Motorcycling is a high priority for road safety in New Zealand because about 550 motorcyclists are killed or seriously injured in crashes each year.
Motorcyclists are 21 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a crash than other vehicle users. In 2017, motorcyclists made up less than four percent of vehicle users yet accounted for 12 percent of all deaths and 10 percent of all reported injuries on the road.
In September 2019, the Government made changes to the Land Transport Rule: Light-vehicle Brakes 2002, making it mandatory for all new model new motorcycles over 125cc to have anti-lock braking systems (ABS), and all new model new motorcycles up to and including 125cc to have either ABS or a Combined Braking System (CBS) from 1 April this year.
Check out the NZTA adverts displayed here on BikesportNZ.com for more information.
Motorcycles are, by nature, less stable than four-wheeled vehicles. Unlike cars, which have safety features to protect their occupants such as crumple zones and air bags, motorcycles lack the protection and stability to protect their riders in the event of a crash.
This lack of protection and stability is the key reason why motorcyclists account for a disproportionate number of those killed and injured on our roads.
Braking too hard can destabilise a motorcycle and lead to the front or rear wheel locking, causing the bike to overturn or slide. Alternatively, failure to brake hard enough can result in a motorcyclist unable to avoid a crash. International studies suggest ABS could reduce motorcycle crashes by more than a third.
ABS works to prevent a motorcycle’s wheel, or wheels, from locking during braking. It uses speed sensors on both wheels to accurately determine wheel speed, as well as sensors to determine when a wheel is about to lock. ABS adjusts the braking pressure accordingly to prevent the wheel from locking and assists with maintaining the stability of the motorcycle.
Greg Lazzaro, the Transport Agency’s General Manager, Safety, Health and Environment, has a personal rule that he will only ride bikes that have ABS.
“I have dropped a bike without ABS on braking and was lucky to not have been seriously injured,” Greg says.
“When I was learning to ride, the bike was slowing when I was quickly approaching an intersection and the experience really scared me and I lost quite a lot of confidence because of it.
“Remarkably I was able to walk away from the crash and the bike fell underneath me when the front wheel locked up – something I am sure some riders have experienced.
“With ABS, the peace of mind that there are mechanical interventions to prevent the front wheel locking especially makes me feel more confident in staying upright.
“Shiny side up is the only way to ride and make sure you wear proper protective clothing just in case to save your skin – literally.”
The second change comes into effect on 1 November 2021 making it mandatory for all current model new motorcycles and imported used motorcycles over 125cc to have ABS, and all current model new motorcycles and imported used motorcycles up to and including 125cc to have either ABS or CBS.
Previous and currently registered motorcycles are not required to be retrofitted with ABS. Trial or enduro motorcycles used primarily off-road or at events are exempt and there are some exemptions for classic or collectible motorcycles.
The rule change is part of the Government’s focus on road safety, which includes the development of the Road to Zero safety strategy.
While motorcycling is a riskier form of transport than many, we don’t want to deter people from riding. The Transport Agency supports motorcyclists by helping them reduce their risk and maximise the enjoyment they get from riding. This has been highlighted in the Respect Every Ride advertising campaign since it launched in January 2020.
The campaign focuses on treating every ride as a new ride and respecting the ride and road. It also reminds riders not to become complacent on familiar roads and to always ‘be on’.
As Byron, a contributor to the campaign, says: “My dad always taught me that you gotta ride like everyone is out to get you. I’ll be learning to ride a bike for as long as I live. Ride for your whole life, not a short amount of time.”
For more information about the rule changes visit www.nzta.govt.nz/abs-changes.
For more information about the Respect Every Ride campaign visit www.nzta.govt.nz/safety/driving-safely/motorcycling/motorcycling-advertising/respect-every-ride/
© Photo by Mark Coote
Words courtesy NZTA
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