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Ask Our Lawyer - June 2007

GEICO AND PROGRESSIVE: TEAR DOWN THAT WALL AGAINST MOTORCYCLISTS INSURANCE COVERAGE

Geico and Progressive claim to be a friend of motorcyclists. Your motorcycle insurance policy may have a provision like those insurance companies and many other insurers. It works like this: A car pulls over into your lane of travel. Trying to avoid that vehicle you hit the side of the road, or lay it down, all in an effort to save yourself. The vehicle keeps going, but several witnesses provide identification of the fleeing vehicle. You are seriously injured and your bike is trashed. You have uninsured motorist coverage with Geico and/or Progressive. That should take care of the claim or so you thought. The insurance company Rep takes your statement and that of the witnesses, and discovers that you did not make contact with the other vehicle. Bingo! They deny coverage because a clause in their policy requires contact with your vehicle and that of the fleeing vehicle. That may work with an auto/truck policy, but it has no place with a motorcycle policy when there are neutral objective witnesses who can verify the existence and actions of the vehicle that fled the scene.

The reason insurance companies claim to need this contact requirement is to deter fraudulent claims, but that reason does not apply when there are witnesses or reliable evidence from the scene that establishes that another vehicle caused your accident and injury. So here you are, with uninsured motorists coverage and your company says no because your bike did not contact the other vehicle. What? In other words-if you want coverage, make sure the other vehicle hits you. That does not sound like a biker's insurance company to me. So I say to them, tear down that unfair provision in motorcyclist policies now.

A.B.A.T.E. HAS A NYC TAXI FRIEND

There is an A.B.A.T.E. sticker on at least one New York City taxi cab. I have an admission to make: I've never met an NYC taxi driver that I didn't like. Yes, I have heard all the stories, but here is what I know: they are all citizens or are on work permits legally in the U.S. as part of their taxi license requirements. Most work 60 to 80 hours a week like the one I recently met. J. Motobustsu [he said call me Mike] was darker that night. Originally from Senegal, Africa, he spoke English better than I do, along with French and German and some Senegalese dialects. You would think we would have nothing in common - wrong. We have motorcycles in common. His country is full of Kawasaki 100s - the same bike a lot of motorcycle safety programs use for motorcycle safety instruction. After our two-wheel discussion, he looked at me in the mirror and asked [I must have had the look] "do you like Johnny Cash"? I replied that JC was a patron saint of my home county. With that he pulled down his sun visor and revealed about 6 CDs of JC's greatest hits. Next scene is me, a guy from Senegal, crossing the Tri-Borough Bridge, windows rolled down and "Ring of Fire" playing as loud as he could play it.

If you happen to be in NYC and notice a taxi with an A.B.A.T.E. sticker on the bumper, wave - he is one of us.

LUCAS OIL STABILIZER - THAT STUFF REALLY WORKS!

I have an old '84 Shovel. 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, www.bobistheoilguy.com for a demo on why this stuff works.

Next, I'm trying Lucas Fuel Clean on a 1965 B-Model Mack with errant fuel injectors. I will let you know how this stuff works out in my next column. Remember, I am a lawyer and a cynic, so if I say this stuff works - it does!

CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

One of my old school buddies once asked me if it was paranoia if the bad guys really were out to get you. I feel like that when I look around and see what the do-gooders are trying to do to motorcyclists across the country. Sometimes we get criticized for seeing freedom-snatching regulators behind every tree, but stories like the ones below demonstrate that they ARE out to get us.

In New York City, there are proposals under consideration to curb loud motorcycle noise. Some city council members want to make it illegal to park certain motorcycles that don't have sound-dampening equipment. Also, they are attempting to make it illegal for riders to engage in "exhibitionist behavior" including riding with one wheel off the ground, racing and creating unreasonable noise by accelerating whether or not the bike is moving. Motorcycles could be seized from owners.

In New Jersey, government officials have demanded that the only legal OHV park open in New Jersey be closed, due to pressure from groups opposed to the existence of OHV parks.

All of this is on top of the things I've written about in past columns. It is up to us to keep our eyes open and our heads in the game. No one will protect our rights for us. The constant vigilance of A.B.A.T.E. members, officers, directors and legislative committees will is necessary and is sometimes the only thing standing between us and the freedom-snatchers. Congratulate your A.B.A.T.E. reps on the job they do, and see what you can do help out.

Ride Safe and Free,

Rod Taylor

A.B.A.T.E. Legal Services

Remember, injured A.B.A.T.E. members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery and expenses as approved by client, consistent with and conforming to applicable state law. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ?%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery. And, A.B.A.T.E. members are not charged for recovery of damage to your motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number.

If you have any questions you would like to ask the lawyer, please submit them to: Ask Our Lawyer, P.O. Box 2850, Indianapolis, Indiana 46206_2850, or email rodtaylor@abatelegal.com. © 2005, A.B.A.T.E. Legal Services

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