Ask Our Lawyer
by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services
MOST DANGEROUS INTERSECTIONS TO BIKERS/OTHERS AND WHY – ROAD HAZARD.ORG
From time to time, we will feature some of the country’s most dangerous intersections. This month we highlight a rural intersection in Ohio, and urban intersections in Indiana and Illinois. Many of the intersections that we will highlight have a crash per week with resulting serious injury.
In Ohio, Ridge Road and Medina Road near Granger, Ohio tops our list there. While this area is slightly rolling and visibility is somewhat limited, it is tough to gauge why so many crashes happen here. Many times the crash numbers are a consequence of intense use, but much of the time the road engineers were wrong headed; so there is a fix that could save lives. For those of you who live nearby, give us your thoughts so we can spread the word.
In Indiana, the top place to get run over and killed/injured is any of the new intersections with I-465 on the west side of Indy. It seems that many road users have not figured them out as of yet. And it may be that IDOT needs helpful comments from RoadHazard.org reports. Hopefully with time and use, those crashes will diminish.
In Illinois, if you want to get run over, go to Chicago and get off any interstate/limited access road. The wider the intersection the more in harms way you are. And in Chicago, they don’t just run over motorcyclists and the like, pedestrians are on the hit list as well. Twenty three pedestrians have been nailed (permanently) so far this year. I guess the rule there is “run like hell”.
If you have a report of a dangerous intersection, send it to RoadHazard.org. We would like your thoughts.
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 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 as being a national program, coordinating information and notifying the proper authorities
across 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 Randoplh 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,
ABATE Legal Services
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 (800) 25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to RodTaylor@abatelegal.com. © 2014