Motorcycle riders face hazards out on the road that the drivers of larger vehicles, including passenger vehicles, do not. Using appropriate safety gear can substantially decrease the risk of serious injuries in an accident.
Motorcycle crash guards may not reduce your overall risk of an accident, but they can decrease the severity of the injuries that you may sustain in a serious accident.
What are motorcycle crash guards?
Motorcycle crash guards vary in design, depending on the motorcycle involved and their full purpose. In general, they provide a metal bar that sticks out past the motorcycle, which helps prevent it from falling completely over in an accident.
Crash bars, also known as freeway bars, engine guards, or highway bars, offer some degree of protection to riders in an accident.
What are motorcycle crash guards made out of?
Motorcycle crash guards typically require metal construction. They may include chrome-plated stainless steel, a strong, durable metal that can support a great deal of weight in an accident. Other manufacturers use aluminum or mild steel in the construction of their engine guards.
At their simplest, motorcycle crash guards simply consist of a piece of metal that attaches to the bike frame. Motorcycle crash guards can come in a variety of shapes and styles, including hoop and mustache styles. Most riders will consider the look they want for their bikes when choosing the design of their crash guards, since ultimately, the design has little to do with the integrity of the guard and its ability to support the bike in an accident.
The material you select for your motorcycle crash guards can make a big difference in its overall function, however, so you should carefully review the metals in crash guards, their benefits, and their potential challenges.
In general, aluminum, a lightweight metal, adds less weight to the bike, which can make it a more comfortable addition for riders who may already struggle with the weight of their motorcycles. Aluminum construction means that you may prove less likely to notice the crash bars as you move your motorcycle around a turn or navigate out on the highway. However, aluminum isn’t as strong as other metals, so in an accident, it may not protect you.
Stainless steel does not absorb as much energy in an accident as other types of metal, which means it may crumble under pressure or leave you facing a great deal more force from the accident. However, stainless steel often provides a cleaner look than other types of steel, and it does not rust, which may prove particularly important for a rider who often leaves his bike outside when not in use.
Mild steel has the greatest strength of the metals typically used in motorcycle crash guard construction. It may provide more protection in an accident and may prove a better choice for heavy touring bikes, which may already have more weight than a smaller motorcycle. However, while mild steel offers greater strength, it does weigh more than the other types of metal frequently used in crash guard construction.
It may make your motorcycle handle differently after initial installation, and you may need some time to adjust to the added weight. In addition, mild steel may rust if left out in the elements, which means that if your bike often sits out in the rain with no protection, you may need to choose a different type of metal for your crash guards.
What does a motorcycle crash guard do?
A motorcycle crash guard prevents the motorcycle from laying all the way over on its side in an accident. The metal piece sticks out a few inches from the sides of the motorcycle and will prop the motorcycle up ever so slightly, rather than allowing it to fall all the way to the ground.
A motorcycle crash guard cannot prevent a rider from falling off of his motorcycle. It can, however, stop the motorcycle from laying all the way over on top of the rider. This protection prevents one key challenge that can cause debilitating injury for motorcycle accident victims: leg injuries. Lower leg trauma, in particular, can cause devastation for motorcycle riders after an accident. The bike can pin the rider’s leg, causing ankle injuries, knee injuries, or fractures to the lower leg. The heat from the motor exhaust can also lead to severe burns when the motorcycle gets pinned against the victim’s leg or lower body. A motorcycle crash guard can make it easier for the rider to get away from the bike, pull his leg out, and get the help he needs—not to mention preventing further injury.
Motorcycle crash guards can also aid in rescue efforts when a rider sustains a serious injury. Motorcycles frequently weigh more than the average citizen expects. A scooter or moped can weigh between 150 and 300 pounds—more than enough to make it difficult for a Good Samaritan or even first responder to lift the motorcycle out of the way to help treat a motorcycle accident victim’s injuries. Bigger bikes may weigh even more: sportbikes range between 300 and 500 pounds, while touring bikes may weigh as much as 1000 pounds. That can create a lot of weight that someone needs to move out of the way when a motorcycle rider lays the bike over and suffers a serious injury.
Crash guards lift the bike slightly off the ground and provide some degree of leverage, which rescuers can then use to help lift the bike and get it out of the way. They can also provide an essential lever that can help prevent the bike from slipping back onto a victim when rescuers try to get it out of the way.
If a rider does not suffer a serious injury after laying the motorcycle over, the rider may also lift the bike more easily when it rests on a crash guard.
How does a motorcycle crash guard, or lack thereof, impact your ride?
While state laws may require the use of essential safety gear, like a motorcycle helmet, they do not require motorcycle riders to install crash bars on their motorcycles. If you do not have a crash guard on your motorcycle, therefore, it will not affect your right to file a personal injury claim or change the compensation you can receive if you suffer injuries. However, if you have a motorcycle, whether you ride regularly or just hit the road for the occasional weekend ride, you may want to seriously consider the benefits of installing a crash guard on your bike.
1. A motorcycle crash guard may reduce the severity of your injuries in an accident.
Just like you wear a helmet when you ride to protect your face, head, and heck, you may want to add a crash guard to your motorcycle to help reduce the risk to your lower extremities in an accident. Motorcycle crash guards help protect against ankle, knee, foot, and leg injuries, all of which can prove devastating. Even a minor broken ankle can take six to eight weeks or more to heal. If you sustain more serious injuries, you may require surgical treatment, long-term physical therapy, and a long road to recovery with a substantial impact on your ability to enjoy many of the activities that you usually engage in during your leisure time. This injury can also prevent you from riding, since you need to bear weight on both feet any time you stop at a stop sign or red light.
While a motorcycle crash guard does not eliminate those injuries in an accident, a crash guard can substantially decrease that risk, making it well worth the investment.
2. A motorcycle crash guard can help prevent your bike from landing on top of you after a serious accident.
Your motorcycle crash guard offers vital safety protection in an accident: it helps prevent your bike from landing on top of you. Your motorcycle may have significant weight, especially if you have a larger sport or touring bike. The more your bike weighs, the more serious crushing damage you may sustain in an accident—and the harder it can prove to get help, since rescuers may not have the ability to lift the bike away from you. A crash guard, on the other hand, can keep the motorcycle partially upright and make it easier for you to get out from under it.
In some cases, the crash guard may also provide a little protection against the force of the accident. A motorcycle crash guard made of heavier metal, like stainless or mild steel, may have the capacity to hold up some of the weight of another vehicle that has crashed into you, which may give you room to get out of the way.
3. Your bike may sustain less serious damage in an accident if it lands on a crash guard, rather than landing on its side.
Your motorcycle represents a substantial financial investment. You may have spent a great deal of time picking it out and a great deal of money on your bike. Even if you carry a good insurance policy, you may have a hefty deductible—and your insurance policy may not always cover accidental damage caused by a minor spill, rather than a full-blown crash. With crash guards, however, your motorcycle may sustain less serious damage, which may help protect your investment. A few scratches on your crash guard may prove a lot less problematic than damage to your paint job or the body of the motorcycle—to say nothing of your body.
4. A crash guard can make it easier for you to pick your bike up if you lay it over in a minor incident.
Most motorcycle riders have, at some point, laid a motorcycle over on its side. You may have slipped on gravel or a slippery spot, or you may have discovered that the motorcycle weighs more than you initially thought. You might have found yourself tired after a long trip, especially if you have spent many long hours on your motorcycle. Getting it back up again can prove difficult, especially if you don’t have a great deal of upper body strength. With crash guards, you will not have to lift your motorcycle completely off the ground on your own. The crash guard offers a useful precaution for you as well as for your rescuers; it can allow you to more easily lift your motorcycle back up if you suffer a slip on a lonely stretch of road or even in your own driveway or garage.
What protective gear do you really need to go with your motorcycle?
Motorcycle crash guards offer one highly useful form of protective gear that you can use to provide a layer of protection from a crash.
You may also want to consider other vital protective gear, including:
High-quality gloves, which can help protect your hands from an accident.
- A high-quality motorcycle helmet.
- A protective suit, including pants and a jacket. While a leather jacket may provide some protection, you may also want to consider a specialty suit that will provide additional coverage and prevent you from suffering severe road rash if involved in an accident.
Regardless of the safety gear that you choose to use, you may still sustain severe injuries in a motorcycle accident. If someone else’s negligence causes you to suffer serious injuries in a motorcycle crash, a lawyer can help you understand your right to compensation. Contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon after your accident as possible to learn more about your right to compensation and how to move forward with a personal injury claim following your accident.