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Enough is enough

May 14, 2010
Filed under From the Editors

The latest challenge the motorcycle industry faces is the possibility of mandatory anti-lock brake (ABS) regulations. An independent, nonprofit insurance group has called for the federal government to require ABS on all new motorcycles.

Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was looking at the issue in light of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s research, but it would need another year to evaluate the results.

The proposed ABS mandate could cause safety issues, according to one industry group. Ed Moreland of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) expressed concerns about ABS “when riding an off-highway motorcycle on a trail, or when riding an on-highway or dual-sport motorcycle on a dirt or gravel road.”

On the other hand, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an organization dedicated to reducing accidents on U.S. highways, says if ABS were mandated it could cut fatal motorcycle crashes by one-third.

However, the AMA is questioning the methodology behind the study since this isn’t the first time the IIHS has made a blanket statement about a certain part of the motorcycle industry. A few years back, the IIHS supported the banning of sport bikes, but the AMA said the methodology the IIHS used in the sport bike research made it difficult to determine that sport bikes were more dangerous than other bikes.

Another issue with ABS is cost — the price of new motorcycles could jump by at least $1,000, according to the AMA.

I don’t understand this one-size-fits-all approach, both with the lead law and now mandating ABS. In a time when the economy is struggling, the powersports industry doesn’t need any more complications.

What do you think?

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