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Feds make new recommendations for motorcycle equipment

Motorcyclists face numerous challenges on the roads that automobile drivers don't. Motorcycles do not have a protective metal barrier, they are much less visible than other vehicles and their bikes are more vulnerable to weather and terrain. As a result, motorcycle safety recommendations are crucial to keep riders safe.

Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued new guidelines regarding motorcycle equipment. When a federal agency makes new safety recommendations, it is crucial that the motorcycle industry heeds these guidelines.

New motorcycles, new recommendations

The NTSB now recommends that all new motorcycles built for use in the United States include anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control. According to the NTSB, over 5,200 motorcyclists are killed on U.S. roads every year, many of which could be prevented by anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control.

The board voted 5-0 on these new guidelines, which are standard for all passenger cars. Currently, anti-lock brakes are standard equipment for only 8.9 percent of motorcycles.

Safety matters. So does liability.

The NTSB is not the body that issues regulations--that would be the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA did not discuss whether it would make these recommendations into regulations. But if it does choose to, then manufacturers must include these two new, standard safety features in the motorcycles they produce.

Motorcycles that do not meet current safety regulations may cause devastating injuries to their riders. The manufacturer may be liable for defective bikes that contribute to an accident or injury. After suffering a motorcycle accident that included a defective motorcycle, many riders choose to take legal action against the manufacturer. If the company is found liable, then the rider may receive compensation for their damages.

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