Are windshields dangerous? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 04-25-2020, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Are windshields dangerous?

My coworker who is fairly new to motorcycles too rides a DR650. When she saw my KLR she said I should take the windshield off. She says that they told her in her motorcycle safety class that you run the risk of decapitation from the wind shield and the instructor claimed that it happened to his best friend right in front of him while they were riding together. I spent the last ten minutes with google and did not find anything about this. Is there any truth to it or is it more of an urban legend?
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post #2 of 18 Old 04-26-2020, 12:38 AM
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That is rediculous. Decapitated? Never heard that.

Many windshields have shearing bolts that break off in an accident.

Probably has happened some time or another. But the chance of being decapitated by a klr windshield is far less than the benefit of having one.

Maybe someone made a windshield out of plate glass. You can never underestimate stupidity.
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post #3 of 18 Old 04-26-2020, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MrZappo View Post
That is rediculous. Decapitated? Never heard that.

Many windshields have shearing bolts that break off in an accident.

Probably has happened some time or another. But the chance of being decapitated by a klr windshield is far less than the benefit of having one.

Maybe someone made a windshield out of plate glass. You can never underestimate stupidity.
That is really what I thought. Especially when I could not find any stories of it online. I got the vibe that it was one of those teachers that makes up stories to make themselves feel powerful.
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post #4 of 18 Old 04-26-2020, 06:19 AM
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Windshields ARE dangerous, IMHO; but . . . only windshields on the automobiles approaching motorcyclists!


“You better put down that gun. You got two ways to go, put it down or use it. Even if you tie me, you’re gonna be dead.” "John Russell" (Paul Newman), Hombre
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post #5 of 18 Old 04-26-2020, 07:03 AM
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I agree that an aftermarket, taller shield on a Gen1 puts the top of the shield in a "more dangerous" position when off roading / standing. But it's a mild increase in danger. No way is it going to decapitate. I think the MSF instructor was telling your friend a tale.

Last edited by cfestings; 04-26-2020 at 08:42 AM.
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post #6 of 18 Old 04-26-2020, 07:38 AM
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Seems ridiculous to me, although it reminded me I did witness a "true decapitation risk" the other day. I was following an older SUV and I could see the spare tire swaying and banging around under the vehicle.

I'm guessing it was one of those winch/cable arrangements that I can't believe ever existed and it must have been really loose because you could actually see most of the tire as it moved freely about, hanging by the cable.

I had this same setup on my old 2003 Tacoma. You're supposed to winch the tire up so it's snug against the frame, but there is no kind of safety device. The tire is just suspended by only the cable, a cable that isn't very heavy to begin with and prone to corrosion if ignored. The first time I went to check the air in my spare tire, I realized it was "upside down" where I couldn't get to the valve stem, so I had to crank it down to turn the tire over. When I saw how this arrangement worked, I never used it again and just carried my spare in the bed.

Many years ago, I was cruising down the interstate in that same Tacoma and suddenly saw something large and silvery tumbling down the roadway then flashing by me on the right at what seemed at the time to be maybe a vehicles' width. I couldn't figure out what it was until the last second but I finally realized it was one of those large, curved fenders that cover both sets of rear wheels on a tanker trailer. I don't know if it was made out of aluminum or steel but it was big and had to be heavy: certainly could have killed somebody if it hit them no matter what they were in or on. How it came off, I had no idea. Whatever truck it came from just kept going so I don't think it was caused by a blowout. The driver probably didn't even know it was gone until their next stop.
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post #7 of 18 Old 04-26-2020, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planalp View Post
Seems ridiculous to me, although it reminded me I did witness a "true decapitation risk" the other day. I was following an older SUV and I could see the spare tire swaying and banging around under the vehicle.
Yeah, true story ...

One fine spring day, I'm commuting home on the KLR. Despite the heavy 5:30pm traffic, it's lovely weather, bike is running great -what's not to like. Normal attire -heavy jeans, full-face helmet, MC-gloves and boots, armored jacket.

And because its California, no law against lane splitting. So I'm threading the bike through thick traffic. Most cage drivers are at least tolerant of a bike squeezing past, and some are even courteous. We're all moving along at regular speeds, two lanes each way, and mostly straight road.

Then there's a section of the road undergoing construction, and traffic slows to about 30. No problem though, I'm still filtering through, cars, cars, trucks, SUVs... coming upon a silver minivan in the left lane and a dark gray Dodge crewcab pickup. As I'm about to pass between these two, I hear a loud BAM! and the ass end of the pickup suddenly jumps a full foot in the air. Momentarily I'm thinking "What the ...? He hit an object in the road? Break in the asphalt ...?"

Split second later, the dude's spare tire comes flying up from under the truck, flipping end-over like a tossed coin, and that full-sized spare is aiming straight for me. "OH-SH!T!!! - BRAKES-BRAKES-BRAKES!"

The flipping tire peaks at about 10-12 feet in the air and is now coming down straight towards me and the scooter. I lean my head/torso hard left, trying to avoid the spare, but keep hands-on the handlebars, and the whole bike begins to drifting left. Whack! -the tire impacts the right side of the headlight fairing, the right handle bar, tears off that turn signal, and ricochets into the middle of the right lane. The bike shudders and wobbles from the impact, but before the brain can relax momma in her silver minivan has noticed something weird and she's now hard on the brakes. Jeez -collision course with the backside of her minivan. "Steer right!!!" Dodged the minivan, and now scan for an exit ... Cool, traffic behind this CF has mostly stopped and the spare tire is blocking the right-hand lane, so I aim the scooter across the lane and onto the gravel shoulder with no further drama.

Dude in the pickup has pulled over and I park the bike a few feet behind him. He's clueless as to what the hell just happened, inspecting the bumper and tailgate and the back of the truck. Hmm - no damage. I'm slowly pulling off the helmet and he says to me "What happened?" I suspect he's still thinking my motorcycle hit his shiny pickup. "It's your fncking spare tire, dude." and point to the tire blocking traffic in the right lane.

He doesn't get it, shaking his head, "No way!" So we both look under his truck to see the frayed end of the steel cable hanging there where his spare should be. The light finally comes on. Now he's very apologetic, are you okay, did it hit you, did it damage your bike? "No, I dodged it, just left some tracks on the fairing and sheered off the turn signal."

A good samaritan rolls up with the tire and it gets loaded into the truck bed, I collect the broken turn signal, and we all on our way home again. Frayed cable say's it's been abused or near broken for some time.

What I done wrong: Thinking that lane-splitting was okay through a construction zone in rush hour traffic. Could have avoided the scenario altogether.
What I done right: Skills and drills practices for panic stops, constantly scanning for exits, always covering the front brake. and wearing protective gear -for as much coverage as it can provide.

... luckily, I was wearing my brown pants.
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post #8 of 18 Old 04-26-2020, 01:14 PM
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NOT a motorcycling experience, but . . . it COULD have been! "What if," arises.

Following (in my, "cage") a pickup truck on a ramp leading to an Interstate highway . . . suddenly, a mattress, laid flat into the pickup bed with the tailgate closed, ROSE OUT of the bed completely, and landed on the pavement immediately in front of my vehicle! A, "Jersey barrier" (concrete barricade) was on my left, and merging traffic coming from the right, I had no choice other than . . . running over the mattress. Sorry about that, dude.

Upon analysis, I believe LIFT from the air moving over the bed (Bernoulli effect) levitated the mattress, flinging it to the roadbed. Next time, I hope the driver snubs down his mattress adequately, if he's driving at any speed at all.

Now: WHAT would/should I have done, if this mattress had landed in front of the leading wheel of my motorcycle? What would you do?

“You better put down that gun. You got two ways to go, put it down or use it. Even if you tie me, you’re gonna be dead.” "John Russell" (Paul Newman), Hombre
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post #9 of 18 Old 04-26-2020, 02:50 PM
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In a no exit, no alternative scenario I'd try to gas it and get my front end as light as possible. Good grip on the bars but not lock the elbows. Weight back, and butt off the seat. And hope that I'd decided not to have the taller aftermarket windshield on that day.
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post #10 of 18 Old 04-26-2020, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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I like the direction this thread has taken...

Quote:
Originally Posted by planalp View Post
Seems ridiculous to me, although it reminded me I did witness a "true decapitation risk" the other day. I was following an older SUV and I could see the spare tire swaying and banging around under the vehicle.

I'm guessing it was one of those winch/cable arrangements that I can't believe ever existed and it must have been really loose because you could actually see most of the tire as it moved freely about, hanging by the cable.

I had this same setup on my old 2003 Tacoma. You're supposed to winch the tire up so it's snug against the frame, but there is no kind of safety device. The tire is just suspended by only the cable, a cable that isn't very heavy to begin with and prone to corrosion if ignored. The first time I went to check the air in my spare tire, I realized it was "upside down" where I couldn't get to the valve stem, so I had to crank it down to turn the tire over. When I saw how this arrangement worked, I never used it again and just carried my spare in the bed.

Many years ago, I was cruising down the interstate in that same Tacoma and suddenly saw something large and silvery tumbling down the roadway then flashing by me on the right at what seemed at the time to be maybe a vehicles' width. I couldn't figure out what it was until the last second but I finally realized it was one of those large, curved fenders that cover both sets of rear wheels on a tanker trailer. I don't know if it was made out of aluminum or steel but it was big and had to be heavy: certainly could have killed somebody if it hit them no matter what they were in or on. How it came off, I had no idea. Whatever truck it came from just kept going so I don't think it was caused by a blowout. The driver probably didn't even know it was gone until their next stop.
I have seen that too with the loose tire. It is an accident waiting to happen like in the next post...

Quote:
Originally Posted by foo View Post
Yeah, true story ...

One fine spring day, I'm commuting home on the KLR. Despite the heavy 5:30pm traffic, it's lovely weather, bike is running great -what's not to like. Normal attire -heavy jeans, full-face helmet, MC-gloves and boots, armored jacket.

And because its California, no law against lane splitting. So I'm threading the bike through thick traffic. Most cage drivers are at least tolerant of a bike squeezing past, and some are even courteous. We're all moving along at regular speeds, two lanes each way, and mostly straight road.

Then there's a section of the road undergoing construction, and traffic slows to about 30. No problem though, I'm still filtering through, cars, cars, trucks, SUVs... coming upon a silver minivan in the left lane and a dark gray Dodge crewcab pickup. As I'm about to pass between these two, I hear a loud BAM! and the ass end of the pickup suddenly jumps a full foot in the air. Momentarily I'm thinking "What the ...? He hit an object in the road? Break in the asphalt ...?"

Split second later, the dude's spare tire comes flying up from under the truck, flipping end-over like a tossed coin, and that full-sized spare is aiming straight for me. "OH-SH!T!!! - BRAKES-BRAKES-BRAKES!"

The flipping tire peaks at about 10-12 feet in the air and is now coming down straight towards me and the scooter. I lean my head/torso hard left, trying to avoid the spare, but keep hands-on the handlebars, and the whole bike begins to drifting left. Whack! -the tire impacts the right side of the headlight fairing, the right handle bar, tears off that turn signal, and ricochets into the middle of the right lane. The bike shudders and wobbles from the impact, but before the brain can relax momma in her silver minivan has noticed something weird and she's now hard on the brakes. Jeez -collision course with the backside of her minivan. "Steer right!!!" Dodged the minivan, and now scan for an exit ... Cool, traffic behind this CF has mostly stopped and the spare tire is blocking the right-hand lane, so I aim the scooter across the lane and onto the gravel shoulder with no further drama.

Dude in the pickup has pulled over and I park the bike a few feet behind him. He's clueless as to what the hell just happened, inspecting the bumper and tailgate and the back of the truck. Hmm - no damage. I'm slowly pulling off the helmet and he says to me "What happened?" I suspect he's still thinking my motorcycle hit his shiny pickup. "It's your fncking spare tire, dude." and point to the tire blocking traffic in the right lane.

He doesn't get it, shaking his head, "No way!" So we both look under his truck to see the frayed end of the steel cable hanging there where his spare should be. The light finally comes on. Now he's very apologetic, are you okay, did it hit you, did it damage your bike? "No, I dodged it, just left some tracks on the fairing and sheered off the turn signal."

A good samaritan rolls up with the tire and it gets loaded into the truck bed, I collect the broken turn signal, and we all on our way home again. Frayed cable say's it's been abused or near broken for some time.

What I done wrong: Thinking that lane-splitting was okay through a construction zone in rush hour traffic. Could have avoided the scenario altogether.
What I done right: Skills and drills practices for panic stops, constantly scanning for exits, always covering the front brake. and wearing protective gear -for as much coverage as it can provide.

... luckily, I was wearing my brown pants.
I have no idea what I would have done in that situation. Being a new rider, I probably would have dropped the bike. Good job on your part for maintaining.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Damocles View Post
NOT a motorcycling experience, but . . . it COULD have been! "What if," arises.

Following (in my, "cage") a pickup truck on a ramp leading to an Interstate highway . . . suddenly, a mattress, laid flat into the pickup bed with the tailgate closed, ROSE OUT of the bed completely, and landed on the pavement immediately in front of my vehicle! A, "Jersey barrier" (concrete barricade) was on my left, and merging traffic coming from the right, I had no choice other than . . . running over the mattress. Sorry about that, dude.

Upon analysis, I believe LIFT from the air moving over the bed (Bernoulli effect) levitated the mattress, flinging it to the roadbed. Next time, I hope the driver snubs down his mattress adequately, if he's driving at any speed at all.

Now: WHAT would/should I have done, if this mattress had landed in front of the leading wheel of my motorcycle? What would you do?
I had that happen with a ladder one time. I was in my 4x4 F350. I slammed on my brakes and got enough distance between us that the ladder hit the ground before I hit it. I ran it over and it did not damage my truck at all but it went through the grill, up the hood, and smashed the windshield of the car behind me. I was able to go over it because I was so large. My wife would have collected on my life insurance and been set for life if I had been on a bike I think.
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