Ask Our Lawyer February 2016

Ask Our Lawyer

by Rod Taylor – ABATE Legal Services




When it gets so cold out you know you will not be riding for a few weeks, stop by an auto parts store or a Walmart and get a quart can of Marvel Mystery Oil. Pour almost the whole can in the gas tank (save about 4-6 tablespoons for later), and then fill the tank up completely with fuel. The Marvel Mystery Oil will act as an upper cylinder lubricant. (This stuff has been around since the 30s, and I still don’t know how it works. Air cooled air plane engines love the stuff. And we all know that the airplane guys got the idea for aircraft engines from us motorcycle guys.   If you want to unstick some valves or lubricate sticking valves, this stuff works like magic.   Paul Romine, the guy who remanufactured Ford engines for Ford in the midwest and a NHRA Champion, swears by the stuff, and that’s enough for me.  -Rod)

Remember that 4-6 tablespoons of Marvel Mystery Oil we held in reserve? Now comes the time to use it. Pull the spark plugs out of the engine, pour a tablespoon of Marvel Mystery Oil in each cylinder, and turn the engine over by hand several revolutions in order to spread the Marvel Mystery Oil around the cylinder walls. Reinstall the spark plugs. Simple steps like these will keep your bike ready for this spring and many more to come! Especially if you own a shovel.




ABATE Legal is getting with the times as we recently set up a Facebook page.  Come find us and get registered in our gas card giveaway this month!  We will be giving away two $25 gas cards, and all you have to do to get registered in the drawing is “Like” our ABATE Legal page.  Don’t worry, we will also submit an entry for anyone who was on the ball and liked us before this promotion.  Also, please feel free to share any motorcycle articles, videos, etc. you think we should take a look at. Thanks and good luck in the drawing.



(We have had a series of questions about minutes of board meetings.  What follows is a discussion of the issues confronted by boards and board secretaries.  Let us have your comments and feedback. -Rod)


Q: Our local ABATE chapter has had some discussion recently over how we should take minutes. Someone told me they had to make verbatim transcripts of the board meetings, but others say they only have to reflect the actions of the board.


A: First, look to your bylaws for guidance.  Often times, the bylaws will specify what type of minutes to use.  If you have a choice, there are two choices a board secretary can make regarding minutes.  They can either record every word, or record summaries of the conversations.  Each has its benefits and drawbacks.


Robert’s Rules generally favors a show-all, tell-all approach to Board Minutes.  Certainly that makes life easy when all that is done is to record exactly every comment and then show the struck language that is not part of the approved minutes. Only Board members should be privy to the “draft minutes” and then when the “draft minutes are approved”  those minutes are published and made available to the members.  These rules regarding minutes are simple and easy to enforce.  However, these kinds of recordings may chill candid ramblings that would be inappropriate for publication – even if shown as stricken – and may contain legal issues that need to be protected.  For example, what if libel, slander or politically sensitive remarks, etc. are recorded with no way to edit or redact the comments?  Those type of comments could come back to haunt the organization in the future or cause divisions within the organizations.


The summary approach also has considerations which recommend it.  It allows brutally honest exchanges between board members, – even inappropriate exchanges – without chilling what some folks really think.  It makes the lawyers  sleep better without worrying about libel and slander suits.  It allows ABATE  to put its best foot forward in the final minutes as approved by the Board.  Since we as an organization are somewhat political this may be the best choice, unless we want to run the risk of causing divisions within the organization.


Because the summary approach does not record perfectly the words and expressions involved during a board meeting, board members can be accused of inappropriate editing.  In other words, the Board is reserving the right to “clean up” irrelevant comments that may or may not be appropriate.  It then becomes important for the secretary to be judicious in deciding how the board discussions are to be summarized.


In general, given the sue-everybody mentality that seems to be running amok these days, it may be that adopting summary minutes may afford the best for ABATE boards and their members.







Q: A friend of mine at work was going north on Route 57 from Kankakee, IL. Right before the Manteno exit, a State trooper had someone pulled over. My friend didn’t change lanes when approaching the trooper. All of a sudden, the trooper pulled out right in front of him and gave him a citation for violating the “Scott’s Law.” What is this law, and is there any defense? A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois Member (Also remember last month’s article about a similar situation involving David Hendy, long time ABATE of Illinois member.)


A: The law definitely exists, and can be found for Illinois at 625 ILCS 5/11-907. Other states have similar provisions (Indiana at IC 9-21-8-35 and Ohio at ORC 4511.213). The Illinois statute requires that:


(c)        Upon approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle, when the authorized emergency vehicle is giving a signal by displaying alternately flashing red, red and white, blue, or red and blue lights or amber or yellow warning lights, a person who drives an approaching vehicle shall:

  1. proceeding with due caution, yield the right-of-way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to that of the authorized emergency vehicle, if possible with due regard to safety and traffic conditions, if on a highway having at least 4 lanes with not less than 2 lanes proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle; or
  2. proceeding with due caution, reduce the speed of the vehicle, maintaining a safe speed for road conditions, if changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe.

. . .


(d) A person who violates subsection (c) of this Section commits a business offense punishable by a fine of not less than $100 or more than $10,000. (emphasis added)

The statute is less than clear as to when a motorist is required to move over. It is clear that the statute requires that a motorist either change lanes or slow down. It’s still up to the officer to decide if the motorist exercised “due caution,” but the police officer is only one-half of the story. The charged person may have believed that a lane change was unsafe. A judge or jury would be the final word.




Q: I want to do my will, but I’m not sure what I should put in it or what I need to consider when I’m doing my will.  ABATE of Indiana Member.


A: Anybody who’s ever heard me speak at one of the state seminars knows that I think everybody should have a will. They don’t have to be complex, and they don’t have to be expensive. And remember, we do wills for ABATE members for free!

When you are ready to make a will, there are several things you will need to think about such as:

  • – Who should receive my property?
  • – Who should take care of my minor children?
  • – Do I need to create a trust for my spouse or minor children?
  • – Do I want to make any charitable gifts?
  • – Should my life insurance go to a trustee or directly to the beneficiaries?
  • – Who do I want to administer my will?
  • – What about taxes?

If you already have a will, you should review it to make sure it is up to date and reflects changes in your marital status or changes in the beneficiaries you named.

And by the way, there are several requirements that have to be met to ensure that the will is valid. In general, the will has to be made by someone over 18 and of sound mind and memory. Also, it must be in writing, signed by the maker, and witnessed (with signatures) of two disinterested persons (not anyone who would benefit from or is named in the will). Upon the death of the person who made the will, the court will make sure it is valid and provide appropriate orders to insure the will’s instructions are carried out.

If you don’t have a will, or want to make changes to your will, call ABATE Legal at 1-800-25-RIDER or submit via the ABATE Legal website,


Ride Safe & Free,


Rod Taylor

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 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to:  © 2016.

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