It just takes a matter of seconds, as this rider discovered, to make a mistake and find yourself and your bike tangled up by the side of the road.
How to file a motorcycle insurance claim…
You can always call to report a claim. In many cases, you can even log into your policy to report a motorcycle claim online. A claims representative will contact you as soon as possible to answer any questions you have and to schedule an inspection of the damaged bike.
When you file a motorcycle insurance claim with your insurance provider, it’s important to have as much information at hand as possible. That includes the names, addresses, phone numbers, and license numbers of all drivers and witnesses involved in the crash or at the scene.
It’s also important to get the insurance information of any drivers involved in the accident, including policy numbers. Take pictures, too. Use a camera or smartphone to take photos of the scene and the damage to the involved vehicles.
1. Don’t assume that “no” always means “no.”
About 10 percent of all insurance claims are unjustly denied but less than 1 percent of people making insurance claims even question their insurer when their claim is denied. The majority of policyholders who do contest their cases either win their cases or improve their settlements.
2. Insist on a written response.
Most state laws require insurance companies to provide written explanations of claim denials. Failure to comply may constitute an illegal practice by the insurer.
3. Read your policy carefully.
The insurance company may have interpreted a clause in your policy differently from the way you understand it. Respect your sense of fairness and what you expect the policy to cover. If the ruling doesn’t sound fair, there’s a good chance that it isn’t.
4. Do not accept filing errors as the end of the story.
Always follow your insurer’s instruction for filing a claim. But if you fail to fill out a form correctly, or if you miss a deadline for submitting a claim – even if you are months late – an insurance company cannot refuse to pay an otherwise valid claim unless the company can show it has been harmed by your error or prevented from making an adequate investigation due to your delay.
5. Do your own research to support the claim.
If your insurance pays less than you expected for care provided, check what other doctors in your area charge for the same care. If other doctors charge more than you received, challenge the payment.
6. Ask your insurance agent
The agent from whom you purchased your insurance has a duty to make sure the coverage protects your interests.
7. Contact the insurance company.
If your insurance agent or claims administrator doesn’t resolve the problem within 30 days, call the insurance company yourself. Be polite but persistent, and keep going up the corporate ladder. Be sure to make a record of all phone calls, including the names and positions of everyone you speak to. Save phone bills that list the calls. Follow up each call with a brief letter stating your understanding of the conservations, and requesting a response within 30 days.
8. Complain in writing.
Begin with the person who denied your claim, then write to the person’s supervisor. Include your policy number, copies of all relevant forms, bills, and supporting documents and a clear, concise description of the problem. Request that the insurer responds in writing within three weeks. Keep copies of all correspondence. Send letters by registered mail. Explain what negative effects the denial of your claim is having. Use a courteous, unemotional tone and avoid rude or blaming statements.
9. Write a letter.
If you receive no response, send follow-up letters, with your original letter attached to the insurance company’s consumer complaints or customer service department and to the company president. In most states, failure to respond promptly to letters regarding claims is an unfair insurance practice.
10. Enlist help.
…From your state’s Department of Insurance. Some states with strong departments (California, New York, Illinois) will mediate your dispute for you.
11. Look for violations.
If your claim is denied because of a reduction in coverage, determine if you were ever notified about that reduction in coverage. If you were not, then you have a good chance of winning your claim since failure to notify the patient of a reduction in coverage is a violation of the law.
- British Motocross Community Mourns Death of Rider Tom Smith In Racing Accident
- MotoGP Rider Marco Simoncelli Killed in Accident at Sepang Malaysia
- Six Crucial Things To Do If You’re Involved in a Motorcycle Accident
Even if you’ve been riding a long time, the odds are that you’ve never ridden a motorcycle with an ABS braking system.
Antilock braking systems (ABS) have been pretty much standard equipment on cars for a very long time. Because of those systems, you mo longer have to pump the brakes on slick, wet or icy roads to achieve safe stopping. ABS systems take over that business using electronics to pump the brakes much faster than any human driver can.
And the systems work, and they work very well.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) says from the outset, cars equipped with ABS systems led to significantly fewer multi-vehicle crashes on wet roads, and fatal crashes involving cars with those systems were reduced by 24 percent. Nonfatal crashes were reduced by some 14 percent.
While ABS braking may reduce the likelihood of a driver colliding with another vehicle in the rear by some 40 percent, the NHTSA study pointed out that the benefit was somewhat tempered by the fact that cars with ABS systems might themselves be struck from behind in a crash as “the better your own braking capabilities, the more likely that a following vehicle with average braking capabilities will hit you.”
So there’s that…
But overall, ABS is a safety system which not only reduces crashes, but also helps to lower insurance premiums and make driving safer.
But wait, there’s more.
Research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has demonstrated that ABS systems installed on motorcycles provide the same benefits to riders that they have to drivers.
The Riders Who Need ABS Are Neophytes
Other than whatever riding gear a rider chooses, motorcyclists are exposed to many more road hazards than drivers.
As far back as 1958, engineers at the Road Research Laboratory in England were tinkering with a Royal Enfield Super Meteor in tests of the Maxaret anti-lock brake system. Those results of those experiments clearly demonstrated the value to motorcyclists, and stopping distances were reduced in most of the tests compared with currently available wheel braking systems. In some cases, that improvement was as much as 30 percent. Royal Enfield’s technical director at that time, Tony Wilson-Jones, determined that the system was too expensive and complex given the current state of technology at the time, and the Maxaret system was never put into production.
Though ABS systems are only now becoming more common equipment options for motorcyclists, such systems were first installed on a production bike in 1988. Back then, BMW offered the first motorcycle with ABS.
Now, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) says an analysis of motorcycle insurance crash data shows what an ABS-equipped motorcycle can do for riders. The HDLI looked at data gathered from collision claims filed which involved motorcycles with and without ABS systems. The findings were that ABS-equipped motorcycles were 30 percent less likely to be involved in a crash during the first 90 days of a motorcycle policy. In addition, bikes with ABS were 19 percent less likely to be involved in a crash following that 90-days period.
So why are these systems so effective?
ABS systems allow riders to apply the brakes as hard as they can without the danger of locking up either of the wheels, and that ability covers up rider braking errors.
“We already knew that motorcycle ABS cuts crashes. What this study shows is that ABS may help compensate for beginners’ mistakes,” said HLDI Vice President Matt Moore. “Riders with more experience also reap large benefits from the technology.”
The HLDI study compared ABS and non-ABS equipped versions of 22 different motorcycles from the 2003 to 2012 model years, and their analysis found that 24 percent fewer claims were filed for motorcycles equipped with ABS. The costs of rider injuries dropped as well as medical claims were filed 34 percent less frequently for riders on bikes equipped with ABS. A previous IIHS study found that there was a 37-percent reduction in fatal motorcycle crashes when bikes were equipped with ABS systems.
ABS Works For Experienced Riders
“While not all motorcyclists with new insurance policies are novices, those in the later period invariably have at least three months of riding under their belt, so the 19 percent reduction is a key finding,” Moore said. “Experienced riders should think twice before they dismiss ABS as something for beginners.”
- A Motorcycle Crash Course Some Motorcycle Accident Facts
- Knowledge Is Power – It Will Get Increasingly More Dangerous to Ride Your Bike So Know the Score
- Your First Month on Your New Motorcycle Is Fraught With Peril
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department really puts a potential police motorcycle through some paces to analyze their next choice of fleet bikes.
This fall, they looked at seven brands of motorcycles and rated the bikes based on performance, safety, and comfort factors.
Motorcycle deputies and officers assigned to the drivers’ training divisions of the LAPD took a hard look at the BMW R1200, Harley-Davidson Electra Glide, Harley-Davidson Road King, Honda ST1300, and Kawasaki Concourse. They also considered the relative merits of Victory Motorcycles – specifically the Commander I and Vision. The rigorous evaluation included tests like a 32-lap run at high speeds on a closed course, checking the bikes for how they handled in simulated pursuit situations, emergency braking tests, and a review of rider comfort.
As part of the lap evaluation, four riders took each motorcycle out for eight laps where they run the bikes up to their top speed. The lap times are recorded using a GPS device, and they were then each given ratings from 1-10 in regard to steering, lean angle, suspension characteristics, brake fade and pull, and the effectiveness of their ABS systems.
So which machine came out ahead?
The BMW R1200. The German entry scored the highest overall ratings garnering at least a nine out of ten in six categories and a 9.5 in when it came to steering and lean angle. The test riders rated the BMW brakes as “smooth and controlled, easy to modulate” and added that the ABS operation was, to use their word, “transparent.”
Harley-Davidson’s Electra Glide notched solid eights in most categories, but fell to a six when it came to testing lean angle and just under eight for steering. The rider’s said the brakes had a firm feel and no fade, and they liked the H-D’s gear ratio, calling it “well-spaced.”
The Harley-Davidson Road King came in with a group of sevens, but fell again to sixes for lean angle and ABS performance, but they did say the bike’s steering input was “light and predictable” and that the Road King provided good low-end torque.
The Honda’s ST1300 scored well, mostly nines, when it came to brake performance like fade, pull, and ABS response, but fell off to seven when it came to lean angle. The riders said the Honda “rolls quick and consistent into corners” and added that the machine held a firm line through the corners.
The Kawasaki Concours managed at least 8.2 in every category with a high score of 8.7 for lean angle. Testers said the bike’s transmission was a good match for the engine and that the traction control helped when it came to exiting corners.
The Victory Commander failed to impress with riders not impressed with brake performance which they said “felt spongy.” The Victory Vision fared slightly worse and came in at a disappointing five on lean angle, exhibited slight brake fade lost more points for a shift level the riders said was hard to find at times.
On the demanding pursuit course (a 2.45-miles of city streets) is meant to simulate actual riding conditions officers face and presents the riders with few straights and a series of roadway obstacles.
It might come as a surprise, but the stopping distance leader from 60-0 mph was the Harley-Davidson Road King which needed only 126 feet to quit moving.
If you want to check out the report in full detail in .PDF format, you can download it here…
- Crash In Wisconsin Leaves Muskegon Motorcycle Gang And Family Members to Pick Up the Pieces
- And Pick the Strings of Our Insipid Lutes – Blind Motorcycle Jumper Matt Wadsworth
- The History Channel Takes You Through the Evolution of Motorcycles
The cancellation of the Isle of Man Senior TT marked the first time in history the races haven’t been run without the Senior TT class. Race organizers made the difficult decision not to run the marquee event as inclement weather conditions disrupted the schedule, and after the race was postponed due to rain on Friday – and again on Saturday – a course inspection led to the stoppage on safety grounds.
The legendary John McGuinness retained the Joey Dunlop Trophy for the overall TT Championship as he collected 74 points overall, but he was ultimately disappointed when the premier event was shut down.
“No one wants to see a race cancelled, but I think the right decision was made. There was so much rainfall on Friday that the course was saturated and on some parts of the course it simply wasn’t drying up,” McGuinness said. “As riders, we want to put on a show for the thousands of fans that come to the TT – and I feel for them more so than anyone – but not knowing what lies round the corner on a 200 hp Superbike with slick tires is a very scary prospect. When conditions are perfect, there’s no better place in the world to race a motorbike, and we’ve seen some fantastic racing this weekend, so it’s a shame to end on a bit of a low note, but we’ll all be back next year to give it another go.”
Thursday, May 31
Superbike – All Laps
Superstock – All Laps
Supersport – All Laps
Lightweight – All Laps
Sidecar – All Laps
Superbike – Fast Laps
Superstock – Fast Laps
Supersport – Fast Laps
Lightweight – Fast Laps
Sidecar - Fast Laps
Tuesday, May 29
Senior – All Laps
Superbike – All Laps
Superstock – All Laps
Supersport – All Laps
Lightweight- All Laps
Sidecar – All Laps
Senior – Fast Times
Superbike – Fast Times
Superstock – Fast Times
Supersport – Fast Times
Lightweight – Fast Times
Sidecar – Fast times
- 175 MPH Amatuer Ride on the Isle of Man Course
- Closer To The Edge – Motorcycle Speed Freaks at The Isle of Man
- Take A Look at Video of the Mugen TT Zero Class Entry For the Isle of Man Race This Year
Think of it this way: wearing your helmet might save your life, but going without one might make you a hero.
A recent study found that while states like Florida which repealed mandatory helmet laws did see a corresponding spike in fatalities, that state also saw a major increase in live-saving organ donations from people who died in traffic accidents.
For the most part, those victim-donor-heroes are adult males, and they make up the majority of motorcycle fatalities.
The documented risk of dying from a serious head wound while riding without a helmet is very, very high, and as much as we as ridrs are all sick of hearing it, riders are considered ideal organ donors. In general, they’re young, otherwise healthy and riding puts us at high risk of brain death from sudden trauma.
“We’re never willing to weigh the tradeoff between people who die riding a motorcycle and people who need an organ transplant,” said Stacy Dickert-Conlin, one of the study’s lead authors and an associate economics professor at Michigan State University. “The reality is that people who may never ride a bike might benefit.”
In the years following its repeal in 2000, Florida organ donations among fatal accident victims climb by nearly one third from 99 in 1999 to 127 in 2002. In case you were wondering, those stats come courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
While the numbers aren’t all from motorcycle deaths, they do come from the age group which includes men between the ages of 18 and 49, and it’s that group which is most likely to die on a motorcycle.
“It stands to reason that if you do not wear a helmet, it is far more likely that you will suffer a serious or catastrophic brain injury that would make you a candidate for organ donation,” said Brian Carpenter, a rider and helmet-use supporter. “I think being an organ donor is a great idea and I would be honored to allow someone else to live or have a better quality of life when I am done using my organs.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the post-helmet law rise in organ donations correlates to a time when fatal motorcycle accidents nearly doubled, from 515 bikers killed between 1997 and 1999 to 933 between 2000 and 2002, and government officials assert that the increase came as helmet use plummeted – by half. To put the numbers in perspective, motorcyclist registrations grew by just 42 percent over that period of time.
Yet another interesting tidbit; as motorcycle fatalities dropped across Florida between 2008 and 2010, so did organ donations resulting from deadly traffic accidents.
“The accident at 70 mph is probably going to kill you – with or without a helmet,” Carpenter says. “It’s the accident at 30 mph where a helmet can make a difference.”
Carpenter knows his support of helmet laws puts him in the minority in Florida. An active lobby of riders who argued that helmets should be a matter of choice and not a government mandate helped do away with the state’s mandatory helmet law a dozen years ago, and a similar effort recently did the same in Michigan.
And the debate goes on as motorcycle fatalities in Florida are on the rise.
A Governors Highway Safety Association report released in May says that, as overall traffic deaths fell across the nation last year, fatal motorcycle accidents continued to climb based on a preliminary study of the first nine months of 2011.
Members of ABATE, a biker lobbying group which has spearheaded helmet law repeals across the country, counter with their feeling that the government’s fatality studies are biased and call them “an organized effort by the many who don’t ride motorcycles to push a helmet-use agenda on the relative few who do.”
Either way, it’s good to know that, should the worst happen, I signed the card myself. I hope, like Brian Carpenter, that if it all goes wrong while I’m out riding, someone will benefit from my misfortune.
It’s not the proper material for easy jokes, and non-riders might consider that before they go with the standard “organ-donor” comment when it comes to discussing those of us who love to ride.
We can be heroes, and it’s a sorry fool who thinks that’s a laughing matter…
- Could Motorcycle Only Lanes Save Lives And Fuel Damn Right They Could
- Loud Horns Save Lives – The Peter Olt Motorcycle Horn Solution
- Michigan Ends Mandatory Helmet Law Era
Rider Doug Yonkers became the second biker from Muskegon lost to a crash caused by a madman in Wisconsin, and for the second time in a month, his friends from the Muskegon Motorcycle Gang were on hand to welcome him home for the last time.
And here are a few I took along Lakeshore Drive in Lakeside:
- Hells Angels Officer Shot at Pettigrew Funeral
- Crash In Wisconsin Leaves Muskegon Motorcycle Gang And Family Members to Pick Up the Pieces
- Funeral for Murdered Hells Angel Enforcer Steve Tausan Goes Off Without Further Violence
While traveling on American roads has become safer today than at any point in the past five decades, one group has been left behind: motorcyclists.
Some 4,500 die every year in crashes, and that hit home hard here in Michigan in the last couple of weeks. It should be noted that all the riders involved in the Wisconsin tragedy were wearing helmets at the time of the crash.
It’s a sad number which is represented in the loss of riders of all sexes, all ages and from across all walks of life.
Given the propensity we here in America have for fiercely protecting our freedom to decide how we’ll live out lives, it’s not surprising that a number of states have seen vocal and politically savvy groups work toward the repeal of mandatory helmet laws.
But those advocacy groups, not willing to bask in the glow of recent successes, aren’t satisfied to simply push back against laws requiring helmets for riders, some of them now want to forbid federal safety agencies from even talking about the problem using taxpayer money.
Here in Michigan, it only takes an informal look around the state’s roads to see that the repeal of helmet laws has been a popular change amongst riders. It seems like more than half have chosen not to wear a helmet when they ride.
A new report from FairWarning.org spells out the battle in detail and points up the fact that helmet laws have been repealed entirely in two states – Illinois and Iowa – and changed to cover young riders only in many more. At this point, only 19 states require helmets for all riders. After the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tried to distribute pro-helmet videos during the 1990′s, Congress barred barred that group from lobbying state and local officials on helmet laws – period.
New bills now in Congress for consideration seek to reaffirm the ban and block NHTSA from giving money to states for motorcycle-only safety checkpoints. While the checkpoint legislation makes sense on constitutional grounds, groups including American Bikers Aiming Toward Education (ABATE) argue that motorcycle helmets do not reduce deaths or lower insurance costs, and that personal freedom should take precedent over public health concerns.
Advocates of such legislation don’t seem at all concerned that, by every measurable metric, they’re wrong about helmets keeping riders safe.
While Michigan’s new law requires riders to carry a minimum of $20,000 in additional medical insurance, safety advocates have long argues that the cost of freedom of choice for riders is much higher in the long run.
It comes down to this; we’ll see the results of the Michigan experiment conducted by real riders acting as guinea pigs over the next few years.
While it’s a tough argument to make that taxpayer dollars should be used to force riders to wear helmets against their personal preferences, it’s also going to be brutal to see how many riders make that choice and lose their lives as a result.
- Helmet Law Repeal One Step Away In Michigan
- The Comprehensive And Utterly Huge Guide to Motorcycle Helmet Laws
- Handy State Helmet Law Reference Wallet Card
Given the fact that you’re currently reading this on the Interweb, it’s a pretty safe bet you’ll also come across some other pictures and stories today sure to make you shake your head in wide wonder at the outright stupidity and lunatic behavior that various members of our species are capable of acting out.
But I give you my personal guarantee that you won’t see anything today to rival the pure dim-witted madness of this video.
It’s a gem taken of a rider texting at 50 mph on a highway in Sydney, Australia.
Yes, texting. If you’ve read stories on this site before, you may well have seen our nearly-apoplectic rants against the dangers of a texting while driving, but I admit to being nearly struck dumb by this piece of self-destructive and dangerous decision-making.
Lots of studies are out there to demonstrate the reality that texting while driving is roughly akin – at least in terms of how it slows reaction times – to being stone drunk behind the wheel. Australian television program Today Tonight found this video of a rider with not one, but both of his hands off the controls and staring at his phone. The video was captured by a bus passenger on the M2.
Reports say the 21-year-old rider, allegedly still riding with an Australian motorcycle learners permit at the time, did have the good sense to turn himself into Sydney police once the photo went viral.
Fortunately for him, local authorities pulled his permit and he won’t, legally at least, be able to operate a motorcycle on the highway for some time to come.
The photo does beg the question; what message could he possibly have thought was important enough to take this kind of idiotic chance at reading or sending?
- More Dangerous Than Drunks – Texting While Driving Doubles Reaction Times
- The Boy In the Bubble – A Wearable Motorcyclist Airbag
- Texting Your Way Into A Motorcycle Club Beatdown