Ask Our Lawyer – June 2019

by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services

THE U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SERVES YOU WITH A SUBPOENA “COMMANDING” YOUR ATTENDANCE AT A TRIAL NEARLY 800 MILES AWAY – WHAT DO YOU DO?

You’re sitting on your front porch minding your business when you get a subpoena from a federal court in New York City.  And not any federal court but the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.  That is where a lot of heavy stuff happens – Yikes.  That subpoena is “commanding” (IT DIDN’T SAY PRETTY PLEASE) your appearance for a trial that may last 4-5 weeks, but you live in Peoria, Fairfield or wherever in Illinois.  The government “claims” it will pay your travel and lodging expenses, but what about your job?  Your family? Your life?  The case involves alleged bad acts by doctors and a drug company.

You are patriotic and want to help your country and its system of justice, but there are limits.  What do you do – pack your bags – bid adieu to your family?  This happened to ABATE member Deanna Whittaker.

Her call to us was unsettling.  She was concerned beyond belief that she would be stuck in NYC for what could exceed a month or more.  Her big question to ABATE LEGAL: “Does she have to go?”

In the pages of the papers that were served on Deanna was Federal Rule 45 regarding how far a citizen in this country could be subpoenaed for trial. The answer generally is that a federal subpoena is only good for 100 miles from your residence or employment to the court house or place of deposition.  So the answer is “hell no she does not have to go”. But her Subpoena from the Federal District Court in NYC ” Commanded” her presence at 40 Centre Street in that city.  No exceptions found in the subpoena.  I repeat – she was “commanded to appear”.  Well Rule 45 limits a federal court’s power to interfere with a citizen’s life;  but shouldn’t a U.S. Attorney be upfront and advise a citizen of the limits of Rule 45. That lawyer should not be able to send a bunch of legal small print mumbo jumbo in a subpoena package that arguably takes the government off the hook for misleading a subpoena requirement. How dare the government send a subpoena that on its face “commands attendance of Deanna” when they know full well that the subpoena was unenforceable 100 miles from downtown NYC. I am thinking that federal subpoena was shooting blanks somewhere around Harrisburg Pa. or about 600 miles short of Peoria.  Shame on government people that are less than candid.

What a good public servant would have said is as follows: “Deana, the U.S. Government needs you for this trial.  The subpoena we sent you is only good for 100 miles from the court.  You are outside that limit and you do not have to come to NYC, but if you wish to voluntarily travel to NYC that would assist the government”.   The government should also advise that if your personal circumstances disallow you from being away from your family and job, the Justice Department can come to Peoria and take your deposition which can be used in the NYC court as if you were there and that deposition can be videotaped so the jury can see and hear you.

Sometimes I wonder what kind of guys are chasing the bad guys.

Note- Deana wanted this published so others will be aware of their rights concerning a federal subpoena.

WEARY OF FAILING TO GET MY POINT ACROSS – AFTER 40 YEARS OF PREACHING, YOU WOULD THINK.

Uninsured/Underinsured motorcyclist coverage – how does it work? The perfect explanation – I hope.

If the guy that runs over you HAS NO liability insurance, then the uninsured coverage under YOUR policy kicks in to cover your hospital bills, pain and suffering and other losses to the extent of the limits in your policy – THAT IS IF YOU BOUGHT UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE.  SHAME ON YOU IF YOU DIDN’T.  AND GET THE HIGHEST LIMITS YOU CAN as you will need them if you get hit by the Mack truck on your motorcycle.

If the other guy that runs over you has minimal limits (and some states limits are stupid low) and your losses exceed those limits, the underinsured part of your insurance policy takes over and covers the losses above the bad guys minimal limits up to the underinsured limits of your policy.  And get the highest limits you can for this coverage – your family may need it.

At the risk of sounding redundant here is an example:  a biker is riding on a country lane when a farmer pulls out from a field directly into the path of the biker.  The biker attempts to avoid the tractor but loses control and hits a tree and is seriously injured.  Fortunately, the farmer is wealthy and has insurance limits high enough to pay for biker’s losses.

But what if he did not?  That is where the bikers underinsured coverage kicks in.

Some estimate that over 25% of motorists on the road are without insurance – uninsured.  That means they usually have nothing to help pay your losses – zip zero.  Folks that don’t have insurance usually don’t have money; that is the reason they don’t have insurance, so the blood from turnip rule applies.  That means that if you have no uninsured motorist coverage on your motorcycle, you are out of luck!

And just because the bad guy says he has insurance does not mean he really has insurance.  Some states allow you to drive with only 10k of liability insurance.  MY FRIENDS AND FELLOW RIDERS – THAT IS NOT INSURANCE, even though the law calls it minimal insurance.  So the rule is – make sure you have as much underinsured insurance coverage for the other guy just in case he has only 10k.  Understood?

TIS THE SEASON OR WHEN HAS MY MOTORCYCLE TIRE TREAD WORN OUT ITS WELCOME? RICK CHUPP/CYCLE OUTFITTERS TELLS US TREAD HEIGHT AND COOLING IS THE SECRET.

 Q:  How can you go from a motorcycle tire tread depth of 2/32″ (a supposedly safe motorcycle tire) to paper thin in less than 500 miles? I thought the tires were made better today. The tire was absolutely paper thin when it was replaced. If that tire had deflated while I was traveling down the interstate, would the manufacturer have any liability for personal injuries that I may have had because of the sudden wear of that tire? ABATE OF INDIANA MEMBER.

 A:  According to Rick, the minimum safe tire tread is 2/32″ (or one millimeter for you metric guys). An easy rule of thumb is to take a penny and place it in a tire groove. If the tread is deep enough to reach the top of Lincoln’s head, you have approximately 2/32″. Another trick is to measure the wear bars with a ballpoint pen by running the pen through a groove until you hit the wear bar. (They are hard to see, hence the ballpoint pen.) If the tread is even with the wear mark–park it unless you are going to a shop to replace it, and then don’t ride any faster than you are comfortable with in sliding down the road on your hide.

As to the question on how the tire wore so quickly in the last 500 miles, Rick Chupp of Cycle Outfitters (one of the best motorcycle tire suppliers in the country), provides an answer. He believes that the tire grooves provide significant cooling, hence, as the tire wears, less cooling. Remember, the hotter the tire–the faster the wear.

We know of numerous cases of our fellow motorcyclists unknowingly riding on paper-thin tires only to incur a blowout at interstate speeds. The result can be devastating. You don’t just pull over on the side of the road and get off. It does not work that way.  Deflation of a rear tire at 70 mph goes as follows:

You could get lucky and get to the shoulder without any problems. Unfortunately, you could notice a mushy handling characteristic, indicating a developing problem. By the time you have figured out what has happened, you are trying to slow from 70 mph, but the bike is becoming increasingly unstable. The rear end does not want to cooperate.

If you have a passenger, that problem is tripled. If you are lucky/skilled, you may be able to maintain control and somehow get you and your passenger to the side of the road without catastrophe. In many cases, the motorcyclist loses control in the process of slowing the bike.

That control loss is occasioned by known and unknown gyroscopic forces that are forcing the

bike into odd aerodynamic postures and increasing forces from wind resistance. When all of

these forces, including gravity and friction, are competing for control of your bike, you usually lose.

The point of this story is that don’t even consider less than perfect tires and interstate speeds. While tires are more reliable today than ever, tire manufacturers demand air pressures be kept as specified and that the tire is not used beyond the wear specified for that tire. Do not be fooled by the wonderful tire experience you have on your automobile.

Those tires may very well last 60,000 miles. Because of the nature of the manufacturer’s compounds of the motorcycle tire, and because of the extraordinary demand of a motorcycle tire, namely that it be flexible in almost all axis, rear motorcycle tires routinely need replaced at 10,000 miles. Again, use the Lincoln head penny or the wear marks as your guide. If your motorcycle is a Garage Queen (has not been ridden 10,000 miles in a 4 – 5 year period), I would replace the tire.

I find it hard to imagine that any jury would find fault with the tire manufacturer if the motorcyclist did not comply with the manufacturer’s recommendations on inflation and wear. Clearly, they could conclude that you misused the product in question, despite your claim that there was excessive and sudden wear over the last 500 miles of the tire.

SHOULD THE MULE BE THE OFFICIAL MASCOT FOR ABATE/MOTORCYCLISTS?

 A mule is an independent animal.  A few years ago in Wayne County, Illinois, Pure Oil Company leased a pair of matched mules to help retrieve oil field equipment in flooded areas.  Not much time is needed to discover the great qualities of the mule. Sorry, horse lovers; there is no comparison. Some say the mule is stubborn; I say he is principled.  Some say a mule does what he believes is right, correct and proper; regardless of what anyone thinks.  A mule takes the proper path, chooses the best footing and is reliable.  Sounds like a good motorcyclist?  Mules don’t like people that take the wrong path.

And mules talk. They have a word for “right”.  It is “gee”. When you hear a mule go “gee – haw”, the first word is “gee”, not “hee” (some have been getting that wrong for years). So it is “gee haw”, not “hee haw”.  Many people, and horse loving people in particular, have been mishearing mules for years. Teamsters, when handling mule teams adopted the mule words – “GEE” FOR RIGHT AND “HAW” FOR LEFT.  Both terms are defined in Webster’s Dictionary.  Look them up – notice the “origin unknown” part. That dictionary claims that the origin of “gee and haw” is “unknown”. Mules know better. As far as I can tell, these mule words are the only animal words in the ENGLISH language that are defined in Webster’s.  I have requested that Webster’s change the origin of the words “gee and “haw” from “unknown” to “early mule speak”.   I have not received a response – as yet.

If you want to test my mule theory, next time you visit a mule, just whisper “gee” in his “right” ear. I predict you will have an immediate MULE friend. His ears will perk up; he will look at you like you just bonded.

If I ever start a motorcycle club, I am thinking about naming it the IRON MULEMEN. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Ride Safe & Free,

 Rod Taylor

ABATE Legal Services

abatelegal.com

 All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Remember, injured ABATE members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery motorcycle crash cases, and expenses as approved by client. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ⅓%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery.  In those cases, ABATE members are not charged for recovery of damage to their motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: RodTaylor@abatelegal.com  © 2019.

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Ask Our Lawyer – May 2019

by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services

MIRACLE RIDE DAY – MILLIONS FOR THE KIDS – 6.5 MILLION SO FAR THE LARGEST CHARITY RIDE IN THE MIDWEST

 They will come from everywhere.  Three thousand to five thousand bikes will roll into Indy from

Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Iowa. Bill Kingery, Executive Director of the Miracle Ride Foundation says it best: “What a great day to give away some motorcycles, ride around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and raise a bunch of money for Riley Hospital for Children!”

Join us for the 26th anniversary Miracle Ride on June 1-2, 2019. You’ll be in good company! Riders include some big wigs like radio personality Tom Griswold of the Bob & Tom Show®, Jay Jackson, Executive Director of ABATE of Indiana, Ed Schetter, Executive Director of ABATE of Ohio, Dennis Byron, State Coordinator of ABATE of Illinois, and many of the officers of the MROs of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.  Bill Kingery, Executive Director of the Miracle Ride Foundation, Marc Falsetti, Editor of the Hoosier Motorcyclist and other luminaries for a ride around the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). The event includes lunch, a bike show, a huge motorcycle giveaway and several Poker Runs all culminating at the Indy 500 track.

Recall the many supporters that have made previous rides. Governors Daniels and former Governor and now V.P. Pence, several Colts players, Jeff Saturday, Ryan Diem, Jake Scott, Tony Castonzo, Chad Bratske, Ellis Johnson, Ryan Lilja, as well as offensive line coach Howard Mudd. Forrest and Charlotte Lucas were there as was former AMA President Ed Youngblood and of course comedian Tim Cavanagh.

Rupert Boneham of the TV show “Survivor” fame joined us, as has Medal of Honor recipient Sammy L Davis. IndyCar legend Parnelli Jones made the 500 lap with us. Tony George, then President and CEO of the IMS, rode from Harley Davidson headquarters in Milwaukee to join the ride. And how could we ever forget Ruth Buzzy and Troy Donahue?  By the way Marc Falsetti has a great photo of her and long-time MR supporter, Deb Farabaugh – a classic.

Let us remember these friends and contributors to the Miracle Ride: Doc Jones, former A.B.A.T.E of Illinois State Coordinator was a main stay volunteer, and Mike Meyer.  Andre Lacy was a financial contributor and fellow Miracle Rider, and Balls was a longtime Executive Director.  All of them are gone.

To date, the Miracle Ride has raised over $6,500,000. That’s right—we’re heading toward $7 million for the kids. All of this is being done by a bunch of bikers—go figure! Keep the tradition going and weatherman Rod Taylor promises good weather, record breaking attendance, clear skies and 78 degrees. That is his story and he is sticking to it.

For you first timers, riding into the backlot of Allison Transmission (God love those folks at Allison for all they do for Riley), here is what to expect: The start of the Ride is exhilarating.  By 9a.m. thousands of bikers are present. Celebration mood is in high gear and ABATE LEGAL will be once again serving Long’s Bakery famous donuts and coffee—FREE while they last! The Indianapolis Motorcycle Drill Team will entertain us and the Gordon Pipers will inspire us.

A little before 11a.m. the tension is there. By then we have received the all-important safety briefing by Chief Instructor and Executive Director of ABATE of Indiana Jay Jackson who has a perfect safety briefing record.  Music to a biker is hearing thousands of motorcycles fire up all at once. That sound alone is worth the price of admission.

After the start, there is the ride to Riley Hospital for Children. The route takes us past the kids, their nurses, doctors, parents and families. They’re standing outside of the hospital, lined up, cheering the riders on. Some of the kids are in wheelchairs, some are in the Riley red wagons. Some are on crutches, some are not. But they all wouldn’t be receiving top-notch care without donors like you.

You get the point – a very special moment for all of us.

After we pass Riley, it is off to the World-Famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Love it when we head into the first of four turns and keeping slow is more than the mind can bear. (IMS track monitors know this too, so beware!)

Riley isn’t just a local hospital; it truly is one of the best pediatric hospitals in the world with most of the kids coming from Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. The Miracle Ride is Riley Hospital’s largest community fundraiser and we couldn’t be able to donate the money we do without the incredible support of bikers throughout the country. This is a fabulous experience and I hope you will join us.

See the Miracle Ride website for more details:WWW.MIRACLERIDE.NET or WWW.ABATELEGAL.COM a proud founder of the Ride.  Also, a special thanks to the Board of Directors of the Miracle Ride who help make this event a success year after year:  Jay Jackson, Gino Johnson, Lori Combs, Gary Schwebach, John Barto.

 NO FAULT INSURANCE CAN BE A PROBLEM SAYS COOP FROM INDIANA

Hi Rod – If nothing ever becomes of my wreck in Canada, maybe you could place an information warning in — Hoosier Motorcyclist Magazine article advising riders that a relatively inexpensive “Collision Coverage” clause could protect them in the frequently occurring “No-Fault” States & Countries.  I read your articles thoroughly each month and I guarantee you that if I had read a warning from you about the IMPORTANCE of COLLISION coverage, even on old vehicles, driven in No-Fault States, that I would have taken immediate action with my own insurance.

Yours in ABATE,  COOP

ps: thanks for the TIP on the:  LUCAS OIL STABILIZER

COOP – When your case concludes I will write an article about your situation.  Your situation is interesting and thanks for giving me permission to write about it. You are correct in that others may learn from your experience.  And I will include your comment in the ABATE OF OHIO OUTSPOKEN and the A.B.A.T.E. OF ILLINOIS NEWS.  Rod

RIDING/DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED

 Q:  I was recently stopped for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. I refused the chemical test. After I refused the chemical test, a judge issued a court order to take my blood. Can you explain to me how the law can circumvent the Bill of Rights? To me this is a constitutional issue. ABATE MEMBER.

A:  From the information you provided, it sounds like the police may have acted within the requirements of the law. First, some background: most states have enacted “implied consent” laws into their statutes relating to drivers licenses. Crazy as it sounds, the courts have held that driving is a privilege, not a right, and not subject to the usual constitutional protections. In essence, by obtaining a license, the state claims you have consented to submit to a chemical test if you are stopped on suspicion of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. If you refuse the chemical test, your license will be suspended.

That brings us to your case. In many states, courts have ruled that once a chemical test is refused, a judge can order a blood sample. Once a warrant is issued, the police can have blood drawn for a chemical test to determine intoxication. From your description, it appears that is what happened. The United States Supreme Court has held that drawing blood and deriving evidence from that blood sample does not violate the self-incrimination protections of the Fifth Amendment.  State courts are bound by that ruling.

A BIKER’S ODE

 Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.

Never be afraid to slow down.

A bike on the road is worth two in the shed.

Young riders pick a destination and go… Old riders pick a direction and go.

People are like Motorcycles: each is customized a bit differently.

Everyone crashes. Some get back on. Some don’t. Some can’t.

Don’t argue with an 18-wheeler.

Never be ashamed to unlearn an old habit.

There are drunk riders. There are old riders. There are NO old, drunk riders.

Only a Biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window.

There are two types of people in this world, people who ride motorcycles and people who wish they could.  Author unknown.

 

PLUMB AND SQUARE AND LEVEL? – NOT IN THE WORLD OF MOTORCYCLING WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET TO THE EDGE.

Q:  The other day a semi came up behind me and passed me a little too close for comfort. The wind blast pushed me off the road onto the shoulder. Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem, and since I had taken the Motorcycle Safety course, I was ready for the change in pavement. What I wasn’t ready for was the sharp drop-off between the highway and the shoulder. It seems the highway department had been replacing the pavement and had milled off the top layer of the shoulder. As a result, there was a three to four inch drop from the highway surface to the shoulder. When I attempted to climb back onto the roadway, the bike got caught on the lip and spilled me. What is the best way to climb uneven pavement on a motorcycle? ABATE OF INDIANA member and Graduate of the ABATE MOTORCYCLE SAFETY COURSE.

A:  You’ve already done the best thing possible, which is to take the ABATE course. No doubt that trying to get over a raised pavement can be treacherous.  If traffic permits, the best thing is to stop, and slowly bring the bike back onto the roadway.  Come at it at as close to a 90 degree angle as possible. The closer you are to going straight at it, the better the bike will climb the drop-off. Conversely, the closer you are to parallel the drop-off, the more likely you are to catch the wheel on the drop-off and dump the bike.

Jay Jackson, Executive Director – ABATE of Indiana, suggests good ways to handle when you confront objects/defects on the roadway. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends a process for going over objects that we are unable to avoid by stopping or going around. First, determine if it is possible to surmount the obstacle. While you should be able to ride over a two by four from a contractor’s truck, that won’t work with a sofa off of a furniture truck. Approach the object at an angle as close to 90 degrees as possible. If you don’t happen to have your protractor handy, just try to go at it close to square. Control your path of travel by looking to where you want to go – not at the object/defect.  Look well ahead and toward your escape route.  Repeat – don’t look down or at the obstacle. If it is that important to see what it is, go back and look at it after you’ve gotten over it and parked.

Jay advises using a method to go over obstacles if you can’t go around. Rise slightly off the seat. Keep your knees bent and against the tank. Bending your knees has them working like shock absorbers and allows the motorcycle to move beneath you without bouncing your feet off the pegs. Roll on the throttle. A slight bit of acceleration just before the obstacle, combined with shifting your weight to the rear, will lighten the front wheel to provide for more travel in the suspension. When the front tire contacts the obstacle, roll off the throttle. Now you can breathe again.

Once you’ve gotten back on the road, you should do a couple of more things. The first is to inspect your bike and then contact your ABATE Legal Services team and report the hazard. As you know by now, the Legal Service team maintains a website, http://www.roadhazard.org, to track these problems and report them to the proper authorities.  Our experience has been that once the government entity is on notice, the hazard gets corrected quickly.

FACEBOOK POST FROM LIBERTY ABATE CHAPTER

(From ABATE OF ILLINOIS – LIBERTY CHAPTER) HELMET LAWS.. Well as here in Illinois we bikers are trying to hold on to FREEDOM OF CHOICE. OUR CHOICE to wear a Helmet.. Could we end up LIKE Delaware Helmet law… Lets hope not!!

READ your State ABATE OF ILLINOIS paper page 7, article put in from Rod Taylor ABATE Legal Service, regarding the Delaware Helmet law as is.

ABATE membership is important.. Bikers need to join the ABATE chapter of your choice. CONTINUE YOUR RENEWALS.WEARING A HELMET OR NOT IS OUR CHOICE, .not the lawmakers… Lets not end up like Delaware.

Well said Rod.

Ride Safe & Free,

 Rod Taylor

ABATE Legal Services

abatelegal.com

 All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Remember, injured ABATE members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery motorcycle crash cases, and expenses as approved by client. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ⅓%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery.  In those cases, ABATE members are not charged for recovery of damage to their motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: RodTaylor@abatelegal.com  © 2019.

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Ask Our Lawyer – April 2019

by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services

MIDWESTERN ROULETTE – UNMARKED INTERSECTIONS AND 12 FOOT CORN -RULES

While riding in the middle of nowhere in Indiana or Illinois or Ohio, you approach an intersection in mid-July.  What can be 12 feet tall, dense, thrives even in drought and you can’t see thru it?  – Hybrid corn!  You have the right of way for anyone approaching from your left.

There are no stop signs as each cost $250 installed. Rules of the road apply, so no need- right?  The farmer owns to the middle of the road, but the county or township has had the right of way (usually 50’ – 25’per side) since Davy Crockett died.  The farmer pays no taxes on the right of way portion of his property, but he still owns it. (Reminds me of a Rodney Dangerfield joke -later.)  Many plant to the very edge of the right-of-way, some even down into the ditch and into the right-of-way.  Is that legal for them to do that? Maybe? Maybe not?  Are they being careless if they obstruct the intersection? Maybe? Maybe not? It is their property – right?

Usually nothing out there.  Usually, maybe and probably are words lawyers learn in law school and used to cover their ass. This is the way it happens. Putting along toward the corn canyon intersection, you neither see nor hear anything but your motorcycle.  Rain has dampened the road.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Life is good – up to the point that it isn’t.  “Isn’t” happens in less than a second.  Remember “thousand one”?   A flash of color, not corn green, but big red truck catches the corner of your left eye.  No time to say your last words – you just get hit.  You don’t even hear it.  Not really sure of what you are thinking about, if you are conscious.

At tall corn intersections good folks die, Cessna Park, one in Champaign County, two in Douglas County, and another in Daviess County.  These tall corn intersections are located in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio.  This happens in Iowa, Nebraska and other corn growing states.  For most of the year, you can see forever at these intersections, but for about four months – not so much.  And we all know that the odds of getting hit are slim.  Nothing out there but corn and cows.

It is ok to use the “don’t need to stop” rules of the road before the corn is higher than the basketball rim at Hinkle Fieldhouse. But from July till harvest forget that you have the right of way over those to your left.  Give it up. Just pretend that at every intersection you have an invisible stop sign. Let’s call it a “tall corn stop sign”.  Do it and we can stop writing about this hazard.

What if you don’t? After they put dirt on you, we will have to measure the field to see if the farmer planted corn in the right-of-way.  Or try to make a case of negligence against him for obstructing visibility at the intersection. Just stop at all “tall corn signs” even though the law says you have the right-of-way, because every so often there is a red truck waiting for your number to be called.  And the farmer says that it is his land and that he can plant corn on it if he wants. Can he?

BONDING ABATE OFFICERS WHO HANDLE OUR CASH

 Bonding officers who handle ABATE cash is an absolute must.  Here is how it works.  This insurance, called a fidelity bond, helps you protect ABATE against theft and reduce our risk of loss. Employee bonds are a common part of an overall business insurance package.

With a fidelity bond on money handlers we are covered for theft of these funds.

A fidelity bond is insurance that you can buy through the company that handles your business insurance policies. The cost varies greatly depending on the type of business you operate and the amount of cash or other assets that are handled by the bonded employees. If an employee steals from ABATE, the insurance covers the loss.  Then the insurance/bonding company gets to chase ourex-memberfor the money.

IN DELAWARE DO YOU REALLY  NEED A HELMET FOR A PASSENGER WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE A PASSENGER – AND SIZE DOESN’T MATTER

 

Q.  Rod, yesterday while riding on a limited access highway in Delaware, in heavy shore traffic, a stationary state trooper entered the road behind me. He navigated through many cars and positioned himself behind me and immediately illuminated his lights and pulled me over. I was at a loss for a reason as I had broken no laws and my bike was in order.

Upon encountering me, he immediately stated that he wanted to make sure I was in possession of an approved helmet. I stated that my helmet was stowed in my luggage and he demanded to see it.  I produced a helmet, he in turn inspected it and told me it was not approved. He issued me a $94 ticket and drove off.

Is this legal? I had no passenger so … he had no reasonable suspicion to stop me. Was I profiled? Does the law mandate that I display a helmet? I am thinking of fighting this spot check helmet possession thing. They say I can drive to Delaware with a DOT helmet and get out of it, but I think that really sucks. They shouldn’t be able to stop you and make you open your luggage for no good reason. Thanks Bill Burke. Quakertown, Pa.

 

 

A.  Bill. I agree. We have reviewed many helmet laws in our time, but I think that the Delaware law leads the unusual. Even though Delaware is helmet free for those 19 and older, oddly the lawrequires you to always carry a helmet – even when you have no passenger.   I guess just in case you pick up a passenger under 19. But what size helmet do you carry? One size fits all? Do you have to carry all sizes just in case? How many helmets? 5? 10? 20? Silly, but that would follow logically. Maybe it is ok if the helmet doesn’t fit correctly – you just have to have one and size doesn’t matter? Here is the text of the law:

“Every person operating or riding on a motorcycle shall have in that person’s possession a safety helmet approved by the Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security (hereinafter “Secretary”) through the Office of Highway Safety and shall wear eye protection approved by the Secretary; provided, however, that every person up to 19 years of age operating or riding on a motorcycle shall wear a safety helmet and eye protection approved by the Secretary”.

I say the officer did not have probable cause to stop you and search your luggage, and certainly did not have reason to search for a helmet when you had no passenger. Sadly, you will now have to invest a lot of your time to fight this improper citation. I applaud your efforts. Keep us posted. I would like to write a follow up as to your experience in court.

A SWEET RIDE FOR YOUR BIKE AND FOOD FOR YOUR SOUL

Q.  Hello Mr. Taylor, I have been looking at the back of Hoosier Motorcyclist Magazine and was wondering where that (winding) road is located. If you know, please tell me the location? Thank you, Todd Stipp.

A.  Todd, Marc Falsetti, Editor Supreme of Hoosier Motorcyclist Magazine, tells us this photo was taken by Michael Farabaugh on Highway 42, Door County, Wisconsin – a wonderful place to ride. Michael Farabaugh, as you may know, was renowned for his incredible photography. His work can be seen in most motorcycle magazines, including Easy Rider, Super Cycle, American Iron etc. Thank you for noticing and the next time I ride that way I will give you the GPS coordinates. It is a sweet ride for your bike and food for your soul. Rod

BREAKING AND ENTERING BY MY LANDLORD

Q.  I live in an apartment complex that has a lockable garage where I store my custom motorcycle.  The other day, I saw the manager leaving my garage and I confronted him about trespassing. He said he had the right to “inspect the premises” and make sure all was well.  I said it was my rental space and he had no right to come into my locked garage area unless there was a problem.  Can I keep the manager away or at least require him to give me notice of the dates and times he intends to inspect my garage?  ABATE MEMBER.

A.  Review your written lease if you have one. Most leases allow inspections for emergencies only.  If the landlord is violating the lease, you may have grounds for trespass/invasion of privacy.  Probably a threat of this will cause him to provide you notice in advance of the need for an inspection – if he has a right to make an inspection under the lease. If there is no lease, tell him to stay out of your garage. 

CHECKING ON THE LAWYERS

Q.  I have called a lawyer from a motorcycle publication about my motorcycle crash.  I am not sure where his offices are located and I am not sure he is licensed in my state.  How can I be sure that he is a licensed lawyer in my state?

A.  Most states have an Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission that makes book on lawyers.  That commission compiles an annual list of lawyers authorized to practice law in your state.  You can also view records of any disciplinary actions that have been taken against that lawyer.  If the lawyer in not licensed to practice in your state, that information should be reported to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.  And for good reason, that lawyer may not be a lawyer in any state.

RADAR GUNS THAT SHOOT 2 AT A TIME – WHEN TO PULL OVER – HOW LONG TO WAIT?

Q.  If I am in my truck and law enforcement “hits the rollers” behind me, I pull over. However, if the cop pulls over the guy behind me (or two or three), I would not expect to stop. If I am on my bike riding in a group, if the same situation occurs, who is expected to stop? Is there code or policy that covers this?  (A previous question by Jay Jackson, ABATE of Indiana with an update).

A.  I’ve spoken with law enforcement friends of mine. In general, if you believe an officer is trying to pull you over, you should stop and let the officer tell you whether he was intending to stop you or not. Since the question is what the officer intended to do, it would be difficult to convince a judge that you weren’t expected to pull over. Besides, most bikers want to stop and help their fellow riders in any event, even if only to be a witness? Of course, you should take care not to interfere with the officer, so you don’t end up with an obstruction of justice charge.

My law enforcement buddies tell me that it is highly unusual for an officer to stop multiple vehicles at the same time because it is dangerous, difficult to manage, and invariably leads to a ton of paperwork that the officer will not want to do. However, some of the newer radar guns can track speeds of multiple vehicles.  If the gun only tracks one vehicle, the officer usually tracks the slower vehicle and tickets the faster vehicle as traveling in excess of the speed of the slower vehicle, so say my police officer friends.  A former Director of Alcohol Countermeasures for the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and police officer, said “Honest mistakes happen when the officer is not as clear as he should be about “Who” he wants stopped out of a group.”  Sadly, he claimed that stopping a group of bikes is a little more commonplace. Apparently, it is hard to single out one bike from the pack. So here is the rub – there is no statute or code that covers this other than the one requiring you to pullover if directed.

Honest mistakes happen when the officer is not as clear as he should be about who he wants stopped out of a group. It may be better to be safe rather than sorry.  If the officer signals you to pull over and wait while he chases another vehicle, how long do you wait?  Ten minutes? Twenty minutes? Half an hour? That is a tough one to answer and is compounded by being in harm’s way along an interstate. Keep track of the time by a cell phone photo of the officer going after the other vehicle if you are safely stopped on the side of the road and can still see the officer.  If you decide to leave after a reasonable time, you can prove that it was reasonable.  You can explain that perhaps you misinterpreted the officer’s direction and that twenty minutes was long enough to be in a dangerous spot.  But I will leave that to you to explain to the judge, and smile a lot.

Most states require you to pull over to the right and stop when indicated by an officer’s flashing lights. Of course, if you are with a group of riders and everyone is over the speed limit, so be it. But if the last guy on the ride has a problem with his tail light, it’s hard to see how the officer had probable cause to stop anyone but the guy with his light out. To do otherwise is to violate the non-offender’s Fourth Amendment rights. If you have an abusive cop in your area, that is constantly stopping groups of riders without probable cause for the group, you should call our office immediately. This is an important issue that needs to be addressed with the chief of police, as soon as possible.

One of our ABATE lawyers actually has some experience with this situation. Many years ago, when he worked for the State, he and some friends were heading down US 41 to do some camping. There were two cars in their caravan heading down 41 at a speed that was perhaps in excess of the posted limits. Of course, a trooper in an unmarked car hits the lights behind him and motioned him off the roadway, along with his buddy, and a third vehicle that was traveling in front of them. The trooper came back to our lawyer’s car and asked for ID, whereon our intrepid traveler produced his state ID and badge. The officer took a couple of looks at the badge, asked which of the other cars he had stopped were part of the camping party, and sent them on their way with an admonishment to keep the speed down. As he drove away, he could see the trooper begin writing a ticket for the poor guy who wasn’t going camping. The moral? It’s helpful to travel with someone who has a badge.

GETTING SUED FOR A BIKE I DON’T OWN?

Q.  My ex-wife and I both ride.  In the divorce she was awarded the motorcycle and the court required her to pay the loan. She has fallen behind on the payments and the bank is calling me.  Can they hold me responsible for paying for a motorcycle I no longer own?

A.  It’s possible. It depends on what happened in the divorce and if the loan you took out for the motorcycle was redone to remove you.  If you were not removed then you may still have liability. Check the loan documents carefully to see what obligations you have on the loan agreement. If you are still obligated, you should talk to your divorce lawyer about what can be done.   I am sure he will address this issue with your ex and the court that granted your divorce.

COMMENTS FROM ROD SHAW ABOUT ABATE LEGAL

Hey Rod, Rod Shaw here.Thank you for your service. Michael Beason  was a pleasure to work with. Very competent and well prepared.  I think you should give him a raise.  Take care, and may the wind be at your back.

Ride Safe & Free,

 Rod Taylor

ABATE Legal Services

abatelegal.com

 The information provided in the above articles is not intended to substitute for legal advice and is given to the person referred to in the article.  All information, content and responses are for general informational purposes only.  Please consult an attorney to obtain advice with regard to your specific legal question.

All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Remember, injured ABATE members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery, and expenses as approved by client. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ⅓%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery. ABATE members are not charged for recovery of damage to your motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number.

Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: rodtaylor@abatelegal.com  © 2019.

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Ask Our Lawyer – March 2019

Ask Our Lawyer

by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services

JOSH AND THE MOTORCYCLE BRAKE LEVER – YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT

This is one of the greatest motorcycle sagas ever. It was April 2015, that was the month Josh Witkowski almost lost his leg.  That month he started doing time in an external fixator (an orthopedic surgeon torture device).  Docs told him that he had a 50/50 shot of walking in a year.  He was wheelchair bound for three months and had to learn to walk again after that.  He beat the docs prediction and was riding a trike in 4 months and riding on two, 6 months after the crash.

Now get this – when the doc removed the plate and screws from his leg Josh wanted to keep them as parts for the Sportster he was rebuilding.  Where do you put a plate that was in your leg on a sportster?  You take those parts to a fabricator and have them pound the plate into a brake lever and the screws into a cross for the sissy bar.  This has to be a first.

Next time you walk by Josh’s Sportster take a look at the brake lever and marvel.  That lever is a testament to courage, discipline, and the love of motorcycling.

IT’S ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA TO CONSULT WITH ABATE LEGAL BEFORE ACCEPTING A CHECK FROM THE INSURANCE COMPANY

 If you are injured in an accident or have had your bike or car trashed, you should consult with us before accepting a check from the insurance company. Our consult is free. If the offer from the insurance company is fair, we will tell you so and send you on your way.  Even if it is a bit short the offer may still put more money in your pocket after fees, expenses and time for litigation.  With any settlement, all you should care about is how much money goes into your pocket.

On minor cases where the offer is close to fair, we advise our members to say the following to the insurance company, “I would like to get this matter concluded but you are low on the offer so how about increasing your offer before we go to Rod Taylor and have him help us with this case?”  That works a lot of the time when the insurance company is a little off the fair mark in its offer, and usually they will sweeten the offer to get the matter resolved quickly, and thereby cut out the middleman.   Remember, their job is to pay you as little as possible.

Some insurance companies will try and get a check to you immediately, usually for less money, hoping that you will accept a lower amount right away. They know you have bills to pay and money may be short. They try the old “bird in hand approach.” They are trained to do that – not fair but that is the way it is.  You should consult with us to evaluate whether the offer will be enough to cover your damages before accepting any checks.

Importantly you need to know the status of any liens held by your insurance company and medical providers for amounts paid/incurred because of your crash. And the V.A. and Medicaid/Medicare issues are nightmarish.  You definitely need us for those matters.   Usually your health and auto insurers have language in your policy that requires you to pay them back for the amounts they have paid to you or on your behalf.  The last situation you want to be in, is one where you accept a check from the insurance company only to find it does not cover your losses, leaving you stuck to pay the remaining bills and liens that should have been paid by the insurance company. And you don’t want all of the above lienholders knocking on your door trying to take away some of your settlement dough.

Remember, once you accept a check and sign a release to settle your claims, there is no turning back. Short of being crazy, drunk, incapacitated, gun to your head or blackmailed when you sign the release and accept the check – you are stuck – almost no matter how unfair the settlement or how many liens you have to pay.   So, call your lawyer or your ABATE Legal Services team and schedule a free consultation if you get the offer you think you can’t refuse.

HE GOT AN OFFER HE COULDN’T REFUSE FROM THE INSURANCE COMPANY

 A while back, an ABATE member was involved in a car/farm tractor crash.  A young girl crashed into the back of his farm tractor knocking him off the tractor and puncturing a main tire.  He was treated and released at the emergency room, incurring a bill for those services and a replacement tractor tire.  A New York minute hadn’t passed before the friendly insurance adjuster was knocking on his door offering him money for his loses. (They are my insurance company and we have a love – hate relationship.)  As the ABATE MEMBER was a stand-up American kind of guy – had never sued or been sued in his life – he thought the offer was fair and accepted it and signed a release – only days after the crash.  He thought he was ok physically, taking a “rub dirt on it approach.”

When I talked to him, he had just returned from his neurosurgeon’s office.  He needed back surgery, and probably would not be able to drive a farm tractor again.  I told him to send me the document that he signed and was hoping it was a release for the damages to his tractor tire only.  Some insurance companies will try and be a good guy and settle the property damage separately from the bodily injury.  Not in this case.

The adjuster did a great job for his company (that is what he is supposed to do) in obtaining a total and complete release for all damages – including the bodily injury damages. Remember it is you versus them. They are not your friend.  My heart sank when I reviewed the document. Yep – it was a document that fully released all of my client’s claims and would be held against him no matter how unfair. I suppressed a desire to say, “why didn’t you call me and have me look at the release before you signed it?” Now, my only choice was to contact the insurance company and argue that the settlement was unfair – grovel in other words.  And that is what I did.

Even though I knew and had gone to school with its general counsel and pulled out all the stops I could think of – there was no joy.  I had tried. Their lawyer told me what I was hoping not to hear – “your client signed a full and complete release and we are holding him to it.” Damn.  So, I had the un-high honor of calling my client and saying what I have said too many times before, “short of being crazy, drunk, incapacitated, gun to his head when he signed, or otherwise blackmailed, he was screwed.” Moral of the story?  Always call us or any lawyer worth half his salt when you get an offer that seems like you can’t refuse.  It will save me from groveling before the insurance company and giving my “gun to the head speech” to you.

B.S. DELAY TACTICS BY THE INSURANCE COMPANY

Q:Rod, I have a question:  My neighbor parked her car and went into the house.  Unknowingly she left it in gear and running. My son’s car was parked across the street….  I looked outside to see what was going on … and saw my neighbor’s car had hit my son’s parked car. There was significant damage.  Apparently, the neighbor’s car drove itself across the street and hit my son’s car. The neighbor’s car was still running and in gear with no one around it.  We called the East Alton PD and they inspected the damage and left after we exchanged insurance information. Now they tell us they don’t make out accident reports for accidents like this.  (Here is the problem.) The neighbor’s insurance company wants an accident report before they will pay the claim, my question is shouldn’t the EAPD make out an accident report?  – Dennis Kinnikin, ABATE MEMBER.

A:Dennis, the East Alton PD were not witnesses to the event – just the damage.  All they could do is report on all that was said by each person.  They should have made a report, but probably just did not want to go thru the paperwork thing for a property damage case only. Your son should press on with his claim against the neighbor’s insurance company as their insured – your neighbor – was clearly at fault. He (you) should not be deterred by the insurance company’s insistence on a report that was not done. That simply delays payment for the damage to your son’s car, and maybe that is part of their plan.  That insurance company is clearly blowing you off, so your son should be persistent with presenting this claim.  Confirm every conversation with the insurance company in writing (email) and feel free to show a cc to me as your lawyer.  That could encourage them to do the right thing.  Give the insurance company the names of the investigating police officers so they can get the investigation information direct.  Help them help you. That way they have a report – a verbal report from the officers counts.  Then the insurance should pay promptly for the damage caused by your neighbor.  By the way, what is the name of the insurance company?  I would like to expose their delay tactics.  Rod

Postscript: Dennis reported that the Chief of Police prepared an official report in light of the insurance company insistence.  Now the insurance company is left without any excuse to avoid/delay payment for damages cause by the neighbor’s failures, and which are clearly owed.

REVENGE FIRING – IS IT LEGAL?

Q:I work at a local manufacturing shop. I got hurt on the job recently and filed a worker’s comp claim. Shortly after I returned to work, I got fired, and I don’t think they had any reason. Also, when they fired me, they didn’t pay me my accrued vacation pay. What can I do?

A:Maybe quite a lot. One of the first issues to consider is the reason or reasons you were fired. Generally, employers will give some explanation as to why an employee was being fired. Most states, including Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, have provisions in their statutes that forbid so-called “retaliatory discharge,” or being fired for filing a worker’s compensation claim. While it may be obvious to us to make the connection between the worker’s comp claim and the firing, the employers will often attempt to justify the discharge with evidence that there were other reasons for the discharge. Good record-keeping and sympathetic witnesses can help overcome this hurdle. Penalties for retaliatory discharge can include back pay, reinstatement, and attorney’s fees. In addition, the wage claim statutes in Indiana and Illinois also require that, upon discharge, employees are compensated for accrued vacation time, usually by the next scheduled payday. Failure to do so may lead to additional penalties and an award of attorney’s fees. The answer is much less clear under Ohio law and may depend on whether the employee is covered by a collective bargaining agreement or employed by a state or municipal agency. There may be disagreements, however, over whether the time has been accrued or not, or how much has been accrued. It is important that you speak to someone about these issues as soon as possible to determine your rights and remedies.

CRAZY IS AS CRAZY DOES – LOANING YOUR MOTORCYCLE

Q:My buddy wants to borrow my bike for a ride to Florida. He lost his license a couple of years ago and says he just got it back. Although he’s been riding for years, he’s never gotten his motorcycle endorsement and has had several accidents. He told me his insurance would cover the bike, but I’m kind of nervous about letting him on my bike.

A:And you should be. As we all know, most riders are extremely safety conscious, taking care to make sure that their bikes are in tip-top shape and that their skills remain sharp and focused. Unfortunately, there are those who don’t take those responsibilities seriously. While we are generally not our brother’s keeper, if we allow someone who shouldn’t be riding on our bike, his problem could become our problem.

Generally, a vehicle owner is not responsible for the actions a person who is operating the vehicle. However, most states allow a claim of negligent entrustment, which happens when an owner allows someone to operate the owner’s vehicle when that person is not qualified to do so. Allowing your buddy to take your bike may make you responsible for any accident he causes, if it turns out that he was unqualified and that you should have known that he was unqualified.  Tell him that if he wants to borrow your motorcycle, get a motorcycle endorsement. Then request a copy of the declarations page (summary of his coverages) from his insurance policy.

Ride Safe & Free,

 Rod Taylor

ABATE Legal Services

abatelegal.com

 All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Remember, injured ABATE members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery, and expenses as approved by client. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ⅓%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery. ABATE members are not charged for recovery of damage to your motorcycle and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: RodTaylor@abatelegal.com  © 2019.

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Ask Our Lawyer – February 2019

Ask Our Lawyer

by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services

 MIKE MEYER, the TEDDY ROOSEVELT of ABATE OF INDIANA, HAS PASSED – he carried a big stick and spoke softly.

 Sadly, I write this on ABATE DAY at the Indiana Legislature – where Mike was a lion.  I have known Mike forever – it seems.  He was blessed with a wonderful wife, Roberta, and a wonderful son, Aaron, who are following in his footsteps.  He was not only revered in Petersburg where he lived (“just South”), but also by an entire motorcycle state.  He was ABATE OF INDIANA’S legislative go to guy – so understated, so modest and so effective. He knew them all and all of them knew him.  Nationally, he was a spine of the MRF.

I remember that for years and for fun, Mike put the Tour/Ride Indiana program together.  He was a master at sending riders all over the state to unique, quiet, famous or not so famous places.  I saw Mike for the last time at his celebration of life in Vincennes just before Christmas.  It was a happy time.  We were all in denial. But as usual, Mike wasn’t.  He was in charge and had responsibilities.  On the way down I stopped in Merom to take some photos of the college building that still stands from the 1860’s. It was on his “ Indiana Tour” back in the 90’s.  He got a kick out of the fact that I complained that the road to Merom was one way in and generally one way back out – about a 35 mile trip with more dog legs than you could count. And to “promote” the Tour he touted that you could see all the way to Illinois from the tower of the college building in Merom. He forgot to tell us that the tower was only 1500 feet from the Wabash River – aka the border with Illinois.

I am not sad for Mike as he left this world content.  I am sad for us because we have to do without him, especially today.  Ride safe Mike.  Rod

 

Kat Connor –  MOTORCYCLE TITLES – HER STORY, AND GOOD ADVICE

 

“I got my first motorcycle in 1989.  Not a big thing for most guys, but for a woman to have her own in the small town area where I lived, it was pretty unusual.  The bank I got the loan from encouraged me, as did my husband, to put the title in my name only.  So I did and that’s what we each did as the year’s passed and we upgraded or added to our collection.  Then he passed away last year and I found out what a hassle that is to change titles from his name to mine.  On my first trip to the driver’s license facility I took the titles that needed to be changed and my husband’s death certificate.  After a short wait I was informed that “tons” of paperwork would have to be done and I needed to bring in a copy of our will. And the lady that waited on me started crying because of my loss, so of course I did too.  That I could have done without!  The next trip I took titles, certificate, will and just because I’d had to get it for something else, a copy of our marriage license.  I got a different person, and of course they asked for the marriage license too!  I think it took at least 30 to 45 minutes to fill out each form and then she copied all the paperwork I had- also for each form.  She explained I had to “buy back” the motorcycles and that’s what all the forms were for.  She also told me to keep all the paperwork because a lot of times it didn’t go through correctly.  It sounds like it might not work even the second or third year of renewals. Fortunately, everything went through this time and I’m keeping my fingers all will go well this year.

If I’d just sold them to someone else, it would have been no problem. That makes no sense to me at all. So, if you have any type of vehicles just in your name- better get your spouse on them also”.

Kat Conner

Twin Rivers chapter of ABATE of Illinois, Inc.

 

Kat, sorry for your loss.  Thank you for your input – good advice that we are passing on to our membership. And thank you for all you have done for ABATE. Ride safe. Rod

  

 THE OHIO CRASH REPORT FORM DISRESPECTS THE HELMET LAW?

 

Q.  I was involved in a crash on my motorcycle and afterward obtained a copy of the Ohio Traffic Crash Report.I see where it lists that I had no helmet at the time of the crash (and whether the helmet was DOT approved).  Since I was legally not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, what difference does that make?   And isn’t that discrimination and are they trying to make me look like I did something wrong?  ABATE OF OHIO MEMBER.

A.  Many states, including Ohio, continue to make book on non-helmet use by inappropriately highlighting that information in their crash reports, and even whether such helmet was approved.Other states like Indiana and Illinois have taken the high road and eliminated this prejudicial question in their crash reports.  Some insurance companies still try to punish motorcyclists for not wearing a helmet in non-helmet states by claiming that the motorcyclists could have lessened their injuries by wearing a helmet. Those questions strike at the fabric of American life and the right to ride and all the other things we do as Americans.  Most importantly, the Ohio crash report disrespects and attempts to impeach the law allowing us to ride without helmets.  We will gather a list of states that continue this practice and update this article.

 

GOOD TITLES MAKE GOOD FRIENDS

 

Q.  I bought a motorcycle from a “friend” and paid her in full ($1000) and was given a bill of sale when I took possession.She claimed she had misplaced the title, but promised to apply for a lost title and get that to me asap. I have since learned that she financed the bike through the local bank.  It has now been over four months and I do not have the title.  What can I do – riding season will be here soon? ABATE OF INDIANA MEMBER.

 

A.  Meet with your friend at the bank and make sure that any lien on the bank has been paid.If she has applied for a lost title, request a copy of the paperwork that was submitted to the state.  Times are tough for most governmental agencies and many are running behind, but four months is out of line.  If you learn that your friend has not submitted the “lost title paperwork”, then I suspect the loan to the bank has not been paid.  If that is the case, confront your friend with the facts and insist on a lien release and title as that was the deal.  If she won’t fix it, file suit in small claims court.  I am sending you the “how to” for small claims procedures if you file a claim. If she does not have the money, call me as I have a hairbrained idea that may get you riding.

 

LUCAS OIL STABILIZER – THAT STUFF REALLY WORKS!

 

I have an old ’84 Shovel. I love that bike and the way it sounds. I keep it at my law office in case I get a “motorcycle ache”. The transmission has been howling for the last 100 miles or so. Not having the time to tear it down, I thought I might try Lucas oil stabilizer to see what effect it might have on my ailing transmission. I added Lucas oil stabilizer and within 20 miles the howling stopped and so did a small leak. Check out the web site, http://www.bobistheoilguy.comfor a demo on why this stuff works or contact Ryan Farabaugh at Lucas.  Those guys know their stuff.

Next I tried Lucas Fuel Clean on a 1965 B-Model Mack with errant fuel injectors. She now runs like a Deere.   Remember, I am a lawyer and a cynic, so if I say this stuff works – it does!

 

SEASONAL INSURANCE-TIS THE SEASON– A FRAUD ON BIKERS?

No biker worth his salt can resist a 70 degree day in January or February or…. But insurance companies, including those that say they are our friends, will sell us seasonal insurance under the guise of saving us a speck of money and doing us a favor.  And sometimes they don’t tell us what we need to know in the fine print.  And who reads the fine print anyway? Usually, insurance companies knock off three months worth of coverage, but only knock off one month of premium. By any definition, that is an insurance company rip off.  Always run the numbers and keep them honest – that is IF you know you have seasonal coverage.  Check your policy to be sure.

Every January, I cringe, anticipating a call like I received a while ago. A good ABATE member with a son heading to college took the insurance company bait on seasonal coverage to save a few bucks. You got it, it was a 70 degree day, and all he was going to do is go around the block. The little old lady with blue hair got him at 5 miles a hour–mashed his leg up against the primary. He is now missing a leg – knee down.  Since he had no underinsurance coverage and the lady had minimal limits, he got $25k for a leg – not good.

It takes a different kind of insurance company to offer seasonal coverage–and I think it is not our kind of insurance company. Well-meaning state legislators should disallow this type of insurance coverage. Insurance companies that sell this type of insurance coverage are not our friends.

 

PLAYING MOTORCYCLE ROULETTE – The most important article you will read regarding your motorcycle/automobile insurance policies.

Like playing Russian Roulette? How about for $100 bucks a year? Worth it – depends? But that’s what you’re doing if you don’t buy adequate uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for all of your motor vehicles, but especially for your motorcycle. Studies by the Insurance Research Council indicate that up to 14 percent of drivers do not carry any sort of coverage. That is one in eight. And some say that figure is going higher. Even more have inadequate coverage – 25k is not insurance.  That is just enough to piss a guy off if you are lying in the hospital with a 100k hospital bill and still more bills to go. Then how do you pay your medical bills, mortgage/rent payments and living expenses? What about pain, suffering, temporary and permanent impairment? The answer is having adequate uninsured/underinsured motorist coverages that you buy. Without it, you may be out of luck – financially.

If you don’t have significant uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverages (UM/UIM coverage), you are unprotected against the driver with no insurance or inadequate insurance. If you carry the legal minimum coverage, you maybe in compliance with the law, but you are woefully underinsured if you are seriously injured. In other words the roulette game is on for you.

Let’s say you get injured in an crash that is the other guy’s fault. You have medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering of $200,000.00. The other guy has minimal coverage of, $25,000. His insurance company pays you the $25,000.00 as that is all he has, leaving you with $175,000.00 of uncompensated damages. If you do as I say, you can claim money for your additional losses from your own insurance company under your UM/UIM coverage. But you can only make a claim for your losses to the extent that your UM/UIM coverage exceeds the coverage of the other guy. Of course, the higher your uninsured/uninsured limits, the better your protection.  So just do it.  Be easy on me when you call and tell me you are in the hospital and that the adverse has no insurance and that you did not follow my “I told you so” advice.  I will keep my thoughts to myself.

Ride Safe & Free,

Rod Taylor

ABATE Legal Services

abatelegal.com

All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Remember, injured ABATE members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery, and expenses as approved by client. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ⅓%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery. ABATE members are not charged for recovery of damage to your motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: RodTaylor@abatelegal.com  © 2019.

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Ask Our Lawyer – January 2019

Ask Our Lawyer

by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services

 

THEY WON’T LET YOU DO WHAT YOU WANT IN JAIL – ARGUING WITH COPS

 

Q.  I was stopped by a cop on my motorcycle. When I tried to argue with him about the facts, he told me to shut up or I was going to jail. Do I have the constitutional right to argue with a police officer about an arrest? ABATE OF OHIO MEMBER.

 

A.  Many are under the assumption that once you are stopped and questioned by a police officer, you have no right to debate your position with the officer. Wrong. An Illinois Appellate Court (and many other courts) has reaffirmed our basic right to argue our position with an investigating police officer. One needs to be mindful that an errant cop has the ability to charge you with resisting and obstructing.

In the Illinois case, the prosecution told the jury that the defendant had no right to argue with the police officer.  On appeal, the Court held that this was a gross misstatement of the law and reversed the conviction.  We have and should always have the right to call into question the facts of an officer’s arrest. Obviously, when you have made your point, it’s wise to clam up.

Are you resisting if you are on a cell phone? No, but it could become resisting if you persist in refusing to get off the phone when requested.

According to the Court, nothing in the law suggest that you can’t initially question the validity of the officer’s actions. Certainly, you can ask why you are being arrested, and you can point out the officer’s mistake(s), and protest and argue against the officer’s actions. That said, if there was ever a time to practice diplomacy, it is when you are being arrested. Some of us found out the hard way when we were young and inexperienced, that jail is not good – they won’t let you do what you want in jail.

 

INSURANCE COMPANY MISAPPLYING “NO CONTACT RULE” WHEN YOU ONLY HAVE LIABILITY/ UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE AND NO COLLISION COVERAGE

 

Q.  Hello, My husband was in a wreck. Someone pulled out in front of him and he could not stop in time, so he choose to lay the bike down instead of hitting an SUV. Now everyone, including our insurance, says we have to pay for the damages to our bike because we did not hit the other vehicle. We even had a witness saying it was the other car’s fault. It’s all in the police report. So I was wanting to know is there any law that would help us so we don’t have to pay the $500 deductible and the days of work he missed? Thank you, B. W.

 

A.  Becky, the insurance companies are confused or are trying to pull a fast one. If the SUV driver caused your husband to take reasonable steps to avoid a crash and injury, the insurance company for the SUV should pay for damage to your bike and other losses. Call me and I will talk with you about your options. The no contact rule usually comes into play when you lay the bike down, get run off the road, and the adverse party leaves the scene and is never identified. Insurance companies say they have that rule in order to prevent fraud when you only have uninsured property damage coverage and no collision coverage.Some states like Florida have PIP coverage which makes these claims somewhat easier. Some enlightened and biker friendly insurance companies will at least let you try to prove the crash and run – in “‘no contact” situations. In many cases there are independent witnesses who can confirm the cause of the crash and eliminate the insurance company’s fraud concerns.

Below I have reprinted the article I wrote regarding the origin of the “no contact rule.” Hopefully this will help you with your claim.

 

THE INSURANCE COMPANY’S UNFAIR WEAPON – NO CONTACT RULE

 

How the insurance company’s no contact rule works and why it was created. Generally, the motorcycle insurance coverage you have meets the state legal requirements on the other guy in case you are at fault. You may also have uninsured/underinsured coverage when the other guy is at fault, but either does not have insurance or not enough insurance to take care of your losses. In the fine print of your insurance policy is language that says “if you do not make contact with the other vehicle that was at fault, and that unidentified vehicle leaves the scene, you do not have coverage for that loss.” In other words, if you lay your bike down to avoid the accident and injury, and do not make contact with the other vehicle–close but no cigar.  That is if you have no collision loss on your policy.  In your case we are talking about your uninsured coverage.  The insurance company with that language in its policy will not pay, even if you have ten neutral witnesses and a minister confirming your story. However, if you make contact with the vehicle at fault, your policy provides for payment of your losses.

Here is what the insurance companies have to say for themselves. They worry that if there is no contact with the adverse vehicle, they could be subject to fraudulent claims and they do not want to take the time to look into your story.

For example, if we are riding on gravel and lose it through our own fault, the insurance companies worry that we could contrive a claim for damages and say that a mysterious vehicle driven by an old lady with blue hair caused the accident and left the scene. But that would be fraud. Criminal penalties and the facts should deter this kind of claim. What about when there are neutral, independent witnesses who observe the adverse vehicle driving erratically so as to cause us to lay our bike down, and that adverse vehicle leaves the scene? No fraud here. How do you suppose the leading motorcycle insurance companies apply the rule in that case? They deny the claim every chance they get and point out the “no contact rule language”. There are some biker friendly insurance companies will give you the benefit of the doubt and let you supply witnesses and facts that prove your claim. I will publish the names of those companies in a future column. You should buy from them and fire the others.

 

 

RUN OVER? WHAT TO DO WHEN THE LITTLE OLD LADY WITH BLUE HAIR DOESN’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO PAY YOU?

 

Q.  Rod, I was run over by a person with low insurance limits. Do I have to settle for those limits? The insurance company says the person who hit me does not have any more money. What do I do? A.B.A.T.E of ILLINOIS MEMBER.

 

A.  Believe it or not, Mrs. Smith can drive down the highways of this country and is only required to have minimal insurance limits. Even though she may not be able to hear, see or think, as long as she has a driver’s license and the state required minimum insurance she is free to run over you- as long as she doesn’t do it on purpose. Minimum state insurance requirements can be as little as $10,000.00. Try to get a broken leg fixed for that. But even if the insurance limits are $100,000.00, what do you do when your hospital bills are over $100,000.00, your lost wages are over $25,000.00 and you have a permanent limp and other disabilities that adversely impact your life?

You have a serious case so you should have legal counsel as you have entered the big league of legal issues. A good lawyer will learn the amount of insurance limits of the car that Mrs. Smith was driving. ABATE LEGAL requires the insurance company to certify the amount of those limits.

If the limits are inadequate, what options do you have? If Mrs. Smith is underinsured, we need to determine whether you have underinsured coverage with your insurance policy that could pay for your losses, including medical bills, lost wages, pain/suffering, temporary and permanent impairment, loss of enjoyment of life and your spouse’s loss of consortium.

What can you do in order to maximize your recovery and stop the futile chase of a no asset person for more dollars? A search of public records is a must. You should look for exempt and attachable real estate, vehicles and other property. The internet is a valuable source for this information. After you or your lawyer have conducted a search of Mrs. Smith’s assets and learned that she does not have any assets (or at least she says she has no assets), how do you protect yourself if she misrepresents the truth or hides her assets?

Here is our advice. Prior to accepting Mrs. Smith’s insurance limits as a complete release for your losses, demand that Mrs. Smith provide a statement under oath affirming the extent and value of her assets. If she has very little, that is one case. If she owns 500 acres of good farmland or just hit the lottery, that is another. Armed with the statement under oath, you can now rest assured that if Mrs. Smith lies to you about the lottery she won or the farm she owns, you should be able to set aside the Release you signed based on her misrepresentations to you. The theory being: if she would have told you the truth about her assets you wouldn’t have accepted only the limits of her insurance policy. You would have insisted that she part with some of her lottery winnings and/or some of the farm.

 

ENCOURAGEMENT FROM THE AMA

 

Rod, I’ve attached an article (brought to our attention by a member) I thought you might enjoy. It reaffirms your strong position that liability waivers are essential to protect organizations and individuals. Your presentations on why we should take waivers seriously are among the most important of the MRO state seminars.  AMA

http://www.oregonlive.com/hillsboro/index.ssf/2013/11/skiers_beware_recreational_lia.html

 

GUNS, AMMO AND LAWYERS ARE FINE, BUT DON’T FORGET THE WAIVERS

 

Q.  Hi Rod, My wife and I have a 10 acre farm on river and are getting more and more visitors. Per your advice at the Seminar, we need a waiver for accidents /lost or stolen items/ and if possible requiring litigants against us to be responsible for all our attorney fees – just like you discussed at the seminar. Thanks.

A.  Waivers are on the way, good luck and thanks for all you do for ABATE.And remember that adequate insurance coverage for this event is the best solution – IF YOU CAN GET IT AND IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT. Rod

 

STONEY LONESOME MOTORCYCLE CLUB – HOW TO LIVE ANOTHER 70

 

Q.  Rod, Stoney Lonesome Motorcycle Club has been around since the 50’s. We own around 300 acres in Brown County that we operate as a private club for off-road motorcycle events, many of which are sponsored by the AMA. The AMA events usually involve minors.Having dodged a few lawyers/lawsuits involving minors in the past, what do we need to do to make sure that we are not cleaned out by a lawsuit that could exceed our insurance limits? And can you help us? Roy Garrett – ABATE/Dirt Off- Road Director. ( This is a repeat of a prior article, but we thought the message worthy of a reprint.  Rod)

 

A.  We will do our best to prepare waivers that will help protect your organization against claimants. In today’s litigation world, courts routinely recognize the validity of waivers and enforce them so long as they are clearly written and are fair.

The AMA sent a letter (printed above) referring to a lawsuit filed by an 18 year old alleging negligence against a ski operation. Sadly, that 18 year old was severely injured. Although he was 17 at the time of signing the waiver and 18 at the time of the injury, the court held that the waiver was clear, fair and that he had reaffirmed that waiver by subsequent use of the ski facility. In other words, there was an expectation of a waiver being signed as a condition of participation.  I cite this case as an example of how the courts will work with us and enforce waivers, it they are done properly.  Along the same line, a California case held a couple was bound by a waiver signed at a previous poker/run/ride when they neglected to sign a waiver for the ride in which they were injured.  Again, the court reaffirmed there was an expectation/requirement of a waiver and held them to it.

My greatest fear for our events is an injured minor who was accompanied by an adult that arguably did not have the authority to sign the waiver for the minor.

Along with waivers the Club should form an independent company to lease your facility for all the AMA events involving minors. That company would have complete control and responsibility for the activities on race days and would include requirements to inspect for safety.

Stoney Lonesome’s responsibility should be limited to the leasing of the facility and the complete delegation of the AMA event activities to this new leasing entity. That company would be responsible for obtaining the signatures of the custodial parents of the minor’s involved in the AMA event. This should be done on site at registration, or in advance if possible. In a pinch, a waiver could be sent to the custodial parent by email (iPhone and the like) with a text consent and acknowledgment. The latter is better than nothing and I believe the courts would uphold such a waiver is properly proven.

And don’t forget my “YOU ARE A TRESPASSER IF YOU DIDN’T SIGN A VALID WAIVER” sign, that should be posted prominently on the property at the registration point and other high traffic areas. Recall that the duties to a trespasser are less than to an invitee.  And that could help get your organization off the hook.  I know that does not look very neighborly, but you and yours want to be around for another 60 and those signs will help me – help you – with that. 

Ride Safe & Free,

 

Rod Taylor

ABATE Legal Services

abatelegal.com

 All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Remember, injured ABATE members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery, and expenses as approved by client. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ⅓%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery. ABATE members are not charged for recovery of damage to your motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: RodTaylor@abatelegal.com  © 2019.

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Ask Our Lawyer – August 2018

Ask Our Lawyer

by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services

 HERE IS THE REASON TO REMEMBER MY LAST ARTICLE ON GROUP RIDES

Hi Rod,

I’m sending this per our last conversation. This, if you recall, covers a crash on a ride I was on May 27, Memorial Day.  Unfortunately, the ride had no escorts or printed ride route.

The group ride was traveling within the street speed limit and we were staggered when the bike next to me suddenly attempted to turn right without any signal or logic in his move. (Higher speed would have had a terrible outcome) His bike caught my left front as I attempted to cut sharply to my right to avoid the hit and escape to the side. His action knocked me over a curb, between 2 power line poles and down a grass embankment.  Somehow, I managed to keep my bike up which was complicated as my wife was a passenger. After the crash, the offender denied any assistance from paramedics or police and was not injured, but he was ticketed for his action.

I had $1,300.00 damage and have just now got my bike back after losing a month of riding.  My insurance company is going after him for subrogation.

To this day I don’t know what he was thinking and in all my years riding I have never seen anyone do this in a group ride. We now have learned that he is fighting the ticket and we have been subpoenaed to testify for the City. Will keep you posted.

Thanks for all you do for riding and thank you for helping me out as well. If this goes forward, I will contact you. Respectfully, Jim Rabjohn

(Note from Rod – the Rules below published last month are worth memorizing.)

FOUR RULES TO FOLLOW ON A “GROUP” RIDE…

  1. Escorted?  How do you know?  Many rides claim to be escorted but they are not – legally.  Attend the safety briefing and ask the tough questions or better yet send the ride organizer an email requesting details.  In most states only authorized officers have the power to stop traffic and otherwise direct a ride.  Don’t go on any ride that is not professionally escorted.
  2. Know the motorcyclists around you on the ride. If the bike next to you is new with        low mileage, you may be riding with a newby – not good.  Learn about him/her when you are waiting for the ride to start.  If the rider is a newby, ride next to someone who isn’t.
  3. Leave extra distance between you and the rider in front, so you can see the potholes from hell and the unrepaired railroad crossing. And get ready to make a lane change if necessary.  Always have a clear lane to go.
  4. And if you don’t like the escorters and the speeds they are using – bolt. That way there is always next year.

ROAD NAZIS ON YOUR RIDE – HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM

Q.  Hi Rod and Brian, I have some questions on behalf of the Blackhawk chapter of ABATE of Illinois.When a chapter has an event and other organized riding clubs join the ride and they decide to provide road guarding without our solicitation could our chapter be held responsible?Could our chapter add a clause to the event release stating that all riders are to follow the traffic laws and posted traffic signals and we do not permit road guards and road blocking?This scenario recently happened on a ride that we hosted.  We received a letter from the city of Moline informing us that we must complete an application if we want to ride in a parade style.  I thank you for your consideration on this matter. 

Carla Enburg, Newsletter Coordinator

A.  Carla, your Chapter and any ride organization are in harms way if you allow/acquiesce in others violating the law.  Your idea of adding a clause to the event release is a good one.  And I like your idea of advising that all ride attendees are to follow the traffic laws.  I would go so far as to post this information at the registration facility and at the beginning of the ride.

While I appreciate that these errant participants were just trying to help, many do not recognize that vigilante road guards are illegal in most states – even if they are trying to do the right thing – in their mind. A common misconception is that the leaders of any motorcycle ride have the authority to stop traffic in the interest of safety.  The law prohibits this do-it-yourself ride control.

The reason for the draconian rules against vigilante road guards is that horrific crashes have been caused by well-meaning volunteers, who in most cases, have had no or inadequate training to perform such duties.

A few years back at the Miracle Ride, we had an off duty, out of city, out of uniform police officer attempt to control traffic on a U.S. highway in Indianapolis.  A disgruntled person objecting to the off-duty and out of uniform officer’s attempt at traffic control, proceeded thru the intersection injuring two participants.  Certainly a show stopper for them and the rest of the five thousand riders.

Moral of the story?  Let the local police officers do what they are trained to do and leave the rest of the riding to us.  P.S. We can help you with the language in your ride waiver.

 COULD ISAAC NEWTON HAVE BEEN WRONG? TRAVELING UPHILL ON YOUR HARLEY IN NEUTRAL

I constantly find myself searching for a new riding experience and recently found one from my collection good enough to share. On one of those wonderful warm early winter days this year that begs you to ride, I headed off to Mooresville Indiana in search of Gravity Hill on my side/hack shovel.  Heard about it for years, but just couldn’t believe the tale. Namely that you can put your bike in neutral and it will roll uphill.  No way and dubious all the way there as I am an Isaac Newton disciple. How can you put your motorcycle in neutral and watch it coast uphill without power?  I did and so can you.  It is an amusing and confusing experience. (to get there MapQuest 705 Keller Hill Road Mooresville In.)  Here is what I did.  I followed IN 42 out of Mooresville until I hit Keller Hill Road, just a few outside of town.  I turned onto Keller Hill Road and traveled a ways; stopped and put my shovel into neutral. And then it happened – I actually started rolling backwards – uphill.  Uncomfortable with that I did a U-turn and tried going uphill with no power facing forward.  Slowly at first, but then faster and faster getting  up to 20 mph before I got back to IN 42 .  Like a little kid I did it over and over till I had to get back to the office.  Isaac should be scratching his head on that one!

RETREADS – ALLIGATOR ALLEY – OBSERVATIONS OF A MOTORCYCLIST

 Q.  Over the years we have received many questions from ABATE members inquiring as to the safety of “retread” truck tires. Some of us have had to dodge retread tire materials and have narrowly avoided crashes. Interestingly in the age of almost perfect communication, retreads seemingly have missed scrutiny.  Is it because the problem is only a motorcyclist problem?  What follows is our first stab at answering this question.

 A.  Let’s get to the point. Are there safety issues with retread tires? We have studied the problem and there are some questions that just don’t add up. So let’s start  our inquiry with information as to exactly what is a retread or capped tire.

The general definition is that a retread, also known as “recap,” or a “remold” is a remanufacturing process for tires that replaces the tread on worn tires.  Essentially retreading is a process that saves money by shaving down old tires to the casing and gluing on a new tread.  (Years ago I worked at General Tire in Indianapolis where we glued retreads to used casings.) Sound safe?   Some of us have witnessed a delaminating retread.  My experience was spectacular. The semi just ahead of me had a trailer tire delaminate at about 60 mph.   The tire delaminated violently and showered tire debris over me and my FLH.  I still have a crack in my windshield caused by tire shrapnel.  To avoid catastrophe, I slalomed around the larger chunks of tire material some of which was large enough to derail a motorcyclist.   I now collect photos of retread debris in an effort to shed light on a hazard to motorcyclists.

Now for the other side’s story – the retreaders. According to Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau aka TRIB, retread tires are a good deal and are safely used by trucking fleets and others all over the country.  But regulations disallow retreads in certain applications. So why is it that retreads cannot be legally used on the steering axle of a bus if they are safe?  Some companies have a private policy of no retreads on a steering axle.  Why?  No one provides a clear answer to that one, but I have a pretty good guess.

IF retreads are truly safe then what about all the retread debris you see on the side of the highways aka – roadside alligators? Most of us know those to be leftovers of a delaminated retread tire.  But the retread groups claim that the rubber pieces you see on the road come from both new “virgin” and retreaded tires in equal proportions to their usage on roads (They have not shared the data).   That claim does not fit with my past experience as a commercial truck driver.  Those lobbying groups claim to have additional studies indicating that the main cause of the roadside debris is from tires being improperly maintained, under/over inflated, road hazards, potholes, and driver operational error.   My experience begs to differ especially when I see long strips of retread materials along the roadway that have become unglued.

If retreads are a safety hazard, why do many trucking companies use retreads?  Is it because they are better and safer?  The real answer is: retreads are cheaper.  You can get a retread for 30-50 percent less than a new tire.  Retread supporters claim that retreading truck tires saves the trucking industry over $3 billion each year, but at what expense?

Let us know about your experiences.

GRASS CLIPPINGS – JUST LIKE GREASE TO MOTORCYCLE TIRES?

 Q.  Is it illegal for people to blow their grass clippings onto the roads in Indiana? Thank you, Brian Russell – ABATE MEMBER.

A.  While no state law directly prohibits blowing grass clippings on to public roadways, there may be city and county ordinances barring the practise. Keep in mind that grass clippings blown onto roads are not only an eyesore but also a hazard to motorcyclists. Engineers have calculated the coefficient of friction of fresh grass clippings – almost as slick as grease. So while you may not be in violation of a law, you may have created a condition that could cause you to be liable for injuries caused by your clippings. Here is why.

Lawsuits have been filed against property owners claiming that covering the roadway with grass clippings creates a dangerous situation.  Especially dangerous are wet grass clippings.  Some say they are akin to riding over a sheet of ice.  And a swirling vortex of grass in the eyes creates its own problem, especially if you are a motorcyclist.  A lawsuit filed in Plainfield, IL by a woman passenger on a motorcycle claims the motorcyclist lost control after they hit a patch of grass clippings blown into the street by a homeowner.  The passenger sued the homeowner for negligence.

See the below case. http://patch.com/illinois/joliet/plainfield-woman-injured-motorcycle-wreck-claims-discarded-grass-clippings-caused-crash-lawsuit

So even if no city or county ordinance bars the practice of blowing grass clippings onto the road, the lawyers will be waiting for you if you do and someone is injured.   I can almost guarantee that you will get sued if a motorcyclist is injured because of your grass clippings.

Ride Safe & Free,

 Rod Taylor

ABATE Legal Services

abatelegal.com

 All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Remember, injured ABATE members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery, and expenses as approved by client. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ⅓%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery. ABATE members are not charged for recovery of damage to your motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: RodTaylor@abatelegal.com  © 2018.

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Ask Our Lawyer – July 2018

Ask Our Lawyer

by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services

 RULES TO FOLLOW ON AN ESCORTED CHARITY RIDE

  1. Escorted?  How do you know?  Many rides claim to be escorted but they are not.        Attend the safety briefing and ask the tough questions or better yet send the ride organizer an email requesting details.  In many states only authorized officers have the power to stop traffic and otherwise lead a ride.  Don’t go on any ride that is not professionally escorted.
  2. Know the motorcyclists around you on the ride. If the bike next to you is new with low mileage, you may be riding with a newby – not good.  Learn about him when you are waiting for the ride to start.  If the rider is a newby,  ride next to someone who isn’t.
  3. Leave extra distance between you and the rider in front, so you can see the potholes from hell and the unrepaired railroad crossing. And get ready to make a lane change if necessary.  Always have a clear lane to go.
  4. And if you don’t like the escorters and the speeds they are using – bolt. That way there is always next year.

 

BLOW IT OUT YOUR PIPES? CAN THEY REALLY IMPOUND MY BIKE?

 Q: I was riding my bike the other day, when a local cop stopped me for not having a muffler on my bike. I have an expensive custom bike, and it has pipes, but no baffles. The cop and I got into it a little bit, and he threatened to have my bike impounded. I was afraid that if they impound my bike, it would have been damaged, so I backed down. I’m still mad about it, though. Can they do that? A.B.A.T.E of Illinois member.

A: As with most legal questions, the answer is, it depends. Mostly, it depends on where you live and what the law is there. In Indiana and Ohio, inappropriate mufflers are subject to citation and fine as misdemeanors. The officer can stop you and give you a ticket, and you will more than likely be allowed to roll on down the road. In Illinois, however, the law is much more strictly written.

Under Illinois law, “ It is unlawful for any person to drive or move or for the owner to cause or knowingly permit to be driven or moved on any highway any vehicle . . . which is equipped in any manner in violation of this Code.” See the details of the circumstance where you can be towed in Illinois Vehicle Code 625 ILCS 5/11-1302.

The Illinois vehicle code requires that “Every motor vehicle driven or operated upon the highways of this State shall at all times be equipped with an adequate muffler or exhaust system in constant operation and properly maintained to prevent any excessive or unusual noise. No such muffler or exhaust system shall be equipped with a cutout, bypass or similar device. No person shall modify the exhaust system of a motor vehicle in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise of such vehicle above that emitted by the muffler originally installed on the vehicle, and such original muffler shall comply with all the requirements of this Section.”

Since the statute declares that a vehicle in violation of the vehicle code shall not “be driven or moved on any highway,” the officer would be within his authority to impound the bike and have it towed. Neither Indiana or Ohio have the same sort of language. Both of those states make it an infraction (Indiana) or minor misdemeanor (Ohio),but neither statute authorizes the officer to impound the bike.

 

CAN MY EMPLOYER DO THAT? BIKE SHOP BLUES.

Q: I’m a mechanic in a local bike shop, and my employer recently told me I need to sign an agreement that I won’t work for another shop within a ten mile radius if I leave my current job. I don’t think that’s fair. There are a number of bike shops around here, and almost all of them are within ten miles from my current employer. Can they really enforce that agreement against me?

A:Probably. What they have asked you to sign is called a non-compete agreement. It used to be that non-compete agreements were used only with managers or sales personnel. However, they are becoming more common with service personnel who develop relationships with customers and entice customers to follow them if they move to a new employer.

Even though non-compete agreements are not favored by the law, if they follow the rules, those agreements are generally enforceable, provided the employer can show a reasonable belief that a departing employee could create unfair competition. However, non-compete agreements have to be reasonable in their restrictions. They can restrict a person from working in the same field, but only for a reasonable time period or within a reasonable distance from the employer’s service area.

If your employer makes it a condition of your employment and you work in an “employment-at-will” state, you may have no choice but to sign the agreement if you want to keep working there. If you sign the agreement and leave the job later, the employer can ask a court to prevent you from working for a competitor. If the court finds that the agreement contains reasonable restrictions, and doesn’t unfairly limit your rights to find a new job, the court could enter an order preventing you from working for the competitor or assess damages against you.

WHERE THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A WAY

 Want to remember your favorite motorcycle rights organization? When you make out your will, you can include some support for your favorite MRO. Whether it’s your state ABATE organization, the MRF, or some other MRO, your support in your will ensures that your love of motorcycling is carried on. Whether you leave $100.00 or $1,000.00 or just your favorite bike, you help ensure the future of motorcycling. Your ABATE Legal Services team can help you. Remember, one of the services for ABATE members is a free will from ABATE Legal Services. Call or email today to get started.

 

ROADHAZARD.ORG – JUST LIKE LUCY AND ETHEL IN THE BON-BON LINE

 Q:How is the RoadHazard.org site doing? Do you get any responses from the agencies you contact?

A:You would be surprised. I’d have to say that RoadHazard.org is an unqualified success. We receive many follow-up letters and comments from both local government offices and from the person who made the original notification.

Many times, the government representatives thank us for bringing the problems to their attention so that they can fix it. RoadHazard.org is a valuable service to both riders and road crews! Sometimes its like that scene when Lucy and Ethel are working in the candy factory putting bon-bons in boxes. Recall that when they can’t keep up, they start eating them. That’s us at RoadHazard.org sometimes.It seems to me that it’s time to bring RoadHazard.org to next level. I have always envisioned RoadHazard.org as being a national program, coordinating information and notifying the proper authoritiesacross the US. As proof of concept, RoadHazard.org has worked well in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, and there is no reason to think that it would not work nationally.

Many other states are already contacting us. What is needed, however, is some group that has the manpower and resources to make it work on a national level. We are in the process of identifying and contacting national organizations who would be interested in staffing and running an expanded RoadHazard.org. I’ll keep you advised of any developments as they occur. As always, keep those notices coming!

The following has been submitted through the RoadHazard.org

From Rodney Diercks, Randolph County, Chester, Illinois

I was traveling west on a state road or highway and the name of the road I was on is Rt. 150/State St. The nearest crossroad is Stacey St. The hazard I encountered is uneven pavement. Details – there’s excessive coal truck traffic in Randolph County, resulting in extreme road destruction! I feel the state of IL. is negligent about proper repairs. The hazard is that the whole lane is very dangerous Westbound!!! I pulled or tore right hamstring requiring ER visit at Chester hospital and Dr. visit at Red Bud, IL. I also have photo of my leg. The majority of Rt.150 & Rt.3 in Randolph County is an extreme public safety issue for all bikers! PLEASE HELP -THANK YOU!

This is an example of a report that we received today and that we are working on to get fixed:

IS IT A-BATE, a-BATE OR UH-BATE?

 Q:We were at a region meeting the other day and the conversation turned to ABATE. Specifically, we were trying to figure out the correct pronunciation of “ABATE.” Do you have any thoughts?

A:To tell the truth, I’ve always wondered about that myself. As I found out when I did the column on what the letters of ABATE stand for, there appear to be as many “official” pronunciations as there are ways to say ABATE. I heard three different pronunciations: A-bate, aBATE, and UH-bate.

However, no matter how you pronounce it, it means brotherhood and community. Take your choice – it’s a Mason-Dixon/north-south kind of thing. My poll says that if you’re south of I-70, you say A-bate; if you are north of I-70, you say uh-BATE, and if you are a pure Yankee blue blood, you say a-BATE.

Ride Safe & Free,

 Rod Taylor

ABATE Legal Services

abatelegal.com

 All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Remember, injured ABATE members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery, and expenses as approved by client. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ⅓%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery. ABATE members are not charged for recovery of damage to your motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: RodTaylor@abatelegal.com  © 2018.

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Ask Our Lawyer – June 2018

Ask Our Lawyer

by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services

LOSING YOUR RIDING NERVE? LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND STATISTICS

As the old saying goes, never confuse fear with respect for your motorcycle. Some have said to me, “Rod, I am wondering if I should continue to ride? I am getting older and have had some good times. Is riding over for me”? I know they have heard the mantra that riding will make you feel more alive that a car etc. But in the corner of their mind are statistics. Here is what I say back to them and Mark Twain said it best. “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Statistics don’t take into account careless riding and/or not riding within the legal limit of alcohol (don’t). And those same statistics don’t look hard at day versus night riding, riding in adverse weather, perfect tire maintenance and exacting adherence to speed limits. I have a saying that riding in Florida at night when the elders are out may be hazardous to your health, so ride after they go to bed as many of them can’t see or hear. And statistics don’t list those motorcyclists that always

1. Assume the car coming toward them will fail to yield and turn left in front of them.

2. Assume that the car at the stop sign to his right is going fail to yield when he has the right of way. I say that if you load the stats with the above, you are as safe as in a car.

Those are my statistics and I am sticking to them. So, get your nerve back and ride.

WHEN HAS MY MOTORCYCLE TIRE TREAD WORN OUT ITS WELCOME? RICKCHUPP/CYCLE OUTFITTERS TELLS US TREAD HEIGHT AND COOLING IS THE SECRET.

Q: How can you go from a motorcycle tire tread depth of 2/32″ (a supposedly safe motorcycle tire) to paper thin in less than 500 miles? I thought the tires were made better today. The tire was absolutely paper thin when it was replaced. If that tire had deflated while I was traveling down the interstate, would the manufacturer have any liability for personal injuries that I may have had because of the sudden wear of that tire? ABATE OF INDIANA MEMBER.

A: According to Rick, the minimum safe tire tread is 2/32″ (or one millimeter for you metric guys). An easy rule of thumb is to take a penny and place it in a tire groove. If the tread is deep enough to reach the top of Lincoln’s head, you have approximately 2/32″. Another trick is to measure the wear bars with a ballpoint pen by running the pen through a groove until you hit the wear bar. (They are hard to see, hence the ballpoint pen.) If the tread is even with the wear mark–park it unless you are going to a shop to replace it, and then don’t ride any faster than you are comfortable with in sliding down the road on your hide. As to the question on how the tire wore so quickly in the last 500 miles, Rick Chupp of Cycle Outfitters (one of the best motorcycle tire suppliers in the country), provides an answer. He believes that the tire grooves provide significant cooling, hence, as the tire wears, less cooling. Remember, the hotter the tire–the faster the wear.

We know of numerous cases of our fellow motorcyclists unknowingly riding on paper-thin tires only to incur a blowout at interstate speeds. The result can be devastating. You don’t just pull over on the side of the road and get off. It does not work that way. A deflation on a rear tire at 70 mph goes approximately as follows:

You could get lucky and get to the shoulder without any problems. Unfortunately, you could notice a mushy handling characteristic, indicating a developing problem. By the time you have figured out what has happened, you are trying to slow from 70 mph, but the bike is becoming increasingly unstable. The rear end does not want to cooperate. If you have a passenger, that problem is tripled. If you are lucky/skilled, you may be able to maintain control and somehow get you and your passenger to the side of the road without catastrophe. In many cases, the motorcyclist loses control in the process of slowing the bike. That control loss is occasioned by known and unknown gyroscopic forces that are forcing the bike into odd aerodynamic postures and increasing forces from wind resistance. When these forces, including gravity and friction, are competing for control of your bike, you lose. The point is don’t even consider less than perfect tires and interstate speeds. While tires are more reliable today than ever, tire manufacturers demand air pressures be kept as specified and that the tire is not used beyond the wear specified for that tire. Do not be fooled by the wonderful tire experience you have on your automobile. Those tires may very well last 60,000 miles. Because of the nature of the manufacturer’s compounds of the motorcycle tire, and because of the extraordinary demand of a motorcycle tire, namely that it be flexible in almost all axis, rear motorcycle tires routinely need replaced at 10,000 miles. Again, use the Lincoln head penny or the wear marks as your guide. If your motorcycle is a Garage Queen (has not been ridden 10,000 miles in a 4 – 5 year period), I would replace the tires.

As a final answer to your question, relating to facts that you pose, I find it hard to imagine that any jury would find fault with the tire manufacturer if the motorcyclist did not comply with the manufacturer’s recommendations on inflation and wear. Clearly, they could conclude that you misused the product in question, despite your claim that there was excessive and sudden wear the last 500 miles of the tire.

Getting Stopped on the Road

Q: Recently, I was pulled over by the state patrol, and was ticketed for not having a motorcycle endorsement. I asked the patrolman why he stopped me, and if I was doing something wrong. He said no, he was stopping motorcycles, checking for licenses. He said that he didn’t see anything wrong with my riding. My question is, can he pull me over for no reason?

A: No. This kind of selective violation of our Fourth Amendment rights is why we need lawyers. In general, in order to stop a motor vehicle, an officer must have reasonable suspicion that a public offense is occurring or has occurred. There are many legitimate reasons for such a stop which include, but are not limited to suspicious activity, traffic violations, and equipment violations. Although it may surprise some of our more confused public safety officers, riding a motorcycle does NOT constitute a reasonable suspicion that a public offense is occurring. I believe that the officer overstepped his bounds in stopping you, and had you been ticketed, that you would have had a legitimate chance to have the case dismissed. ABATE OF ILLINOIS MEMBER

Celebrating the Founding Members of ABATE by Featuring Their Lives

This Month: When “Big Chuck” Williams Speaks…

Charles “Big Chuck” is a good friend of mine. I’ve known him for over three decades. “Big Chuck” has been a member of the MRF for over four decades and owns ABATE OF INDIANA number 11. He has held just about every job that you can have in ABATE. He loves to tell the story of being signed up in ABATE by Jim Humphries, a bouncer in a bar when the membership application was done on the back of a napkin. Chuck is in the plumbing, sewer, and septic business and has been for a while. He is also the best friend that any could have. He has experienced life to the fullest. During one of his sojourns around the country Big Chuck wound up in Nashville as a wanna-be country music star, Los Angeles as a bouncer, Montana as a cook. He tells the story of him and his girlfriend being stranded in Helena Montana without money or jobs. He signed her up for a waitress job, but part of the deal was she had to wash the dishes of her customers. She objected to the dishwashing part so Big Chuck was her new dishwashing co-pilot. Then one day the cook failed to show up. It is what he calls working your way up in life. Guess who the new cook was? Ever since I have branded him as a world class chef. Along the way, he has been a carpenter, security guard, dry cleaner, hog farmer, band member, and singer. On that note he reminds me of Mel Tillis in that he sings like Pavarotti, but like Mel, speaks in labored sentences. Some say that he has a speech difficulty; I don’t notice anymore.

The point of my telling you all of this is the following: I saw him rise to speak at the MRFMeeting of the Minds in Lancaster, Pennsylvania a few decades back. The previous speaker had been rambling on about something that none of us remember, but when “Big Chuck rose to the occasion by giving us his thoughts, we heard every word that he had to say that day.

One final comment. At an ABATE meeting one Saturday, we all rose to pledge allegiance. I stood near “Big Chuck.” He pledged his allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America in perfect prose – near perfect iambic pentameter and never missed a beat. I had never heard “Big Chuck” speak so perfectly before, but he did so on that Saturday. Many of us just go through the motions, but not “Big Chuck.” Every word means something to him. That was the most memorable Pledge of Allegiance I ever heard.

Harassing Witness in Divorce Case

Q: I have been the subject of false 911 calls alleging erratic driving and saying that I may beintoxicated. I believe the root of the problem is that I am a witness in favor of the husband in a

divorce case. The wife is the caller. What can I do?

A: Immediately report this occurrence to the court. All states have laws prohibiting witness harassment. This activity clearly fits within that category. Always get the name and badge number of the police officer and make book on the false stops with a simple email detailing the false stop. If the wife can be identified through records, she can be prosecuted. ABATE OF OHIO MEMBER

RELAX AMERICAN MOTORCYCLE HAND SIGNALS AND ENGLISH WINS

Q. I see that the U.S. Senate failed to pass the bill to make English our official language many times. Why can’t Congress pass a law making English our official language? ABATE OF ILLINOIS MEMBER

A. As you may know, many bills have been introduced to do just that. All have failed to pass. Interestingly, Illinois and Indiana have passed state laws making English its official language. Your question centers on a fear in this country that English is losing ground here and around the world. There are those who fear that Chinese will dominate the internet or that this country will become bilingual like Canada – kinda-sorta.With that in mind, I did research. Here is what I found. The fastest Chinese-language typist in the world can only muster about 10 words per minute on a keyboard. They use symbols so the keyboard has to be the width of two ping pong tables and their language can not be alphabetized (there has been some attempt to computerize the problem). Computers have helped the Chinese sum. Try Googling with Chinese. The Japanese fair little better. They have the same symbol limitation, but their keyboard is only the width of one ping pong table. Score one for English. Get this: one the most recognized faces in China is a British lady that teaches English to an estimated 60 million Chinese on a television learning channel. While I am sure there are many, I do not know a single American that is learning Chinese, certainly not 60 million of us. It is estimated that less than half of the Americans are learning to speak German today than in my generation. Why? It is not needed anymore. Almost everyone speaks English, and more of the world is learning it every day. It is truly the language of the world. Guess what language is used by air traffic controllers in all countries [even though the French controllers gripe about it and favor French speaking pilots]? Pilot speak is pure American. And motorcycle hand signals are universal around the world. These were developed at the turn of the last century by American motorcyclists. And no country has challenged motorcycle hand signalsstarted in the U.S.

As to the French, they have an entire clearing board of language purists to make sure that French stays French – no foreign words allowed. It is working. And soon French will be for the French only. No wonder fewer students are taking French in this country than ever. I took four years of it in college – waste of time for me. And even if you do, here is what you get: the French have only one word for hide and skin. Try going home tonight and telling your significant other that she has lovely hide, and if you do say it in French.

Unlike French, English has no one to guard the entry of new words into our language. For example, it is estimated that English has pirated over ten thousand Spanish words and made them English. The Rand Corporation did a study a few years back about our Spanish speaking residents in this country. In the first generation, their children spoke English and Spanish. In the next generation only half were bilingual, the rest spoke only English. The same can be said for the Vietnamese and other southeast Asians coming to and thriving in this country. Whether the world likes it or not, English has become the language of the world. While language differences are interesting, it is the perfection of communication that is occurring. I say let us relax and enjoy our cultural and language differences while they last. Mark it down: English has won the war of language competition and our motorcycle hand signals are here to stay.

Dead man talking?

Q: My father just died, and as personal representative, I have been working on collecting all of the estate assets – death benefits, retirement accounts and the like. It turns out that my dad, who was divorced 10 years ago, had never changed the beneficiary of his retirement plan at work. Now, his ex-wife is going to get all of his retirement benefits. Is there anything I can do?  ABATE OF INDIANA MEMBER

A: Only the employee can make changes to the retirement plan (including death benefits, investment accounts and pensions), so once the employee passes away, there is no way to make changes to those designations. Further, if your father was covered under a type of plan called an ERISA plan (named after the federal law that regulates those plans) only a specific type of order (called a QDRO) can automatically change the beneficiary upon entry of the divorce order. If such an order was not entered and he took no steps to change the beneficiary, the retirement plan will pay the named beneficiary, even if it was obvious that your father did not want that to happen. Some states, including Indiana, have statutes which will by operation of law revoke all provisions in the will in favor of the spouse, but you should consult with a lawyer to see what the law provides in your jurisdiction or whether the divorce order was sufficient to change the beneficiary. Also, remember that other assets like life insurance, motor vehicle titles and bank accounts can have survivor rights attached to them, and they will also need to be reviewed to make sure that proper steps have been taken to change the beneficiaries.

Ride Safe & Free,

Rod Taylor

ABATE Legal Services

abatelegal.com

All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Remember, injured ABATE members pay only 28 .% of total recovery, and expenses as approved by client. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ⅓%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery. ABATE members are not charged for recovery of damage to your motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to:RodTaylor@abatelegal.com © 2018.

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Ask Our Lawyer August 2016

Ask Our Lawyer

by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services

GARY SELLERS’ TIRE DOES NOT WORK WELL WITH ACID

Long time ABATE member and a mover and shaker with the MRF shares his tire acid story with us.  On May 25, Gary was riding on one of Ohio’s finest when he encountered a freshly Micro-Sealed road.  What happened next is troubling.  As he rolled into his garage he noticed that the tire was disintegrating – to such an extent that his motorcycle was un-ridable.  A friend examined evidence of his ride through the seal application and concluded that the tire was destroyed by contact with acid.  How can that be?  Well the Material Safety Data Sheets of the sealant used disclosed that potent acids are used.  Enough in Gary’s case to destroy his front tire almost as he watched.  What had happened?  Too much acid?  Improper mixture?  Improper spreading equipment?  Since the incident, the construction company that applied the Micro-Seal has offered to replace the tire.  Gary kept the damaged tire in case someone – anyone, wanted to examine the tire.  Significantly, Gary has had no takers – from anyone.  Do they know something we don’t?

If you have had a similar experience, please tell us about it.  Stay tuned for Chapter 2.

 

LEAD A RIDE OR HOW TO GET SUED WITHOUT REALLY TRYING-

THREE GOLDEN RULES

Q. I have been asked to lead a ride for the local veteran’s group charity. What should I say to the participants of this ride and can I get sued if something bad happens during the ride? I want to do this, but I would like to know how much trouble I can get into if things do not go as planned.

– ABATE of Ohio Member

A. The normal tendency of most experienced riders is to help those with less experience. Regarding the rules for a ride, the following is a good guideline to keep you out of the courthouse – and from getting sued. You should assume that all riders have been adequately trained by the state that has issued that rider a license to ride. We all know people who can’t walk well, don’t drive a car well and even more that do not ride well. Our instinct is to try and help the gyroscopically challenged. However, before a ride is exactly the wrong time to start giving instructions on how to ride. Remember, it is the state’s job to do that with trained instructors. There is a rule of law that places liability on your shoulders if you ASSUME a duty, a duty you may not have had under the law, and then fail to perform that ASSUMED duty properly. So, if you assume a duty of providing additional rules and riding instructions for the ride, you may have just set yourself up for a lawsuit, if they can claim your instructions were inadequate or just plain wrong. Remember all you need to get sued is a lawyer with very little to do with a client that has a filing fee.

HERE ARE THE THREE COMMANDMENTS FOR RIDE LEADERS THAT WILL BEST KEEP YOU OUT OF THE COURT HOUSE AND AWAY FROM THE PROCESS SERVER JOCKEY.

  1. RELY ON AND ASSUME THAT THE RIDERS ARE TRAINED AND SKILLED. AFTER ALL, THE STATE HAS SPRINKLED HOLY WATER ON THEM AND PROVIDED THEM A LICENSE/ENDORSEMENT TO RIDE A MOTORCYCLE.
  2. 2. REAFFIRM THE OBVIOUS — ALL RIDERS ARE TO FOLLOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD AND TO OBEY ALL LAWS. DON’T MAKE UP ANY NEW ONES. COMMON SENSE IS YOUR KEY TO SAFETY. THE RIDERS ON THE RIDE ARE THE ONES THAT HAVE TO USE IT.
  3. MAKE SURE ALL RIDERS KNOW THE ROAD THAT IS BEING TAKEN TO THE DESTINATION. MAPQUEST TAKES THE RESPONSIBILITY OFF YOU –USE IT. IF THE RIDE IS ESCORTED BY THE LAW, PUT IT IN THEIR HANDS AND OFF YOUR SHOULDERS.

P.S. Check your home owners insurance policy. You may have coverage under that policy as a volunteer for a not for profit organization like a veterans group. That may be nice to know, so call your agent.

 

WHEN A MOTORCYCLIST CAN RUN A RED LIGHT – AFTER 2 MINUTES OR TWO CYCLES?

Q. We have a stop light in our neighborhood that will not trip with a motorcycle. I have been doing a series of turns to avoid “running the light.” We also have a strict police officer in our area. Can I run the light if it will not trip, as doing the series of turns is not practical during rush hour? If I get a ticket, do I have a legal defense to the court? – ABATE of Ohio Member

A. We have received many similar questions over the years from motorcyclists that have have experienced a defective traffic sensing device while on their motorcycle. The law should not penalize anyone that is confronted with defective traffic signal equipment. Even the Magna Carta addressed the right to be free from unreasonable restraints of travel. This right is one of our most basic of rights and a defective signal device is an unreasonable restraint on our right to travel free and unfettered. My stock answer to a question of what to do in those situations of a defective signal is as follows: 1. Move over the sensor with your engine area and try disrupting the “Hall Effect.” That is the name of the signal field. Sometimes a magnet on your bike will help with disrupting the signal. 2. If that does not work, count through two cycles. The standard cycle is 60 seconds, SO OUR STANDARD IS 2 MINUTES. After two cycles, look for cops and if you do not see any — go cautiously through the intersection. Sounds simple, but what if you do get a ticket? Go back to the signal and see if you can duplicate your troubles to a witness. Time the actual cycle so you can give an accurate estimate of the time you waited through two cycles. Take that witness to court or better yet, visit the prosecutor with your evidence and request that he dismiss the charges. Pass the 2 minute standard on to your friends. This 2 minute standard has been passed by 16 states so far in the form of HB 1080.

 

PREVIOUS ADVICE FROM JAY – RED LIGHTS: DEAD TO THE RIGHT OR DEAD TO THE LEFT?

This question and answer comes courtesy of Jay Jackson, Executive Director of ABATE of Indiana:

Q. Do you know what Indiana’s stance is on the left on red is when the traffic sensor doesn’t work? I was on my bike the other day and the sensor didn’t detect me. After waiting through at least two cycles, I turned left on the red and got stopped by a cop. Is there a law that lets bikes turn left on red when the sensor doesn’t work? Or have I just heard it is generally acceptable?

– ABATE of Indiana Member

A. In 2014, Indiana passed House Bill 1080 otherwise known as the “Dead Red” law (IC 9-21-3-7(b)(3)(D). The provisions of this law allow you to wait for a period of 2 minutes, then proceed with caution treating the traffic control signal as a stop sign. If you end up getting pulled over even after adhering to the above code, you may revert to the above article for fighting a ticket referring to House Bill 1080. If you are in Ohio, Illinois or a state that has not yet passed the “Dead Red” law, please refer to the previous article.

 

CHIP AND SEAL – NOT A FRIEND TO BIKES 

Q. I live in Indiana. They just put down chip and seal pavement on the road near my house. It is a slippery mess and very dangerous to ride a motorcycle on. I called the Supervisor at INDOT to complain about there being no warning signs. This surface is hard on paint from the rocks being thrown. It is like trying to ride on marbles with a bike and I almost lost control of my truck going around a curve. Is there anything that ABATE can do about this junk being put down on state roads?

– ABATE of Indiana Member

A. Steven, our office has been in contact with the officials having jurisdiction over this state road. Chip and seal is not a friend of any vehicle, much less a two wheeler. If chip and seal is used, warning signs are a must for the traveling public. We have had some bad mishaps with chip and seal in both Ohio and Illinois. We have requested a formal response from Indiana, Illinois and Ohio regarding the procedures to be used by highway contractors when chip and seal is applied. I have requested ABATE lawyer George Tinkham, formerly a lawyer for the Illinois Department of Transportation, to weigh in on this one as well.

 

INSURANCE WOES FOR A MOTORCYCLE SHOP

Q. I’m looking for some advice on insurance and I’m reaching out to you as an ABATE Region 1 member. I’m trying to start a small, one-man motorcycle service and repair shop in northern Indiana. I’m getting quotes on insurance that are all over the board, so to speak.  I’ve had one for $3 grand that is quite comprehensive (and not affordable) and another for half that with garage liability and garage keepers included.  I don’t expect you to be an insurance professional, but should I not be covered for things like personal injury due to my negligence? What I mean is, say I work on a guy’s bike, putting on a back tire and rear brake pads. He leaves my shop and two days later is injured. They blame me for my brake job and sues.  Would the general “garage liability” policy cover that? Or would I need an additional E&O coverage?  The agents I’ve talked to seem to be unclear on the coverage I am wanting.  – Scott Wickens, ABATE of Indiana Member

A. Scott, get quotes in writing from the agents. Remember to expressly set out in an email the questions you asked me. Some agents try to get off the hook by saying everything is in the policy.  But don’t let them.  Ask your specific questions in a 1,2,3 etc format and get an answer.  And get a response in WRITING (EMAIL).  Remember that it may not count if you do not get a written response.  It is then a he said – she said deal.   If they won’t reply by email , and some won’t, move on.  As a matter of principle I will not do business with an insurance agent that does not do business by email.  It usually means they are hiding from something and do not want to be called out on a representation they have made to you verbally.

 

Ride Safe & Free,

 

Rod Taylor

ABATE Legal Services

abatelegal.com

 

All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Remember, injured ABATE members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery and expenses as approved by client, consistent with and conforming to applicable state law. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ⅓%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery. ABATE members are not charged for recovery of damage to your motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: RodTaylor@abatelegal.com  © 2016.

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