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ABS for Motorcycles: 1500 lives at stake; we can’t afford to wait, says FIA

Press Release
Brussels, 14 September 2011

The FIA is calling on MEPs to adopt a compromise which will allow for the mandatory introduction of the Anti-Lock Braking system (ABS) for motorbikes of 125 cc and beyond by 2015 on the grounds of safety, availability, and price. MEPs are currently debating amendments ahead of a vote by the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee on 05 December 2011.

Safety: Can we afford to wait until 2017? No.
“If we realise that according to our research mandatory introduction of ABS for motorbikes could save more than 1500 lives by 2015 and if we take into account that there are no real hurdles for an introduction of ABS in 2015 we should not lose any time”, said Guido van Woerkom, President of Dutch Automobile Club ANWB, a member of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), which represents 100 Automobile Clubs and 36 million members from its office in Brussels.

Despite all efforts to date, motorbike fatalities have not decreased as much as for cars in the past decade, but ABS can dramatically improve the braking behavior of powered-two wheelers.

Availability: Can industry introduce ABS for motorbikes by 2015? Yes.
“The availability of ABS for high-powered motorbikes has risen already by 5% over the past year in Italy, one of the largest markets for two-wheelers in Europe”, said Jacob Bangsgaard, Director General of FIA Region I, who added, “Currently 23% of these bikes use the technology in Italy, however legislation is required to facilitate its full use and safety benefits”.

The current proposal gives industry 4 years up to 2017 to fully deploy ABS, a deadline which the FIA says cannot be justified on technical or cost grounds. The Italian case proves industry is ready to roll-out the technology to consumers.

Price: Is it affordable? Yes.
 “As a safety technology, ABS has a price which is negligible compared to the overall cost of a motorcycle. Early mandatory introduction of ABS can help keep costs to a minimum”, said Peter Meyer, President of the largest Automobile Club in Europe, Germany’s ADAC, who added “For road users, the expected safety gains far overweigh any costs, which are low in any case.”

A simple FIA calculation based on available figures shows that ABS costs approximately 2% of a new motorbike of 125 CC. The FIA believes the introduction of mandatory ABS for higher powered bikes will not influence consumers’ choice. Moreover, as clearly demonstrated in the car sector, competition increases and prices are driven down once a technology becomes mandatory.

Note to Editors:

Legislative Process
Dutch MEP, Wim Van de Camp, is Rapporteur for the IMCO report on the Commission proposal on the approval and market surveillance of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles (COM (2010) 542.). Mr Van de Camp’s report was presented in Parliament on 24th May. The IMCO Report will be voted on 05 December 2011. The plenary vote on the IMCO Report is currently scheduled for early 2012.

The European Parliament Transport Committee has said it “…regards the phased, mandatory introduction of anti-brake-locking systems on all new motorcycles as an important measure which can substantially reduce the number of serious motorcycle accidents”.

Despite the current impasse, the FIA maintains it is still possible to find a compromise for the early introduction of ABS by 2015 but with the probable exclusion of smaller motorcycles (the inclusion of which it favours).

The FIA Brussels Office
The FIA Brussels Office represents 100 Touring and Motoring Clubs in the European Union, as well as Africa and the Middle East, which total more than 36 million members. The FIA represents the interest of these members as motorists, public transport users, pedestrians and tourists.

The FIA’s primary goal is to secure a mobility that is safe, affordable, sustainable and efficient. With these aims in mind the work focuses on Road Safety, Consumer Protection, Environmental Protection, and the promotion of Sustainable Motoring.

For more information please contact Niall Carty, Communications Manager, FIA Region I: (Tel: 0032 2 282 0812 or 0032 486 650 216).


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