European Commission rejects switch-off option for motorcycle ABS

News from the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations (FEMA)

“In yesterday’s meeting (21/10/2010) with Member States, the European Commission formally presented the proposal for new type approval rules for motorcycles. Besides introducing mandatory anti-lock braking systems for motorcycles above 125cc, the Commission rejected the introduction of an off-switch for ABS.

On October 4th, 2010 the European Commission released a proposal for new type approval rules for motorcycles. Following the suggestions of FEMA, the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations, the Commission proposes to abolish the 100hp (74KW) limit in place in France, as well as the introduction of strong durability requirements for tailpipe emissions. But the proposal also includes harsh restrictions on riders’ freedom, like mandatory ABS and additional requirements for engine modifications.

With regard to road safety, though very supportive of technological improvements such as ABS, FEMA reminded the Commission that vehicle aspects represent less than 2% of motorcycle accident causation factors and objected to the Commission’s mandatory approach, which is limiting consumer choice. Instead, FEMA called for mandatory switch-off buttons for bikes equipped with ABS, since ABS is not suitable for certain riding conditions, especially with regard to riding on unpaved roads.

The Commission acknowledges that fact but 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”.

In addition to the limitation of consumer choice and increased costs for purchasing a motorcycle, FEMA is also concerned about the proposal not taking into account increased maintenance costs for ABS, and making no reference regarding durability and liability.”

MAG says:  ‘No’ to mandatory fitment on any class of bike.  ABS must remain an option at the point of purchase and the rider must be able to turn the system off.  MAG defends the principle of informed consumer choice.  Over-reliance on technological fixes can diminish basic riding skills.