It plans to mandate ABS for motorcycles with more than 125cc displacement from 2017 onwards. To put this into perspective, only 16 percent of all new motorcycles in the EU in 2010 were equipped with an ABS anti-lock braking system.
By making ABS mandatory for motorcycles, the EU commission hopes to make riding safer for motorcyclists. This requirement is part of the recently presented draft framework regulation, and is intended to apply to motorcycles with more than 125cc displacement.
The proposal is currently passing through the EU legislative procedure but will likely be adopted next year. The regulation will come into effect from 2017.
In 2008, the number of motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents in the European Union was 5520 - representing 14 percent of all road deaths. The figure for the same period in Germany was 656. In 2009 there were 472 motorcycle fatalities in Great Britain. The European figure has scarcely changed since 1997, yet the number of fatal accidents involving car drivers fell by a significant 49 percent during the same period.
According to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), the risk of suffering a fatal accident is 18 times greater for motorcyclists than car drivers, assuming the same distance is travelled. And although the first anti-lock braking system was installed on a motorcycle in 1988, only 16 percent of all newly manufactured motorcycles in Europe are equipped with this system - one in six.
In passenger cars, by contrast, a self commitment on the part of vehicle manufacturers made ABS standard equipment in 2004, and the system has provided enhanced safety since then.
Experts regard anti-lock braking system as a huge boost to safety. For example, a benefit analysis conducted for the European Commission calculates that the proposed regulation would reduce the number of fatal motorcycle accidents by more than 5000 over a 10-year period.
A study presented by Vagverket, the Swedish highways authority, in October 2009 showed that 38 percent of all motorcycle accidents involving personal injury and 48 percent of all serious and fatal accidents, could have been prevented with ABS. This active safety system allows motorcyclists to brake safely in critical situations without locking the wheels, and thus without having to fear an inevitable fall. Braking distance is also significantly reduced.