Ask Our Lawyer – April 2014

Ask Our Lawyer

by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services



  1.  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.  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 MEMBER.
  2.  Many states, including Ohio and Michigan, continue to make book on non-helmet use by inappropriately highlighting that information in their crash reports.  Other states like Indiana and Illinois have taken the high road and eliminated this prejudicial comment 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. Many say that if you are going to get hit, a Mack truck is a good place to be, as is a Crown Vic, a Ford 350, etc, but that ignores the fabric of American life and our right to ride and all the other things we do as Americans.  And most importantly, it ignores the laws allowing us to ride without helmets.  We will gather a list of states that continue this dubious practice and update this article later.



  1.  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 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 is here?  ABATE OF INDIANA MEMBER.
  2. 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 unsuccessful in that request, file suit in small claims court.  I am sending you the link to small claims procedures for you to follow when you file your claim.



  1.  I bought a 2010 Harley and an extended warranty at the time of purchase.  And have been a loyal Harley Davidson customer all my life.  The engine on my 2010 has developed a problem and my Harley dealer says it needs replaced.  I called the extended warranty folks and they will not honor the extended warranty.  Here is the reason:  they say that since I do not have a copy of the receipt for the oil that I bought for the 900 mile oil change that I did, the extended warranty is no good.  As you know, a Harley does not take many quarts of oil and I keep oil on hand.  I told them the oil change was done as required and I recorded that it was done in the service portion of my Harley owner’s manual, but they will not budge.  The problems with the engine did not surface until 2013, but the 900 mile oil change that I did occured in 2010.  Until this fall the engine ran perfectly, so I do not see what the oil change receipt has to do with the current engine problems especially if I used oil on hand that may have been purchased earlier.  Are these guys jacking me around?  If so, what can I do as I paid good money for the extended warranty and have never had a claim until now?  Kenny Roberts, ABATE member.
  2.  The extended warranty requires you to maintain your motorcycle and for you to keep records.  You did in that you recorded the oil change in the maintenance record of the manual supplied by Harley with the bike.  The extended warranty provider should be familiar with that manual.   So I say that you complied with that requirement when you recorded the 900 mile oil change.  Obviously you had to have oil in order to complete the change.  We Harley owners are known to be fastidious oil changers, and these guys surely know that.   I will write a letter demanding that  they comply with their promises under the extended warranty agreement.  If they fail to pay for the new engine we will help you sue the bastards.  Where are these guys from anyway? New Jersey? If anyone else out there has had trouble with them, call me – 800 25 RIDER.  We will appeal to their better angels, or at least help them go there with some legal persuasion.



Rod, after I reported that your office was going to help me with this matter, guess what?  The extended warranty folks advised that they will honor the extended warranty and are replacing my engine at no charge.  Thanks for your help.  Kenny Roberts ABATE member.


Cancer claimed the life of a man who was a hero to motorcyclists everywhere by getting the Illinois helmet law struck down and collecting a lot of tickets along the way – just to prove his point.  His actions encouraged motorcyclists in other states to follow suit.

He rose to the occasion after getting yet another ticket in Madison County for riding his motorcycle without a helmet (the helmet cops knew him well), Donald “Frosty” Fries, 70, of Belleville, fought his last ticket and the state’s 1967 helmet law all the way to the Supreme Court. Frosty won his case to get the state’s helmet law thrown out arguing that it was unconstitutional.

It seems that Frosty was stopped alongside the road at the scene of an accident to help when he waved the police over for assistance.  Not content to just manage the crash scene, the cop arrested Frosty for not having a helmet and took him to jail.  Imagine that!  Trying to do a good thing and the cop nails you.  It is said that he never owned a helmet, but rode wherever and whenever he wanted – helmet laws be damned was his mantra.  But he also gathered one hell of a ticket collection in the process.  Just maybe the cops did us a favor when they took Frosty to jail as that experience got his constitutional juices flowing.

So the next time you go west through Illinois to Sturgis or East through Illinois to Laconia, give a moment of reflection to Frosty as he did some heavy lifting for you.  P.S.  I would like to know the number of tickets given to Frosty for not wearing a helmet.  That is a number we should make holy to bikers and it should be on the next ABATE LEGAL shirt – in memory for the price he paid.


I have an old ’84 Shovel. 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, for 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 deer so I poured a can into my ‘84 shovel.   Remember, I am a lawyer and a cynic, so if I say this stuff works – it does!


No biker worth his salt can resist a 70 degree day in January. But insurance companies, including those that say they are our friends, will sell us seasonal insurance on the guise of saving us money and doing us a favor.  And sometimes they don’t tell us.  And who reads the fine print anyway? Usually, they 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 cover. He is now missing a leg.  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. In a future article, I will print a list of insurance companies that allow this type of insurance coverage and you can decide if they are your friend.


  1. I have been an ABATE member and rider for more than 20 years. Last week I was riding and came up to a stop sign. I was able to stop without putting my feet down. The local town cop saw me and arrested me for “running the stop sign.” I thought all you had to do at a stop sign was stop. The cop laughed at me when I used that excuse. Should I fight this or let it go? P.S. I have a CDL license and this could affect my job.  ABATE MEMBER.
  2. FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT. You are a CDL holder and you have no choice but to fight. Serious points will be assessed against your CDL license if you don’t.  (It has always stuck in my craw that the points are assessed against your CDL licence when you were on your motorcycle – not your truck). The cop is just plain wrong and needs educated. This case reminded us of one in Springfield where a bicyclist was ticketed by a cop for running a stop sign when the two wheel operator failed to put his feet down at a stop sign. The cyclists argued with the cop that he merely balanced the bike at a full stop and then proceeded through the sign. The officer did not buy it nor did the judge, who could not believe that a cyclist can balance a bike at a full stop. The cyclist offered to demonstrate his ability to the court with the bike. To the judge’s surprise, the balance was shown and the case was ordered dismissed.

Many of us get very good at stopping with no feet. The slow ride at biker events allows most of us to practice this to perfection, but most cops are under the illusion that if you don’t put your feet down you did not stop. There is a presumption against us that there is motion unless one foot is on the ground. THAT IS NOT THE LAW. Usually there are two defenses to this type of allegation; 1. I had my foot down and the cop didn’t see it or the cop is lying (judges usually don’t go for the last one) or 2. I don’t have to put my foot down because I can balance the bike. WARNING: be prepared to demo your balance skill to the court. ADVICE: if you are short on time, it is easier to put a foot down.

Ride Safe & Free,


Rod Taylor

ABATE Legal Services

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