Questions and answers about the Land Transport Rule: Light Vehicle Brakes 2019 consultation.

  • Why do anti-lock braking systems (including ABS and CBS) have significant safety benefits for motorcyclists?

    Too many motorcyclists are being killed and seriously injured on our roads. ABS has the potential to save lives and reduce crashes. 

    Motorcyclists are at greater risk of injury in the event of a collision or crash, so prevention is the best policy. Due to the inherent instability of motorcycles relative to cars, motorcyclists are at greater risk of being involved in a crash and of suffering serious injuries or being killed. It has been shown that excessive braking can cause wheel skidding, which destabilises a motorcycle and increases stopping distances. 

    ABS ensures the maximum amount of brake force can be applied safely. By reducing skidding, ABS improves stability and shortens stopping distances. 

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  • Will motorcycles already in use in New Zealand need to have ABS fitted retrospectively?

    No. The proposal is for ABS to apply to new-model, new motorcycles entering the fleet from 1 November 2019, and for current-model, new motorcycles and imported used motorcycles entering the fleet from 1 November 2021.

    New-model, new motorcycles are defined as new model motorcycles introduced for sale in New Zealand after 1 November 2019. The 1 November 2019 cut-off would mandate any newly introduced motorcycles models to be fitted with ABS technology.

    Current-model, new motorcycles are defined as motorcycles already available for sale in New Zealand prior to 1 November 2019. The 1 November 2021 cut-off allows motorcycle importers a sufficient period to update the specifications of current model motorcycles imported into New Zealand to include ABS technology.

    There is no requirement for other motorcycles to be retrofitted with ABS as it would be too complex and expensive.

    Most motorcycles entering New Zealand are new motorcycles. In 2017, 27 percent of motorcycles entering New Zealand were used motorcycles.

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  • Which countries have mandated the use of ABS on motorcycles?

    There is an international trend towards requiring ABS, which means the number of used motorcycles fitted with ABS is expected to gradually increase over time. In Europe, since 2017, all models are required to have ABS fitted across all new and used motorcycles. This requirement extends to Brazil and India in 2019, and Japan and Australia in 2021. 

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  • Why do we have to make the fitting of ABS on motorcycles mandatory?

    Without regulation, a market for cheaper but less safe new motorcycle models which lack ABS is likely to continue. The introduction of ABS could prevent suppliers from marketing lower cost and less safe vehicles in the future.

    The prevalence of ABS in used motorcycles is much lower than in new motorcycles, primarily because the technology has only become common in the past five years. In 2017, it was estimated that less than 10 percent of used motorcycles had ABS. The number of used motorcycles fitted with ABS is expected to gradually increase over time because of ABS increasingly being required in other countries.

    Without intervention it is likely that New Zealand will continue to import motorcycles that are not fitted with ABS for some time when motorcycles with ABS are readily available.

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  • Are there any types of motorcycles that will be exempt?

    Current models (available for sale at the time the rule comes into effect) would be exempt until 1 November 2021. This is to allow importers to sell any older stock that they may have on hand or ordered in advance of the rule being made. 

    It is proposed that motorcycles registered for use prior to one of three proposed dates - 1 January 1990, 1980 or 1970, would be exempt along with collectable (special interest) motorcycles.

    There would also be an exemption to allow for New Zealand citizens or residents to continue to import, as an ‘immigrant’s vehicle, a motorcycle that they had owned and registered for use overseas for at least 12 months.

    Trial and Enduro motorcycles primary used off-road or at motor cross events would not have to be fitted with ABS.

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  • What about classic motorcycles?

    A new, special interest motorcycle permit would allow for collectable motorcycles to continue to be imported, under the condition that there is no equivalent option with ABS available. Applicants would be able to apply to the Transport Agency for a permit. The number of special interest permits would be limited to 100 per year. 

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  • Are the implementation dates fixed?

    No. The proposed implementation dates are to allow for a staged introduction. They are subject to change depending on feedback received from consultation. All feedback will be considered before a final decision is made. 

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  • What is the difference between a current-model new motorcycle and a new-model new motorcycle?

    New-model motorcycles are those that have not previously been sold in New Zealand. Current-models are those that were already available for sale at the time the Rule comes into effect. The delay is intended to allow importers to sell older stock, including stock already ordered but not yet in New Zealand, and allows importers a sufficient period to update the specifications of current-model motorcycles imported into New Zealand to include ABS technology. 

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  • Why are you proposing a staged introduction?

    For used motorcycles (and current-model new motorcycles) any ABS requirement will be delayed by two years after the date for new model motorcycles to reduce disruption in supply. The data we have obtained shows that most new-model motorcycles are fitted with ABS. However, the fitment of ABS to used motorcycles is less common.

    The staged implementation provides time for used motorcycle importers to gear up for the change and source stock which is fitted with ABS.

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  • What is ABS?

    ABS on motorcycles prevents wheel locking and increases stability. Motorcycles are, by nature, less stable than four-wheeled vehicles. Braking too hard can destabilise a motorcycle and lead to either the front or rear wheel locking, causing the bike to overturn or slide.

    Alternatively, failure to brake hard enough can result in a rider failing to avoid a crash.

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  • How does ABS work on motorcycles?

    ABS works to prevent a motorcycle's wheel, or wheels, from locking during braking. ABS 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. In many circumstances, ABS has been shown to reduce braking distance. Motorcycles with ABS technology have been shown to be involved in fewer crashes on the road.

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  • How can I make a submission?

    You can make a submission:

    1. Online
      You can submit your comments using the online submission form(external link)

    2. By email
      Email your submission to
      Be sure to include ‘Light-vehicle Brakes Amendment Rule’ in the subject line.

    3. By post
      Include a signed copy of your submission and post to this address:

      Light-vehicle Brakes Amendment Rule
      Regulatory and Transport Policy Team
      NZ Transport Agency
      Private Bag 6995
      Wellington 6141

    Please note the deadline for submissions is 5pm on Friday 26 April 2019.

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