What to know before you motorcycle tow
Have you ever heard anyone rant about his or her towing tragedy? Believe it or not, roadside rescues have their fair share of horror stories. To prevent yourself from being the victim of a damaged bike, there are some things you should know before you tow.
There are hundreds of thousands of tow truck drivers in the United States- but did you know that less than 30-percent of them have the knowledge or equipment to handle motorcycles? That said riders should be prepared to ask questions prior to the tow to ensure the safety of their bike. You should always ask the dispatcher if they have someone experienced with motorcycles, and especially if they have the correct equipment. Incase you aren't sure of what equipment to ask for here's an idea.
When your bike is being towed because it broke down, one of three types of machines are probably going to be used: A motorcycle trailer with a channel/chock for the front wheel, a flatbed/rollback with a motorcycle dolly or a motorcycle tow truck with an adapter to clamp the bike's front wheel.
When one of these is used, the bike is towed on its suspension components, not the kickstand. When nylon ratcheting straps are attached to the front forks and rear to make it sit straight, make sure that the straps or chains are not going around the bike, compressing your seat or bodywork. This could cause damage.
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You should actually ahead of time think of how these straps can be routed through so you can make suggestions to the driver so your bike does not get ruined.
When your motorcycle is being towed because of an accident, it may be treated a bit different by the tow truck driver and even by police on the scene- treated like it is totaled. This means that they may be careless with your bike. For instance, a police officer could drag the bike across the pavement to clean up the scene quickly- at the same time, your artwork being scraped.
If you are able to (meaning if you are conscious), see if the bike can be moved with care. Motorcycle towing is a little different when a bike is wrecked. If the front wheel is damaged, it will be unable to be towed with the channel/chock method, and will most likely be laid down and secured in a flatbed.
So, are you prepared for the cost of a motorcycle tow?
Perhaps you may want to look into joining a motor club for to get a motorcycle tow privilege, or see what options your insurance company has. Clubs like Bros Club, AAA and Motorcycling Touring Club offer towing services, as well as other roadside assistance service like fuel delivery and jumpstarts. In addition, these clubs will link you to tow companies that are recommended for bikes! According to the Motorcycle Touring Services, half of their reported tows resulted because of electrical problems. The other reasons in the top five are tires (25%), mechanical issues/no fuel (15%), road hazards (7%) and accidents (3%).
When looking for clubs or deals within your insurance company, you should be aware of what type of tows are covered or reimbursed.
Also, before any tow, make sure that you and the operator walk around the bike to assess any damage- or lack thereof. This will help should you notice anything new once at the tow yard. Finally, be sure to get an itemized bill is you are claiming anything with your insurance company.