Life-saving motorcycle technology to be mandatory from April 2020


The most significant change to motorcycle safety in New Zealand in decades is on the way with the introduction of mandatory requirements for anti-lock braking systems (ABS) starting from April 2020

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”, says NZ Transport Agency General Manager 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,” Mr Lazzaro says.  

The mandatory ABS requirement will come into effect from 1 April 2020, through the Land Transport Rule: Light-vehicle Brakes Amendment (No 2) 2019. 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. 

Compulsory ABS for motorcycles is part of the NZ Government’s focus on road safety, which includes the development of the recently released Road to Zero  road safety strategy consultation document(external link)  

“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. 

“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,” Mr Lazzaro says. 

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. These classic and collectable motorcycles account for a small fraction of motorcycle imports. There is no requirement to retrofit ABS to existing motorcycles already registered for use in New Zealand. 

The Land Transport Rule: Light-vehicle Brakes Amendment (No 2) 2019 will come into effect 1 April 2020. More information is available at link)