Anti-lock braking systems, or ABS, will be mandatory for all motorbikes from April next year, the New Zealand Transport Agency announced today.

The move will be the most significant change to motorcycle safety in New Zealand for decades, the agency said in a statement.

“Making ABS mandatory will significantly reduce the number of motorcycle crashes which result from loss of control. Motorcyclists have the highest rate of deaths and injuries of any group on our roads, and the mandatory fitting of ABS technology is a much-needed step to help riders stay in control and stay safe,” said NZ Transport Agency general manager for safety, health and environment Greg Lazzaro.

“ABS is a relatively low cost life-saving technology for motorcycles, but it is still not widely adopted in New Zealand. The evidence is clear that it will deliver the highest returns relative to costs of any motorcycle safety technology we have seen.”

The new rule makes mandatory the fitting of ABS for new motorcycles over 125cc, with ABS or a combined braking system required for motorcycles over 50cc up to and not exceeding 125cc.

“Motorcycles make up just four percent of the New Zealand vehicle fleet, yet they were involved in 17 percent of fatal road crashes between 2014 and 2018, with 248 motorcyclists killed during this period," Mr Lazzaro said.

“We want riders to stay safe on our roads. By mandating life-saving ABS technology, it’s estimated 34 lives can be saved and 375 serious injuries prevented over the next 26 years.” 

Submissions from the consultation period on the new rule showed a high level of support from the motorcycling community for the mandatory adoption of ABS technology.

The rule change applies to all new-model motorcycles first available for sale in New Zealand from 1 April 2020.

Current-model motorcycles and imported used motorcycles will need to have ABS fitted as standard from 1 November 2021.

Several limited exceptions are included in the rule change, including the importation of classic and collectable motorcycles.

There is no requirement to retrofit ABS to existing motorcycles already registered for use in New Zealand.

Note from Nighthawk.NZ:

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