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




“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




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.




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.




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!



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

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:  © 2019.

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