Is a Rider's Backrest More Dangerous in an Accident? - Harley Davidson Forums: Harley Davidson Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Is a Rider's Backrest More Dangerous in an Accident?

Came across a comment from someone noting a downside to riding with a backrest is the increased chance of injury if in an accident. For example... if rear-ended. Or how it can mess with your back in any kind of get off.

Hmmmm. Had never heard this. Then I started thinking if rear-ended, what if you went shooting back into your top case, sissy bar, or the vehicle that hit you.

Any perspective, thoughts, or experience?
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfarson View Post
Came across a comment from someone noting a downside to riding with a backrest is the increased chance of injury if in an accident. For example... if rear-ended. Or how it can mess with your back in any kind of get off.

Hmmmm. Had never heard this. Then I started thinking if rear-ended, what if you went shooting back into your top case, sissy bar, or the vehicle that hit you.

Any persepective, thoughts, or experience?
In my opinion, Steve, will it cause more of an injury if rear ended?

The ones I've seen are pretty rigid regarding backwards movement, and in reality, I'd rather hit a padded backrest then slide all the way back, and hit a chrome sissybar, or none at all, being dumped into the license plate/mount. Especially a billet plate bracket, which is stronger then stock and can have sharp edges.

Being hit behind on a motorcycle is one of the most vulnerable accidents a rider will ever be in, because in most cases, the rider never sees it coming, unless he hears the screaching tires, if the car is braking at all.

This means a lax grip on the handlebars and no bracing or preparation for the impact at all.

With a surprize impact, the rider will have the bike slammed out from under him, rider going backwards and striking the offending car and anything under him/her along the way.

I would almost prefer a backrest if it meant possibly NOT being injured more, or flipping over back onto a car.

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 10:19 AM
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Backrests are definitely more dangerous. If you are going down, you want to get away from the bike (the last thing you want is to tumble down the road with your bike). A backrest makes this more difficult. The taller the backrest, the harder it can be to bail.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 10:20 AM
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But will the backrest give you enough of a twist to make you hit head first into the radiator?

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 02:02 PM
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I think we need legislation to outlaw cages then we would not have to worry about this.

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 02:07 PM
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I don't know, if I spend so much time worrying about what is and isn't dangerous about riding, I'd probably lock myself in the house and never leave.

I've been riding for over 45 years. Had a couple of OhOh's, but I'm still riding. I don't wear one of those day-glo dork vests so EVERYONE can see me, don't wear full leathers so I won't get bruised. Don't have a 1,000 dollar full faced helmet, usually don't wear boots. I try to be aware of cars. BUT mostly I ENJOY. Constant worry only detracts from the experience.

I have a back rest on my E-Glide, very comfortable. Don't have one on my WideGlide, wouldn't look right.

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 03:52 PM
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Buddy was hit in the rear. Snapped his back and neck. Died instantly. He landed on the ground where he was hit after going over the SUV. She stopped 100 yds down the road. His bike still on 2 wheels under her front bumper. The front wheels of her navigator were off the ground. No back rest. Doubt it would have mattered except where he landed.

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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-20-2010, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by screwball View Post
I don't know, if I spend so much time worrying about what is and isn't dangerous about riding, I'd probably lock myself in the house and never leave.

I've been riding for over 45 years. Had a couple of OhOh's, but I'm still riding. I don't wear one of those day-glo dork vests so EVERYONE can see me, don't wear full leathers so I won't get bruised. Don't have a 1,000 dollar full faced helmet, usually don't wear boots. I try to be aware of cars. BUT mostly I ENJOY. Constant worry only detracts from the experience.


Well said

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 02:45 AM
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I never really thought of it.
I suppose that a backrest could hinder getting off the bike in certain situations.
If my bike got rear ended, one would think that it would offer a little more protection.
Don't know. I will keep mine though.

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-21-2010, 04:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave63 View Post
In my opinion, Steve, will it cause more of an injury if rear ended?

The ones I've seen are pretty rigid regarding backwards movement, and in reality, I'd rather hit a padded backrest then slide all the way back, and hit a chrome sissybar, or none at all, being dumped into the license plate/mount. Especially a billet plate bracket, which is stronger then stock and can have sharp edges.

Being hit behind on a motorcycle is one of the most vulnerable accidents a rider will ever be in, because in most cases, the rider never sees it coming, unless he hears the screaching tires, if the car is braking at all.

This means a lax grip on the handlebars and no bracing or preparation for the impact at all.

With a surprize impact, the rider will have the bike slammed out from under him, rider going backwards and striking the offending car and anything under him/her along the way.

I would almost prefer a backrest if it meant possibly NOT being injured more, or flipping over back onto a car.
I've never seen any statistics on rider injuries from backrests. While backrests for the rider are not so common, they are almost ubiquitous for the passenger. I have never heard of any negative reports about injuries to a passenger due to a padded sissy bar.

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