Episode 18: Calloway County Attorney (and motorcyclist) Jeff Roberts discusses tips for getting your motorcycle prepared for spring. He also offers some safety tips for bikers as they get back out on the road. He’ll also provide some tips for safe driving for non-motorcyclists in their cars.
Jeff got his first street bike around the age of 15. He’s been an avid motorcyclist ever since. As a personal injury attorney, his experience adds an important perspective. Motorcycle accidents tend to result in much more serious injuries than car wrecks.
Motorcycle Safety Riding Tips
An important aspect of preparing for “motorcycle season” involves a careful inspection of the mechanics of your bike. Make sure the brakes are working well. Check the lights and turn signals. It’s extremely important to ensure your headlight is functioning properly. Make sure the fluids are topped off. Inspect your cables and tires. If the bike has been sitting, make sure they aren’t showing signs of dry rot.
Now that your bike is ready, it’s time to get you ready. Here’s another motorcycle safety tip to remember. Even baseball players go to spring training to brush up on their skills. It’s equally as important for you to tune up your skills. It may have been a few months since your last ride, so take some short trips to get back into the swing of things.
Another motorcycle safety tip to remember that your reaction time is extremely important. You may have to take evasive action to avoid a collision with a car door or other unexpected risk. Early in the season, your reflexes may not be as sharp as they were last year.
Tips for Driving Your Car Around Motorcycles
Jeff has been practicing personal injury law since 1992 and has represented a lot of injured motorcyclists. Most of the time, in Jeff’s experience, the collision is the fault of the driver of the car. Often this relates to the driver not seeing the motorcycle. During this time of the year, car drivers underestimate the speed at which the motorcycle is approaching.
It’s extremely important that you take a second or two to make sure you realize how quickly the motorcycle is going, before you head out into the intersection. The result can be fatal to the motorcycle operator.
Time to Review Your Motorcycle Insurance
In Kentucky, you have to have insurance on your motorcycle before you get out on the road. However, insurance coverages vary between cars and motorcycles. Most policies involve liability coverage and property damage coverage, which primarily protect the other people if you’re at fault.
There’s also personal injury protection coverage (PIP) and uninsured/under insured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) to protect you and your passengers.
An important point to understand is that Kentucky automobile coverage automatically includes PIP, which is sometimes referred to as no-fault coverage. But, PIP is not automatically included with motorcycle insurance, it’s optional. You have to specifically select and pay for this coverage. It can be expensive.
Some motorcyclists make the mistake of thinking because they have really good automobile insurance, and something more basic on their motorcycle, they’re in good shape. Some automobile insurance policies don’t cover motorcycles (e.g. exclude them). Currently Farm Bureau won’t pay anything in terms of PIP or UM/UIM for your motorcycle accident. Make sure you have the proper coverage to protect you and your family if you’re involved in a collision.
Motorcycle PIP benefits can pay for lost wages and medical bills, up to your policy limits of the coverage you purchased, regardless of who is at fault. This can be $10,000 or more, depending on your policy.
You also need to make sure you have good health insurance coverage, especially if you’re a motorcyclist.
You should also consider increasing your uninsured and under insured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). Remember, the injuries from a motorcycle collision can be severe. If the at-fault driver the state-minimum amount of coverage in Kentucky ($25,000), your medical bills can quickly exceed that coverage. Your UIM policy is to help cover you, after you’ve exhausted the at-fault driver’s coverage. If the at-fault driver is driving without insurance, your UM policy will help to protect you.
Don’t Just Renew Your Insurance Policy
Many people pay little attention to their policy renewal. This can be a big mistake, especially if you’ve done that for a period of years. Your life situation may have changed, since you took out the initial policy. You may have a spouse and/or children now. You may have more assets, including a house (along with the mortgage payment). This is a good time to think about whether the policy is adequate for your current situation.
Insurance is also a competitive market. It may be a good time to shop around to get more coverage for a cheaper premium. You may be able to get better coverage to protect you and your family.
Do You Have Life Insurance?
Believe it or not, this is also a motorcycle safety tip. A motorcyclist should be aware of the potential severity of a motorcycle collision. Having a life insurance policy in place can be very important to your spouse and kids, if you were to be involved in a fatal motorcycle accident. Remember, in Jeff’s experience as a personal injury attorney, it’s often the driver of the car who’s at-fault for the motorcycle accident. Take time to carefully think through these important insurance decisions.
Tips for Non-Motorcyclists
Even if you don’t ride a motorcycle, there are steps you can do to help prevent motorcycle accidents. Surprisingly, if you blow your grass clippings into the street, this creates a hazard for motorcyclists. The grass can create a slippery surface resulting in a dangerous situation. This is similar to wet leaves laying in the street.
If you notice gravel on the paved road, it can also create a hazardous situation. This can occur if you’re working on the landscape in your front yard. Please try to remove the gravel if possible and it’s safe to do so.
Kentucky is a beautiful state. As the season begins to change, enjoy heading out on your motorcycle. But, before you do, take some time to prepare your bike, yourself and your insurance coverage. Let’s have some great time explore the Commonwealth and all it has to offer.
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.