Motorcycle Safety in All Types of Weather
May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. While that usually means warmer weather, the month kicked off with an uncharacteristically cool and gloomy day in Southern California. Of course, this being the Golden State warm sunny days are on the horizon, just in time for the weekend. Given this generally great weather, it’s no surprise to learn that California has the highest number of registered motorcycles in the country. One would think that with all of those motorcycles, California motorists would be much more careful when sharing the road with them. That, unfortunately, is not always the case. That lack of awareness coupled with unexpectedly slick roads can lead to an uptick in motorcycle accidents. Here are some safe riding tips for different weather conditions: Riding Your Motorcycle In rain, wind, drizzle and fog: Slow down! Jokes about California drivers and rain aside, some rainy-day accidents are due to road conditions themselves. That’s because Southern California roads don’t receive much rain. When they do, all of that motor oil and other vehicles fluids come to the surface making for some very slick roadways. Roads are slickest when the rain first starts. If you can avoid going out on your motorcycle during the first hour of that rainfall, you should. If you’re out riding and heavy rain starts falling, there’s nothing wrong with taking cover. It’s always a good idea to slow down in the rain, no matter where you are, but it’s especially important in Southern California. But Don’t Go Too Slow Safety first, but common sense is important too. If you’re riding your motorcycle too slowly, impatient motorists can cause an accident attempting to pass you. Avoid Standing Water Because Southern California doesn’t get lots of rain, there’s a greater danger of flash flooding and its aftermath, standing water. Avoid standing water as much as possible and always look for higher ground. You don’t want to experience water anywhere near your engine and there can be deep, hidden potholes under that water as well. Don’t Tense Up in Windy Conditions Wind is unavoidable if you ride a motorcycle. What can be daunting to any rider, but more so to the novice, are heavy crosswinds. These are more common when crossing a bridge or on winding mountain roads. Many riders tense up and tighten their grips, which makes it harder to steer. Instead, stay loose and continually adjust your steering to continue forward in a straight line. But if wind conditions become too dangerous, again, take cover if you can. Riding Your Motorcycle in Warm or Hot Conditions: The beauty of living in California is that you can experience the beaches of Orange County in the morning then be out in Palm Springs in the afternoon. While that can be exhilarating, it’s important to make sure your bike and you make the transition from cool to hot smoothly. Tire Pressure and Baking Hot Asphalt Your tires should be inflated to the proper air pressure specifications. Road temperatures can easily soar into triple digits, even on a warm day. Baking hot asphalt and under-inflated tires can result in a blowout. The risk becomes greater if your motorcycle is heavier because of a passenger and/or any gear. Hot Weather Gear If you’re riding in the desert, don’t wear leather. Mesh textile clothing is the way to go. As tempting as it may be, don’t go sleeveless or wear shorts. Exposed skin can easily burn in the sun and wind. Also, if you get into an accident, you don’t want your bare skin making contact with the pavement. And don’t forget to cover or put sunscreen on the back of your neck! Many riders forget about this area with painful results. Ride with a Buddy A breakdown or accident in the desert can quickly become a dangerous situation. Ideally, don’t ride alone. If that’s unavoidable, make sure you carry extra hydration and some sort of covering. You could end up stranded in an area with no shade. Solo riders should also let those closest to them know their general trip itinerary. May all of your motorcycle riding be filled with beautiful sunny days. But if they’re not, be ready for it and stay safe! Sources:  worldatlas.com
How often do motorcycles crash?
Approximately 236 motorcycle crashes result in injuries every day in the United States, with an average of about 86,000 total injuries from crashes per year (2011-2015). According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 88,000 motorcyclists were injured, with 4,976 reported deaths in 2015 alone. The amount of motorcycle accident injuries in the U.S. have also been on the rise, jumping from 52,000 in 1995, to a whopping 98,000 in 2007. The trend then tapered down to 77,000 in 2011, before drastically jumping back up to just under 90,000 in 2012, where it has plateaued. Motorcycle accident-related injuries have been on the rise in the U.S., possibly because there are millions of more motorcycles on the road, and perhaps, also due to the rise of “distracted drivers,” taking their hands off the wheel to use their cell phones. California motorcycle injury statistics California saw a decrease in motorcycle injuries during 2016, while the entire country saw an increase (+4,000). However, California, because of its vast population size (over 39,000,000), still had the second-most motorcycle injuries compared to every other state, except for Florida. In 2015, 27% of California motorcycle fatalities involved riders who did not have a valid motorcycle license. Furthermore, 42% of all motorcycle riders who were killed in a single-vehicle collision were alcohol-impaired. (The term “alcohol-impaired” defines motorcycle riders with blood alcohol concentrations of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher.) Lack of preparation and lack of sobriety are just two factors that account for riders in California being 29 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die after suffering through an accident. The more we can avoid these inebriating factors, the better off we’ll be. Safe riding is fun riding With 881,386 registered motorcycles in California and an additional 34,509,961 registered vehicles, there’s a lot of room for motorcycle accidents to happen. You can do your part to prevent a motorcycle accident by using these tips to be a safer rider. 10 useful motorcycle safety tips: Wear safety gear, like state-compliant helmets, gloves, and reflective jackets. Stay in your comfort zone. Avoid unnecessary risks and showboating. Inspect your motorcycle often. Check for leaks, tire pressure, and body damage. Don’t rely on just your mirrors when switching lanes. Use your head! Aim long, and always err on the side of caution when approaching intersections. Avoid riding under stress. Don’t use your MC as a form of therapy. If you have a passenger, be 100% comfortable with the extra weight. Pay attention to the weather, and avoid riding in storms or rain showers. Acknowledge other riders. They have your back, remember that. Have fun! Motorcycles are amazing, so long as you’re safe. Enjoy the ride! No one likes to be told how to live their life – especially motorcyclists – but there’s no denying that riding sober, knowing your limits, and wearing the proper safety gear will significantly decrease your chances of injury. Most times, the other car is at fault Although you may ride responsibly, another motorist may not. In these cases, it’s not hard to prove that the driver was at fault in a passenger-vehicle crash. According to the famous 1981 Hurt Report, “In two-thirds of motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle rider’s right of way and caused the accident.”* For instance, as cell phone usage has caused a dramatic rise in “distracted driving” (which is perhaps directly correlated to the increase in motorcycle injuries), many passenger car motorists think they can lie to the judge and say they weren’t on their phone at the time of the incident. All it takes is a subpoena to obtain phone records and you’re looking at one potentially hefty settlement. If something happens, you need to be prepared At Wilshire Law Firm, we represent riders who are involved in motorcycle accidents, every day. Almost 30% of our cases involve these types of accidents. We know all the complicated ins and outs of dealing with motorcycle-related crashes, and we truly understand the sensitivities involved with the aftermath of these, sometimes tragic, incidents. With all the factors that go into these types of extra-sensitive personal injury cases, it’s extremely important that your family relies on attorneys they can trust. If you have been in a motorcycle accident, or know someone who has, you may be entitled to a substantial settlement. Your first call should be 911, then, call Wilshire Law Firm at 1-800-522-7274. We strongly advise you to save our number in case of a future emergency. Our expert motorcycle accident lawyers can be reached 24/7, 365, and are ready to assist you every step of the way – helping to manage medical expenses, repairs, and, of course, dealing with insurance companies. Sources: **The Hurt Report *– Once considered the most important motorcycle safety report of the 20thcentury, this report has been argued to be invalid, due to the following changing factors in motorcycle riding: Motorcycle Engineering Changes User Population Changes Automobile Engineering Changes Roadway Environmental Changes Insurance Information Institute LA Times FindLaw DMV NHTSA
Useful Tips for Talking to Your Insurance Adjuster
You’ve just been in a car accident. Whether it was a bad wreck or a silly fender bender, the upcoming hours and days can make or break your family’s financial future. These situations are never fun, and, in many cases, they’re extremely dangerous. The scenarios are endless: The accident may have been your fault It may not have been your fault You may be injured You may not be injured You followed the proper accident aftermath protocol: Exchanged insurance information Informed your insurance company Checked to see that everyone was OKAY Talked to the police Hired a lawyer… Or, maybe, you didn’t do any of that because you were too busy, picking up the pieces. Literally and figuratively. Whatever the case may be, there is one thing you can be sure of: you’re going to get a call from an insurance adjuster (if you haven’t already). Here’s what adjusters do before they call you It is important that you know the process by which insurance adjusters assess your claim. They examine your vehicle to assess the damage. They investigate the liability to see who is at fault. If they accept responsibility, they study your injuries to assess the damages, to see how minor or major they are. They put a monetary value on your claim. If you were seriously injured, but never saw a doctor or went to the hospital, meaning there are no medical bills, you could be looking at a lowball offer. To avoid this situation, it’s important you hire a personal injury attorney right away: We’ll help you find medical treatment You won’t have to pay any medical bills up front We won’t let insurance companies bully you We know the law, and we’re experts There are two types of insurance adjusters Level 1: Non-attorney-represented adjusters with relatively low experience, maybe two or three years at most. Level 2: Attorney-represented adjusters with more experience. Insurance companies assign Level 2 adjusters to your case when they get a letter disclosing you’ve obtained attorney representation. Adjusters are not necessarily out to get you, but they are interested in saving as much money for their employer as humanly possible. That means money coming out of your pocket. Just like court, anything you say to an insurance adjuster can and will be used against you… Insurance companies need a recorded statement to finalize their liability decision against you. They already have insurance statement, and police report. They want to see if you say anything wrong so they can use it against you and believe us, they will! …yet another reason why you should obtain an experienced attorney, and leave these calls up to us. Do not negotiate with insurance adjusters If you are the victim of a car accident, the first thing you need to do is hire an attorney before you talk to an adjuster. And guess what? With Wilshire Law Firm, it’s free: Learn more. In case you do find yourself on a call with an adjuster, here are some more tips for what to do and what not to do: Never admit fault… ever Don’t discuss medicals at all Withhold private details Do not agree to a settlement Do not sign or accept anything If you feel rushed, make it known The adjuster is not your friend Be nice, polite, and respectful always Remember, adjusters are paid to save the insurance company’s money, not yours. They talk on the phone all day with people who are down on their luck and take advantage of those who cannot negotiate for themselves. You’re just another file to them, and their number one job is to nickel and dime you and your family until you have nothing left. Adjusters will try to downgrade your settlement If an adjuster asks: “Even though the other driver hit you, was there any moment when you thought you could have avoided the crash?” Your answer is always: no. This is known as comparative liability. At any point, if you are found at even just 1% fault, you are responsible for that 1% of the claim. That 1% is compared to the policy limit, and can easily turn into millions. This is just one example of many, many schemes they will use to downgrade your settlement before making you an offer. You are better off saying absolutely nothing (pleading the fifth), calling Wilshire Law Firm, and letting us negotiate for you. Our team has the best accident and personal injury lawyers in California for a reason: we fight for families who are bullied by big business insurance companies into leaving money on the table every day, and we win. It’s the reason we’ve accumulated over $350 million in settlements and case resolutions in just 10 years of practice. We’re the guys the insurance companies are afraid of – that’s why they try to rush you into settling early. Never, ever settle with an insurance adjuster No settlement is so simple that you need to agree with just one phone call. Even two or three phones calls is usually not enough. Especially when your family’s future is at stake. But, that’s exactly what the adjuster will try to do: Give you an offer that sounds like a lot of money, but it’s chump change compared to what your family truly deserves for their loss of property, health, or life. Many factors go into agreeing on a fair and just case resolution. One of those factors is known as unforeseeable costs. You didn’t expect to get into an accident. How can they possibly tell you how much you are owed? How could your insurance adjuster possibly account for things like: Medical bills (past and future) Physical rehabilitation Lost wages Loss of future wages Pain and suffering Mental anguish Emotional distress Loss of companion So much more! These situations are not laughing matters. What is a laughing matter, however, is when they tell you not to get a lawyer. Lives are at stake, and it is very important that you approach calls with insurance adjusters with proper care and preparation. You need someone you can trust. An attorney who understands. An award-winning California super lawyer who will stand up and negotiate your claim so that you and your family receive fair and just compensation for your damages. Learn more about car accident injury law
Top 10 Tricks Car Insurance Companies Use to Mislead People
Car insurance companies are experts at making us trust them. They spend huge sums of money on targeted advertising campaigns that, no matter where we go, we can’t seem to escape. They hire famous celebrities to convince potential customers that they’re “the good guys,” even though, in most cases, they are the exact opposite. Finally, they make people pay outrageous premiums that, in the best-case scenario, you never need and therefore end up giving away thousands of dollars without reaping any benefits. Insurance lets us live our lives without having to worry about catastrophic events ruining our financial freedom – and that’s their compelling argument. We need health insurance, life insurance, house insurance, travel insurance… and car insurance. You must be mindful of your car insurance company’s many tricks. No matter how sympathetic your situation is, you can bet your bottom dollar that your insurance company will try to take and withhold every penny they can from you, every chance they get. It’s not personal – it’s just the business. So, since we here at Wilshire Law Firm care very deeply for our clients, we decided to make our own list of the top 10 tricks car insurance companies use to mislead people. Keep this list handy next time you deal with your insurance agent! 1) They claim your insurance package doesn’t cover your accident Car insurance companies will stop at nothing to avoid paying your claim. They may say it’s the fault of a third party, or, they even could try to place the blame on you by manipulating your words! Be extremely careful when you are talking to your insurance company in the first moments after your accident. 2) They secretly spy on their customers Car insurance companies hire secret investigators to follow you around. Their goal is to get you on video tape performing an activity that is not compliant with your insurance policy. To avoid being stalked, it is absolutely crucial that you are honest and upfront with your insurance company from the very beginning, so that they cannot catch you red-handed and deny you a claim. 3) They create disillusion to minimize your injuries At no time should an insurance adjuster give you any type of medical advice or diagnosis. It is only up to a medical doctor to determine what type of treatment, and potential rehabilitation, you need. Not only can this negatively affect your long term financial situation, it can also negatively affect your long-term health. Your health is your most important asset! 4) They delay actions on your claim Car insurance companies do not make money when they pay claims, and they purposefully ignore you when you file a claim. Their hope is that you will shy away from your claim, accept a low settlement, or, worse – die. When you call for a status update, you will most likely be told that your adjuster is not available, and that they’ll call you back. That call rarely comes, and if it does, it’s usually just to let you know that your paper work is still being processed, with no timeline in sight. 5) They ask you to release your medical records At no point should you be releasing your medical records to your insurance company in wake of an accident without the advice of an experienced personal injury accident attorney. Insurers will try to convince you that they care about your wellbeing and that they can offer advice, but all they’ll be doing with your medical records is searching for loopholes in your claim, which will enable them to give you less money than you deserve. 6) They offer you money to sign a release Pressures from mounting medical bills, matched with loss of wages (both due to injuries from your accident), can put a serious stranglehold on your financial situation. Car insurance companies will try to take advantage of you in this moment, when you are at your weakest. It is extremely important that you do not succumb to their ploys, to force you to sign a release as part of accepting an “offer.” This release will free them from future liabilities for your injuries, which may have long-lasting, sometimes severe financial affects. 7) They try to coerce you into admitting fault There is nothing worse than admitting fault at the scene of an accident. In fact, you shouldn’t speak at all, if possible (especially if you’re at fault). Even the simplest statement of regret or sorrow can be manipulated into admission of guilt, such as, “I am sorry about the accident.” It is extremely important that you contact a lawyer if you feel at all threatened by your insurance company to falsely admit guilt in any way, shape, or form. 8) They act like they’re your friends and then up your rate This could be the most important thing to keep in mind every time you speak with your insurer! They act friendly and nice, but in reality, it is their job to take as much money from you and withhold as much money from you as possible. They will literally get fired if they do not try to trick you into giving the company more money. Remember, they do not work for you, they work for the insurance company, who will stop at nothing to nickel and dime you. Trust us, they do not get rewarded by giving you, an injured party, breaks in coverage. 9) They try to force you to record a statement Very soon after you have your accident and file your claim, an adjuster will call and imply that you are legally obligated to tell them your version of what happened. This is not true. You must not oblige, and tell them that you will need your lawyer present before any facts are discussed. If you do tell your version of the story to your insurer, you can rest assured that they will try to twist your words to give you a smaller claim, or potentially deny your claim completely. 10) They lie and say you don’t need a lawyer An adjuster’s worst nightmare is going up against the award-winning lawyers of Wilshire Law Firm. Car insurance companies, big and small, fear our talented attorneys because time and time again we take cases that would have been small payouts, and win our clients massive settlements, that they deserve 100%. Not only will our team of legal experts help you get a max claim from the insurance company, we will help you manage other expenses and keep them low. At Wilshire Law Firm, new clients receive a 30-day No Fee Guarantee: if you aren’t 100% satisfied with our efforts after 30 days, you can walk away. Plus, if you retain our services and we don’t win your case, you don’t owe us a penny. Simply put: if we don’t win, you don’t pay. Learn more about why Wilshire Law Firm is the right choice for your case. Our team is ready to take your call now! 1-800-522-7274
CHP: Drafting Lane Splitting Guidelines “Very Long, Complex Process”
Motorcycle lane splitting guidelines have been an unwritten rule for what seems like forever in California. Take any motorcycle safety class and the instructor will tell you the same thing: It’s not illegal, but there is no law. For now, the general “suggestion” is to make sure you never lane split going faster than 30 mph, or more than 10 mph faster than the vehicles you’re splitting. That all changed last August, when California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 51 (AB 51), which authorized the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to develop actual written “educational guidelines” for motorcycle lane splitting. After many years remaining in a “grey area” of the law – not legal, but not illegal – motorcycle lane splitting is finally heading for some form of state regulation. However, 10 months have passed since the Governor signed AB 51, and there is still no timeline for when the official guidelines will be released by CHP. Lane splitting, when conducted safely, is a very sufficient form of motorcycle transportation: *Video source: YouTube User MotorcycleJosh1* What is the latest from CHP regarding the new lane splitting guidelines? Wilshire Law Firm is an integral part of the motorcycle community here in California. We help motorists and families of motorists who are involved in motorcycle accidents every day. Not to mention lane splitting affects every day drivers as well. So, since CHP hasn’t gone public with their progress on the lane splitting guidelines, we decided to call them ourselves to get an informed update. According to sources in CHP’s department of media relations, CHP “has been working very hard on this issue. It takes time…” and, “It’s a complex, long process.” While the Governor has provided no specific time limit on this matter, one might’ve assumed that CHP slated this issue to the backburner. However, based on what they told us, we believe this is a very important issue for the CHP. Lane splitting in Paris, France, like California, is not illegal. Who exactly is drafting the new “educational guidelines?” AB 51 calls for the CHP, specifically the Motor Cycle Safety Unit, to consult the DMV, DOT, OTS and other “motorcycle organizations focused on motorcyclist safety” in drafting the new guidelines. Perhaps this is the reason the guidelines are taking so long to draft. Wilshire Law Firm has put in multiple calls to CHP Motorcycle Safety Unit officers who are responsible for drafting the new guidelines with direct regards to this important matter. At the time of publication of this post, our calls have yet to be returned. Rest assured, we will update this blog the second we hear back. Below are some of the questions we’d like answers to: When do you expect to release the new guidelines to the public? Which motorcycle safety organizations are helping you draft the guidelines? What, specifically, has made this process “long and complex?” Does lane splitting make the roads safer and/or faster? Whatever the guidelines end up saying, there’s no arguing that lane splitting makes California’s roads safer, and faster. Scholars agree with this notion. A recent lane splitting study conducted by the University of Berkeley says, “Motorcyclists who split lanes in heavy traffic are significantly less likely to be struck from behind by other motorists, and are less likely to suffer head or torso injuries.” One blogger from NewAtlas.com writes, “Filtering (or, lane splitting) bikes work their way to the front of stopped traffic at red lights, and accelerate away much quicker than the cars around them. When they reach the next stoppage, they disappear again between the lanes and no car is held up.” What are the motorcycle lane splitting guidelines? Until CHP releases the new official guidelines, here is the generally accepted suggestion, according to the California Motorcyclist Safety Program: Travel no more than 10 mph faster than the other traffic – a speed differential of 10 miles per hour or less allows an experienced rider enough time to identify and react to danger. The greater the speed differential, the less time a rider has to react. Do no split lanes when traffic is moving 30 mph or faster – danger increases dramatically as speed increases. At just 20 mph, an experienced rider will travel 30 to 60 feet in under two seconds before initiating evasive actions. It is typically safer to split between lanes 1 and 2 – avoid splitting lanes anywhere else, as this location is where other motorists are accustomed to seeing and experiencing motorcycle lane splitting. Avoid lane splitting near freeway ramps and slow lanes. If you can’t fit, don’t split – know the limitations of your motorcycle as it compares to the motorists around you. Avoid splitting in unfamiliar roads. Avoid splitting near wide trucks. Remain alert and always anticipate movements by other motorists – use your space, be aware of your surroundings as they develop, account for inattentive drivers or distracted drivers, never linger in blind spots, and, of course, never ride while impaired by drugs, alcohol, stress or fatigue. These guidelines are a small sample of what CHP will be releasing as the official state mandated lane splitting guidelines at some point in the near future. Be sure to stay tuned to WilshireLawFirm.com/blog for updates as we learn more about these very critical guidelines! If you care to make a suggestion to CHP about what the guidelines should be, feel free to let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (@WilshireLawFirm). What is a rear-end motorcycle collision? Similar to a rear-end collision between two cars, a motorcycle rear-end collision is when a car, truck, or other type of vehicle neglects to stop or slow down in time, and rear-ends a motorcycle. Rear-end collisions often result in seriously unfortunate personal injuries for motorcycle riders, such as: Whiplash Head trauma Spinal cord injury Lacerations Broken bones Quadriplegic A rear-end motorcycle collision is one of the worst types of accidents for motorcycles. They mostly occur in heavy traffic, when the rider is stopped at a red light, but they also happen at high speeds and are sometimes the result of road rage. Who doesn’t enjoy a little road rage? One way California has attempted to make roads less prone to rear-end motorcycle collisions is through the legalization of lane splitting in California. Side note: If you stumbled upon this post because you recently got into a motorcycle accident, please immediately alert the police and seek proper medical treatment for your injuries – even if you don’t have insurance. Do not admit fault! Then, give the award-winning motorcycle accident attorneys of Wilshire Law Firm a call at 1-866-703-5073. Our team is available 24/7, 365 to take your call and give you a free case evaluation. You could be entitled to serious compensation. To Lane-Split, or Get Rear-Ended.… That is the Question! Lane splitting is legal in the state of California, and for good reason. It helps motorcyclists avoid the horrific possibility of getting rear-ended by a distracted, disgruntled, impatient, or drunk drivers. According to a state-funded report from the University of Berkeley: “The practice [of lane splitting] increases safety by allowing motorcycle riders to avoid the risk of rear-end collisions in stopped or slow-moving traffic.” The study found that lane splitting increases rider safety, yes, but it also increases the overall flow of traffic for passenger drivers: “Lane splitting eases traffic congestion by taking motorcyclists out of the line of cars and trucks.” Study conducted by Thomas Rice, PhD. Passenger car drivers will never understand… That’s BS! At Wilshire Law Firm, not only do we help motorcycle accident injury victims recover rightful compensation, every day, we ride motorcycles ourselves. Plus, we talk to the people who influence California’s lane splitting guidelines on a regular basis. Motorcycle lane splitting affects everyone Whether you ride or not, lane splitting is a serious issue for all Californians. Every one of us is affected by it, almost every day. Depending on your personal experience, you may have a negative outlook toward lane splitting, or you may not. However, for many Californians, there is a major divide in thinking between the riders who split, and the drivers who get split. And it’s not always friendly. California Lane splitting, or lane sharing? The word “split” by itself has a negative connotation, which is why one California motorcycle leader, Bud Kobza, prefers to use the term “lane sharing” instead. But it’s not just words that give the what-should-be-safe traffic practice a bad rap. Sometimes, it’s bad riders. We’ve all had a similar experience… You’re sitting in the passenger seat of your friend’s car, or in the backseat of an Uber, happily minding your own business as you cruise down the freeway, on your way to see friends, family, dinner, a movie, work… whatever it is that you do! The sun is setting over beautiful palm trees and cotton candy skies. You notice the mountain range in the distance. Your favorite song comes on the radio. You ask the driver to turn up the music as you sink into your seat, take a sip of your coffee, and get ready for some serious road trip relaxation. As you cruise down the middle lane of the freeway, an amazing car pulls up next to you. Your dream car! You notice the beauty of the paint, the crisp, chrome wheels spinning, and you can hear the hum of its massive engine as it lines up directly next to your window in all its glory. For a brief second, you day dream of a better life, and then you find complete relaxation… life is beautiful… Then… BAM! Vrrrroooommmm!!!!! A reckless motorcycle WHIPS between you and the other car, abruptly ending your day dream, giving you whiplash, and almost a heart attack! According to your spilled coffee, that has now stained your shirt and burned your chest, that motorcycle was going way too fast! You see the motorcycle rip up the freeway. You can’t believe there’s actually a woman wearing short shorts on the backseat! The motorcycle repeats the same high-speed, lane-splitting maneuver multiple times, cutting multiple cars off, before it’s completely out of sight. You pull yourself together, wipe the wetness of your drink with a napkin (if you have one), and then look back to your dream car, to see if they had the same reaction. But it’s gone. It got off at the last exit and you didn’t even notice. OKAY – maybe you didn’t have that exact experience, but you know what we mean! Motorcycles must ride responsibly. They are not infallible. But that doesn’t mean you can run them off the road…. It’s hard to relate to lane splitters Registered motorcycles only account for 6% of the total registered vehicles in California, and when you factor them into the entire United States, they account for only .3%. Most motorcycle riders in the U.S. live in one of the other 49 U.S. states, where lane splitting is illegal. That means lane splitting in California is perhaps the most unique form of road transportation in the United States! California lane splitting guidelines update alert! Learn more about the award-winning motorcycle accident attorneys of Wilshire Law Firm. Lane splitting in California continues to remain influx. As part of our continuing coverage of the updated guidelines, we spoke with A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education(ABATE) California State Chairman, Glenn Phillips. Glenn was kind enough to answer a couple questions over email, about his experience as one of the committee members working with CHP to influence the new guidelines. Glenn on his Harley at home, all smiles! WLF: What was ABATE’s suggestion for the guidelines? GP: Originally we did not want any speed limitations. But with time we amended our support to 15 mph above traffic and no more than 50 mph while splitting. We are still waiting for the guidelines to become official in its final version. UPDATE: The guidelines that Glenn contributed to are currently on the CHP Commissioner’s desk, however, the Commissioner recently stepped down, before approving the new guidelines, according to CHP Sergeant Larry Starkey. The fate of the guidelines is now at the discretion of the next CHP Commissioner, who has yet to be appointed. WLF: If you could say one thing to educate passenger car drivers with regards to lane sharing/splitting, what would you say? GP: That lane splitting is safer for us riders than being confined between two stopped vehicles. It is a necessity due to the models and brands with air-cooled engines to prevent overheating. Lane splitting is now legal and for those that choose to impede that process – you are breaking the law. We need to ensure that drivers driving in a slowed condition need to expect and watch for lane splitting and move over safely. MORE ABOUT ABATE: ABATE is a motorcycle organization that has over 350,000 members nationwide. According to ABATE, they’re, “Dedicated to preserving individual freedom and promoting safety.” If you can’t stand by that, what can you stand by?! Furthermore, ABATE fully supports rider training, safety, and education. Their members regularly raise funds for the less fortunate, through charity runs and benefits. Plus, they encourage their members to be active in their local communities. Past lane splitting coverage from Wilshire Law Firm: Wilshire Law Firm also spoke with BARF Founder Bud Kobza about his contribution to the guidelines. He was kind enough to provide us with the original guidelines, which you can view here: New Motorcycle Lane Splitting or “Sharing” Guidelines on the Horizon, Sources CHP: Drafting Lane Splitting Guidelines “Very Long, Complex Process” Wilshire Law Firm deeply cares for the motorcycle community of California and all riders across the United States. Lane splitting in California affects all drivers, and we will continue to keep you updated as we learn more about the status of the new guidelines. Ride safe! New Motorcycle Lane Splitting or “Sharing” Guidelines on the Horizon, Sources The California Highway Patrol (CHP) was authorized to write new motorcycle lane splitting (or, “sharing”) guidelines last August by California Governor Jerry Brown (Assembly Bill 51). Now, it’s been almost a year since CHP spoke publicly on the status of the guidelines. So, Wilshire Law Firm reached out directly to the people who are responsible for writing the guidelines, and we’re pleased to provide our readers with the following direct updates, straight from the sources. The California Highway Patrol Larry Starkey, the California State Coordinator for the California Motorcyclist Safety Program, says a draft of the new guidelines was officially submitted to CHP Commissioner Joseph A. Farrow several weeks ago. At that time, according to Starkey, who has been with CHP for 15 years, and served as a petty officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, the fate of the guidelines rested in the hands of Commissioner Farrow, whose options were: Approve it Change it himself and then approve it Request more changes from Starkey Throw it out completely “It’s completely up to the Commissioner,” Starkey said. However, since Starkey spoke to Wilshire Law Firm, Commissioner Farrow has stepped down from CHP. So where does that leave the guidelines? Starkey says, “when you add up all the hours spent from all the groups involved in drafting the new guidelines… at least 100 hours.” “The guidelines are meant for educational purposes,” Starkey says. “Once they’re finalized, we’ll move forward with a full-blown marketing campaign to raise awareness. TV, radio and billboard ads, plus, CHP kiosks to educate riders, and drivers, on how to properly interact with each other on the roads.” Starkey said he anticipates the marketing campaign to cost “about $1 million.” Which private groups did CHP consult with? AB 51 mandated the CHP to consult several government and private groups in drafting the new guidelines. Government groups included DMV, OTS, CalTrans and DOT. Private groups, who were required to be “motorcycle organizations with a focus on motorcycle safety,” which made up the CMSPAC (California Motorcycle Safety Program Advisory Committee) this included: ABATE of California (A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments) BARF (Bay Area Riders Forum) AMA (American Motorcycle Association) MMA (Modified Motorcycle Association) MIC (Motorcycle Industry Council) Wilshire Law Firm is proud to call several leaders of these groups our friends. Bay Area Riders Forum Bud Kobza has been a board member of California Motorcycle Safety Committee for seven years, and is the owner/operator of the largest online motorcycle discussion board in California, the Bay Area Riders Forum. Bud also sits on the California Motorcycle Safety Program Advisory Committee, which, with the other motorcycle groups listed and few government agencies, consulted directly with CHP on the most recent lane sharing guidelines. Denny “Budman” Kobza is the owner operator of the largest online motorcycle forum, BARF, and sits on the board of the California Motorcycle Safety Commission. “There were essentially two schools of thought in the drafting process,” Kobza said. “First, you had the motorcycle groups, who wanted the guidelines to follow a state-funded study, which was conducted at the University of Berkeley, by one Dr. Tom Rice, which suggested 15 mph passing speeds, in up to 50 mph traffic. So, essentially, lane sharing up to 65 mph. “The second school of thought was the CHP, who wanted the original guidelines of 10 mph passing, 30 mph passenger vehicle max speeds. “We thought CHP would have gone for what the Berkeley study said, since it was state-funded. But when we all got together in Sacramento, CHP wasn’t hearing it. I think it was too extreme compared to what other states are doing concerning lane sharing.” To clarify, the state-funded Berkeley study was proposed by Bud and his comrades from CMSC, and was funded by the state, as part of the Strategic Highway Safety Plan. “We tried presenting a tiered program, that would advise slower lane splitting speeds for less-experienced drivers,” Bud said. “They didn’t go for that either.” California is currently the only state that allows motorcyclists to lane split. It is illegal in every other state, although, that could change soon. When were guidelines first introduced to the state? Seven years ago, when Bud joined CMSC, the DMV moved to outlaw lane splitting altogether. If it wasn’t for Bud, and the CMSC, fighting the DMV, lane splitting might be illegal today. “I was the new guy back then,” Bud says. “I took that fight on, and we won. We wanted to educate, not regulate.” The fruits of Bud’s labor was the first official lane splitting guideline approved by the state of California. 20 guidelines in total were submitted in 2010, and those approved were posted to CHP, DMV and other government agency websites. However, three years later, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) ordered the guidelines to be removed from government sites; and all physical marketing materials were removed from all said agencies’ offices. It was the work of Kenneth Mandler, who petitioned the OAL in the fall of 2013. Mandler claimed that the guidelines were “underground regulation.” In other words, a law that was not subject to the Administrative Procedure Act. OAL did not honor Mandler’s petition, according to AMA, but his raising the issue was enough for CHP to take the guidelines off their site, which was a loss for Bud and the CMSC. This is why the current status of the guidelines are important. It’s been years since CHP has officially approved lane sharing guidelines. Commissioner Farrow could make an announcement any day. When asked if there was one thing he could tell motorists in passenger cars to be aware of when considering motorcyclists, Bud said: “First of all, don’t be jealous that we’re not waiting in line at the red lights. We’re not trying to beat you. We’re just taking advantage of being mobile.” He went on to say, “We are fathers, mothers, brothers, sister… humans. Just like you, all we want to do is get home safely to our families.” What were the original guidelines? Seven years ago, when the DMV tried to make lane sharing illegal, the CMSC drafted guidelines, as mentioned above. Several members of the CMSC held a lane sharing summit to discuss the guidelines inviting other safety stake holders and riders to attend and collaborate. Bud’s friend, Tim Arnold, kept photos of the original ideas for the guidelines. Here they are in their raw form. The very first motorcycle lane sharing, state-recognized educational guidelines, in ink! Hire a California Motorcycle Lawyer you Can Trust Road rage, distracted drivers and other vehicle operators who rear-end motorcycles and their insurance companies must be held accountable for their negligence. If you have sustained injuries from a rear-end motorcycle collision, we strongly urge you to call the award-winning motorcycle accident lawyers of Wilshire Law Firm. Our team of legal experts is standing by 24/7, 365 to take your call and give you a free case evaluation! Don’t delay, call Wilshire Law Firm today! References: Assembly Bill 51 University of Berkeley Study New Atlas blog post California Motorcyclist Safety Program YouTube Video by MotorCycleJosh1 Photo 1 Reddit
Getting Back On Your Motorcycle After A Crash
A bad motorcycle crash can result in serious injuries requiring days or even weeks in the hospital followed by a lengthy rehabilitation process. But it’s not just the physical injuries that will make you think long and hard before getting back on your motorcycle again. The psychological trauma you have experienced can leave you unable to ride for the rest of your life. If the crash was caused by another vehicle, then talk to reputable motorcycle accident lawyers as soon as you can. You want to start riding again, but fear is stopping you. You do have the ability to overcome your fear, but it will take some effort and work. Here is how to get back on your motorcycle after a particularly bad crash. Receiving Treatment for Your Injuries The most important thing after you are injured in a crash is to get medical treatment. Even if the injuries do not look serious, go to the hospital and have a medical checkup because you may have sustained internal injuries. If you have one or more broken bones, then get them x-rayed and receive a plaster cast as soon as possible. If the doctor recommends a hospital stay, then get yourself admitted and stay there for as long as is necessary. After you are discharged, the doctor may recommend a period of rehabilitation, which may include a stay in a rehabilitation center, physiotherapy, and other types of therapies to restore your health and mobility. The entire treatment process may take several months. However, it is important that you recover fully before trying to ride again. Receiving Treatment for PTSD If you were involved in a really bad motorcycle accident, then you may have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It is a mental health problem that some people have after they have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, such as an accident, combat, or sexual assault. The symptoms of PTSD include frequently reliving the event, recurring nightmares about the event, images of trauma that follow you wherever you go, inability to fall asleep, change in eating patterns, and the urge to avoid people, places, things, and situations that remind you of the event. The most common treatment for PTSD is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which includes cognitive therapy, exposure therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and medication. CBT can last from three to six months. In cognitive therapy, your therapists will help you understand how your trauma is causing stress, and teach you how to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts. In exposure therapy, your therapist will talk about the trauma repeatedly and teach you to conquer your fear of the trauma. In EMDR, your therapist will help you change the way you react to the memories of your trauma. Medication may include serotonin, which can lessen your worries and sadness. Getting Back on Your Motorcycle Once you have fully recovered, both physically and psychologically, you can get back on your motorcycle. You may feel a little apprehensive the first time. Most experienced bikers will tell you that getting back sooner rather than later is better. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can immediately start riding like you used to before the crash. Take it slow and easy. Take only short rides for the first few days and then gradually increase the distance as your confidence builds up. Pretty soon, you will be riding like before. Get Legal Representation from Qualified Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Now, while you are recovering from your physical injuries and psychological trauma, don’t forget one very important thing: to file a personal injury claim if another motorist was responsible for the accident. Medical bills, rehabilitation, and therapies can cost you a lot of money. You can recover the costs and other expenses with a fair settlement. So, talk to the skilled and experienced motorcycle accident lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm as soon as you are able to.