Motorcycles, by their nature, are far less crashworthy than other motor vehicles and do not provide much protection from devastating injuries in the event of a collision.
Due to this lack of safety features, over 5,000 motorcyclists die in a crash every year, and these motorcyclists are almost 29 times more likely than car passengers to die in a crash per vehicle miles traveled. Those who survive these motorcycle accidents will likely suffer catastrophic injuries such as limb loss, traumatic head injuries, or spinal cord damage that can forever change their lives.
To prevent these horrifying consequences, many motorcyclists take proactive measures to protect themselves in a crash. They wear helmets and install crash bars, drop guards, freeway bars, engine guards, and highway bars.
What Is a Motorcycle Crash Guard?
A motorcycle crash guard is a piece of safety equipment that attaches to the frame of a motorcycle and sticks out past the bike. These bars tend to wrap around essential aspects of the motorcycle, such as the engine.
Yet, while the design of these guards varies from bike to bike, their concept is relatively the same. These bars are in place to prevent the bike from falling over entirely, provide some protection for the rider from being crushed under the bike in an accident, and help protect the bike’s parts, including its fuel tank and engine.
How Do Motorcycle Crash Guards Work in an Accident?
If a motorcycle falls over, the crash guards will be the first to contact the ground and will generally absorb the crash’s impact and load. As a result, this additional layer of security will go a long way in saving the bike from significant repair costs and extending the motorcycle’s life.
How Do Motorcycle Crash Guards Help Prevent Injuries in an Accident?
Motorcyclists often invest in guards to protect their bikes rather than themselves. These bars protect the motorcycle, including the fuel tank, the engine, and even the paint on the bike.
Consequently, rider safety is often a by-product of these crash guards, not the primary purpose. However, this does not mean that these guards cannot protect a rider.
Although motorcycle drop guards offer no protection to motorcyclists thrown from their bikes during an accident, they can stop the bike from falling on the rider. And as a result, these guards can help reduce lower leg injuries and ankle trauma since these bars effectively keep the bike’s weight from crashing on the motorcyclist in a collision.
For example, the motorcycle may fall during a crash, and the rider’s leg can get stuck under the bike’s weight. This can often result in lower leg trauma and burns because of the bike’s exhaust system. Thankfully, these guards can help prevent riders from getting pinned under the bike by making the motorcycle easier to pick up after a fall, which allows the motorcycle to move after an accident or helps first responders have an easier time lifting the bike to provide first aid to the rider.
Types of Crash Guard Materials?
Manufacturers make most crash guards from chrome-plated stainless steel.
However, manufacturers may use other materials:
- Aluminum: This material is very light, which prevents it from adding too much weight to the bike. Yet, it is also not as strong as steel, which makes it harder to work with, and consequently, it costs more and may not protect a rider very well in a crash.
- Stainless Steel: This material, like aluminum, does not rust, making it valuable in areas where it rains a lot or if you ride where water crossings are common. Yet, this type of steel does not absorb as much energy in an accident as other types of metal, which means it may crumble under pressure and leave you facing more force from a crash.
- Mild Steel: This type of steel is often the best compromise for crash guard materials. It is inexpensive to build but strong enough to protect the bike following an accident and flexible enough to bend without breaking. As a result, it may provide more protection in a crash than other materials and prove a better choice for heavier bikes. Yet, this material is more susceptible to rusting, which can mean more issues if you leave your bike outside to face the different weather elements. However, to prevent rusting, you can treat these guards with a corrosion preventive before powder-coating them. But, if you scrape off the surface finish to the bare metal, the damaged areas will eventually rust.
It is also essential to add that well-designed crash bars should protect the rider while still providing access for routine maintenance, such as checking and changing the oil and servicing the air cleaner, without the need to remove the common body panels for other jobs. These bars should also not increase the chance of a crash; they reduce ground clearance or cornering.
The Disadvantages of a Crash Guard
The main issues with crash guards tend to arise during high-speed motorcycle accidents. If the impact is too high, the crash guard may give up and buckle down, affecting the frame. In addition, if the crash guard fails, it can drop more pressure on the rider’s legs if the rider gets stuck under the motorcycle following an accident. In a terrible accident, crash guards can create a safety risk instead of preventing one.
However, without crash guards, severe damage can result to your bike and body. And no significant evidence suggests that guards worsen damages.
In most worst-case situations, crash guards fall off and get bent or put additional pressure on the motorcyclist’s leg. But the bottom line is that the benefits of motorcycle drop guards far outweigh these disadvantages by providing riders some protection to their legs before the guard collapses. Without the guard, there will not be any time after a collision before the motorcyclist’s leg gets crushed.
Is It Worth Getting a Crash Guard on Your Motorcycle?
Many manufacturers of motorcycles today, such as Harley-Davidson, now make crash guards standard on all of their bikes. Many companies manufacture them as aftermarket accessories. This is because these guards are easy to install, and they tend to pay for themselves in the damages they can prevent in a bike collision.
Yet, given the relatively low costs of these guards, and the safety protection they can provide its riders, often preventing a broken leg or ankle, this simple safety feature makes sense to install even when they are not part of the motorcycle.
However, it is still important to realize that these crash guards are just one tool that motorcyclists can use to protect themselves from the devastating consequences of a crash. There is no guarantee that these crash guards can prevent catastrophic injuries after an accident.
Other Protective Gear You Should Use When Riding a Motorcycle
Although motorcycle drop guards are valuable forms of protection in a crash, wear and use other gear to protect you from serious injuries. For instance:
A DOT-Related Helmet
The most crucial motorcycle equipment is the helmet. The best helmet is often a comfortable DOT- or Snell-approved helmet that fits the head snugly.
In addition, to ensure the helmet’s safety, it is usually recommended that these helmets are replaced every five years or after being involved in an impact accident, even if the impact is a minor one.
Protective Eye Gear
Some helmets are made with a full face mask to help guard a rider’s eyes. However, if the helmet does not have this feature, motorcyclists should still wear eye protection that fits along with helmets.
This eye gear can protect a rider from all the elements, including flying dirt, insects, and debris that can go into a motorcyclist’s unprotected eyes. In addition, UV-coated goggles are a great way to protect a rider from the sun’s harmful rays.
Gloves shield a rider’s hands from road rash and chapping, usually resulting from the wind blowing on exposed knuckles. These gloves can also allow the rider to maintain a safe grip on the handlebars by protecting them against slippery or sweaty hands that can cause issues while riding.
A sturdy, well-made pair of boots are vital for riders since these boots can protect them against motorcycle hazards, including the bike’s exhaust pipes, extreme cold, other weather conditions, and road debris.
Pants and Jackets
While riding a motorcycle, you should wear pants that can protect your legs from road rash in the event of an accident. Better yet, motorcycle-specific riding pants will protect your legs from hazards. This style is padded and bulkier, which can help prevent significant leg injuries.
Additionally, wear jackets to guard the arms and the body against road rash while also keeping the body warm during colder riding months. Plus, specific motorcycle jackets come with extra padding, which prevents harm to the shoulders and elbows in an accident.
Get the Legal Help You Need Following a Motorcycle Crash
Sometimes no matter how much safety gear you have, you may still sustain severe trauma in a motorcycle collision. However, if these accidents were due to another person’s wrongful, negligent, or reckless actions, you should not have to deal with these terrifying repercussions on your own.
That is why, in these instances, you should work with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can help you fight for the justice and financial recovery you deserve following this devastating crash.
When you hire these lawyers, they can generally:
- Go over your motorcycle collision with you in detail, evaluate your legal claim, and determine whether you have a viable legal case.
- Answer all the questions you have about your crash and the legal proceedings, and determine the legal options you can pursue.
- To validate your case, hire experts, such as accident reconstructionists, doctors, and financial specialists.
- Make sure to hold all the liable parties accountable for the harm and losses you sustained.
- Handle all the negotiations and discussions with the other side and fight for the fair settlement offer you need.
- Prepare for trial if the other side is unwilling to provide you with a fair offer, and go after the successful resolution to your case.
For these reasons, if you or a loved one sustained severe injuries in a motorcycle accident, do not wait to get the legal help you need. Instead, contact a skilled and knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer today for a free case consultation. Let these attorneys explain how they can fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.