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  • Are Get Back Whips Legal and Covered Under Liability Insurance?

    Are Get Back Whips Legal and Covered Under Liability Insurance?

Unlike mandatory motorcycle helmets, in the riveting world of motorcycle culture, “Get Back Whips” (aka biker whips) hold a prominent place on the open road. But despite their fascinating history and cultural significance, the use of these items often stirs a brew of legal controversy. So, you might ask yourself, “Are get-back whips legal, and what are they?” As a reputable motorcycle lawyer at the Ehline Law Firm, I aim to clarify any gray areas around their legality, whether a motorcycle endorsement covers bikers who use these artifacts intentionally. If not, the biker could be personally liable for the other driver or their passenger’s medical bills.

Get Back Whip Defined

Before we delve deeper into the legality, it’s crucial to understand what we mean by “Get Back Whips.” Initially, these were leather whips, or those made of braided leather straps or paracord, attached to the brake grips or clutch lever of a motorcycle, at times adorned with club colors or a silver skull hanging at the bottom. Back in the day, the motorcycle operator weaved braided leather cords through the clutch handle, which was not detachable. Their original intent was pretty straightforward – to enable a motorcyclist to quickly “get back” at anyone causing trouble on the road, especially while lane splitting. In the outlaw world, they were often called “biker whip.” Unlike other motorcycle accessories, customized get-back whips are most closely associated with biker clubs in stop-and-go traffic/lane sharing.

Unofficial History of Get Back Whips

The origins of ‘get back whips’ can vary significantly depending on who you ask. The most commonly held belief is that they emerged during the 1970s as members of various motorcycle clubs began crafting them from color-dyed leather meant to represent their respective clubs’ colors. On the other hand, an alternate perspective acquaints them more with the harder edges of motorcycle club culture during that era, often referring to them as ‘wind whips.’ The president of the Leathernecks MC, LMCI, explained that a significant outlaw biker club sold them to raise money as a tribute for a fellow fallen outlaw rider, so there are many versions, but one thing seems not to be disputed:

Modern Reasons for Getting Back Whips?

Motorcycle gangs are less prevalent these days, and there are several non-aggressive uses of get-back whips that do not intend them as weapons: 

Appeals to Many Motorcycle Riders

We create a unique and personalized appeal by adding braided leather or multi-colored paracord to a default motorcycle. They display a club’s allegiance and unity through dyed leather or paracord in their colors.

Avoid a Motorcycle Accident

Enhancing visibility and catching motorists’ attention with fringes fluttering in the wind as bikers cruise down the streets. This could potentially increase safety by making motorcycle riders more noticeable. But beware, a whip could hurt a passerby and lead to road rage or aggression by more significant vehicle drivers.

Tribute After Deadly Motorcycle Accidents

It is a touching tribute to pay homage to a lost friend or family member. With the fading presence of biker gangs and the debatable effectiveness of a slender strip of braided leather in enhancing visibility, aesthetics remain the primary motivation for riders to add a get-back whip to their bikes. Despite this, it is still crucial for you to ensure that having a get-back whip will not breach any local laws in the area where you plan to ride.

  • Are Get Back Whips legal in your state?
  • What repercussions could you face for using them?
  • How can Ehline Law Firm help you navigate this murky legal territory?

Let’s steer this journey towards understanding the legality surrounding the use of Get Back Whips and how we can support you ensnared in any ensuing squabbles. Do you recognize those leather strips adorned with dangling silver skulls you spot on many motorcycle riders’ handles? Those are referred to as “Get Back Whips”.

Not merely ornamental, these whips have a history rooted in the biker community, often perceived as a symbol signifying a biker’s territory and respect. But the pertinent question is, “Is the use of ‘Get Back Whips’ legal?” Navigating the legal framework can indeed be a bit complex, and it’s crucial to understand the specifics. 

Is it illegal to Possess Dangerous Back Whips?

The short answer is it depends. In rare cases, they can whip back the operator’s eye, especially with ape hangers (like a chopper, etc). So it’s essential to wear eye protection, gloves, and maybe even earphones when not a prohibited violation.

From our extensive research, including a study on states where possession of get-back whips is punishable, it appears there are some state or local laws explicitly categorizing get-back whips as illegal or unauthorized devices. Nevertheless, the absence of specific laws does not exempt you from any legal consequences if you use the leather strip hanging from your clutch lever to retaliate against a driver who crossed your path abruptly. 

The complexities of the law can often blur the lines. Criminal laws more often focus on the application or potential use instead of the outright classification of an object. A prime example of this would be a monkey wrench, which, while being a handy tool for motorcycle repairs, can instantly be considered a weapon upon inflicting injuries on someone. Similarly, a braided leather attachment (perhaps with a metal weighted tail) to a bike essentially serves as a decorative piece till you unfasten it to engage in a physical confrontation. 

Some regional laws categorize whips as offensive weapons, making their possession and use ill-conceived.

However, simply having a get-back whip affixed to your bike’s brake lever does not automatically entail criminal charges for weapon possession unless it has been deliberately designed or detached for offensive use as a whip or a slungshot.

Examples: Get-Back Whip Motorcycle Laws In Your State

In the United States, there isn’t a federal law explicitly governing “Get Back Whips.” The legality essentially rests on state and local laws, which vary considerably. A handful of places could perceive them as “concealed weapons,” depending on how they’re used, thus potentially entangling the rider in a legal hassle. This makes it vital for motorcyclists to know their local ordinances to stay on the right side of the law. 

To provide an accurate understanding, we’ve organized a concise table below, summarizing their legal status across various states. 

‘State Legal Status of’‘GetBack Whips’State Legal Status of ‘GetBack Whips’

  • California Legal, with restrictions: Legal if 18 inches or under. But owning or manufacturing a slungshot – defined by the dictionary as a weapon comprising a strap and a piece of metal or other weighted object – is illegal. A law enforcement officer might regard the leather braids as a slungshot – a metal clip connected to a leather strap. One way of legally showcasing the get-back whip in California could be to braid it onto the brake or clutch lever, fixing it as a permanent ornament while ensuring it doesn’t feature any metal that could lead to it being categorized as a slungshot.
  • Florida Legal
  • Texas Legal if under 12 inches
  • New York, Strictly Illegal
  • Pennsylvania Illegal.

Some states promulgate criminal penalties similar to the illegal use of a bullwhip, including fines and imprisonment in a county jail.

What are paracord requirements for a get-back whip in your state?

Are the rules and regulations lenient towards the opportunity to install a get-back whip on your motorbike? If the answer is yes, it’s important to remember that safety comes first, irrespective of whether you plan to purchase or handcraft your whip from leather or paracord. You must take precise measurements to ensure that the whip’s length does not obstruct your bike’s handling or chances of functioning in traffic and slapping cars. 

Imagine dealing with a piece of braided leather or paracord getting trapped in your bike chain or wheel! That’s a scenario you’ll want to avoid. Companies that manufacture custom or readily available get-back whips typically provide 24-, 36- and 48-inch variants. A wealth of detailed tutorials is available to guide you in crafting a get-back whip. As for the material requirements, the consensus among various tutorials and web resources is that you should have between 27 and 50 feet of paracord or leather, depending on the final length you desire for your whip. Just remember, just because it’s legal some places, you can still be found liable for negligence if it whips a pedestrian, for example, or people riding bicycles. Police will document the cause of the acts and things giving rise to injuries caused by people motorcycling.

How a Get Back Whip Could Prevent Car Accidents?

While seemingly unconventional, this leather accessory attached to handlebars could play a role in preventing car accidents, demonstrating that innovation in safety can come from unexpected places.

Body: Visibility Enhancement

A brightly colored or reflective Get Back Whip can significantly enhance the visibility of a motorcycle or bicycle on the road. Increased visibility helps catch the attention of other drivers, reducing the likelihood of accidents caused by blind spots or distractions.

Communication and Signaling

The swaying motion of a Get Back Whip can serve as a visual signal to other drivers, indicating a change in direction or an intention to maneuver. Clear communication on the road is crucial for avoiding misunderstandings and preventing motorcycle accidents.

Creating Safe Buffer Zones With Motorcycle Laws

The distinctive appearance of a Get Back Whip may encourage other motorists to maintain a safe distance from the motorcycle or bicycle. Increased buffer zones contribute to accident prevention, especially when tailgating or sudden stops are expected.

Psychological Deterrence

The presence of a Get Back Whip may psychologically deter aggressive drivers from engaging in risky behaviors around motorcyclists or cyclists. This psychological impact could contribute to a safer driving environment for all road users and even a motorcycle accident.

Raising Awareness

Incorporating Get Back Whips into road safety campaigns can raise awareness about the vulnerability of motorcyclists and cyclists. Education and visibility go hand in hand, fostering a culture of mutual respect and caution on the road.

While unconventional, the Get Back Whip demonstrates the potential for creative solutions in road safety. By enhancing visibility and communication and creating safe buffer zones, this seemingly simple accessory could prevent car accidents and foster a safer environment for all road users. As we continue exploring innovative approaches to road safety, it’s essential to remain open to unexpected solutions that may significantly impact accident prevention.

Will Liability Insurance Cover Get Back Whips?

Biker insurance typically covers bodily injury and property damage for which an insured party with a valid driver’s license becomes a legally responsible motorcycle rider. The coverage extends to motorcycle accidents involving the insured’s vehicle, including situations where the biker causes harm to others. If you are violent and crash, you may not be covered, as against public policy. Insurance coverage specifics can vary, and it’s crucial to consult with the insurance provider to understand the terms and conditions of the policy to assure compensation.

In the case of a Get Back Whip on a motorcycle or bicycle:

  • Bodily Injury Liability

If an accident occurs, and the Get Back Whip is somehow involved in causing bodily injury to another party, bodily injury liability coverage may come into play. This coverage helps pay for medical expenses, rehabilitation, and other costs associated with injuries to others, typically on public roads.

  • Property Damage Liability

If the Get Back Whip causes damage to someone else’s property (e.g., another vehicle), damage liability coverage may cover the costs of repairing or replacing the damaged property. It’s important to note that insurance coverage can depend on the specific circumstances of the accident, the cause of the incident, and the insurance policy’s terms. Some insurers may view certain modifications or accessories differently, so it’s advisable for the policyholder to communicate openly with their insurance provider. You get in a crash as you operate your bike. The victims goes after your insurance under state motorcycle laws.

To ensure adequate coverage and address any potential concerns related to accessories like Get Back Whips, policyholders should:

  • Inform their insurance provider about any modifications or accessories added to the insured vehicle.
  • Review their insurance policy documents to understand the scope of coverage and any exclusions related to accessories.
  • Seek clarification from the insurance company on how specific accessories may be covered in the event of an accident.

Insurance coverage can vary, so maintaining open communication with the insurer and staying informed about policy details is essential for ensuring appropriate coverage in various scenarios.


While no explicit law bans the use of decorative paracord or leather on your motorcycle – components that collectively embody a get-back whip – the detachable nature of these items could place them under the banner of forbidden devices like whips or slungshots. This holds only if residing where such contrivances are disallowed. 

In case you ascertain that residing in your state doesn’t conflict with the lawfulness of these objects, there’s yet a safety concern to ponder. Reflect on the potential hazards that could arise from riding along with a length of braided leather or paracord swaying aimlessly, jeopardizing your bike’s otherwise smooth control and operation (brakes/clutch, etc) as they grab their whips. 

If you remain smitten by the decorative charm of a get-back whip and confidently bypass potential issues (comprising safety, for instance), think about minimizing its length of travel. This way, it neither interferes with your ride nor diverts your attention. The beauty of custom-made get-back whips is that you can decide their measurements and how long.


Consider observing the shortest length possible that ensures a pleasant, distraction-free ride. Some motorcycle laws are cop interpreted.

Conclusion: How Ehline Law Firm Can Help 

Whether you or your loved one are facing a legal issue regarding Get Back Whips or a motorcycle endorsement, Ehline Law Firm is here to help after a devastating accident. Our years of experience in handling motorcycle cases and our dedication to serving the biker community equips us with the skills required to handle your case effectively. Don’t hesitate to contact us to protect you if you face any legal issues involving motorcycles. We can answer questions about motorcycle laws, not just a motorcycle accident.

Remember that rules can change quickly even if ‘Get Back Whips’ are legal in your state. Always ensure you’re updated with local whip laws to avoid unpleasant surprises. That’s why having an expert legal team by your side, such as the skilled motorcycle lawyers at Ehline Law Firm, is beneficial. They understand the complexities of transportation, motorcycle laws, and how regulations change from one jurisdiction to another in many states.

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Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.