Motorcycle Crashes: Automatic Brake Systems

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Michael P. Malvey

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Serving Philadelphia, PA

  • Serving Philadelphia, PA

  • Free initial consultation, Fixed hourly rates, Fixed fees available

Senior Partner at firm Galfand Berger LLP

Serving Philadelphia, PA

Free initial consultation, Fixed hourly rates, Fixed fees available

Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident Lawyers: ABS on Motorcycles

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, nearly one-third of all fatal motorcycle crashes and countless injuries that happen every year are preventable. The agency is calling for the federal government to mandate that bikes are fitted with ABS systems. Despite these warnings, the federal government does not show signs that it will mandate this safety measure anytime soon.

Anti-lock brake systems, or ABS, work by preventing a vehicle’s wheels from locking up when the operator brakes hard. ABS improves control, particularly in adverse weather conditions. The safety measure has long been standard on passenger automobiles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would be the entity in the position to mandate this technology on motorcycles. However, many accuse NHTSA regulators for taking an ambiguous stance. Although the NHTSA has come out saying that ABS technology is a lifesaver, it does not require it on all vehicles or motorcycles. This is likely due to lobbyists and the cost of mandatory installation.

In fact, in 2009, the NHTSA came close to requiring all motorcycles to be fitted with ABS technology. However, the proposal was abandoned within a few short years. Officials declared that there was insufficient proof that the benefits in terms of lives saved and injuries avoided were worth the cost to manufacturers.

Police Prefer ABS on Motorcycles
Major law enforcement agencies in the United States all require ABS on their motorcycle fleets, including the California Highway Patrol and the New York City Police Department. The technology is mandatory in Europe, and will soon be required in Japan, India, and Brazil.

Although not legally required, some motorcycle manufacturers have voluntary been offering the technology. BMW Group introduced ABS motorcycles as far back as the late 1980s. Now, ABS technology is standard equipment on every bike BMW Group sells within the United States. BMW Group is the only American manufacturer to have voluntarily adopted the technology. Although Harley-Davidson began offering ABS on all police motorcycles in 2005, it is not a standard feature on every Harley bike.

The good news is that sales of ABS-equipped motorcycles are on the rise. The bad news is that only around one-sixth of all motorcycles registered in the United States are fitted with the technology. Motorcyclists are more exposed to the road than occupants of passenger vehicles, and thus are far more vulnerable. Motorcyclists are more likely to be fatally injured in an accident than a passenger in an automobile.

Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Pursue Maximum Compensation for Victims of Motorcycle Accidents
To speak with the experienced Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP, call us today at 800-222-8792 or submit an online inquiry at With offices located in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, and Bethlehem, we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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