Sidebar Restraints, a Solution or Problem?Sidebar restraints are an insufficient safety mechanism. Instead of actually correcting the problem, they can make it worse. Golf carts were designed without seat belts because the nature of the golf cart required a number of stops and manufacturers felt seat belts would be inconvenient. But why not allow the consumer to make that decision? Instead manufacturers failed to install seat belt restraints in golf carts entirely, substituting seatbelts for sidebars. For more on defective golf cart designs see here. Sidebars are available on both sides of the golf cart, both passenger and driver. However, when a driver makes a sudden left turn, the centrifugal force pushes them against the sidebar, which acts as a fulcrum, therefore causing the passenger to twist and fall out of the car. If the golf cart is going at a high rate of speed this force and impact can be substantial. Additionally, if the golf cart is riding on surface or cement streets, it can increase the likelihood of a traumatic brain injury or other bodily injuries.
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The Ultimate Guide to Golf accidents– Golf Cart Accidents – Who Is Liable? – Golf Cart Rollover Accidents – Brain Injury After Golf Cart Accident – Defective Golf Cart Injury Attorney – Golf Ball Injury Lawsuit
Increasing the Risk of InjuryHow do sidebars increase the risk of injury? Centrifugal forces, which redirect the position of the body when making a left turn coupled with the sidebar design on golf carts increase the likelihood of injury. While a passenger can still be ejected with or without sidebars, sidebars in-fact make the likelihood of injury greater. Since passengers are rotated around the sidebar and subsequently ejected and can be run over. If manufacturers actually created sidebars with proper height it would likely help to reduce this type of injury. However, in all models we have investigated the sidebar is relatively low and serves absolutely no function. Manufacturers will argue that passengers should use sidebars to grab onto or hold, but this will still not reduce or diminish the likelihood of injury for the reasons discussed above. Sidebars that are of the appropriate height will serve the intended safety function, but at low heights they do more damage than good.
Where Are the Seat Belts In Golf Carts?Where are seat belts in golf carts and why are they not installed? Manufacturers look at cost models when designing, manufacturing and ultimately marketing/selling the product. When considering the cost of safety restraints against sidebars it is likely that sidebars were the less expensive alternative. However, if proper testing was done it would be determined that sidebars are not an ideal alternative and in-fact can make the situation much worse. In past cases manufacturers have actively not taken safety steps such as changing a design or warning of a possible defect because of added cost. Instead they would pay the cost for litigation rather than shoulder the cost of repairing or recalling the product.
What to Do If You Have Been InjuredHere are some critical steps you should take if you have been injured. (1) seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. Speak with a qualified medical professional to discuss; (2) Get a copy of your medical records. This includes treatment records, bills and all other important information; (3) Keep photos of the actual product and make sure the product stays in its post accident state. Many times clients damage the case when they dispose of the product after use.
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