In most vehicles, there are safety measures in place that help to protect the passengers should the car or truck get into an accident. One vehicle that doesn’t have this type of protection, however, is a motorcycle. Helmets and protective clothing do help to reduce the severity of injuries to the motorcyclist should they be in an accident, but motorcycles do not have airbags or a protective frame around them like sedans.
Motorcycle crash bars are one of the few additions motorcyclists can add to their bikes that may help to protect them from certain injuries during a minor crash. In high-speed crashes, however, experts debate whether crash bars help or hurt the driver.
What are crash bars?
Crash bars, also known as engine guards, are hoop-shaped bars mounted near the front of the motorcycle frame. They are meant to protect the engine from damage, and to protect the rider during a slow-speed accident.
When a motorcycle falls down at a slow speed, the crash bars are there in order to protect the legs of the motorcyclist. Not only that, but it prevents the driver from being pinned under the vehicle, and makes it easier for the motorcycle to be lifted off.
While the crash bars offer some amount of protection in slow-speed crashes, during an accident at higher speeds, the crash bars may injure the motorcyclist, per Bike Restart: “However, in high speed crashes, where the rider is thrown off the motorcycle, there is no protection provided by the engine guards. In addition, if the impact is too high, the bars might give up due to the extreme load and can worsen the impact.”
It should be noted that in crashes with motorcycles that have no crash bars, drivers still suffer high rates of fatality and severe injury.
What are common injuries from Huntsville motorcycle accidents?
Motorcycle crashes have a high rate of fatalities, with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reporting that “per vehicle miles traveled in 2020, motorcyclists are about 28 times more likely than people in passenger cars to die in a traffic crash.” If a driver survives their motorcycle crash, they will likely suffer from injuries such as:
- Road rash. Road rash is one of the most common injuries for motorcyclists, as they have little protection between them and the road when they are in an accident. Road rashes, similar to burns, are categorized into three degrees:
- First-degree road rash presents with burning, discomfort, and redness on the skin, and is a superficial wound. These sorts of injuries will likely heal on their own without medical treatment.
- Second-degree road rash is a more severe injury, damaging the top layers of the skin, but leaving the deeper layers unharmed. Second degree road rash is also able to be treated at home with some over the counter medicines and first aid treatment.
- Third-degree road rash is the most severe of the injuries, occurring when the injury damages all three layers of the skin. Just like severe burn wounds, these injuries are very susceptible to sometimes fatal infections, so it’s critical that you seek medical attention immediately.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI). A traumatic brain injury is one of the most common injuries that occur in motorcycle accidents. A TBI is when the brain is damaged by an external force to the head, such as one might see in a car accident, sports incidents, slip and fall accidents, or assault. Due to possible internal bleeding or swelling of the brain, symptoms may include headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, memory loss problems, and periods of unconsciousness. These symptoms sometimes present soon after the accident, or sometimes several weeks later. Brain injuries can heal without problem, but sometimes they can cause life-long problems and complications. It is important that you see a medical professional if you think you have a brain injury.
- Spinal cord injury/paralysis. A spinal cord injury can occur when the rider is thrown from their bike and collides with an object. Spinal cord injuries can cause complete or incomplete paralysis depending on the severity of the injury, leaving the victim with little or no feeling or mobility beneath the site of their injury.
- Neck and back injuries. Another common injury in motorcycle accidents is injury to the neck and the back. These injuries can not only be painful, but limit range of motion, and can possibly create complications later in life.
- Limb loss. Due to the lack of protection to a motorcyclist when in a crash, riders also face higher risks of losing a limb due to traumatic amputation. Such an injury is life-altering and all around devastating.
- Broken bones. Crash bars may help prevent certain bone fractures and crush injuries. These injuries can happen when, during a crash, your motorcycle falls on you. If the crash bar is there, and the crash doesn’t take place at high speeds, you may be able to avoid damage to your lower extremities, and avoid being crushed by the vehicle. Bone fractures and crush injuries can occur in motorcycle accidents. Depending on the severity of the fractures, these injuries can take months to heal and are often quite painful.
Injuries such as these not only leave you in pain, but they can make a substantial dent in your income if you cannot return to your job. A loss of income on top of hospital bills and medical treatments can be devastating to your entire family. That is why it is important to seek out the help of an experienced Huntsville motorcycle accident lawyer.
Being in a motorcycle accident can alter your life, but if you take proper precautions such as wearing a helmet, the proper clothing, and having crash bars installed on your motorcycle, you may be able to avoid severe injury. If you have been in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, the dedicated attorneys at Martin & Helms, PC will make you their top priority. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 256-539-1990 or fill out our contact form. We also have an office in Decatur, and proudly serve clients in Athens, Madison, and throughout North Alabama.