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Ask Our Lawyer
by Rod Taylor - ABATE Legal Services
August 2023


    Q. Is it legal in Illinois for outriders (with reflective vests) to stop traffic at intersections with or without local law enforcement's permission during a motorcycle run? Eastern Il. ABATE chapter.

  A. Most states have statutes similar to the one in Illinois. Section 11-1416 of Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-1416) (from Ch. 95 ½, par. 11-1416) reads:
    Sec. 11-1416. Obstructing person in highways. No person shall willfully and unnecessarily hinder, obstruct or delay, or willfully and unnecessarily attempt to delay, hinder or obstruct any other person in lawfully driving or traveling along or upon any highway within this State or offer for barter or sale merchandise on said highway so as to interfere with the effective movement of traffic. (Source: P.A. 80-911.)

    The "outriders" could be charged with violating this statute as well as a "local ordinance". The key word in §11-1416 is "unnecessarily." Although the "outriders" might argue that it was necessary for them to obstruct traffic, I doubt if a judge would make such a finding. After all, the group could have accommodated local traffic if it had chosen to do so.

    For some intersections the law is not clear. If the ride was on a through street with no stop or yield signs or traffic signals and if traffic on intersecting streets were required to yield to traffic on the through street, then it would seem the outriders did not obstruct traffic. If this is what happened, then they did not stop vehicles. Rather, they were protecting through traffic from illegal and dangerous interruption by vehicles that were required by law to stop. But even this situation is less than clear.

    If the ride was running red lights or stop signs, then they should be glad no one was arrested for such violations. And if there are collisions, they probably will get sued.

    The rule of thumb is that only persons with police powers are authorized to control traffic movement. These persons would include all police officers and most laws allow flagmen to control traffic at construction sites. Also, it may be necessary (note the key word discussed above) for individuals to guide traffic during emergencies when police are not available. Other than these very few exceptions, individuals who interfere with traffic are in violation of §11-1416.


    Q. An Ohio member wrote to us. Here’s his letter:

    I lost control of my motorcycle at a railway crossing in Ohio. Neither my daughter nor I required any medical treatment as our speed was extremely slow. I estimated our speed at 15 to 20 MPH. After crossing the metal rails, both the front and rear tires of the bike came out from under me. The bike slid through the turn and came to rest with the front wheel under the guardrail in the opposite lane. The police arrived on the scene a few minutes later, but as they did not have jurisdiction, the officer radioed the accident to the County Sheriff after discussing the accident with me.

    The officer then told me that because I didn't need a report for insurance (the bike has a salvaged title and I therefore carry only liability/damages required by the State), there were no injuries requiring treatment and no property damages, the Sheriff’s Department was not going to send a unit. My father arrived on the scene with a chain to help pull the motorcycle from under the guardrail, and I checked the bike for damages. I was inserting the key to see if it would start when several State Troopers, an ambulance, and EMS arrived on scene. Needless to say, the State Trooper cited me for ORC 4511.202, failure to maintain reasonable control.

    Now this is a crossing I have crossed many times in both dry and wet weather at even higher speeds without any incident. The speed limit on the road is 55 MPH. I was not in a hurry, and I know that any rail can become slippery when wet. It had stopped raining shortly before the accident, but I wasn't in a hurry, and I had my daughter on. She even commented that I was going slow.

    When I walked back to try and figure out what happened, I found the wood lining the metal rails was so slippery that my feet were actually sliding on the wood. The area surrounding the metal tracks was like ice. The air temperature was 51 degrees F, so ice was not a factor. Evidence of my slow speed is that only the plastic was broken on the bike. I rode the bike home. Even my headlight and windshield were not broken.

    I believe that the railroad shares some responsibility for the accident for using material that presents a hazard to motorcycles when wet. Many other crossings use materials such as concrete, asphalt, or rubber that have a higher friction coefficient. There are no warning signs stating crossing can become extremely slippery when wet. I would like to come away from this without any points or fine as I haven't been able to find work for nearly a year and a half. I can't afford a lawyer and the fine is only $120 so it probably isn't worth it anyway. I was hoping to convince the Judge that I exercised "reasonable" control and that other circumstances contributed to the accident, but I could not find any appeals cases on the internet that apply. Do you have any suggestions, or should I just send in the money?

    A. Congratulations on a good outcome of your crash. I would fight the ticket if you have time and the costs are reasonable. We will help. The law you were charged with violating is designed for those who lose control by doing something wrong. Your actions in saving yourself and your daughter should be commended, not punished. I cannot imagine any well-thinking judge will hold you accountable for this incident. As to the police officer that issued the citation, provide me his name and badge number. His supervisor needs a letter from our office. You did not lose control. Control was taken from you by an improperly marked and designed crossing. As you know, many states have limitations on grade crossing angles. Any crossing angle less than 80-85 degrees is dangerous. Anything less than 90 degrees should carry a warning. Calculating the angle of a railroad crossing at night traveling 55 mph is nearly impossible on some crossings, so all states should warn and post notices as to the angle of the crossing. If the state will not post a warning of the dangerous angle, maybe ABATE should post it with our own signs, especially the crossing that got you.

    Towing Protection in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio

    Q. I recently went to see an official at the Illinois Commerce Commission to talk about the legality of towing cars from an apartment complex. I am a tenant and was looking to find out under what circumstances the owner’s association can tow someone’s car. While talking to the official I asked about motorcycles being towed. She told me that the I.C.C. does not regulate motorcycles being towed like they do with cars. Does this mean that my motorcycle can be towed away much easier than a car then be charged higher rates because they aren't regulated. After speaking with an officer from the Illinois Commerce Commission, he advised me that motorcycles are, in fact, exempt from regulation from the ICC. This is due to the fact that special equipment is needed to tow a motorcycle so towing companies are allowed to charge as they see fit. (Which leads me to believe it is more difficult to tow a motorcycle) The exemptions are found under 625 ILCS 5/18, which states that "this Chapter shall not apply to the relocation of motorcycles. Such relocation shall be governed by the provisions of Section 4-203 of this Code." Section 4-203 does not impose any cost restrictions on towing motorcycles.

    A. Ron, it looks like we motorcyclists were left off the list of protected species in Illinois where the legislature saw fit to protect autos from gouging rates. The protecting statute limits the tow bill for cars but does not apply to motorcycles. It seems the same pirates gouging cars would want to gouge us as well. Now the tow companies in Illinois can do it with a vengeance by saying that the legislature allows them to charge what they want. Ohio also has legislation on maximum tow charges, but does not exclude motorcycles. Indiana has not enacted any protections against gouging tow bill rates (maybe the towing companies are kinder and gentler there). Also, some local cities and towns may have ordinances that regulate tow fees. Keep me posted – we may need a law. WEIRD WIND - THE BANE OF MOTORCYCLISTS

    Many bikers go off the road violently and do not make it. Many assume they just lost it. I have another theory – weird wind. Dave is a member of ABATE of Illinois, and a biker’s biker – a motorcyclist perfected. He also happens to be a pilot – not just a pilot, but an airline transport commercial pilot. When it comes to wind, he knows all you need to know. Except a while back, Mother Nature threw him a new one – "weird wind." It was a hot day – real hot, gusty, on the flats of Illinois; just perfect for dust devils, wind shear – all the weird winds. Running at a good speed down the state highway, he noticed the violent wind from the left and the front end climbed up first – then the rear wheel oscillated next; then a violent high side to the right. He may have been shoved to the right and just lost it. Who knows?

    Looks like he may be back to walking, riding and flying in a few, if he is lucky. What happened and how do we learn from his experience? Jay Jackson, Executive Director of ABATE of Indiana, and an MSF Chief Instructor, blames the incident on a microburst that nailed Dave. Whatever it was – it was invisible.

    Bikers and pilots suffer the same exposure. Years ago, I was flying with a buddy in a Cessna 140. He too is a hard-core biker. I asked him about his greatest fear with flying. He said "weird wind." What can you do to avoid it? Be aware of weather that causes wind shear and microbursts, but other than that, it is like getting hit by lightning. To avoid that, you have to stay home, but that is not like us, is it?


    In Indiana your claim for personal injury or property damage against the city-county must be made in writing as prescribed in Indiana Code 34-13-3. You have 180 days after the loss to file your tort claim. It must comply with the state code.

    Illinois has a special court stocked with "special judges" and Ohio is the fairest of all in allowing suits against itself. Filing a tort claim is part of a legal process. If you have any questions about how to file a claim, contact ABATE LEGAL. The city/county attorneys and employees are not authorized by law to assist you with filing a claim. You should review the actions or conditions resulting in nonliability listed in Indiana Code 34-13-3-3 before filing a claim.


    Pull the tort claim form and complete the Notice of Tort Claim according to the form's instructions. Keep a copy of your claim, your receipts for your bills, and your certified or registered mail receipt. Each person who had a loss should file a separate claim.


    The City/County will investigate your claim if it is properly filed. They will notify you in writing within 90 days of receipt if your claim is approved. By law, a claim is denied if not settled within 90 days.


    If the city-county determines your claim should be paid, you’ll receive settlement paperwork. Your payment will be processed in a few weeks once the City/County receives properly completed documents with original signatures.


    The ABATELEGAL.com web site is fully equipped to handle all your FOIA request needs. If you can think of it, you can generally get it from the government by following our easy steps. At our site we teach you how to prepare the document and file it with the appropriate government official.

    Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) laws are laws ensuring public access to government records. The federal FOIA (and the various, similar, state laws) carry a presumption of disclosure; the burden is on the government, not the public, to substantiate why information may not be released. Upon written request, agencies of the government are required to disclose those records, unless they can be lawfully withheld from disclosure due to a few specific exemptions in the FOIA. This right of access is ultimately enforceable in the appropriate court.

    When requesting information, be mindful of the following:
    1. Do your research - Determine whether the information you seek is readily available. Information requests can take a long period of time to receive and cost money.
    2. Write clearly and be specific - Overly broad requests may not reveal the information you seek.
    3. Target the appropriate agency - Make sure you are sending your request to the appropriate
agency to avoid delay.
    4. Establish a contact within the agency - Typically you will receive an acknowledgment letter or response letter with a case officer. If not, contact the agency to identify who is fulfilling your request. Your effort will help show your interest in a timely response.
    5. Stay on top of things - Agencies are allotted specific time limits in which to respond to your request. However, the more extensive the request, the more time you should allow for a response.
    6. Delays can be expected - While delays can be frustrating, they are par for the course. FOIA requests are usually not an agency priority, meaning delays are quite possible. Responses regarding National Security may take months, even years to fulfill due to resources and sensitivity.
    7. Be reasonable and friendly - Establishing a good rapport with your case officer, while providing a well-written request, will only help your cause. Confirm all your telephone contacts in writing. E-mail is best.

    Having helped our members fulfill requests for information in the past, we decided it was time to give you the tools necessary to fulfill your own interests. Please find more information on FOIA requests at AbateLegal.com.

    Ride Safe.

    Rod Taylor
    ABATE Legal Services

    All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and then only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: RodTaylor@abatelegal.com. © 2023.

Ask Our Lawyer
by Rod Taylor - ABATE Legal Services
July 2023


    You worked hard to save your shekels to buy the trike of your dreams. the one with the Lehman mod in the perfect color. Your check just cleared, the insurance company gave you the pass to ride and you completed a trike familiarity course. Then along comes the sheriff of your home county announcing that your beautiful new trike is stolen. He implies that you may be involved and could be in big trouble, and that you may need a lawyer. He reminds you that a thief can not have a better title than he has. So the dealership where you bought the trike cannot legalize a title.

    And so it looks like you are screwed despite papers indicating ownership in your name from the dealership. Nevertheless, the sheriff announces that he will take possession of YOUR TRIKE until he sorts out the ownership issue explaining that it seems that the serial number is "off", whatever that means. You watch the sheriff's chosen wrecker load up your trike and drive off with the promise he is looking into it and will take good care of your prized possession. Time goes by, you explore your legal options, you consult with your lawyer, you are thinking that you have been fooled and your hard money is down the drain.

    Then out of nowhere, the bad guy wrecker backes into your drive and explains there was a big mistake. The sheriff got his numbers wrong. Your title was correct all along. After a sigh of relief, anger sets in especially when you observe the healthy gash in the front fender caused in the moving process. You want to hit somebody, anybody responsible for a mistake that should have never occurred. You speak with your lawyer as to what remedies you have against the wrongdoer. Damages? Repairs to your trike? Loss of use? Slander damages to your title? Apology letter from the sheriff? We will discuss your rights in a future article.


    Q. I have a bike that I bought stock five years ago and have made a number of improvements to it including a lot of chrome, custom paint, and other customized equipment. My bike was stolen last month, and the insurance company only wants to offer me book value for the bike. By my estimation, it's worth about twice the book value of a stock bike. Is there any way I can convince the insurance company to re-evaluate their offer?

    A. There may be a way to do that, but it depends on how good your records are. Most insurance policies cover customization and items added to bikes, but the insurance company has to be assured that the customizations that you claim you added were actually added to the bike and became a part of the bike. There are a number of ways to do that. The best way is to document all the customizations done to the bike. This means keeping meticulous records of the modifications done to the bike, who did them, when they were done, how much they cost, and what effect those customizations had on the value of the bike. Oftentimes that requires hiring the services of an appraiser to evaluate the bike with and without the modifications. And take lots of photos and send them to your insurance representative – before your bike gets stolen, of course.

    Let's assume you did a custom job with three distinct components: First, you did some body work - you put on a new fork, new handlebars, and new wheels. You did that during the course of one season and didn't plan on doing any more work that season. It would be a good idea once that work was completed, to take pictures of the bike, put those together with all the receipts from the work done to the bike and send copies of that information to your insurance company. At that point you should get an appraisal for the bike. Often, appraisers work at a motorcycle shop or dealer. You especially want an appraisal if the value of the bike together with the additions is more than what you paid for the bike plus the value of the additions. For example, you bought the bike for $5,000.00; you added $5,000.00 worth of additions, but those additions and your sweat equity caused the bike to be worth $15,000.00 rather than just the value of the bike plus the parts, which was $10,000.00. An appraisal will prove to the insurance company that the bike is worth more than the sum of its parts.

    Now let's assume it's the next season, and you have added a lot of chrome to the bike. Again, you should take pictures of the bike, keep copies of the receipts, describe the work done, and submit that info to the insurance company for their files. Suppose later on you decided to complete the customization and get a special paint job on it. Once that work is finished, you need an appraisal of the value of the bike to show the insurance company what it's worth with all the customizations. With those documents, you will be in a good position to prove the value of the bike to the insurance company should you need to make a claim.

    Remember, some insurance companies offer special coverage for customizations or for bikes with historic or antique value. If your bike has value for collectors beyond the book value for a stock bike, check with your insurance agent about modifying your insurance to make sure your investment is covered. Some insurance companies offer coverage for a specific supported value. This might be your best way to go. Never forget that with insurance companies, if it is not in writing it doesn't count. Get email addresses of your insurance company reps and make book on them, because they are making book on you. Meaning, you should confirm every conversation and send them every doc and photo you have. If that doesn't work, call us.


    When it was so cold out you knew there would be no riding for a few weeks, you should have stopped by an auto parts store or a Walmart and got a quart can of Marvel Mystery Oil. Marvelites would 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 acts as an upper cylinder lubricant. (This stuff has been around since the 30s, and I still don't know how it works. I don't think anyone does. Air cooled airplane engines love the stuff. And we all know that the airplane guys got the idea to use Marvel Mystery OIl in 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 a shovel.


    Q: I'm an ABATE member. My ex and I had been living together. We signed a lease together on an apartment. I moved out this week, called my landlord and told him I am no longer a tenant. What do I need to do to make sure nothing comes back on me? My ex will stay in the apartment and supposedly will pay the rent. Thanks for your help. ABATE OF INDIANA MEMBER

    A: I understand that you signed the lease as did your ex. That means you have promised to do what the lease says. Unless the lease lets you off the hook when you move out, you are bound by the terms. If your ex fails to pay the rent, you are responsible. If your ex damages the apartment, you are responsible. You could ask the landlord to take you off the lease, but why would he do that?. The worst thing he can say is no. If he says yes, get that in writing. If he says no, make sure he has your address and agrees to notify you of any violations of the lease by your ex and that he gives you reasonable notice to cure any breach of the lease caused by your ex. If the landlord will not let you off the lease, by all means be on your guard when your ex moves out. There could be issues regarding damage above normal wear and tear. You could be jointly on the hook for that with your ex. Of course, you may have rights against your ex for that cost.


    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 as it was not safe. . All of a sudden, the trooper pulled out in front of him and was cited for violating "Scott's Law." What is this law, and is there any defense? A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois Member (Also remember an earlier 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.

    Ride Safe.

    Rod Taylor
    ABATE Legal Services

    All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and then only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: RodTaylor@abatelegal.com. © 2023.

Ask Our Lawyer
by Rod Taylor - ABATE Legal Services
June 2023



    Hugh Harvey, long time member and mover- shaker of Freedom Valley Chapter in Illinois just called with a problem in that he has been acting as a claims adjuster - urged on by his insurance company to go after the other guy's insurance company no less. You know; calling and getting estimates, debating the amount of repairs to his vehicle etc, fault, rental car, etc. He has been dealing with the adverse insurance company, Allstate who is putting him through the ringer with requests. He obtained the repair estimates and chose the cheap one to save the insurance company money, but that did not count. Insurance guys are tough. Their goal is not to pay you one penny more than required. It is not a fair fight with an insurance company adjuster unless you have that experience. Hugh says they have a list of items they want him to do. Do you know what I said to Hugh? "STOP". And immediately turn this over to YOUR insurance company as that is what you hired them to do. Afterall they are experienced in settling claims and you are not.

    Hugh had full coverage with Farmers. That did not do him much good as the adjuster told him to send his claim to the other side and handle the claim on his own - wrong. Hugh has a contract ( they call it an insurance policy) with Farmers that says they will do that work and resolve the claim. They will be the adjuster and resolve the claim with an experienced trained adjuster. After all, they have a right to collect the amount they pay Hugh from AllState - the adverse insurance company. That right is called subrogation.

    Hugh paid good money to his insurer to avoid turning himself into an adjuster with no experience and sent to do battle with the adverse experienced adjuster. I am surprised that his insurance company allowed that to happen as they are a good insurance company and normally would not expose an insured like Hugh to the devices and experience of an adverse adjuster. I realize many companies are shorthanded but that is no excuse for not doing what they have agreed to do with their insureds like Hugh and that is evaluate his loss and pay him - now! And provide a rental car that he can get into! Then, they can go after the bad guys where it will be a fair fight - experienced adjuster vs. experienced adjuster. That is what Hugh paid for when he bought his insurance policy - nothing less.


    Richard Overbey, long time and well known instructor at our Evansville site called regarding an improperly marked curve in Gibson County. That improperly marked curve caused Richard to miss the turn, trashing his bike and himself. Fortunately he is ok now but still irritated that the county maintenance crew did not follow road protocol in marking the curve properly. Good thing because Richard's claim is lost because of timing and lack of a special notice to the governmental entities involved. Here is the problem and the reason Richard wanted me to write about this issue so this does not happen to you.

    Some states have special notice requirements before you can make a negligence claim for losses caused by a governmental entity - meaning the state, county, city, town etc. SO BEWARE. My advice is that if you have such a case, call us immediately after the incident. The notices can be tricky and if some of the information required is missing the "entities" can deny your claim. The one I dislike the most is the requirement of mailing. In some states you can't simply drop your notice in the mailbox. It has to be sent special or does not count. See a summary below, but check with us before you rely on any such dates as they are subject to change anytime the legislature is in session. And remember that a session is a dangerous time for us mere citizens and as Mark Twain asserted, "when congress is in session, no American is safe."

    Here is a summary for you.



        Call us for claims against Townships, School Systems. Villages and other governmental entities.


        We often assume these big corporate health insurance companies have refined processes that manage our claims consistently and correctly every time. But here's the thing: they're not perfect and they don't always get it right. When health insurance companies get it wrong, it can result in a big bill being sent to you when it should've been paid by them. The last thing we all need is to have to spend time policing our own health insurance, but unfortunately, that is exactly what we should do to ensure these companies keep their promises.

        My experience is that once I hit my deductible, claims processed after that point seem more likely to be labeled "out-of-network" even when the provider and facility were actually in-network, or labeled "not medically necessary" when it was medically necessary.

        I've even had the experience of a covered in-network claim being applied to coinsurance after I'd already hit my in-network out-of-pocket maximum, yet my in-network out-of-pocket claims calculator failed to include this claim anywhere in my claims calculation. This resulted in a $2,400+ medical bill being sent to me when it should have been 100% covered by insurance.

        The first person I spoke with at the insurance company did not understand the issue. I called again, and the second person I spoke with understood exactly what I was talking about, so if you don't succeed the first time, try again with a different person. It took several calls and emails, several different people, and about a 60 day time period, but my health insurance acknowledged their mistake and paid the bill.

        Moral of the story: big corporate companies make mistakes so you should check their work.


        Q. Was the first land race at the Indy 500 with motorcycles? ABATE MEMBER

        A. The year 1909 was a time when there were no cars, generally speaking. Just trains, horses, bicycles and most significantly motorcycles. For a biker that meant almost nothing to watch out for other than people, horses and maybe a mule or two. It was August of that year and a guy by the name of Fisher ( famous as founder of the Indianapolis 500, Miami Beach and Presto-Lite) was holding the first race at the Indy 500; it was a motorcycle race. William Harley and Walter Davidson were there along with their chief line foreman, and everybody that was anybody in motorcycling.

        How do I know this? While at the Indy Motorcycle Expo, I took in the Old Timers area. There, the old flat trackers, hill climbers, and Daytona veterans were in force. Some bring artifacts from the glory days, like Kenny Staughton. For the last several decades the equivalent of the painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence to motorcyclists has hung above Kenny's living room couch. It is one of those seven foot long - one foot high brown-toned photographs of old. The photograph looks North on Indy's Meridian Street from the base of Monument Circle (The past site of the Motorcycles on Meridian). Positioned on about a third of the Circle are 250 motorcycles. I can identify two cylinder Indians and one cylinder Harleys. In those days Harley was not into speed, but endurance as gas was expensive and hard to get - no gas stations.. The Indian was into speed, so two races were to happen. One was the speed race at the Indy 500 and the other was an endurance race starting in Cleveland, down to Columbus, over to Dayton, then to Richmond, passing just below Sky Castle Airport, through Rushville and finally to Indy. Bill Harley and Walter Davidson won the endurance race and came together with the Indy racers for the photograph. I can identify William Harley and Walter Davidson and the Harley Davidson factory foreman - I think. Or at least that is my story and I'm sticking to it. Thought about having a contest and naming it "Where's Walter" after the kid game.

        What is striking about the photo is there are no cars in the photo - well maybe a lonely handmade Buick, but that is about it. Around the sea of motorcycles are horse and carriages and a bicycle or two. In 1909 we were truly a motorcycle nation. Not till 1912 when Henry Ford implemented the assembly line in Detroit City did that change. Bob Schulteti of Harley South-Side believes that Motorcycle Nation existed into the late teens before there were enough cars to make a difference and cause two wheelers problems.

        While admiring Kenny's photograph, I wondered aloud where the motorcyclists got gas, since there were no cars- no gas stations? Bob Schulteti knew the answer - drug stores. Imagine - a land before gas stations and no place to get a Big Gulp.

        Kenny allowed us to copy his living room treasure. Next time you are in my office, take the time to gaze at a photograph that captured a time when America was a "motorcycle nation" - with not one gas station.

        Ride Safe.

        Rod Taylor
        ABATE Legal Services

        All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and then only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: RodTaylor@abatelegal.com. © 2023.

  • Ask Our Lawyer
    by Rod Taylor - ABATE Legal Services
    May 2023


        Every year since 1994, bikers have gathered together to support Riley Hospital for Children. And you can be part of it and help the kids at Riley.

        Since its inception, the Miracle Ride has raised just under 7 million dollars for the kids at Riley, and 99 percent of those funds have been raised by volunteers. The Miracle Ride Foundation has just a skeleton staff that is paid for their work. So many thanks to those who volunteer time, dollars, motorcycles and expertise. Find out all of the day's festivities and times at miracleride.net . We hope to see you there!


        Q. Asst. Region Director here. We have a few questions regarding ABATE event insurance we are hoping you might be able to assist with. We of course get a COI from the state office for our sanctioned events for the specific day and event location, but what should we be requiring, if anything, from vendors that might set up at our event? Should we be requesting COI's (to CYA) from all vendors? Maybe for only food/alcohol/equipment vendors?

        We are looking for the best route that covers ABATE, the officers, the event itself, and of course the participants. However, on the flip side of that we realize that not all vendors might be an established business (such as artsy/craftsy vendors) and might not be able to obtain a COI for the event if requested. If you could please provide any information and input on this, we would greatly appreciate it! Thank you.

        A. As much as we can reasonably get. Certificates of Insurance should be obtained from all food and alcohol vendors - always and no exceptions. Also included in that compulsory list are those who provide unique services and items for entertainment. As you suspect many of the artsy/craftsy vendors may not have insurance, so we are relying on the waiver/release that is required for admission for all attendees to cover us. But we should require an indemnification agreement from the artsy vendors just in case our waiver for attendees is held unenforceable. This means that if that artsy vendor screws up and injures one of our attendees, we have a claim over and against that vendor. Our required Waiver/Release, if enforceable, should get the arsty vendor off the hook along with us as they are generally identified in our waiver. If our waiver is not enforceable for some reason, we can hold that vendor responsible, so we are not paying for his sins.


        Q: I am hurting financially. My wife and I have been paying on our home for over 25 years. I do not have the full amount for this month's mortgage payment. What will happen if I stop paying? What are my options?
    South Suburban Chapter Member and Region 1 Member

        A: Call your mortgage company ASAP. When and if you get a live person, get a name, number, and mailing address for that person to confirm all of your questions and their advice to you. Here are your options:

        1. Determine the amount you can afford to pay now and see if the mortgage company will defer the rest until you have better times. Most banks understand that we are going through hard times and that we are all in this together. Remember the banks are not doing a lot better than we are, but they are getting a bailout– you are not. Most mortgage companies have some sort of mortgage assistance, you may also be able to review those options on your Mortgage Company's website.

        2. Do nothing. Of course, the mortgage company will foreclose and put you out of your home. Depending on the equity in your home there could be a deficiency judgment. Of course, there will also be attorney's fees, interest and costs awarded against you, as provided in the mortgage. This process could take from 2 to 6 months, but ultimately, they will put you out on the street.

        3. File bankruptcy if your overall financial situation warrants such a drastic action. This allows you and your family to start over. A fresh start is the right of all Americans and is guaranteed in the Constitution. Good luck. There but for the grace of God go all of us. If you have any more questions, call me.


  • Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.
  • Never be afraid to slow down.
  • A bike on the road is worth two in the shed.
  • Young riders pick a destination and go... Old riders pick a direction and go.
  • People are like Motorcycles: each is customized a bit differently.
  • Everyone crashes. Some get back on. Some don't. Some can't.
  • Don't argue with an 18-wheeler.
  • Never be ashamed to unlearn an old habit.
  • There are drunk riders. There are old riders. There are NO old, drunk riders.
  • Only a Biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window.
  • There are two types of people in this world, people who ride motorcycles and people who wish they could.


        One of the blessings of membership in ABATE is the power to call up your lawyer and pick his brain on a variety of legal issues. And it helps when you tell a stubborn insurance adjuster that if they don't treat you right on the property damage to the family Harley - you are going to call Rod Taylor - your ABATE lawyer.
       Sometimes, that is all it takes.

        Not only does ABATE Legal receive calls regarding motorcycle crashes we get calls for legal help on a variety of issues, for example, time-share issues in Mexico, motorcycle titles, credit score gigs, employment problems, age discrimination, sexual harassment, union contracts, health policy claims and insurance claim denials to name a few. You name it and we have tried to help our members get started in the right direction. While we are motorcycle lawyers specializing in crash cases (WE HANDLE ALL KINDS OF PERSONAL INJURY CASES FOR OUR MEMBERS), and we try to get you to lawyers that practice in other areas that we don't. For example, we are not patent/trademark lawyers, but we know when it pays to hire one and when it doesn't. We like to think we have saved a lot of money for our members.

       Ride Safe.

        Rod Taylor
        ABATE Legal Services

        All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and then only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: RodTaylor@abatelegal.com. © 2023.

  • Ask Our Lawyer
    by Rod Taylor - ABATE Legal Services
    April 2023


        Q: I have a radar detector mounted on my bike, and I ride through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois a lot. A friend told me that they were illegal. I know that jammers are illegal, but I thought that detectors were ok. What's the situation? Freedom of the Road Riders Member.

        A: First, let's define our terms. A radar detector is used by motorists to detect if their speed is being monitored by police or law enforcement so the driver can reduce the car's speed before being ticketed for speeding. An active laser jammer sends out its own radar wavelength to defeat a radar detector. To jam police laser guns, laser jammers first must detect the light emitted by a police officer's laser gun - normally infrared light on the 904 nm wavelength. After detecting the radar detectors gun's light, the jammer will send out light on the same wavelength at a higher intensity, effectively confusing the gun into returning a no speed reading.

        In general, radar detectors are legal across the US, with the exception of Virginia, Washington DC, and on military bases. In Canada, the only three provinces that allow the use of radar detectors are Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. However, radar detectors are illegal in all commercial vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds anywhere in the US. Laser jammers are legal in most states, except for Nebraska, Minnesota, Utah, California, Oklahoma, Virginia, Colorado, Illinois and Washington, D.C. So watch out in Illinois with your laser jammer, but it is clear riding in Ohio and Indiana.


        Q: We have received several calls, from both Ohio and Illinois, regarding trailer hitches. One writer in Illinois asked for an opinion regarding a police officer who is warning drivers of pickup trucks and SUVs that they need to remove their ball & mounts from their Reese Receiver Hitches, or he will ticket them. I heard from a trucking company that McLean County Illinois has a 'County Ordinance' forcing removal of hitches. Is that even possible? What about hitches on motorcycles?

        A: We researched this matter regarding motorcycles and believe the following comments apply only to cars and trucks, and that the hitch concerns do not apply to motorcycles, since bikes aren't required to have bumpers – at least yet. We did the research on this question and found the following: Section 12-608 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/12-608) (IVC) reads, in pertinent part:

  • (a) It shall be unlawful to operate any motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 9,000 pounds or less or any motor vehicle registered as a recreational vehicle under this Code on any highway of this State unless such motor vehicle is equipped with both a front and rear bumper.
  • Section 1-106.5 of the IVC (625 ILCS 5/1-106.5) defines "bumper" as: Any device or system of devices protruding from and attached to the front and rear of a motor vehicle that has been designed to be used to absorb the impact of a collision. For the purposes of this Code, a bumper also includes a device or system of devices similar in design to those with which new motor vehicles are equipped.
  • A protruding hitch bar is clearly not "designed to absorb the impact of a collision." In fact, it interferes with the protection a rear bumper might otherwise provide both to the vehicle being struck and the object striking that vehicle. Thus, a court could reasonably find that a vehicle operated with a protruding hitch bar is in violation of §12-608 of the Illinois Vehicle Code.
  • Sections 11-208 & -208.1 of the IVC (625 ILCS 5/11-208 & -208.1) allow units of local government to enact local ordinances that are not inconsistent with the Vehicle Code. Accordingly, local authorities could ticket drivers of vehicles with a protruding hitch bar based on the Vehicle Code and would not need a local ordinance. If such an ordinance were enacted, it does not appear to be inconsistent with the Vehicle Code. We will cover Indiana and Illinois in a future column.


        There are some very important differences between your auto insurance coverage and your motorcycle insurance coverage. Here are the top three.

       1. Let's say you want to test ride a motorcycle that your neighbor has for sale and that neighbor has no motorcycle insurance on the test ride motorcycle. You remember your agent telling you that you have automatic insurance coverage for a newly acquired vehicle and you believe that would apply to a "newly acquired" motorcycle. Unless you have a current motorcycle policy in force, you are uninsured if you test ride that motorcycle -- even though you have auto insurance coverage. But no problem if you were test driving an auto - you would have coverage in that situation. The problem only surfaces with motorcycles.

       2. You test ride the neighbor's uninsured motorcycle and crash into another vehicle. You would have coverage for the personal injury that you have allegedly caused under the newly acquired policy provision in your policy, but you would not have coverage if you test rode your stepson's motorcycle who lives with you. His status as a resident in your home disqualifies coverage for you in that case under most motorcycle insurance policies.

       3. While on a test ride of your neighbor's motorcycle, you bring a friend. You are in the showoff mode, lose control, and injure your passenger. She sues you. Do you have coverage? Yes, under your motorcycle policy, but only if you have elected passenger coverage. Notice that extra steps are not required in auto policies. That same coverage for auto passengers is automatic. How is that fair?

        A real motorcyclist's insurance company would eliminate the discriminatory provisions discussed here, which adversely affect motorcyclists only and conform those motorcycle policies to what is given in automobile policies. The first insurance company to take that measure will have my vote.



        Sometime ago, I attended ABATE of Indiana's Motorcycle Safety Division Annual Awards Banquet. We thank those instructors for all they do for the motorcycle safety program. Prior to these programs, most states had no effective motorcycle safety training program. In short, beginning riders were given a pink slip and told to practice on the highways and byways of this country. If they survived thirty (30) days or so, someone would examine their riding skills learned the hard way. The resulting plan was - if they die, they die. ABATE and its cadre of dedicated safety instructors and supporters of state funded programs changed all that.

        Over the years, I have wondered how many lives have been saved by safety instructors. With that in mind, I asked those in charge if they could statistically calculate the number of lives saved in Indiana since that program was started. The answer was at least 1000 lives since the program was started in 1986. And even if it were only one, the effort would have been worth it. If you accept the Indiana statistic as an average for each state (Indiana is average in population), it can be argued that over 50,000 lives have been saved because of the influence of rider training in each of the 50 states. That is also the size of the average town in this country, so it is very cool for us to be able to say that our instructors saved (the equivalent of ) that town.

        Ride Safe.

        Rod Taylor
        ABATE Legal Services

        All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and then only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: RodTaylor@abatelegal.com. © 2023.

  • Ask Our Lawyer
    by Rod Taylor - ABATE Legal Services
    March 2023


        Q. My insurance agent says I can save money on the insurance policy for my motorcycle if I waive the "uninsured - underinsured coverage", since I do not ride much. Should I? ABATE OF OHIO MEMBER.

        A. Ok - a quick insurance lesson here. As we should know, uninsured coverage in your motorcycle policy provides coverage for your injuries when the dirt bag that runs over you has no insurance. Underinsurance coverage provides coverage for you when that same dirtbag does not have enough coverage to take care of you. And that is assuming that you have taken my advice and upped your limits to do that. If you have not, shame on you and shame on me for not being more persuasive.

        Even though Uninsured/Underinsured coverage is not required in the state of Ohio NEVER waive that provision. Ever. Uninsured/Underinsured coverage supplements your own policy and protects you from a situation where another driver is at-fault and either has no insurance or has insurance that is insufficient to cover your losses. AND IT IS CHEAP RELATIVELY SPEAKING! For example, if the other driver has $25,000 of coverage and your medical and rehabilitative costs are $50,000, then your own insurer would pay the remaining $25,000 - that is, IF you have purchased sufficient UIM protection. Get as much as you can - it is cheap compared to the alternative.

        For those of us who travel to Daytona for Bike-Week, the insurance limits in Florida are unconscionably low. That is the land of people who drive - and shouldn't. (And I realize that I may be in that category myself someday) We are seeing too many cases of not enough insurance coverage on the adverse vehicle to even pay for your flight to the hospital and emergency treatment at the scene, much less for your lost wages, medical bills, temporary/permanent impairment, pain and suffering. Well you get the idea. Take care of yourself and never waive that coverage. If you do and the little old lady with blue hair gets you, expect a whole bunch of sad looks from me that says, "I told you so".

        Q: I got a letter from my insurance company that stated that due to a new statute, a motor vehicle which is operated on a highway right-of-way must be covered by liability insurance. A highway right-of-way is 25 feet from the center of the lane on "most" rural roads. This means no dirt bikes, ATV or snowmobile riding down property lines or fence rows along roads. It also means checking my mail on my ATV and parking at the edge of my drive could result in a ticket. Even mowing grass along the road in your front yard could get you an insurance ticket on your lawn mower. I don't recall hearing of this proposal before. ABATE OF ILLINOIS MEMBER

        A: ABATE lawyer George Tinkham provided us with an explanation for this one for Illinois. (We will cover Indiana, Ohio and other states in a later column.) The Governor of Illinois signed Public Act 96-0279 into law. This Act did not amend 7-601 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (IVC) (625 ILCS 5/7-601) which excludes vehicles not designed for use on public highways from the mandatory liability insurance requirement. It did, however, amend 11-1426.1 of the IVC by adding subsection (g), which reads:
        (g) Any person who operates a non-highway vehicle on a street, highway, or roadway shall be subject to the mandatory insurance requirements under Article VI of Chapter 7 of this Code.

        PA 96-0279 also requires the operator of such a vehicle to have a driver's license. Whether that license has to have the proper motorcycle endorsement is unclear. Even though the Vehicle Code now has contradictory language, the language in 11-1426.1 which requires insurance (and a driver's license) will prevail. This means that your letter is correct: off-road vehicles must be covered by liability insurance when on the right-of-way of a public highway.

        It is not uncommon to see a twelve year old riding an ATV or dirt bike along the right-of-way fence on the public highway side traveling between his home and a favorite off-road riding area. This change to the IVC means that his off-road vehicle must now be insured. A more absurd consequence of PA 96-0279 is what happens when a landowner uses a riding mower to cut grass on the right-of-way by his home or farm. Silly as it seems, arguably the mower may have to have vehicle insurance, even though most homeowner/farm policies will provide coverage for an occurrence while mowing. If the agent for your farm/home insurance says you do not need additional coverage for the off-road vehicle, send him an email confirming the same with a cc to me. And show him this article.


        One of the blessings of membership in ABATE is the power to call up your lawyer and pick his brain on a variety of legal issues. And it helps when you tell a stubborn insurance adjuster that if they don't treat you right on the property damage to the family Harley - you are going to call Rod Taylor - your ABATE lawyer. More times than not, that is all it takes.

        Not only does ABATE Legal receive calls regarding motorcycle crashes we get calls for legal help on a variety of issues, for example, time-share issues in Mexico, motorcycle titles, credit score gigs, employment problems, age discrimination, sexual harassment, union contracts, health policy claims and insurance claim denials to name a few. You name it and we have tried to help our members get started in the right direction. While we are motorcycle lawyers specializing in crash cases (WE HANDLE ALL KINDS OF PERSONAL INJURY CASES FOR OUR MEMBERS) and remember that Rod is a former semi driver and still owns a B-Model Mack so he knows all about that, and we try to get you to lawyers that practice in other areas that we don't. For example, we are not patent/trademark lawyers, but we know when it pays to hire one and when it doesn't. We like to think we have saved a lot of money for our members.


        Let us know what you think about raised medians. Are they a problem? So far no one seems to be looking at this item as a traffic hazard issue. Tell us about the good, bad and ugly regarding these traffic control devices. We have been getting feedback through the RoadHazard.org web site and here is an example.

        Jerry Taylor wrote the following regarding raised median in Joliet, IL: Joliet did not "link" the raised median removal to motorcycle safety issues or any other safety issues. I was told they were going to replace the three raised medians at that intersection with PAINTED medians. Again, it seemed to be more of a cost issue as opposed to a safety issue of any kind.

        Again, here is what the City of Joliet officially said: The City has an intersection improvement project at the intersection of Essington Road and Caton Farm Road. The project consists mainly of roadway widening to accommodate new right turn lanes for both the eastbound and southbound directions. Although the project has started, it has been temporarily suspended due to utility conflicts. The medians were removed initially to allow for traffic to be 'staged' during construction. Once the construction commences, the traffic lanes will be shifted at times to allow for various work zones. The final plans only include the re-installation of the raised median on the east leg. This is to restrict traffic from accessing the Family Video driveway from the eastbound direction. The other three legs of the intersection will have a painted median.

        It was MY BAD in thinking it was the start of moving away from raised medians, but I was wrong. Raised medians are going up all over the place around here and you can see black marks where car tires have rubbed them and cracks with broken concrete where cars or snow plows have hit them.

        When I go west on my bike, like to Nevada, the medians seem to be well lit and the streets a little wider where they exist. Hardly any black tire marks at all. Also, the front, impact. zones are beveled so your vehicle can have a chance of RIDING UP on the raised median instead of breaking a wheel and axles when you hit a non-beveled median with a car, or worse yet with your bike.

        I have noticed some "after the fact" older raised medians in our area, with a beveled area ground or cut into them, like they do for wheelchair access for crossing streets.. But "I assume" they do that only because city snowplows were hitting them? It just might be a coincidence, but when I talk to a small group of other bikers about raised medians, someone always says they know someone who is no longer with us, after hitting a raised median! I don't know if that is your experience on the subject or not? Again, if I am the only one mentioning this subject, no need to pursue it. It is just another road hazard I try to keep my eyes on! Thanks for listening. Jerry


        Information for clients of ABATE Legal Services

        What do you do when the men and women in blue show up? What are your rights and what should happen? We get many inquiries from parents, neighbors and concerned friends about their rights and what to expect. The following tips should help.

        1. When am I arrested?
    You are arrested (or considered under arrest) when officers deprive you of your freedom of movement in order to have you answer for an alleged crime.

        2. They want to question me - what are my rights?
    Just like in those TV shows, you have the right to remain silent. If you don't keep silent, anything you say can be used in court against you. If you start answering questions, you can stop at any time. You have the right to speak with your lawyer and have them with you during questioning.

        3. The cops won't let me go, but they haven't arrested me. Can they do that?
    An officer can temporarily detain you in order to ask for identification and to get an explanation of your presence at a particular time. You can be subject to a limited pat-down search to ensure that you have no weapons, if the officer believes you are armed. You have the right not to answer the questions, but if you refuse to give any identification, the officer may have grounds to arrest you. Once this temporary detention is over, the officer must either arrest you or let you proceed on your way.

        4. They want to arrest me, but don't have a warrant.
    Officers can make an arrest without a warrant if they witness the offense being committed. They can also make an arrest if they receive information from a credible person that they suspect committed a felony and is about to escape.

        5. I got hurt when I was arrested. How much force can they use?
    An officer is entitled to use reasonable and necessary force to overcome resistance. These terms are relative, so the amount of force they can use depends on the situation.

        6. They want to search my house. Do I have to let them?
    Officers may conduct a limited search of the surroundings without a warrant. If you are in your home, they may seize contraband, stolen property, or evidence of a crime that is in plain sight. They may also check the residence for accomplices. If you are in your car, they can search for weapons that could be used against them. They may not conduct a broader search without a warrant, unless they reasonably believe that the vehicle has evidence of crime or contraband.

        7. I've been arrested. Now what?
    You are going to be taken to the detention facility, where you will be able to talk to an attorney. They should also tell you the charge being alleged. You can be required to participate in a lineup, give a handwriting sample, give a blood or urine sample, or perform certain other tasks

        8. I want out!
    Bail may or may not be set for your case, depending on the seriousness of the charge. If the charge is relatively minor, you may be released on your own recognizance. You can also petition the court to reduce the amount of bail set.

        9. My kid just called from jail. What rights do they have?
    Children have the same substantive rights as adults. In addition, they have the right to have a parent with them when being questioned. Also, the procedures in juvenile court are generally closed to the public.



        Over the last year we've received multiple emails and phone calls from riders in far-away states wanting to report road hazards. Of course, we happily oblige. One of our long-term goals for this project is to expand the coverage nationwide, but we will need your help to do so. If you are reading this and are from a state other than Ohio, Indiana, or Illinois, and want to help, call or email us. As the use of RoadHazard.org expands, we would like to have "RoadHazard reps" in every state that can help us get the reports out to the local officials responsible for road safety.

        Ride Safe.

        Rod Taylor
        ABATE Legal Services

        All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and then only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: RodTaylor@abatelegal.com. © 2023.


    Ask Our Lawyer
    by Rod Taylor - ABATE Legal Services
    February 2023



        This is a compilation and summary of laws that should cause you to prepare a will.

        Illinois: When the deceased person is survived by a spouse and descendants, half the property goes to the surviving spouse and the other half goes to the descendant(s) If there is a descendant(s) of the decedent (you): 1/2 of the entire estate goes to your spouse and 1/2 to your descendants per stirpes (meaning per stalk or in other words if a near descendant predeceased the decedent that share would be distributed equally to his descendants. Is that what you intend? What if one or more of those descendants are financially irresponsible? Or that they have become abusive or non-involved in your life? If there is no surviving spouse but a descendant of the decedent (you): the entire estate goes to all of the decedent's descendants, per stirpes. What if you do not want your property to go to the grandchild that has no relationship with you? What happens when a grandchild has abused you? There are many more questions that are unanswered without a will.


        Ohio: According to Ohio's intestate laws, property is distributed generally as follows: If there is a surviving spouse, the entire estate will go to him or her. If there is no spouse, but there are children, the estate will be divided equally among them. If there is no spouse and no children, the deceased's parents will inherit. The law also provided for step and adoptive children together as to what happens when the deceased has been abused by a beneficiary. Or when a successive wife is childless. What happens? A complete review of the statute should be completed prior to executing a formal will.


        Indiana: If you are married and you die without a will, what your spouse gets depends on whether you have living parents or descendants -- children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren. If you don't, then your spouse inherits all of your intestate property. Hope you liked her. And what if you intensely disliked one of your heirs? What happens? Point is, you better do a will and it is free as a member of ABATE.


        If you have been to the ABATE State Seminar in Illinois, Indiana, or Ohio, you have heard me discuss the need for carrying adequate Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage. Unfortunately, this subject matter is once again in need of repeating.

        Last month we received a phone call from a new client who was run over on his motorcycle. The first words he said to me were, "Rod, it's okay! I listened to you at the State Seminar and got the maximum insurance coverage I could get!" The problem is, while he did get the maximum insurance coverage he could carry for the other guy, he refused Uninsured/Underinsured coverage for himself. Now he is left with 25k coverage for his losses.

        What he should have done is sign up for as much uninsured/underinsured coverage he could get - he did not. Instead, he opted to cover the other guy for 500k instead of himself. In decades of representing bikers I have yet to see a serious claim injury against a motorcyclist. It just doesn't happen. (When have you ever heard of the driver of the Mack truck suing a motorcyclist for personal injuries?) So the rule is to take care of yourself first with decent limits of uninsured/underinsured coverage. That is the insurance motorcyclists need most as it protects us when someone injures us, carrying the state minimum, or worse yet, no insurance whatsoever. Most insurance companies only allow the motorcyclist to buy insurance for themselves that is equal to or less than your coverage for the Mack truck guy. Minimal limits are inadequate, and just enough to cause great irritation and financial grief. Give Hilary or me a call if you would like to discuss what best fits your needs.


        What about for a few bucks a year? Worth it? That's what you're doing when you decline adequate uninsured/underinsured insurance coverage for your motorcycle. Studies indicate that 14 out of 100 drivers do not carry any coverage. And another 50 out of a hundred have minimal limits that effectively provide no coverage (It is illusory for the adverse driver to claim $25k of insurance coverage when your losses approach $500k). So, in 6 out of 10 serious injury crashes, the adverse driver has inadequate insurance covering your losses.

        As a motorcyclist give yourself financial protection with adequate uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Most people are un/underinsured because they can't pay for it. So, the odds of them having sufficient resources to pay you for a serious personal injury claim are slim. Without un-underinsured coverage of your own, you lose.

        Even if you carry minimum coverage, you are woefully underinsured. Twenty-five thousand dollars for a seriously injured motorcyclist is nothing. In a serious injury case, the Air Evac bill alone will be more than that. So why do motorcyclists continue buying minimal limits? My guess is - to save a few bucks, and they are relying on the law requiring everyone to have adequate coverage. They are trusting that the others will do the right thing. Bad decision based on bad facts. The fact is most cagers do not have enough insurance to take care of you.


        Bingo play is what you should call the next time you ride to Mardi Gras or Bike week and travel through Mississippi Florida, where it is estimated almost a third of the vehicles in that state are uninsured. Meaning that you are on your own if you get hit by one of those. It boils down to, how lucky do you feel?

        We have discovered that of those who are insured in Mississippi, almost 50% of those have the state minimum of 25k. Some states have the nerve to call 25k insurance. By any definition that is not insurance. With a left turn in front of you, a helicopter ride to the hospital, surgery for injury repair, lost wages, pain - suffering, and temporary impairment, 25k from the adverse driver is just enough to piss you off and take matters into your own hands. And to make matters worse, all health insurers/medical providers will have a priority lien on those proceeds. So, if your hospital bills exceed 25k guess who doesn't get the money - you unless you have a good lawyer, like me or one like me, to negotiate those liens.

        For any state to claim that 25k (some states have even less - like 10k) meets a minimum liability requirement based on potential damage caused is terribly misleading. That state minimum goes back decades. Shouldn't limits be updated to keep up with increasing medical costs, wages etc.? An air-vac ride to the hospital can cost over 25k. Since the state and insurance companies are not looking out for you, you must look out for you by buying adequate uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to cover for the ne'er do well with no insurance or low limits. What is adequate you ask? As much as you can buy is my answer. The cost to upgrade is cheap, cheap, and wonderfully cheap. I maintain that you should not ride in Mississippi, Florida, and many other states where the numbers of uninsured/underinsured are breathtaking, unless you have adequate uninsured/ underinsured coverage. Remember Florida is the land of those that can't hear, see or know where they are, especially at night.

        There should be a law that disallows anyone to call insurance "insurance" unless the insurance amount is sufficient to pay for the harm caused. They should call low limits insurance policies a "consolation prize" like at the county fair when you don't ring the pin. After all, in most civilized countries, the rule is "if you break it - you should pay for it." And if you cannot pay for the harm to the biker/motorist that you just ran over - you should not be allowed to drive.

        Let's take a typical state insurance requirement where the state minimum coverage is $25k per individual, $50k for all claimants, and $10k for property damage. The average premium for this policy is $48.20 per month, but without uninsured/underinsured coverage. If you add that coverage, it costs a little less than 4 bucks more or $51.93 per month. On average it costs only about 10% more of your premium to carry adequate uninsured/underinsured coverage.

        Significantly, the cost to go from state minimum insurance and upgrade to adequate coverage of $100K- $300K, is less than $5.00 more per month. And the cost to go from state minimum insurance to upgrade to the usual highest coverage of $500k was less than $12.00 more per month than the basic liability policy - which is roughly 25% of your monthly payment. By any definition - a good deal, especially when the little old lady (or man) that can't see or hear - gets you.

        Ride Safe.

        Rod Taylor
        ABATE Legal Services

        All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and then only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: RodTaylor@abatelegal.com. © 2023.

    Ask Our Lawyer
    by Rod Taylor - ABATE Legal Services
    January 2023


        Q. Even though I didn't have any damage to my motorcycle from a deer hitting me from the side, I am going to have medical expenses since my leg was busted. My insurance company quickly sent me a letter saying I only have $1000 medical coverage (med-pay). I do have other insurance through work but with the usual deductible. Is there anything else I can do to get my motorcycle insurance to pay more for my medical so I won't have so much out of pocket $?
        Thanks Hugh Harvey, FREEDOM VALLEY CHAPTER

        A. Hugh the amounts of medical coverage (med-pay) provided through your motorcycle insurance policy are negotiated amounts set forth in your policy. Those are set in stone so to speak. So you will not be able to talk them into paying more. Send your medical bills to the company providing health insurance through work. If you have a problem with getting those medical bills paid. Call me.


        Q. I received a request for a recorded statement from the insurance carrier for the other guy that wrecked my motorcycle. The police report puts the blame on the other guy. What should I do?

        A. Assuming you agree with the crash report, our advice is to say "I agree with the police report and then shut up." Nothing good can come out of a full statement given to the other guy's insurance carrier. Remember they are not your friends. Or have them call ABATE LEGAL.


        Q. My youngest is getting married and we are planning a wedding reception at the local conservation club. There will be several friends of the couple in attendance. We plan to serve alcohol at the event. If one of these underage attendees gets in a wreck going home, what are my legal responsibilities if they sneaked drinks? And what can I do to protect myself?
        ABATE of Indiana member.

        A. Congratulations on the wedding. As to your question, check with your insurance agent to see if you have host liquor coverage with your homeowner's liability policy. If so, confirm that in writing to your agent and send me a copy. Even if you have insurance for this event, consider hiring a caterer for the alcohol, and let the catering company do the serving of alcohol. This way you have passed that responsibility to the pros. They will provide a licensed bartender and insurance to serve the alcohol and will know how to handle kids wanting drinks. It makes them the enforcer of the rules, ... not you. They are worth every penny. Also, make sure to ask for a certificate of insurance from the caterer's insurance carrier so you can verify the coverage.


        Don't you just hate throwing away tires that look tread perfect? I do. But here is the reason you should reconsider that saving attitude. The tire's wear surface dries out, and when it comes to those attributes those cannot be safely resurrected. Most tire manufacturers try not to sell a tire that's more than five years old. Rick Chupp of Cycle-Outfitters advises that the tires should be stored on carpet squares if the motorcycle is left in a garage with concrete floors. He advises that lye and calcium in the concrete have a deleterious effect on the tire. If the motorcycle is stored outside, then you have to inspect the tires for ultra-violet ray damage. Per Rick, air pressure should be checked prior to each ride and a visual inspection of the sidewall and grooves between treads should be made. If you see any cracking, time to call Rick.

        AM I COVERED?

        Q. If an ABATE member donates the use of his/her property for an ABATE function and should someone leave intoxicated (adult or unknown minor) and causes an accident resulting in injury or death, is that homeowner covered by insurance?
        ABATE of Indiana member

        A. Usually the ABATE member would have coverage under his homeowner's policy for personal social events. The standard coverage for ABATE events should provide additional coverage for the ABATE member if that member is listed as an additional insured under the ABATE policy. Make sure that happens. Additional insurance may be needed, because there may not be coverage under the homeowner's policy. The home owner insurance company may argue that the event is a business event and not covered. Advise the member to confirm coverage with his homeowner's agent and communicate that the event is a voluntary charitable event. Coverage is usually provided for charitable and volunteer activities. But tread carefully as we do not want our member's homes and assets needlessly exposed to the claims of others.

        Ride Safe.

        Rod Taylor
        ABATE Legal Services

        All questions from ABATE members are answered confidentially unless otherwise authorized and then only after the matter is concluded, except when authorization for publication anonymously or otherwise is given for pending matters. Call us at 1-(800)-25-RIDER. Questions? Submit them to: RodTaylor@abatelegal.com. ©2023.