do mandate that all motorcycles within their fleets have anti-lock brake systems. In fact, anti-lock brake system equipped motorcycles are becoming standard around the world. All bikes sold in Europe must have them and Brazil, India and Japan are all following suit with these rules. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety believes that up to one-third or all fatal crashes are associated with motorcycling every year and that many of these could be prevented with a mandate for anti-lock brake systems.
Federal regulators working at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have been criticized by the legislators for taking a mysterious or even ambiguous stance. In 2009, the agency appeared to be growing closer to mandating anti-lock brake systems, however, that proposal was shelved for several years. Despite the lack of regulatory action on ABS motorcycle safety rules, motorcycle manufacturers have slowly been phasing it into their technology already.
The largest manufacturer of approximately half of all domestic sales of motorcycles, Harley-Davidson, began offering ABS on motorcycles for police department use in 2005 and then as an optional add-on for civilian bikes in 2008. According to a court filing in 2014, ABS was standard or optional on all Harley-Davidson models. Although ABS equipped motorcycles are increasing in the marketplace in general, they only make up approximately 15% of the 7 million motorcycles registered in the United States in 2015 alone. If you or someone you know has already been injured in a motorcycle accident in California, you may be eligible to recover compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit.