How Effective Are Motorcycle Crash Bars?

Motorcycle Crash BarsCrash statistics from the United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report that 5,579 motorcyclists died on the road, and around 82,528 motorcyclists were injured in the U.S. in 2020.

The fatalities make up 14% of all traffic fatalities in the country. Per vehicle miles traveled in 2020, motorcycle fatalities occurred almost 28 times more than car accident fatalities and motorcyclists were 4 times more likely to be injured than occupants of passenger cars.

So, with all these risks, anything that could help riders stay safer should be good, right? Some riders have been installing crash bars on their motorcycles. If you’ve never heard of a crash bar, that’s okay: we here to tell you a bit about them so you can make a decision about whether you want them.

What are crash bars?

Crash bars surround and protect the body work of a motorcycle, such as the gas tank and engine. The bars are mounted to the lower body frame of a motorcycle. They are meant to take the full force of the impact when a motorcycle falls or slides. They will also provide the driver protection from being crushed by the weight of a motorcycle after a fall. They are made from tubular stainless steel, mild steel, or aluminum.

Although these bars were not designed with driver safety in mind, many believe having this feature will help to keep bikers safer on the road. Twisted Mission, a motorcycle rider’s website, tells us that motorcycle crash bars are a “must have” because gravity always works and when a bike falls or slides, so will its driver. They state, “They can’t protect your bike in every situation – some falls are just too extreme – but if they do their job well enough that you can still ride home, you can chalk that up as a win for your side.”

The bars should be the first point of contact with the ground during a fall or tip-over. Well-designed bars will protect the bike’s major parts and still provide access for maintenance. Crash bars have not been featured as standard options on motorcycles, they are usually an added option installed after the purchase of a motorcycle.

Do crash bars protect the driver?

Motorcycle crash bars prevent damage to the motorcycle if it should tip over or fall over when parked. They protect the engine, fuel tank and expensive paint jobs. But do they add extra safety for the driver? Yes and no. If a rider is thrown from the motorcycle, the crash bars will not prevent injury. And certain crash bars – especially ones that are a little flimsy, or that weren’t installed right – may offer little protection. However, the crash bars will provide protection from a tip over and will protect from punctures to the gas tank which may be a danger to the rider. They were not designed as safety features, but they do add a little extra protection for motorcyclists.

Years ago, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study found that lower leg injuries are common in motorcycle accidents. A rider’s leg can become trapped under the weight of the motorcycle causing severe injuries and burns due to the exhaust being next to the rider’s leg. Motorcycle crash bars may be able to prevent this from happening.

Additionally, in a motorcycle accident, the gas tank can be punctured and poses a risk of fire or explosion. This creates danger for both the driver in the accident and any bystanders who may be helping at the scene. Motorcycle crash bars can reduce the risk of a puncture to the gas tank, thus preventing a dangerous fire.

Should I get crash bars on my motorcycle?

Crash bars make sense. They are not expensive, they are easy to install, and they will prevent the extensive and expensive damage a tip-over could cause. Installing this component may help to reduce lower leg injuries or burns to the lower leg. In addition, they will help to prevent a fire or explosion from a punctured gas tank.

Crash bars are not a miracle safety feature. They will not prevent a motorcycle accident, or protect a driver thrown from a bike. All drivers must drive responsibly and follow all driving laws. But this feature may be a valuable and effective addition to a motorcyclist’s armory of safety implements.

Additional safety tips for motorcyclists

We just wouldn’t feel right without offering some other safety tips to Nashville’s motorcycle riders out there:

  • Don’t drive without a motorcycle license
  • Always wear protective gear, including an adequate safety helmet
  • Obey all traffic laws
  • Be aware of the weather
  • Be aware of road conditions
  • Do not ride while under the influence of alcohol or impaired in any other way
  • Be aware of drivers around you, and remember that you might be invisible to them

At the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm, we have experienced attorneys who can help you if you were in a motorcycle crash. If you were injured due to someone’s negligence, we fight to ensure that you will be compensated for your medical bills – past, present, and future, as well as any physical therapy, and pain and suffering endured. Our wrongful death lawyers will fight for compensation if a loved one was lost to a motorcycle accident, ensuring all funeral costs are covered as well.

Call our experienced and dedicated Nashville motorcycle accident attorneys at Rocky McElhaney Law Firm if you get hurt in a wreck at 615-425-2500, or submit our contact form. We can set up a free consultation with you at one of our offices in Nashville, Hendersonville, or Clarksville.