While motorcycle crash bars are not required under Tennessee law, they can help provide additional protection that can help avoid serious injuries. The motorcycle accident lawyers at Labrum Law take on a wide range of personal injury cases, including car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents. No matter what type of case you have, we want to hear your questions and concerns. Contact our office at (615) 338-9500 or reach out via our online form to schedule a free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, so our clients do not pay anything unless we win their case.
Why Are Motorcycles So Dangerous?
Motorcycles have many benefits and are enjoyed by many. They are usually less expensive to buy and maintain than cars, easier to store, and more fuel efficient. They can also be a lot of fun for experienced and safe drivers. The vast majority of motorcyclists are responsible and safe riders, but there are always a handful of riders who ride recklessly. There are two main reasons why motorcyclists are at higher risk of injury or death than drivers of regular passenger vehicles.
Less Security and Safety
The benefits of motorcycles' smaller size and fuel efficiency come with the downside that they offer less protection to the rider. While passenger vehicles have metal frames protecting the drivers and passengers from crashes and rollovers, motorcyclists are facing the open road without these features. This means in the event of a crash, the motorcyclist can more easily be projected from the bike or suffer a more severe bodily impact with drivers on the road. In 2020, there were 151 motorcycle fatalities in Tennessee, according to the Department of Safety & Homeland Security.
Motorcycle accidents tend to be more frequent than car accidents. In 2019, according to the Insurance Information Institute, motorcyclists were 29 times more likely to die in an accident than passengers in a car. Though there are numerous causes behind motorcycle accidents, one common issue is that they are less visible than passenger vehicles. When cars are changing lanes on the highway, a motorcycle is more likely to be hidden in their blind spot, causing a collision.
What Is a Motorcycle Crash Bar?
A motorcycle crash bar, sometimes called an engine guard, is a metal piece of equipment that attaches to a motorcycle and juts out past both sides of the motorcycle. They are typically shaped like a loop and attached to each side of the bike near the engine. The purpose of a motorcycle crash bar is to protect both the engine and frame from damage in the event of an accident, as well as the rider. Motorcycle crash bars are relatively inexpensive, but they can prevent a significant amount of damage.
Are Motorcycle Crash Bars Required by Law?
Motorcycle crash bars are not required by law. In Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, the following regulations must be followed by motorcyclists:
- Must wear an approved safety helmet
- Must use headlight during the daytime
- Must wear eye protection or have a windshield on motorcycle
- Must have rearview mirror installed
- Must have secure footrests
- Must have mufflers
- If transporting a passenger, must have separate passenger seating and footrest
- Must not “lane split,” i.e., riding between rows of slow or stopped traffic
While motorcycle crash bars are not required, it is a good idea to install them, nonetheless. It is important to take all possible steps to ensure your safety as a motorcyclist, such as installing any gear that will help you protect yourself on the road. You should also be sure to cover all of your skin with thick fabric, like denim or leather, and observe all of the rules of the road when operating a motorcycle.
How Do Motorcycle Crash Bars Help?
Yes. Motorcycle crash bars are designed for safety. Not only do they protect the bike itself, but they are also designed to help prevent riders from being pinned under the bike in the event of a crash. Motorcycles weigh anywhere from 300-600 pounds, which can be very difficult to get out from, especially if the rider was injured in the crash. The motorcycle crash bars lift the motorcycle off the ground just enough to help ensure the rider can pull themself out from underneath.
Of course, in an accident where the rider is thrown from the motorcycle, the motorcycle crash bars will be of little help. However, in the many instances where the motorcycle tips over while either parked or moving at a slow speed, they can prevent physical injury and expensive damage to the bike. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that lower extremity injuries were the most common injuries sustained by motorcyclists.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, take these steps to protect your own safety and improve the likelihood of success in the event you should have to file an insurance claim or subsequent lawsuit.
1. Get Medical Attention Immediately
Your health and safety is of critical importance. Even if you believe the crash was minor, visit a doctor's office soon after the accident to test for any latent injuries that may have been caused by the accident. These medical records may also be useful in supporting your claim later on.
2. Document the Accident
Jot down notes or take photographs of the scene of the motorcycle accident. This helps preserve what happened in case your memory of the event starts to become foggy. It is helpful to have these documents when beginning negotiations with insurance companies.
3. Do Not Accept the First Settlement Offer
Insurance companies may offer you a lowball settlement at first. Remember that once you accept an insurer's offer, you are agreeing to waive any future claims. Consider discussing your case with an attorney to determine if the insurance company's offer is fair. If not, an attorney can represent you in settlement negotiations to maximize the amount of compensation you may receive.
Trust Labrum Law's Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Our Tennessee-area lawyers handle our clients' cases from beginning to end. We strive to protect our clients' legal rights after a motorcycle accident. After suffering the pain and trauma of a serious motorcycle accident, you may feel overwhelmed and not want to handle the legal system on your own. Call us at (615) 338-9500 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.