An Antilock Braking System Mandate on Motorcycles

An Antilock Braking System Mandate on Motorcycles? Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys Has the ScoopThe Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) filed a second petition with federal agencies, requesting that they require antilock braking systems on every new motorcycle. It has been almost a decade since the two companies first asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to mandate the antilock braking system, and within this time period, several other countries have made it a requirement for motorcycles to be equipped with these systems, including Australia, Brazil, India, New Zealand, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and more.

David Harkey, IIHS and HLDI President, stated that “Ideally, the U.S. should take a leadership position when it comes to safety regulations. But at the very least, NHTSA should act swiftly to adopt the best practices when the rest of the world moves faster.”

Why mandate ABS systems on motorcycles?

Motorcyclist fatalities hit an all-time high in 2021. According to the National Safety Council:

Although motorcycles make up only 3% of all registered vehicles and 0.6% of all vehicle miles traveled in the United States, motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities, 17% of all occupant fatalities, and 3% of all occupant injuries in 2021….

Fatalities among motorcycle riders and passengers increased 8% from 2020 to 2021, while the rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled decreased by 2%. Over the last 10 years, deaths have increased 19%, while death rates have increased 29%.  The number of motorcycle fatalities now stands at 5,932 and the rate is 30.05 per 100 million vehicle miles.

Anything that can reduce the number of motorcycle-related deaths is something worth reviewing. IIHS/HLDI data shows that ABS could be one of those “things.”

In 2021, IIHS looked at the “fatal crash rates for 65 motorcycle models offering ABS as an option” between 2013-19, and “found that bikes equipped with the feature were involved in 22 percent fewer fatal crashes per 10,000 registered vehicle years.” Per HDLI’s data, “the rate of collision insurance claims for motorcycles with ABS are 21-24 percent lower than for unequipped models.” The numbers, therefore, appear incontrovertible: antilock brakes reduce collisions.

One way they do this is by using sensors on the tires to check the speed of the motorcycle. When the operator applies the brakes, the ABS “adjusts the braking pressure” so they don’t lock up (resulting in a skid or a fall), but it also ensures that the bike remains more stable.

Not everyone wants ABS systems on motorcycles

Yet many motorcyclists are worried that the antilock braking systems could possibly “worsen handling issues on gravel and loose surfaces.”

However, the IIHS and HLDI propose that there could be a solution for this, such as giving motorcyclists the option to turn off the system when they are riding on loose gravel. In order to ensure that motorcyclists do not keep the technology turned off, there would be a warning that alerts the rider to eventually turn back on their antilock braking system once they are back on a normal paved road.

How common are motorcycle accidents in Kansas City, MO?

KCTV5 reports that the Kansas City, MO area experiences many motorcycle accidents and fatalities. In fact, the Missouri State Highway Patrol stated that “motorcycle fatalities represent 10 percent of all Missouri highway fatalities each year, yet motorcycles represent approximately 2.6 percent of all registered vehicles in Missouri.” The news article by KCTV5 mentions that “this means that if 1,000 people were in a fatal accident in a year, 100 of those people would be motorcyclists even though, statistically, there should only be 26 motorcyclists in that entire group of 1,000.”

Unfortunately, motorcyclists who decide to get on their bikes and go for a ride are more likely to be seriously injured in a crash than those who get in an automobile. This is because motorcycles are not equipped with any parts that protect you like an automobile, including seat belts, airbags, and a protective shield. Instead, the only protection that a motorcyclist has is padded clothing, helmets, gloves, and boots.

However, according to KCTV, “since 1976 in Kansas and 2020 in Missouri, motorcycle helmet laws have been repealed or minimized.” As a result, many motorcyclists in these states are opting to not wear this important piece of safety equipment that can protect them from traumatic brain injuries, skull fractures, or even death.

Recent motorcycle accidents that have occurred in our area

In the past year, Kansas City, MO has experienced its fair share of motorcycle accidents. Here are a few of the most severe accidents involving motorcyclists that have occurred in our area:

  • In August 2023, a motorcyclist was in a serious accident on 39th The motorcyclist slightly struck the front end of a vehicle that was turning. As a result, they were thrown off their bike and landed right in front of the automobile. Unfortunately, the motorcyclist became stuck underneath the automobile, resulting in them being pulled down the roadway for possibly several miles. The motorcyclist was listed in critical condition after they were transported to the hospital.
  • In July 2023, an automobile was pulling a trailer and boat on NE Cookingham. When it was making a turn, a motorcyclist crashed directly into it. As a result, the motorcyclist “slid under the right side of the trailer.” Within a short time of arriving at the hospital, it was announced that the motorcyclist had passed away from their injuries.
  • In May 2023, an automobile was speeding on Truman Road around 2:00 a.m. Once the car made it to the intersection of Indiana Avenue and Truman Road, it rear-ended a motorcycle. The motorcyclist was thrown from the bike and died immediately at the accident scene.

If you have recently been involved in a motorcycle accident and need immediate legal assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to a motorcycle accident lawyer at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys at your earliest opportunity. As Kansas City’s Favorite Law Firm, we are equipped with the knowledge, experience, and skills to handle the ins and outs of your legal claim while you focus on healing from your injuries. Our team knows and understands the obstacles and challenges that may arise when dealing with a motorcycle accident case, which is why we will remain by your side, answering any questions or concerns you may have. To schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation, call or submit our contact form today. We are available any time at our main office in Kansas City, MO. If that location does not work for you, feel free to schedule an appointment at one of our other convenient office locations in Lee’s Summit, Parkville and St. Joseph (MO); Olathe, Kansas City, and Overland Park (KS).