Category Archives: Brakes

Articles related to motorcycle brakes

Had a close call on the freeway with road debris yesterday

California Motorcycle Accident Attorney and Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez in Malibu, CA

California Motorcycle Accident Attorney and Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez in Malibu, CA

Yesterday, Sunday, January 13, 2013, I rode my motorcycle from Palmdale, CA to Huntington Beach, CA as the first part of my move to Huntington Beach, CA.

Since I am moving this Sunday, January 20, 2013 to Huntington Beach a distance of approximately 100 miles, and I have to drive my car on the day of the move, I had to ride my motorcycle to Huntington Beach in advance of the move because I would not be able to do it on moving day.

It has been freezing cold these past few days; there is some sort of artic cold front that has been coming through. Before daylight on January 13, 2013, temperatures were about 17 degrees where I live, and it supposedly felt like 3 degrees with the wind. Imagine how cold it would have been on the motorcycle.

I decided to not ride in the morning, but to wait until midafternoon to do the ride. It was still freezing cold, at least for a southern California guy like me.

When I got on the motorcycle, it was in the 40’s at my home, but quickly got down to the 30’s in Acton and Agua Dulce.

It was a great ride, but a freezing ride. My hands and feet quickly went almost numb. There was a very real danger of hypothermia.

While riding my Harley Davidson Electra Glide on the 405 freeway south, past the Los Angeles International Airport, at around 70 miles per hour in the Diamond Lane, the car in front of me suddenly kicked up what appeared to be the remains of a hot tub or some sort of fiberglass tub.

I quickly grabbed my front brake, realized I was going too fast to avoid it, or to swerve away from it (there was no time), so I accelerated through it and held on tight.

The debris hit my motorcycle hard on the front fairing and the lower fairing which is attached to the right engine guard. Although traffic was going fast, there were a lot of cars around.

I shook my head in utter disbelief. I have been riding on the street on motorcycles since the age of 16 and I have never hit road debris which was this bad, ever.

As I type this I am having flashbacks of the incident. I realize now that I was riding too close to the car in front of me, violating one of my own rules. Had I kept a safer distance from the car in front of me, I would have had more time to react to the debris.

I was damm lucky that my front tire did not roll up on the debris and get stuck on it, which would have caused me to crash for sure. As a matter of fact there are many scenarios with the large amount of debris that was kicked up in front of me which could have caused me to crash. Had I locked my brakes up, or swerved to avoid it, I would have surely crashed.

Luckily, I was able to power through it.

Again, keep a safe distance from the car in front of you while riding your motorcycle, because on a motorcycle there are no second chances.

I need to listen to and follow my own rule!

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney and Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez, © January 14, 2013

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We almost died in Big Horn National Forest

The scene of my RV accident on US-14 above Greybull, Wyoming in the Big Horn National Forest

The scene of my RV accident on US-14 above Greybull, Wyoming in the Big Horn National Forest. This shows the damage after my RV was pulled off of the embankment.

** This article was written on August 30, 2012, 2012, but it is being published on December 18, 2012. There will be one final article to be published soon about the rest of my epic vacation. There will also be a post of many videos from the vacation. Again, this article was written on August 30, 2012.

First off, before I get started, let me follow-up with my status on August 27, 2012.

Liz and I toured all over the Black Hills of South Dakota. We visited Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Sturgis, and Rapid City. We had a good time in South Dakota especially on the motorcycle. The Black Hills offer some great riding in what I consider to be intermediate twisties. I think the twisties we have where I live in the Angeles National Forest or in some places in the Santa Monica Mountains are much more difficult to ride than the Black Hills.

All in All though, the Black Hills are beautiful and I will be back next year.

We left South Dakota on August 29, 2012 for Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

When we reached the mountains off of US 14, I knew we were in for some exciting views. These are the steepest mountains I have taken my RV on since getting the RV. We went up to an altitude of 8,900 feet.

The trailer after my RV accident.

The trailer after my RV accident. It jackknifed into the rear bumper causing a crack and a small scratch on my lower, other than that there was no damage to the motorcycle thank god.

On the downside of the mountain, there was a sign showing a truck on a downgrade stating that it was for the next 17 miles. Another sign stated for trucks to switch into lower gears. I shifted into 2nd gear.

The downgrade was extreme. I pumped my brakes rather just holding them down. I cannot describe what it is like to try to slow down a very large 35’ RV with an Electra Glide and trailer in tow, on declines such as the one we were on. It was scary.

On the way down, we both heard a noise that we could not identify. Later on, I felt the brakes get a bit mushy but they still worked. We came to a visitor’s area where there were waterfalls and a viewing area. I told Liz that I was going to stop to check out the brakes.

It was around 6-6:30pm or so and starting to get a bit dark in the mountains. Since the sun was going down Liz did not want to stop or possible or get stuck in this desolate place. I told her we had to stop. I got the rig slowed down and turned right into the area, I downshifted to 1st gear to slow down more without using the brakes, when I pushed down on the brakes to stop, the pedal went to the floor and to my horror were gone. We were not slowing down and we were not stopping.

Where we would have died had I not intentionally crashed into the embankment

Had I kept on going straight in my RV instead of intentionally crashing my RV to the left, this is the cliff we would have went over, at about 300 feet we both would have died. God was with us this day.

In my 49 years heretofore, I have driven or ridden many cars, trucks, motorcycles, you name it, nothing that I have driven or ridden has lost all brake power before, nothing.

Here I was heading for a sheer cliff straight ahead, literally a sheer cliff, and I had no brakes. I yelled to Liz that we had no brakes. I tried shifting the rig into park; it just made a click click sound but did not slow down.

I told Liz that we were going to crash.

I intentionally steered the rig sharply to the left so that we would hit the side of the road which were rocks rather than go off of the cliff. I could not believe that when I made the sharp turn to the left that we did not tip over on our side.

I told Liz to brace herself. Literally from the time I realized I had no brakes until the time we crashed was just a few seconds.

I noticed a white thing where we were headed, I steered to avoid it.

We jumped up onto a curb, crashed through a wood fence, and by the grace of god were finally stopped by two beefy barriers that the National Park Service has planted along the sides of the road.

After the initial impact we kept going until we hit these barriers. We did not stop right away.

After the impact we just sat there. I was freaked out about the damage to the rig, Liz said “Norman don’t worry, we are alive.”

Let me tell you, had I steered wrong or stayed on the road that day, I have no doubt we would no longer be here on this earth. What if I would have lost the brakes on the road? I would have gone 35-40 mph or faster right over the edge. If anyone has ridden the US 14 in Wyoming, you know what I mean.

Two days ago I lost my brakes on a severe downgrade on US 14 in the Big Horn National Forest in Wyoming. I had to intentionally crash my RV in order to get the rig stopped.

The front bumper on my RV after the accident

This is the front bumper on my RV after the accident. It was destroyed. A new bumper has to be fabricated from scratch to fix the damage.

Thanks to the fine people of Greybull, Wyoming, we were towed off of the mountain into a KOA RV Park last night, and the same guy came this morning to pick up the rig to repair the brakes. The parts won’t be in until tomorrow, so the repair guy is allowing us to bunk down in the RV on his property.

I have fallen in love with Greybull, Wyoming and so has Liz. The town has about 1100 people who all seem to know each other. Went to dinner tonight and ended up meeting some of the town folk. I was invited to attend a shooting event on a private ranch. The people here leave their keys in the car, and will bend over backwards to help you.

I rode up to the crash site twice today, from Greybull, Wyoming east on US 14 up into Big Horn Forest, once by myself, once with Liz. This ride is the most beautiful and awe inspiring ride I’ve ever taken in my life. No words can describe the wide vistas, the ancient canyons, the trees, and the waterfalls. It was as if I was in the most beautiful place on earth on my Harley.

Getting back to the accident; had I not turned the way I did Liz and I would not be here. There was a sheer cliff in front of us when I lost the brakes. It was a scary experience. The RV sustained damage to the lower front where it hit, and the back where the trailer fish tailed. We are not injured. I was told that many RV’ers lose their brakes up here every month; live and learn. I lost my lower lights in the front and some fiberglass. It can be repaired.

If the parts come in tomorrow and the RV is otherwise safe to drive we will be heading to Cody, Wyoming, where I will set up camp. Saturday we will ride the Harley through Yellowstone from the east entrance. Until then….

By California Biker Attorney and Motorcycle Accident Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez

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Techniques and Tips for New and Experienced Motorcycle Passengers

California Biker Lawyer and Motorcycle Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez North of the Golden Gate Bridge

California Biker Lawyer and Motorcycle Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez North of the Golden Gate Bridge

Riding on a motorcycle with a friend is one of the most fun things you can do. It could be a much more enjoyable experience if the passenger understands and follows quick and easy rules. To become the kind of passenger riders wish to ride with, try to remember the advice given below:

Wear clothing that will give you some protection in the unlikely event of crash or accident. At the minimum, you should wear the following to safeguard yourself:

Footwear that protects your feet and your ankles (hiking boots are excellent).

Durable pants–leather is most beneficial; if you don’t have or cannot get leather, you will need to get by with jeans, work pants, or something like that. An abrasion resistant jacket that zips or buttons in close proximity to the neck (again, leather is advisable should you have it; a nylon flight jacket or parka are satisfactory, and a Levis-type jacket will do in a pinch).

Durable gloves.

Eye protection–ideally, the helmet you borrow or own needs to have a face shield for comfort in addition to eye and face protection. If it does not, goggles are excellent, and glasses (dark or prescription) will do.

It’s also wise to make an effort to dress appropriately for any weather.

If you have not ridden as a motorcycle passenger very much, you probably do not realize how hot or how cold it can be on a motorcycle ride. If it is hot, it will feel a lot hotter when you are riding; when it is cold, it will feel a lot colder when you are riding. Ask the rider for assistance or tips on dressing for any anticipated weather conditions. When choosing comfortable attire, try not to compromise your minimum level of protection as described above.

On hot sunny days, one trick would be to wear an extra-large white shirt over your jacket. It’s going to reflect a great deal of heat and help keep you cool. (This is not one of my tips, but it is recommended by other riders) In general, it really is easier to dress safely and comfortably for just a cool day compared to a hot one. Lastly, don’t wear anything loose and floppy (like a long scarf or bell bottom pants) which could get caught in the rear wheel, sprockets, drive chain or belt, or any other moving area of the motorcycle. You could injure yourself, and might cause an accident.

Wear a securely fastened helmet which fits properly. Most riders have extra helmets and will also be glad to loan you one.

A helmet should be a snug fit; it shouldn’t be possible to twist it around on your head. The strap should be pulled as tight as you can get it without choking yourself out. You can try for fit, and also to find out if the strap is tight, by holding the chin bar of your full face helmet, or the side edge of an open face helmet, directly over your forehead, and attempt to pull the helmet backwards off top of your head. In the event the helmet ends up on the back of your head, tighten the strap or get a helmet which fits.

Under no circumstances should you ride with a helmet that will slip easily over your head with the strap on. The rider can instruct you on the best way to put on your helmet properly. If you ride often, you will eventually want to buy your own personal helmet. Just about any motorcycle shop will help you choose a suitable helmet which fits you correctly.

Before you decide to attempt to get onto the motorcycle, make sure that the passenger foot pegs are down. (They fold when not being used, and it is easy for the rider to forget to put them down for you.) If you do not know where the foot pegs are, have the rider point them out to you.

Also, beware of the exhaust pipes. Make sure you know where they are, and do not let your leg or any area of your body touch them when you get on or off of the motorcycle. They can and will give you a severe burn all the way through the heaviest pants if you touch them with your legs or another part of your body.

It is actually customary to get on or off the motorcycle from the left side. Always wait for the rider to inform you its okay to mount or dismount. Should you begin to clamber on (or off) when the rider does not expect it, the sudden motion of the motorcycle can and may be disconcerting to the rider. You might even pull the motorcycle over.

The best way to get on a motorcycle and the method almost all passengers should use is to extend your right leg over the rider’s portion of the seat, and then slide gently up onto the passenger part of the seat. Put your feet on the foot pegs and that’s it.

If you aren’t able to do that because you are a small person or perhaps a child, this method may work: put your left foot on the left passenger foot peg, lean your whole body all the way over the motorcycle, and gently step-up until you can swing your right leg over the seat and ease yourself down. You need to keep yourself low and lean over the center of the motorcycle as much as possible when you jump on, to help the rider keep the motorcycle balanced. The extra weight of your body, if it’s too far out of line with the weight of the motorcycle, could pull the bike over.

A person reasonably in close proximity to a normal size (man or woman) should never need to use this method to mount a motorcycle, and a heavy person should not attempt it under any circumstances.

It’s all a matter of balance; the rider may not be sufficiently strong enough to hold a large motorcycle upright should you cause it to get out of balance.

To dismount, just reverse the process you utilized to jump on. After some practice, getting on and off will become second nature.

Once you are on the motorcycle, plant your feet on the passenger foot pegs and keep them there under all circumstances. You do not want to bring your foot into contact with the ground, rear wheel, drive chain, belt, or the hot muffler.

Never make an attempt to assist the rider to hold the bike upright when it’s stopped by putting your foot down. Keep the feet safe by keeping them on the foot pegs at all times.

Place your hands on the rider’s hips. This is the best way to keep hold of the rider, and it keeps you in touch with the rider’s movements. Keep your weight centered over the motorcycle. Try not to move around any more than is necessary, particularly when the motorcycle is stopped, because it affects the balance of the motorcycle.

Motorcycles turn by leaning (banking like an airplane), not by steering like a car. So don’t be alarmed when the motorcycle leans over to go around a corner.

To set yourself into the right position perfectly for any turn, just look over the rider’s shoulder towards the turn. When the motorcycle is turning right, look over the rider’s right shoulder; when it is turning left, look over the rider’s left shoulder. You don’t have to do anything else; looking naturally over the rider’s inside shoulder will automatically put your weight exactly where it belongs in a turn. Keep your body in line with the rider’s body to prevent the motorcycle from leaning greater than the rider intends. (When going straight, it does not matter which shoulder you gaze over.)

Never lean beyond a turn; you could cause a crash that way.

When the rider applies the brakes, it creates a forward weight transfer on the motorcycle. In the event the rider is forced to brake hard, as in an emergency, this forward weight transfer will be very apparent to you; you’ll be forced up against the rider, and you will begin to slide forward on the seat.

Don’t panic. Try to keep back, off of the rider. Resist sliding forward by pressing your feet up against the foot pegs; make use of your thigh muscles to manage your position on the seat. Should you slide forward, you may force the rider forward, decreasing the rider’s control of the motorcycle. Additionally, it moves the weight distribution of the motorcycle forward, reducing the weight on the rear tire and therefore the traction of the rear tire, which makes it much more likely that the back tire will begin to skid. Obviously, none of this is desirable. Try to keep yourself from jamming up into the rider by using your foot pegs and your thighs.

You will be an active participant in the ride by staying alert and being prepared. Help the rider search for potential danger, and stay prepared to hang on and hold yourself back in the event you anticipate a need for sudden braking.

Likewise, in the event the rider is forced to swerve the motorcycle in order to avoid a hazard in the road, you have to be prepared for a sudden lean and change of direction.

It’s also possible to assist the rider by scanning for animals that may run into the street. Dogs and deer are particularly unpredictable, and you might see a deer on a hillside above the road, or perhaps a dog in somebody’s yard, before the rider. (After all, the rider is concentrating primarily on the street.)

In the event you spot a hazard of any type that you think the rider is unaware of, rap the rider on the appropriate shoulder, and point at the hazard in a manner that brings it to the rider’s attention.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident anywhere in the State of California, call the real California Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez for a free consultation at 800-816-1529 x. 1.

California Motorcycle Accident Attorney and Biker Lawyer Website

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Former Police Officer Gives Tips on Motorcycle Safety

Motorcycle riders listening to safety semiar in Orange, California

Motorcycle riders listening to safety semiar in Orange, California

Motorcycle riders gathered on Saturday afternoon in Orange to hear safety tips from a former police officer.

Retired Orange police Cpl. Mark Camarillo led a seminar, “Smarter Safer Riding and How to Avoid a Traffic Citation,” at Irv Seaver Motorcycles

About 100 people sat and stood inside the dealer’s future service shop at 607 W. Katella Ave. for the seminar.

Camarillo told the crowd to use hard stopping, use common sense, to always use a turn signal, know the speed limit and also to ride defensively.

“I want to go home to my family every single night,” Camarillo said.

He also told the motorcycle riders to hold with the speed limit – plus or minus 5 mph.
“I fight the urge to ride aggressively,” Camarillo said. “It gives you time to react and time to stop. It’s less stressful on yourself. (Speeding) creates stress you probably don’t realize is happening to your body.”

He explained riders – and drivers – should always look left, right and left again at every light.

“It’ll save your life,” Camarillo said. “It gives you a chance to look back. That is a crucial thing to do.”

Since retiring from the Orange Police Department, Camarillo said he rides a BMW motorcycle and that people drive differently now that he’s not on a black-and-white.
“I get tailgated now, and I never got tailgated before. I wonder why?” he joked with the audience.

Many audience members said they didn’t know prior to the presentation that it was legal to turn left across a single double-yellow line, including Jennifer Chung and her son Kyle Tran, 15, of Westminster. The two were curious to listen to tips originating from a former police official. For Chung, riding is a family affair. She often takes her son on the back of her Kawasaki Ninja.

“A presentation such as this is always of interest to BMW drivers,” said Larry Troffer of San Clemente.

“If there’s anybody that can provide me some suggestions, I’m always interested,” said Bill Reitz, president of the BMW Club South Coast Riders. The group boasts 99 members and holds meetings once per month followed by a 65- to 100-mile ride.

Camarillo also said the Ortega Highway is the deadliest route, accompanied by Santiago Canyon Road.
He told the target audience that driving on the line between the lanes – known as lane splitting – is unsafe but legal. He suggested driving only 10 mph faster than the speed of traffic when splitting lanes.

“If traffic is doing 30 miles per hour, should i split it at 40? Why? I’m not getting there faster,” Camarillo said. “Everybody has to decide whether it is worth it or not.”

Owners Evan and Lois Bell of Irv Seaver Motorcycles are bike aficionados. This year, they celebrate the 100th anniversary for the business.

“Our most wonderful vacations have been on motorcycles,” Lois Bell said. The two have ridden through Europe, South America, South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland, Japan and Germany.

“If those individuals listened, it probably saved some lives,” she said.

  • Motorcycle safety tips
  • •Use sound judgment.
  • •Drive the speed limit – plus or minus 5 mph.
  • •Practice hard stopping.
  • •Always use your turn signal.
  • •Avoid getting grease, oil or diesel fluid on your tires.
  • •Know the speed limits.

Orange California Motorcycle Accident Attorney Website

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Riding your Motorcycle around Curves and Turns without Killing Yourself

California Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez riding around a curve on Mulholland Highway

California Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez riding around a curve on Mulholland Highway

Many motorcycle riders are seriously injured and die each year when they fail to negotiate turns or curves, and either end of in the opposing lane of traffic, or they lose control and crash.

It is unbelievable to me just how many experienced riders sometimes fail to properly negotiate turns or curves on the road, especially when riding canyon roads, or twisties.

What is the main reason for motorcycle riders failing to negotiate curves or turns? Excessive speed is the main reason.

If you ride too fast through a curve or turn, chances are you are going to either end up in the opposing lane, or you are going to crash.

What is the main way to avoid crashing on a curve or turn? Slow the hell down!

Many motorcycle safety courses teach that you should slow down before you enter a turn or curve, and never to brake or downshift while in a curve or turn. I say bullshit.

Look I have been legally riding motorcycles on the road for 32 years, since the age of 16. In my own personal experience, sometimes it is hard to judge if you are entering a curve or turn too fast.

If you have entered into a turn or curve too fast on your motorcycle, you need to do anything you can not to panic, not to cross over the yellow line into opposing traffic, and not to crash.

My rule is that if you are in a curve or turn too fast, do what you have to do to safely get through the turn or curve. If that means hitting the brake, do it. If that means downshifting, do it.

I have ridden with guys who absolutely refuse do brake or downshift in a turn or curve. I have also seen these guys both in front of me, and in my rear view mirror cross the yellow line into oncoming traffic. Thank goodness none of them have ever crossed the yellow line when a car was right there or they would have been a windshield bug splat.

They teach you in motorcycle safety courses that before you enter a curve you should direct your motorcycle to the farthest part of the lane away from the turn so that you can theoretically see around the turn more.

For instance if you are going into a left curve they say you should direct your motorcade more to the right so that you can see around the left curve, and if you are going into a right curve you should direct your motorcycle more to the left so you can see around the right curve.

They teach that you should not look at the road, but that you should look around the curve to where you are going and that your motorcycle will tend to go where you are looking.

Some say that you should put your knees close into the tank to help you get around the curve, and some say that you should concentrate on counter-steering to properly get around a curve.

I say they are all right to a certain extent.

However, when you are actually riding your motorcycle, you will find that you will at times have to look at the road and not just where you want to go when going around a curve, you will find that sometimes it is not safe to go to the farthest part of the lane away from a curve because of oncoming cars or debris on the shoulder, and you will find that concentrating just on counter-steering is sometime dangerous.

In the end the safest thing to remember when going around curves is to keep a safe speed period.

The one thing that will make you panic or feel uncomfortable more than anything when going around a curve whether it be on a mountain pass or on a highway curve is excessive speed.

If you first let off of the throttle, you motorcycle will naturally start to slow down because of the action of friction and the engine.

If you are still going to fast don’t be afraid to apply a little front brake, but not too much because you may lose control. I like to apply both front and rear brakes.

If the turn is wet applying too much rear brake may make you slide out.

If you are still going too fast, downshift into a lower gear if you can safely.

If there are cars or other motorcycles behind me, and I am downshifting into a lower gear to slow down, I also try to tap my brake a bit just so the persons behind me can see my break light so they don’t rear end me.

Even with plenty of practice and riding experience, riding through turns and curves requires current practice and experience.

The worst riders are sometimes the people with the most experience because they think they are the great riders so they sometimes do not exercise the caution that they should.

Riding a motorcycle is not like riding a bike. Each time you are out, you need to exercise caution and ride at a safe speed.

Keep both wheels on the road.

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney, and Biker Lawyer, Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © October 19, 2011

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What do you have to watch out for the Most when Riding a Motorcycle?

California Biker Attorney and Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez at the Beach Ride

California Biker Attorney and Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez at the Beach Ride

As a California Motorcycle Accident Attorney and Biker Lawyer, I regularly deal with all sorts of different motorcycle accident cases that are caused by all sorts of different scenarios. As an actual rider of motorcycles, something that sets me apart from other lawyers who handle motorcycle accident cases, I know firsthand the risks and dangers of riding motorcycles.

I am always asked what do you have to watch out for the most while riding your motorcycle. I could write an entire book on this subject, however, I will do my best to answer the question in this short essay.

There really is no simple answer to this question. Motorcycle accidents are caused by other negligent motorists, lack of riding experience or knowledge, road conditions, loose debris, mechanical failure, excessive speed, tire failure, weather, animals, drugs and alcohol, even medical conditions of a rider.

All of these topics warrant a lengthy discussion.

However, in my practice and in my opinion, the single largest cause of motorcycle accidents is other motorists in 4 wheel or greater vehicles, we bikers and motorcyclist call these persons “cagers.”

The largest threats to a biker and motorcyclist from a 4 wheel motorist on his or her motorcycle are; (1) A motorist turning left in front of you, (2) A motorist cutting you off or hitting you while exiting a driveway or an ally, (3) A motorist cutting you off or hitting you while coming from a side street, (4) a motorist merging into you from the side while driving next to you or near you, (5) a motorist pulling out from the curb, and (6) getting rear ended.

Among all of the motorcycle accident cases that I handle, the threats articulated above are the main causes of motorcycle accident and motorcycle accident death cases that I handle.

There are some basic preventative measures you can take to minimize the chances of you becoming the next victim of a negligent motorist while out on your motorcycle.

Beyond taking a certified motorcycle safety course, and advanced course on your own motorcycle, not driving while intoxicated, wearing proper riding attire including a DOT certified full face or modular helmet, and making sure you have a proper motorcycle endorsement, there are a few tricks I have learned throughout the years that I will share with you.

(1) Don’t ride too fast for the conditions you are in.

Most motorcycle accident happen on city streets, and within a 5 mile radius from your home. If you are on let’s say a 4 lane street (2 in each direction), there are risks everywhere. Make sure you keep your speed down so that if you have to stop or slow down quickly, you can. Remember, the faster you ride, the longer distance it takes for you to slow down or stop.

(2) Cover your brakes at intersections or when you see a risk.

Covering your brake means to put your hand over the front brake lever to prepare to use your brake. You should cover your brake anytime you enter an intersection where you see a car stopped on either side of you, or a car waiting to make a left turn in the opposite direction. Why, because already having your hand on the brake lever will give you an extra second or two to hit the brakes and to potentially avoid and accident if one of the cars drives or turns in front of you.

I know it sounds like a hassle, but if you do it everytime, it will become engrained into your muscle memory and you won’t even have to think about it in time.

Under certain circumstances, you may even want to hit your brakes while covering, to heat the them up so that you can stop faster, and to signal the car behind you that you are slowing down. The car behind you cannot see you if you let off of the throttle and use your engine to slow you down.

(3) Look at the tops of the wheels of a threatening car.

When you see a car stopped as you approach a driveway, a side street, or in the oncoming left turn lane, look at its wheels, especially the tops of its wheels if you can see them. If you cannot see the tops, look at the tire rims or hubcaps. The tops of the wheels actually move much faster than the actual car does, and it will give you an indication of whether the car is moving towards you or not. Your eyes will be able to perceive the wheels moving way before your eyes will be able to perceive the entire car moving forward. Don’t ask me why, it is just the way we perceive things.

Obviously if you are riding along and you see a car stopped at a driveway or a side street, and you see its tires moving, you better assume that they do not see you, and take evasive action. The best evasive action is to brake or stop and to not swerve because when you swerve you have less motorcycle tire contact than if your tires are straight up and down. The less tire contact you have, the more likely that you will not be able to stop in time, and/or lose control of your motorcycle and lay it down.

If you see an oncoming car in the left hand turn lane, and its tires start to turn in your direction, assume that they are going to turn in front of you, and take evasive action.

(4) Assume that other motorist cannot see you when you ride.

No matter how bright your clothing, how many lights you have on your motorcycle, how visible you think you are, no matter what you do, for some inexplicable reason, we motorcycle riders seem to be invisible to motorist in cars, trucks, or other motor vehicles. I am not telling you to try do anything you can to be more visible to other motorist, on the contrary, you should do everything you can to try to be more conspicuous to other motorist.

There have actually been studies done to understand how we human beings perceive things, and it has been found that we humans actually and not consciously selectively filter out certain things that we see for various reasons.

It seems that many people riding in cars, trucks, and other vehicles for some reason, filter us motorcycle riders out. After an accident these people swear that they did not see us, when they should have. Whether it is unintentional or not, some motorist flat out do not see us.

When you ride you have to assume that other motorist do not see you and you need to ride accordingly. If you ride as though you are invisible to other motorist, you will actually be a much more cautious and better rider.

Assume that the car in the oncoming left hand turn lane is going to turn left in front of you Assume that if you are on a two lane road with cars parked on the side that a car will pop out from the parked position. Assume that the car you see waiting to turn out of a gas station or waiting to make a right turn at the intersection will turn in front of you.

I know it’s not fair, but as a motorcycle rider, we have to be much more diligent about our own safety when we ride our motorcycles. Yes you may have the right of way, but that is not going to stop the negligent cager from hitting you and doing some major damage to you.

Exercising caution and some restraint, will make your motorcycle riding experience much more pleasurable, and above all, will allow you to make it home after your ride instead of in the hospital.

Keep both wheels on the road!

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney, and Biker Lawyer, Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © August 28, 2011

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A Young Biker is Killed by a Woman Who Crossed a Double Yellow Line to Pass a Car.

Killed Biker Martin Allen Lacy
Martin Allen Lacy
R.I.P.
1983-2008

On September 26, 2008, while 25 year old Martin Allen Lacy was riding his motorcycle on Live Oak Canyon Road, in the Inland Empire, California, Martin Allen Lacy was killed when a woman named Holly Louise Ference, intentionally crossed a double yellow line to pass a van, driving directly into Martin Allen Lacy’s lane, striking him head on, and killing him.

Martin Allen Lacy was basically the victim of homicide by vehicle. There is no difference between someone shooting a gun off near people, and intentionally driving a car into oncoming traffic over a double yellow line, it is gross negligence rising to the level of a willful and wanton disregard for human life (murder).

This story is dedicated to the memory of Martin Allen Lacy, and his families attempt to bring the killer of Martin Allen Lacy; Holly Louise Ference, to justice through the legal system.

If you are a motorcycle rider, a biker, or just a plain old law abiding citizen who thinks that justice needs to be done in a reprehensible case like this, please show your support by sending to the family an email to law@norman-law.com. We will pass on all emails to the family.

For mor information about the case go to www.martinallenlacy.com.

If you have any information about the case, the death of Martin Allen Lacy, or the defendant Holly Louise Ference, please contact the families legal representative as follows:

Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq.
Attorney at Law
The Law Offices of Norman Gregory Fernandez & Associates
9909 Topanga Canyon Blvd. #188
Chatsworth, CA 91311
Phone: 818-584-8831 ext. 3
internet: www.thepersonalinjury.com
email: law@norman-law.com

The following is a letter written by Debra Lacy after the killing of her son:

I lost it 1 year ago, but it seems like yesterday.

In the early morning of Sept. 26 a Friday, my son woke me up to tell goodbye, give me a kiss and a hug, as he was leaving for San Diego to go to work, the time was 12:55am.

I told him I hated him leaving at this time, but he said it was better less traffic and all and that he would be very carful, and that he would call when he got there.

As always his dad was out checking his motorcycle, making sure that everything was good, lights, tires and tire pressure and brakes, gave him a hug and we watched him drive away, not knowing that would be the last time we would see him alive.

You should know that Martin has been riding since he was 2 maybe earlier, my favorite memory was seeing him in a diaper, tennis shoes, and a helmet jumping on his 70cc 3-wheeler trying to go after his dad at Glamis. He was a natural on 2 wheels 3 and 4 wheels, dirt and street.

He had a very good teacher who stressed safety first. The motorcycle that he was on he only had for a year, it was previously wrecked; he and his dad rebuilt it from the ground up with all new parts.

At 9:00am the morning of the 26th a very pregnant blonde lady was at our door asking if we were Martins parents. I said yes, but he wasn’t home he was at work. Then she said the worst thing a parent will ever here, she was from the corners office. I wish those words on no one, our world fell apart.

She said that it was instant, he didn’t feel a thing, then she said that he hadn’t done anything wrong, that we should be happy about that, that someone hit him head on. We asked where and when it happened, she said at 1:05am and about 15miles from home on the canyon road. As a mom I wondered what took so long to contact us, she said because they could not find his ID, and that she had his backpack and did we want it. Of course, we wanted that and our son.

She gave us a business card on who to contact and then left.

Then the hell starts, as if we didn’t have enough pain, thank god for our oldest son who stepped in and handled everything, even in his grief, but this was not going to be easy, it turned out to be a nightmare from the start and got worse, we were not allowed to see Martin until he was released to the funeral home where Matthew and his dad identified him.

The corner did an autopsy on Martin and said the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, no alcohol or drugs were in his system, and no other problems, death was instant.

As a mother I asked if the other person was hurt, they said no, and my reply was that’s good. When we asked how this happened, they said she was passing someone and hit Martin head on. We didn’t find out more until Matthew and Mark went to the scene and then went searching for the CHP officer that was at the scene at the time of the accident. That’s when they found out that woman who killed Martin was 22 years old , crossed a solid yellow line on an incline passing a van with no windows, and that Martin probably never even seen it coming. We found out the killer was released at the scene of the accident to her parents, who took her to the hospital to be checked out.

She was released with only a field sorority test done, no ticket no drug test nothing. Where was a 22 year old woman going on a Friday night at 1:00am in the morning going in such a hurry? If the situation was reversed, Martin would have been arrested taken down, tested, and at the very least ticketed.

Here it is almost a year to exact 20 days before the date and Martin’s killer still has not faced any consequences, not even a ticket, and here I am fighting the whole system for some kind of justice for our son MARTIN ALLEN LACY.

Where is the justice for my beloved son?

Debra P. Lacy
Mother of Martin Allen Lacy

By Biker Lawyer and California Motorcycle Accident Attorney, © 2009

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A Couple of Motorcycle Accidents in California Caused by Negligent Cagers.

The scene of a fatal motorcycle accident in Gilroy, CaliforniaDUBLIN – California

The driver of a white BMW 2004 linked to a hit-and-run accident Monday evening on northbound Interstate 680 has turned herself in, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Sobhanieh Mostakhdemin, 25, of San Mateo, turned herself in Wednesday afternoon at the CHP’s Dublin office and was arrested on suspicion of reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident that caused injury, CHP Officer Steve Creel said.

Motorcyclist Robert Demartino Jr., of Livermore, was hit Monday on northbound Interstate 680 near Sunol Boulevard in Pleasanton, Creel said.

Witnesses said the driver of a white BMW had been traveling at more than 100 mph, nearly colliding with several vehicles. The driver began closely following a 2005 Chevrolet SUV before a curve in the highway, and Demartino was just ahead on a 2007 Suzuki GSX-R750.

The BMW struck the motorcycle’s rear wheel and Demartino was thrown to the pavement, where he hit his head, Creel said. Demartino was taken to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, where he is listed in stable condition.

The BMW struck both the SUV and Demartino’s motorcycle, but only Demartino was injured, Creel said.

Creel credited two eyewitnesses with getting the BMW driver’s license plate number, which he said led officers to Mostakhdemin.

This women should be put in prison for a long time. She is a danger to society and bikers!

Gilroy – California

An unidentified 40-year-old Gilroy male was killed Tuesday evening after colliding with an SUV and an unidentified pickup truck in a hit-and-run accident.

The accident happened around 5:50 p.m. on the corner of Watsonville Road and Redwood Retreat Road.

Silver 2005 Silver Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport SUV, driven by a 31-year-old Santa Cruz woman, was traveling southbound on Watsonville Road at an unknown rate of speed and attempted to turn right onto Redwood Retreat Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A silver and black 2008 Honda Interceptor motorcycle was stopped at the stop sign on Redwood Retreat Road with an unidentified white Nissan pickup behind the motorcycle at the stop sign. As the Tacoma made an unsafe turning movement, it failed to maintain its lead and crossed over the solid double yellow lines of eastbound Redwood Retreat Road, impacting the motorcycle head on and forcing the bike to crash into the front end of the pickup.

The driver of the motorcycle was pinned underneath the right side of the motorcycle and was pronounced dead at the scene by Santa Clara Count Fire Paramedics. The roadway of Watsonville Road and Redwood Retreat Road was partially obstructed for about two hours. Driving under the influence is not suspected, and no arrests have been made as of Wednesday morning.

Police are still looking for the pickup that left the scene. Anyone with any info can call the Hollister-Gilroy CHP office at 848-2324.

These are just a couple of the many motorcycle accidents that happen in the State of California, and that usually only the family, friends, victims, and medical workers know about. I am putting these accidents on the Biker Law Blog just to remind everyone that riding season is upon us.

People in cars must remember to watch out for bikers and motorcyclist. We have a right to share the road just like everyone else.

If you or a loved one has been in a motorcycle accident anywhere in the State of California, you may call us for a free consultation 7 days a week, 24 hours a day at 800-816-1529 ext. 1.

California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

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Off Road Motorcycle, Dirt Bikes, Dune Buggies, Golf Cart, Snowmobiles, and ATV (standard, sport and utility) Insurance and Safety; Some Important Tips.

California Personal Injury Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez discusses Off Road vehicle insurance and safetyI was reading a story whereby a 14-year-old girl from Woodacre, California was airlifted to an Oakland hospital Sunday afternoon after a collision between two off-road motorcycles in Novato.

The girl suffered head and internal injuries in an undeveloped lot near the junction of highways 101 and 37 and was flown to Oakland Children’s Hospital by helicopter, said Novato police Lt. Dave Jeffries. Her name has not been released because she is a minor.

The dirt bikes collided on a relatively flat trail at about 1 p.m., and Novato fire personnel arrived a few minutes later.

A 15-year-old male was on the other motorcycle and suffered a minor hand injury, He was not transported to a hospital, Jeffries said.

Fire Capt. Jeff Whittet said the girl was wearing a helmet but suffered moderate to severe injuries. She was conscious when rescuers treated her at the site.

“I would say they didn’t hit head-on but they crossed up their handlebars,” Whittet said.

The undeveloped Hanna Ranch site, about 4 1/2 acres just south of the Vintage Oaks shopping center, is popular with off-road motorcyclists. A 62,000-square-foot office complex has been approved there but construction has not begun.

The story got me thinking about some cases I have had involving off road motorcycles and other off road sports vehicles. It also got me thinking about a story my friend Scott told me about his son having multiple bad accidents on dirt bikes.

Most people do not realize that you can purchase insurance to protect yourself and your loved ones while they are riding off road vehicles such as dirt bikes, dune buggies, golf carts, snowmobiles, and all terrain vehicles. (ATV’s) as a matter of fact it would be dumb to engage in off road motor vehicle activities without insurance because to be frank, there are many off road motor vehicle accidents, but you never hear about them because they go unreported.

Most off road motor vehicle insurance policies cover: Collision, Liability, Medical, Safety Apparel Coverage for damage to any clothing designed to minimize damage from an accident, including helmets and goggles, Optional Equipment Coverage including towable trailers or sleds made for use with an ATV or snowmobile, and more. You pay to cover yourself in your street car, truck, or motorcycle; it only makes sense to protect yourself and your loved ones with off road vehicle insurance. You can find insurance companies providing this type of insurance all over the Internet. Do a search on Google, MSN Live, or Yahoo to find them.

Here are some basic off road safety tips. When You Ride the Trail, Put Safety First!

Think ahead.
Ask your local dealer about the laws and regulations in your area. Do your best to preserve the areas where you ride, and be sure that you only ride where off-road vehicles are permitted. Read your owner’s manual. Then make sure you take your manual, a small tool kit and essential spare parts with you whenever you ride.

Gear up.
For optimum protection in case of an accident, always wear a DOT-approved motorcycle helmet, eye protection, a sturdy jacket, long pants, over-the-ankle boots and gloves.

Practice.
Find a safe place to practice braking, turning and improving your reaction time to help improve your skills and make you a better – and safer – rider.

Learn more.
Improve your riding skills by taking a training course. Make sure your vehicle is properly licensed or registered. Choose a vehicle that is appropriate for your age and ability.

Stay off paved roads.
Remember that off-road vehicles are meant for operation off pavement and public roads. These surfaces may not only be illegal, but dangerous. Your off-road vehicle may be difficult to control on pavement, which could result in an accident.

Maintain control and stay sharp.
Keep your speed right for the conditions and your experience. Be aware of current terrain, visibility and weather conditions, potential hazards or obstacles. Ride only when your senses are sharp. Never do drugs or drink and then ride.

Check it out.
Be sure to check that your off-road vehicle is running properly before hitting the trail. Always check controls, lights, fuel and oil levels, switches, chain, driveshaft, tires and chassis before you head out. Follow the recommended service schedule for your off-road vehicle and be sure an authorized service provider makes all repairs.

Go it alone.
Never carry a passenger on your off-road vehicle unless the vehicle is designed with an appropriate passenger seat. Additional weight can greatly affect the handling of your off-road vehicle and potentially cause loss of control. It’s a good idea to take a buddy along, only on their own vehicle.

Know you’re protected>
Be sure you have proper insurance coverage to protect your vehicle and provide liability coverage in case someone gets injured or property is damaged during the use of your vehicle.

Off road motor sports can be very fun and exciting for the whole family. Exercising proper safety and insuring yourself against loss will make it that much better!

By California Personal Injury Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2009
www.thepersonalinjury.com

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My Fiance and I Were The Victims of a Road Rage Incident Today!

Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez discusses a road rage incident against himMy fiancé and I had a great time riding with some of my club brothers and friends Sunday. It was a great Sunday. A friend and I decided to take off and ride to Angeles Crest from Marina Del Rey.

We rode the 10 freeway, east, to the 110 north, to the 5 north, to the 2 north, headed toward the 210 and the Angeles Crest Highway.

Some idiot for some odd reason seemed to intentionally almost hit me from behind. Maybe he does not like bikers? It happened so fast, the only thing I could do is turn my head to give the guy a stare. I was wearing a full face modular helmet, with my sunglasses on underneath, but I am sure the way I zipped my head around this guy knew that I knew what he was doing.

Instead of backing off, he kept coming. Mind you, my friend and his old lady were behind the car at this point and could see everything. My old lady was riding shotgun on the seat behind me. I moved to the extreme left part of the lane to avoid being hit by this asshole.

He then proceeded to pass me “IN MY LANE.” I looked over and saw what I think was a Korean guy. He proceeded to “stare me down” while he was in my lane and I was in the extreme left portion of the lane.

I knew if I kept staring this guy down, he would have probably swerved over and taken my old lady and I out. This asshole basically assaulted us with a deadly weapon. I am quite positive that under the circumstances, I could have used deadly force against this asshole because he almost killed us, and he used his car as a deadly weapon against us.

I slowed down, and he accelerated and took off. I tried to get his license, but I could not. He was in a Black Lexus.

If any other bikers near the 5 and the Glendale Freeway have been the victim of an Asian guy driving a Black Lexus, let me know.

I have been riding motorcycles on public streets for around 28 years, and have never had such a bizarre incident happen to me before while riding. Especially when I have my old lady on the back of my motorcycle.

My fiancé and my friend probably do not realize how close this asshole came to taking us out. Lesson learned and reiterated; motorcycle v. car = motorcycle losing. Thank goodness, I kept a cool head and simply let this asshole pass.

My friend’s old lady was not feeling well so they went home. My old lady and I ended up freezing our buts off on a ride up to 8,000 feet and Newcombs Ranch, for a late lunch next to their fireplace, alive to ride another day thank god!

By California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer, Norman Gregory Fernandez, © 2009

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It is Almost That Time Again; May, Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month!

california biker lawyer norman gregory fernandez discusses may being motorcycle safety awareness monthLast year around this time I wrote an article about May being motorcycle safety awareness month, which you can read by clicking here now.

Although it is not quite May, 2008 yet, as my fiancé and I get ready to ride to Laughlin, Nevada for the Laughlin River Run ( you can read an article about last years run by clicking here now. ) and with the weather being so good here in Southern California, and Nevada, I know there will be bikers and motorcyclist out riding by the tens of thousands over the next week!

Keep it safe people. Motorcycle Safety means inspecting your motorcycle, wearing proper motorcycle riding gear, and riding defensively on the road.

Just because I am a Biker Lawyer and I handle many motorcycle accident cases, does not mean that I do not like to have fun out there myself. Yes, I too may give my Electra Glide a bit too much throttle from time to time, and yes I too may take off the helmet while riding in Arizona over the next week, but nonetheless, I will still be careful and cognizant.

Bottom line, be safe on your motorcycles ALL OF THE TIME people. The month of May was meant by the NHTSA to make you aware of safety. I say motorcycle safety is a full time gig!

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2008

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Make Motorcycle Riding Safety Your Top Priority!

Motorcycle Safety Riding Tips from Motorcycle Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez.Operating a motorcycle takes different skills than driving a car; however, the laws of the road apply to every driver just the same. A combination of consistent education, regard for traffic laws and basic common sense can go a long way in helping reduce the amount of fatalities involved in motorcycle accidents on a yearly basis.

Here is a checklist that every motorcycle rider should follow:

Always wear a helmet with a face shield or protective eyewear — Wearing a helmet is the best way to protect against severe head injuries. A motorcycle rider not wearing a helmet is five times more likely to sustain a critical head injury.

Wear appropriate gear — Make sure to wear protective gear and clothing that will minimize the amount of injuries in case of an accident or a skid. Wearing leather clothing, boots with nonskid soles, and gloves can protect your body from severe injuries. Consider attaching reflective tape to your clothing to make it easier for other drivers to see you.

Follow traffic rules — Obey the speed limit; the faster you go the longer it will take you to stop. Be aware of local traffic laws and rules of the road.

Ride defensively — Don’t assume that a driver can see you, as nearly two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents are caused by a driver violating a rider’s right of way. You should always ride with your headlights on; stay out of a driver’s blind spot; signal well in advance of any change in direction; and watch for turning vehicles.

Keep your riding skills honed through education — Complete a formal riding education program, get licensed and take riding courses from time to time to develop riding techniques and to sharpen your street-riding strategies.

Be awake and ride sober — Don’t drink and ride, you could cause harm to yourself and others. Additionally, fatigue and drowsiness can impair your ability to react, so make sure that you are well rested when you hit the road.

Preparing to Ride

Making sure that your motorcycle is fit for the road is just as important as practicing safe riding. Should something be wrong with your motorcycle, it will be in your best interest to find out prior to hitting the road. To make sure that your motorcycle is in good working order, check the following:

Tires — check for any cracks or bulges, or signs of wear in the treads. Low tire pressure or any defects could cause a blowout.

Under the motorcycle — Look for signs of oil or gas leaks.

Headlight, taillight and signals — Test for high and low beams. Make sure that all lights are functioning.

Hydraulic and Coolant fluids — Level should be checked weekly.

Once you’ve mounted the motorcycle, complete the following checks:

Clutch and throttle – Make sure they are working smoothly. Throttle should snap back when released.

Mirrors — Clean and adjust all mirrors to ensure sharpest viewing.

Brakes — Test front and rear brakes. Each brake should feel firm and hold the motorcycle still when fully applied.

Horn — Test the horn.

I am a biker lawyer who handles motorcycle accident cases in California. By this article I am throwing out some basic motorcycle safety tips. This article is not meant to debate helmet laws. I personally recommend using helmets, but I don’t endorse forcing my views on everyone. I believe in freedom of choice!

California Motorcycle Accident Center

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Riding Season is Upon Us; Check Your Motorcycles and Take it Easy!

Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez discusses riding season and being safe.Although we ride our motorcycles all year here in California, in many parts of the country, riding season has begun with the coming of spring.

Whether you are in California, or somewhere else in the Country or world, it is always a good idea to do a safety inspection of your motorcycle, or have an authorized dealer or mechanic to do the same.

Having a motorcycle that is unsafe can cause motorcycle accidents. Unlike in a car that has 4 wheels, a motorcycle only has 2 wheels. There is no room for error or skimping on ensuring that your motorcycle is in tip top shape for riding.

I was recently on a group run where multiple people got flat tires. To be frank this was an odd occurrence and could have either been a coincidence, or the result of rolling though debris or road conditions that caused the flat tires, I do not know.

During a pit stop, one of the guys had some of that spray tire sealant put into his tire to get it back up, and the peer pressure was put on him to continue the ride. I whispered into his ear that his life was not worth it and that he should take the motorcycle to the dealer to get a new tire. I will say it again; on a motorcycle we only have 2 tires. Tire sealant and or plugs or patches are not safe for motorcycles period. Some people may argue or disagree, I don’t care. Unlike in a car, on a motorcycle the result of a blown tire can be your life or gross or serious personal injury. It is not worth taking a chance.

Inspect your motorcycle for loose bolts or screws. Check your brakes and tires for wear and replace pads or tires if necessary. Replace oil and fluids if necessary, etc. Making your motorcycle safe is not rocket science.

Above all the key to riding your motorcycle in a safe manner is you yourself as a biker or motorcyclist, taking it easy on your motorcycle, especially if you are getting back on the motorcycle after a winter break, or even a couple of week break. You are the key to preventing a motorcycle accident and personal injury. You need to watch for negligent cagers; cover at intersections; keep your motorcycle in gear at stops and watch behind you for potential rear enders; take turns slow; not ride next to cars or trucks; stay visible; ride like cagers cannot see you; anticipate the worst thing a cager can do, etc.

I wish nothing more than for you all to be safe this motorcycle riding season. I will be on the road this season as well and am planning on riding my Harley Davidson Electra Glide thousands of miles. I will be at many major motorcycle rallies this summer; therefore, I need to heed my own advice too.

Be Safe this Season so says the Biker Law Blog!

If god forbid you do have a motorcycle accident, or are a passenger who has been injured in a motorcycle accident in the State of California, and want to talk to a real biker lawyer who handles motorcycle accidents you may call me at 800-816-1529, extension 1.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2008

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Riding your Motorcycle in the Rain; Don’t do it unless You Must!

California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez discusses the dangers of riding your motorcycle in the rain.This is my first article of the New Year 2008. As I write this article California is enduring extraordinary rains which we are not accustomed to.

I was out yesterday riding my cage in the rain, and I saw a guy riding his motorcycle with normal street clothes on, tennis shoes, and a half helmet. I could not believe it. I would not ride in normal conditions wearing what this guy was wearing in a constant downpour of rain. He must have been soaked to the bone and very cold. Not good to say the least!

I have said many times in my articles that I do not ride my motorcycle in the rain unless I have no other choice. There have been many instances where I have been on the road and have had to ride through storms to get to my motel, or a safe place to wait out the rain.

Some of these instances of riding through the rain were severe, such as in Durango, Colorado, and in San Francisco, California. One time riding through the Arizona desert I literally ran into a thunderstorm out of no where that was so violent that it left welts on my face from hitting the rain at the speed I was riding at. Anyway…………..

If it is raining outside, it is probably a better idea to drive your car than ride your motorcycle. We have had a bad drought here in Southern California for the past couple of years, and when the rains come, the oils that have built up on the roads come to the surface of the road and make them slippery.

Since we only have two wheels on a motorcycle, a slippery road can mean disaster if your motorcycle slides out from under you.

Secondly, hydroplaning can make your ride a disaster as well. Hydroplaning occurs when water gets between your tires and the road surface. A layer of water builds between the rubber tires of the vehicle and the road surface, leading to the loss of traction and thus preventing the vehicle from responding to control inputs such as steering, braking or accelerating. It becomes, in effect, an un-powered and un-steered sled. Hydroplaning on a motorcycle with only 2 wheels in a heck of a lot different than in a car with 4 wheels, on a motorcycle it can mean disaster.

If you absolutely have to ride in the rain, my advice would be as follows:

(1) Wear full protective gear, including water proof boots, full face helmet, leather jacket, gloves, etc;

(2) Wear a good rain suit that is preferably designed for riding motorcycles in the rain;

(3) Do not accelerate or brake fast, take it easy;

(4) Leave plenty of room between you and the cars around you. Try to keep a very good distance between you and the cars or trucks in front of you because their spray will impact your visibility, and as you know on a motorcycle we do not have windshield wipers; and

(5) Take turns or curves very slowly and cautiously. It only takes a split second to eat asphalt if your motorcycle looses traction and goes out from under you.

Above all, do not ride beyond your comfort level. If it does not feel right, it probably is not right! In other words if you are riding in the rain, and you do not feel comfortable in the conditions, pull off and wait it out at a restaurant or some place like that if you can. I have been stuck in conditions which left me no choice but to ride or leave my motorcycle in the middle of no where. I chose to ride, but I rode cautiously!

One of my worst experiences was on the 101 freeway south of San Francisco when I got stuck in a torrential downpour at night. I did not have rain gear on, and the rain came out of no where. It was so bad that I could barley see anything and there were lots of cars doing 70mph plus. There was no safe place to stop or pull over. I had to ride it out. Luckily I made it to my hotel in one piece.

Do not let your friends or others assert peer pressure on you to ride your motorcycle in conditions which make you feel uncomfortable. I am not afraid to say “I do not ride in the rain unless I have to.”

Take it easy out there folks. It is supposed to be raining for the next few days here in California. Cage it if you can.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, © 2008

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This Summer Riding Season is turning out to be a Real Meat Grinder!

California Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez on Motorcycle SafetyI am always preaching about motorcycle safety to everyone I know. I have written many articles on motorcycle safety here on the Biker Law Blog.

This summer is turning out to be the absolute worst motorcycle accident season that I have ever seen as a biker. I am gauging my analysis on the number of calls coming into my office, and reports of motorcycle accidents that I get from all over the world.

I assume that the rise in gas prices and the increase in motorcycle popularity are the main factors in the vast increase in accidents. However, I am getting calls from guys with many years of riding experience!

Whatever the cause of the vast increase in motorcycle accidents this summer may be, I will again reiterate some basic motorcycle safety tips:

(1) Do not ride your motorcycle until you take a certified Motorcycle Rider Safety Course.

(2) If you are an experienced rider, or you have purchased a new motorcycle, take an advanced Motorcycle Rider Safety Course. Remember you do not really know your motorcycle until you have ridden it at least 1000 miles.

(3) No matter how experienced you think you may be on your motorcycle, practice makes perfect. You must careful all of the time.

(4) Assume that cagers and people in other motor vehicles do not see you!

(5) Always wear a helmet, leathers, gloves, boots, and proper riding attire, even if it is hot. You may not look as cool, but if the meat hits the pavement, the pavement wins. It is always better to go home to ride another day.

(6) Do not tailgate Cars.

(7) Keep you motorcycle in gear when stopped, and always monitor your rear view mirrors for someone who looks like they are going to rear end you. Always plan an escape route at stop lights.

(8) Always cover when going through intersections. Assume that someone will turn left in front of you or blow through a red light.

(9) Make sure that your insurance is up to date and that you have at least $500,000 in liability, underinsured, and uninsured motorist coverage. It may cost a bit more, but if you do go down, you want to have enough insurance to cover your passenger, and you.

(10) Always keep an emergency card with you while riding. The emergency card should contain emergency contact names and numbers, relevant medical information such as blood type, medications, health problems, etc.

(11) NEVER DRINK ALCOHOL OR USE DRUGS WHEN RIDING YOUR MOTORCYCLE, PEROID!

(12) Always inspect your motorcycle and tires before riding. Look for loose screws, bolts, nuts and tighten them. Check your tires for pressure, and wear.

Riding your motorcycle can and should be one of the most pleasurable things in your life. Take it easy out there. Remember it is not the destination that matters; it is the ride that counts!

You can read many more safety tips here on the Biker Law Blog by clicking on the Safety Tips button on the top of the Blog.

Keep Both Wheels on the Road!

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2007

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If you have been in a Motorcycle Accident ANYWHERE in The State of California, call me now 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, for a free consultation at 800-816-1Law (800-816-1529), Extension 1

Welcome, my name is Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq. I am a real biker, and a real California Biker and Motorcycle Lawyer. Click on the About Me Tab on Top to find out more about me

I created this site to provide information to the motorcycle and biker community, as well as general California Personal Injury, and Family Law Information to all.

On BikerLawBlog.com you will find Biker and Motorcycle Legal Articles, News, Links, Safety Tips, Personal Injury, Family Law, and more.

If you wish to contact me or submit articles, you may do so by clicking on the Contact Us button above, or by clicking here now