Episode 50: Calloway County injury attorney Jeff Roberts has ridden motorcycles for decades. In today’s episode, he’ll discuss motorcycle safety and important steps you should take as you prepare to begin riding yours, again.
You Might Be a Bit Rusty
Now that winter is over, we’re sure you’re ready to get back out on the road. However, remember that it’s been a few months since you last rode. It’s important to take a few steps to get back into practice and to remind yourself of safe riding techniques.
Keep in mind that people driving cars haven’t had to deal with motorcyclists for several months. They aren’t used to seeing you and this may lead to potential hazards. In Jeff’s experience, it’s usually the driver of the car or truck whose negligence causes the motorcycle accident. This can be due to a left turn in front of a motorcyclist, entering an intersection without looking to see if it was clear or even misjudging safe distances.
You Have More to Lose
Even if the collision isn’t your fault, as a motorcyclist, you take on more risk of physical injury. If you’re in a car, you have the protection of the car itself and seatbelts. A motorcyclist is completely exposed to the pavement, the other vehicle and additional factors each leading to the potential for catastrophic bodily injury.
Jeff quotes some statistics from 2020:
- In this year, there were 5,579 motorcycle fatalities due to a collision in the US.
- The data indicates a motorcyclist is 28x more likely to die from a collision vs. someone in a car or other vehicle.
- Motorcyclists are 4x more likely to have an injury resulting from a collision.
Equipment Checks before You Take that Ride
Your motorcycle has been sitting all winter. As an important part of motorcycle safety, before you take that ride, you should inspect the bike to ensure everything is in proper working order. A few items to check include:
- Is your motorcycle insurance up to date?
- Make sure the headlight is properly working.
- Inspect all of the blinkers to ensure they are still in working order.
- Check your tire pressure and tread wear on both tires.
- Test your front and rear brakes.
- Test yourself by taking some wide turns, before trying to turn sharply.
- Practice braking to remind yourself of the proper braking distance required to stop.
- Inspect your helmet for wear and/or damage (he addresses this issue later in the discussion).
Avoid Grass Clippings
Jeff notices the issue each year. This may surprise non-motorcyclists, but they can play an important role in motorcycle safety. When you blow your grass clippings onto the road, you’re actually creating a hazard for motorcyclists. This is especially true if you yard is close to an intersection or curve. The cut grass can be extremely slick. Motorcycles only have 2 tires and they are directly inline. Grass clippings can create a dangerous layer between the tire and the pavement. Try to blow the grass back into your yard for safety.
The Motorcycle Insurance Disadvantage in Kentucky
If you’re injured in a motorcycle accident, you are already at a disadvantage. Kentucky is a no-fault state, but that doesn’t apply to motorcyclists. No-fault insurance, also referred to a Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) provides $10,000 to drivers and passengers in automobile collisions. It covers bodily injury and lost wages, primarily. That coverage is automatic, assuming the driver has a valid insurance policy.
Unfortunately, motorcyclists must select this coverage to qualify. Many don’t either because of the expense or because the insurance agent didn’t offer them the opportunity to add it to their motorcycle policy. In fact, according to Kentucky law, even if the other driver caused the accident, a motorcyclist can’t recover the first $10,000 of your medical bills, if you haven’t purchased motorcycle PIP coverage.
Please read the above paragraph again!
Jeff spoke extensively about insurance issues for motorcyclists in Episode 18. Jeff strongly recommends you purchase this additional coverage for your motorcycle insurance policy.
Some insurance carriers offer coverages commonly referred to as Passenger PIP and/or Pedestrian PIP. Both are usually less expensive than regular motorcycle PIP coverage, but this could still leave you at a significant financial disadvantage, because the policy wouldn’t apply to you as the driver of the motorcycle.
Motorcycle PIP coverage would cover you, even if the collision or accident is you fault. Again, this optional coverage is for that first $10,000 of insurance protection for bodily injury and lost wages.
Western Kentucky is Made for Motorcyclist
Jeff comments that this area of the state is perfect for motorcyclists. The scenery all through Land Between the Lakes and so many other areas makes for a terrific outing. We’re blessed to have such a beautiful area of the state all around us.
The Importance of Helmets
Jeff returns to the topic of motorcycle safety, as it relates to helmets. Having practiced personal injury law for the past 30 years, Jeff can confidently state that the potential for a head injury or brain injury resulting from a motorcycle accident decreases substantially, when you wear a helmet.
You should make sure your helmet is DOT or NHTSA approved. There are also other private companies whose standards exceed governmental safety standards.
Kentucky Does Require Some Motorcyclists to Wear Helmets
While you can legally ride without a helmet in Kentucky, the state still requires a helmet for the following individuals:
- If you’re under 21 years of age, you’re required to wear a motorcycle helmet.
- If you only have a motorcycle operator’s permit, you’re required to wear a helmet.
- If you’ve had your motorcycle license for less than 1 year, you’re required to wear a helmet.
Jeff makes a strong point about riding without a helmet. Regardless of how experienced or confident you are, the majority of motorcycle accidents occur due to the negligence of another driver, not the motorcyclist. For this reason, wearing a helmet is a motorcycle safety recommendation that you should always consider. It may save your life, when someone else is negligent. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
In closing, Jeff encourages you to get out there and enjoy our roads, sites and towns on your motorcycle. Don’t forget to drive defensively, so you can get back home safely to your family.
Jeff Roberts Represents Injured Clients Throughout Kentucky
With offices located in Calloway County and now Christian County, Jeff has a history of representing personal injury clients, workers’ compensation clients and social security disability clients across the state. He’s represented clients from Paducah, Bowling Green, Louisville, Covington, Whitesville and many other Kentucky locations. He’s not just a Western Kentucky injury attorney.
We hope you found this episode insightful and helpful. Thank you for listening!
Is It Time to Speak with an Attorney about Your Motorcycle Accident Claim?
The office phone number is (270) 753-0053 or toll free at 800-844-5108. For more information, visit www.JeffRobertsLaw.com. This podcast is meant to provide information and is not legal advice. Jeff’s principal office is located at 509 Main Street, Murray, Kentucky. Co-host Jim Ray is a non-attorney spokesperson. This is an advertisement.