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Motorcycle Safety/Dynamics

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Highway Boards (Pegs)
Should be standard equipment

By: James R. Davis

Highway boards can be dangerous - just like your throttle. On the other hand, used appropriately, they can be viewed as a safety device.

I know, if your feet are up on highway boards they are not on your foot controls. How in the world could that be thought to in any way be safer than leaving your feet on your regular pegs and covering those controls?

It is NOT safer to have your feet on the highway boards than on your regular pegs.

It is, however, a safety feature to be able to stretch your legs for brief periods of time by being able to place your feet on firmly mounted surfaces forward of their normal positions. Some people, over extended rides, dangle their feet towards the ground. Others try to put their feet on engine guards or on their passenger pegs. All of these alternatives are dangerous by comparison to using highway boards.

Isn't it safer to just leave your feet on the regular pegs all the time? Nope! You need circulation in your legs and leaving them on the regular pegs over extended riding time tends to restrict that circulation. You could, of course, simply stand on those pegs for awhile as you tool down the road, and if you don't have highway pegs that might be just the thing to do for you. But highway boards are especially important add-ons for the tourer because they allow you to stretch your legs without having to unbalance the bike or raise its center of gravity markedly.

There are appropriate times to consider using them, and times when you should not.
  • If you are in traffic of any kind, your feet belong on your regular pegs.

  • If you are riding on an unfamiliar road surface that might have pot holes in it, your feet belong on your regular pegs.

  • If there is the possibility that an animal (deer) might jump into the lane you are riding in, your feet belong on your regular pegs.

  • If you are riding down hill, your feet belong on the regular pegs.

  • If you are moving slowly, your feet belong on your regular pegs.

On the other hand:
  • If you have been riding for awhile and your legs begin to tingle, and it is safe to do so, that is the time to use those highway boards.

  • If you are getting bored and want to change 'something' to get your attention back to the task of controlling your bike, use your highway boards.

  • If you experience a cramp in your leg or hip, use one or both of your highway boards.

Some things you should consider:

  • Mount those highway boards securely!

  • Make sure that you do not have to over-reach with your feet to get on them. (There should still be a modest bend in your knees when you are on those boards.)

  • Make sure that your legs do not get too close to a hot engine part when your feet are on the boards.

  • Do not mount the boards so high that you must take all the bumps you hit on an off-vertical spine.

Copyright © 1992 - 2021 by The Master Strategy Group, all rights reserved.

(James R. Davis is a recognized expert witness in the fields of Motorcycle Safety/Dynamics.)[/center]
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