A California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer who really rides that you can count on.

If you have god forbid been injured in a motorcycle accident anywhere in California, give me a call anytime 7 days a week, 24 hours a day at 800-816-1529 x.1,  to discuss your case.

California Motorcycle Accident Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez
California Motorcycle Accident Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez
  • I can get you medical treatment even if you do not have medical insurance,
  • I will send my investigators to you so you do not have to come into the office.
  • I will work to get your motorcycle fixed.
  • I will work to get you all the compensation you are entitled to for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and more.

I am not some marketing scam that you have seen posting flyers all over motorcycle rallies, or biker rags nationwide. I am not “an association of lawyers” who has attorneys paying me money to advertise for them nationwide, and then farms cases out to them. I don’t pass out trinkets and goodies at motorcycle rallies to make you think that I am something I am not. I am not some generic non-riding personal injury attorney who has designed a fancy website to get you to think that they are biker lawyers, which they are not, I am a real deal biker like you. My firm and I handle the actual cases that come in. We say what we are, and are what we say, experts in motorcycle accident cases.

Read my blog below. I am an expert in motorcycle accidents. Like you I am a real biker who rides, and I am an expert in personal injury cases.

Don’t be suckered into signing up with a firm because of fancy advertising, or who do not ride motorcycles, who says they ride just to get you to sign up with them. Don’t be fooled by fancy ads. I am a top rated attorney who rides in the wind just like you.

Enjoy my articles below, there are hundreds of them!

California Motorcycle Accident and Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq.

Category Archives: Riding Attire

Articles related to motorcycle riding attire; boots, leathers, helmet, googles, etc.

A Ladies first ride on the back of a Harley Davidson

Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez with his girlfriend Yvonne
Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez with friend Yvonne

Last weekend I took a friend Yvonne for her first ride on the back of a Harley Davidson. As a matter of fact she has never ridden on the back of a motorcycle before.

The lead up to the ride was classic. She was excited, and scared at the same time. We discussed the ride for a week before actually taking it.

I have been riding for so many years that I take it for granted that everyone knows how to ride or be a passenger on a motorcycle. So when Yvonne expressed her anxiety over riding as a passenger and the potential danger involved, I realized I would have to school her about everything.

I first told her about the gear she would need, i.e., leather jacket, jeans, boots, helmet and gloves. I told her she could gear up online, or go to a local Harley Davidson dealership if she wanted.

I went with her to look at a few things. She informed me that she had a jacket, and jeans, and that all she needed was a helmet.

I ordered her a Hawk modular helmet with the built in sun screen and clear visor, so that sunglasses would not be necessary on the ride, all she would have to do is flip the latch like a fighter pilot, and  the sun visor would go down.

I could tell she was scared and excited.

On the day set for the ride which was September 21, 2013, I arrived at her house in the afternoon. She had arranged with one of her girlfriends whose old man has a Harley, to meet us at Cook’s Corner in Orange County.

Due to my timing which was a bit late, her friend told her that we could meet up at a biker place in San Juan Capistrano instead of Cook’s Corner.

When I got to Yvonne’s home, her kids and across the street neighbor were all there to meet me, check out the motorcycle, and send Yvonne off on the ride.

It was great meeting everyone, but it delayed our ride for a bit as I answered questions about the motorcycle, etc. It distracted Yvonne as well, but what the hell, it was to be her first ride on the back of a Harley Davidson motorcycle and it was going to be fun.

Her gear was in fact not truly suited for motorcycles, it was more suited to high fashion. Her jacket looked like a leather motorcycle jacket, but it was in fact made of some other softer material. Her boots kind of looked like female motorcycle boots, but they were too thin for riding. She had those jeans that all the women are wearing that look like they have holes all over them. Hell when I was a kid, we made all our jeans look like that from playing, we did not pay for it, this is another story.

After I chastised her a bit about her motorcycle gear (it was all in good fun), I told her that next time she needed to gear up properly.

I then instructed her on how to get on and off the motorcycle, where to put her feet, telling her not to ever put her feet on the ground until I tell her it is okay, not to move her body around when the motorcycle is stopped, and to tap my shoulder if she needed to use the head, etc.

I then instructed her on her helmet. Since the Hawk Modular with two visors is an advanced DOT helmet compared to the fake brain bucket helmets out there, I took some time with her. I did not expect her to learn how to do everything with the helmet on the first shot, and she did not learn everything on the first shot.

It is me the rider of the motorcycle to ensure my passenger knows the rules and how to use everything.

She made a comment on the weight of the helmet. I told her she would get used to it. She did get used to it.

We finally took off on the motorcycle. I went slow on the streets of Coto de Caza where she lives. (This is the same place where all the “Real Housewives of Orange County” live.)

We then left the gated community and got on the street. I could tell she was nervous, hell it was her first time riding on the back of a motorcycle.

Shortly thereafter she relaxed a bit, but every time she got nervous she would give a little yell, or clench her legs tightly around me. I enjoyed the clenching the legs part J

We rode to San Juan Capistrano and had a good lunch. We then went over to this biker bar across the street, where I had an alcohol free O’Doul’s, and she had a cocktail.

Later we rode back to her place.

Towards the end of the ride I could tell that Yvonne was much more comfortable on the motorcycle. She was a quick learner, and she conceded that she needs to buy a new pair of boots and a real motorcycle jacket.

I think she enjoyed the ride.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Biker Lawyer; California Motorcycle Accident Attorney, © October 1, 2013

The Final leg of my Epic around the Nation RV Trip, From Greybull, WY to Yellowstone, to Salt Lake City, UT, to Las Vegas to Home. August 30, 2012 – September 6, 2012, 8600 miles total.

Hoover Dam, NV
A picture of Hoover Dam taken on our trip on September 5, 2012

Although I am writing this article on December 19, 2012, I actually returned home from my epic around the nation RV trip on September 6, 2012. Being gone almost two months, driving approximately 8600 miles not including the hundreds of miles I rode on the motorcycle while on the trip, almost going over a cliff when we lost the brakes in the RV in Wyoming, etc., required a lot of my time when I got home. It was all worth it. This is the final article I will write about my epic trip. Later I will post pictures and videos from the trip.

When we left off, Liz and I were dry camped in Greybull, Wyoming waiting for the brakes to be fixed on my motorhome. My front bumper was destroyed in the accident, and the back bumper was cracked in two places when the trailer fishtailed into it.

The guys at the shop where we were camped out and who repaired the brakes on my RV were amongst the most reputable and nicest people I have ever dealt with. They could have totally screwed me and told me that I needed a $3,000 brake repair. Instead they told me that my rotors were good, that the pads were totally gone, and the fluid had completely boiled out of the system due to overheating, but that there were no leaks. The total repair bill was $600.00. Another interesting thing about being dry camped at the repair shop in Greybull was that our cell phone service did not work at all, nor did my internet Wi-Fi. We were basically totally out of touch with civilization while we were there.

The total time we were in Greybull Wyoming was approximately 2 nights and 3 days. It was a very small town full of great people. It is the kind of town where I could see myself setting up a cattle ranch someday.

We had a choice to make; should we just count our blessings and drive our damaged RV home or should we continue north to Cody, Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park? There really was no question, we had come this far and we were not turning around now; Cody, Wyoming would be our next stop on the way to Yellowstone.

We left Greybull, WY for Cody, WY in the afternoon. It was a cloudy day. The total drive from Greybull to Cody was around 54 miles. It was really good to be back on the road in our motorhome. You must understand, this was essentially our last week of vacation, and after the accident we had no clue whether we would have to leave our RV and all of our possessions in Greybull and rent a car to get home, or what would happen. We were geared up for a two month trip and you can carry lots of stuff in and underneath a Class A motorhome. Had the RV not been drivable there would have been no way to carry everything home in a rental car or even a rental van.

Being back on the road at this point felt fantastic.

When we got to Cody the first thing we did was go to Wal-Mart and get a throwaway cell phone that worked in the area because our carrier did not work in Wyoming. We called our relatives and I checked in with my office to let them know what had happened. Afterwards we stopped and got some Chinese buffet food.

Turns out Cody is a really cool western town, the gateway to Yellowstone. I really fell in love with Wyoming and its people.

We found a really cool RV park and camped out for the night with the intent of riding my Harley Davidson Electra Glide to Yellowstone in the morning.

In the morning we woke up and there were ominous clouds in the sky but it did not look like it was going to rain.

As soon as we got on the road just north of Cody, the clouds got much worse and the sky opened up. I was only wearing a soft flannel jacket, Liz had on a leather jacket, we both had jeans on, and of course, no rain gear. Plus it was damm cold. We decided that we were not going to stop now, Yellowstone, here we come.

It literally rained during the entire ride to Yellowstone from Cody, it was cold and it was miserable, but it was also one of the most beautiful rides I have ever taken. The grand mountains, the rocks, the sites all were too much to take in on one ride; however, I tried the best I could.

This is one ride that everyone must take at least once in their lives.

When we got to the gate of Yellowstone, I got off the motorcycle, paid the entrance fee, got back on, and rode into the park. It was very cold at this point, and we were soaking wet from head to toes, but nothing was going to stop us.
Yellowstone is much bigger than I expected, plus it is at a very high elevation. The riding in this park was excellent. The sites were breathtaking.

I am sure the ride in Yellowstone would have been much better if we were not soaking wet and freezing cold but hey, you cannot have everything.

While riding in the park there were several places where Buffalo roamed, literally, right on the road. All the cars stopped to observe. Hell they walked right next to us. On a motorcycle it is a bit different having huge Buffalo walking in front of you and next to you, than if you are in a car. Any one of these huge animals could have taken us out.

We rode the loop to one of the boiling water sites. Yellowstone itself sits atop the largest Caldera (volcano) in the world. If the volcano underneath it ever erupted it would take out much of our nation.

Yellowstone was a great ride. I will definitely go back to Cody, WY and Yellowstone soon.

The ride back to Cody was a cold and cloudy ride. The rain had stopped, but it was still cloudy. When we got near Cody it got dark and a bit warmer. We decided to cruise the main drag in Cody and find a place to eat, we chose an Italian place and had a good meal. After dinner we went back to the RV because we knew we would have a long ride the next day.

Upon waking up the next day, I put the motorcycle on the trailer and strapped her on, struck camp, and we were off.
After a month and a half, we were finally heading south towards our home in Southern California.

When we left Cody, we were not sure where we would spend the night. Usually on the trip we would look for RV resorts in several of the books we had with us or the GPS. We really were not sure how far we would drive.

I was nervous due to the fact that we had lost the brakes in the mountains, our RV was damaged, and I did not want a repeat performance of losing the brakes.

Sure enough we ended up driving through some major mountains on the ride south out of Wyoming. Let me tell you, it was a beautiful drive. The mountains were awesome. When we hit the Continental Divide, the mountains were awe inspiring.

After the Continental Divide, southern Wyoming turned out to be mostly a desert type of environment. It was a stark contrast to northern Wyoming.

It was basically open road with small towns sprinkled in vast distances.

We finally hit Utah in the late afternoon and continued driving south. We ended up in ski country by nightfall. Unfortunately, it became real dark, and we could not find any RV resorts anywhere nearby on any of our resources. We decided to try to find a Wal-Mart where we could park and dry camp for the evening.

We were both exhausted and very tired by this point. Hell I had been driving all day and well into the night. We had no luck finding any place to camp for the night so we kept on driving.

We finally found a Wal-Mart in Salt Lake City, UT to camp in for the night. When we got there our generator would not start and I had no clue why. We had to rough it for the night without TV, just on our battery power and internal water supply. I was so tired that I did not really care. We fell asleep almost immediately.

The next morning we stopped at a Denny’s for breakfast, and got on the road with our destination being Las Vegas, NV. This would be the last major stop before home.

The ride from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas was an excellent ride as well. I had no clue how cool the mountains north of Las Vegas were because I had never traveled this route before.

We found a great RV resort a block from the Las Vegas strip, but a few miles south of the main casinos on the strip. The normal rate there was $60-$80 a day, with my RV membership, we paid less than $30 per day.

We must have looked like ragamuffins when we pulled in. My RV was coated with bugs from an over 8,000 mile trip at this point, the front bumper was basically gone from our accident, the back bumper was cracked, and everything was dirty. All of the other RV’s looked new and pristine in the park. No problem, hell thinking about how far we had come was a mind trip in of itself.

The RV resort in Las Vegas was off the hook, every amenity you could possibly want. However, this was Las Vegas. We waxed the motorcycle to clean her up, got her off of the trailer and took off into town for a great evening. By this time Liz had become adept at helping me was the motorcycle, it was actually nice to have her help.

Our plan was to stay in Las Vegas for two nights, then head home.

The next day Liz and I rode to Hoover Dam. This was her first time there. It was as usual hotter than hell in Las Vegas and Boulder City. But it was OK.

Both Liz and I at this point did not want to go home. We both wanted to stay on the road forever. For both of us, going home would mean going back to work and responsibility. This had been the best and longest vacation of both of our lives, a trip that maybe less than 1% of all Americans would ever get to make.

The fact that we would head home the next day kind of made us both sad and excited. I must admit that I kind of missed just being in a house without having to drive!

On our last night in Las Vegas after the ride to Hoover Dam we had another good time. We both lost money in the casinos, and then we headed back to the RV Park knowing we were going home the next day.

The last day of our trip saw us waking up with a mission, to get home. I put the motorcycle on the trailer for the last time on this trip, strapped her up, struck camp, and we were off again.

I could tell Liz was not happy about having to go home, but since her aunt was house and dog sitting for us, and we were about 3 weeks over the time we were supposed to be gone, she knew we had to go home.

The ride home was a decent trip. Compared to the 8600 miles we had driven, the ride from Las Vegas to our home in Acton was nothing. A little 200 mile or so jaunt compared to where we had driven on the trip.

When we got home on the evening of September 6, 2012, and I walked in my home, I was shocked at how big it seemed compared to the RV which was our home for the last approx. two months. It took me a while to get used to it.

The epic two month 8600 mile trip we took around the circumference of the United States was probably a trip that can never really be repeated although I have every intention of doing it again. The gas alone was almost $10,000 for the RV.

The memories Liz and I shared during the trip will last for a lifetime. It was that kind of a trip, something you could write a book about.

Here it is December 20, 2012, and in a way I am still recovering from the trip.

Two weeks later Liz and I took the RV back to Las Vegas for the Las Vegas Bikerfest and had a great time.

I wonder who my next trip will be with.

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney and Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez, © December 20, 2012

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

Common Factors Behind Motorcycle Accidents

motorcycle accident sceneMotorcycle accidents can be tragic as well as upsetting events.

The stats speak for themselves. Serious bodily harm as well as death is often the result of a motorcycle accident. Of the actual motorcycle accidents that do occur, roughly one out of every five motorcycle riders is actually fortunate enough to come away from the experience with just minimal bumps, bruises and abrasions. The lack of a protective buffer around the biker and the road inevitably leaves bikers in a very vulnerable situation. Generally there tend to be many common causes of motorcycle accidents, of which the most frequent, and clearly the predominant cause, is definitely a consequence of other motor vehicle drivers to some extent not seeing and recognizing motorcycles within dense traffic.

A number of reports offer support to this particular claim because they advise that virtually 66 % of almost all accidents involving a motorcycle and another car or truck are a direct end result of the motorist in a vehicle turning into the lane of the motorcycle and violating the motorcyclist’s right of way. It has likewise been advised that motorcyclists are 27 times more prone to die in a collision than are people in the other car or truck and they are also five times more prone to sustain an injury. Anyone can see then, the disastrous effects of car-motorcycle accidents.

Additional causative factors

Generally there tend to be a wealth of additional factors behind motorcycle accidents that occur quite frequently. One in particular can be motorcyclists who are inexperienced and simply do not know the constraints of their machine These brand-new riders push their motorcycles to the limit, which, in many cases, far exceeds the speed limit. This brings about another major reason for motorcycle accidents. Needless to say, speeding is not only restricted to new and young motorcycle riders, as often older and more experienced motorcycle riders have been also guilty of operating their motorcycles past the speed limit. Many motorcyclists really like the feel of the wind blowing through their hair, the freedom associated with the open road and the thrill associated with riding fast just inches from the road however,, traveling over the speed limit can result in dire consequences. A quick slip of the handlebars or an unforeseen obstacle ahead of the motorcycle can easily send the motorcycle reeling out of control. Therefore, speeding can be extremely dangerous and it’s also frequently the reason for many motorcycle accidents.

An additional common cause of motorcycle accidents can be a consequence of the motorcyclist’s carelessness. In cases where the motorcycle accident does not include another car, truck, or vehicle, the failure of the motorcycle rider to reduce speed when making a turn or simply under-turning as well as over braking in the turn are causes of motorcycle accidentrs in some instances. There can to be many various other things that may cause physical harm to the motorcycle rider after the initial motorcycle accident. Fuel leakage and spills in the post-crash phase can introduce a fire hazard and are common within approximately 60 % of all accidents sites.

Be careful out there when riding your motorcycle.

Riding within 5 miles per hour of the speed limit and wearing proper protection as well as a good helmet can make your ride more enjoyable, and increase your odds of survival in the event you are in an accident.

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 Norman Gregory Fernandez

Long Distance Motorcycle Riding; how do you Carry What You Need?

One of California Motorcycle Accident Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez's motorcycles all packed up for trip to 4 corners rally in Durango Colorado
One of California Motorcycle Accident Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez's motorcycles all packed up for trip to 4 corners rally in Durango Colorado

I have been a serious long distance motorcycle rider for many years now. You may ask what is a long distance motorcycle rider. To me a long distance motorcycle rider is someone who rides 800 or more miles on a motorcycle trip multiple times a year.

So according to my definition, even a first time rider who does a few 800 mile or more motorcycle trips per year would qualify as a long distance motorcycle rider.

I regularly do trips of 1000 miles or more like they are no big deal.

I know many guys who are bikers, and what some would consider to be hardcore bikers, that literally do nothing but bar hop on their motorcycles. To them doing 300 miles in a day is unheard of. Further, many of these guys have motorcycles that are in no way set up to do any serious mileage.

Most of these guys do not have saddle bags, and brag about how they do not need wind screens.

I am not going to knock these guys that are basically local bikers, but they really have no clue what it is like to be a long distance biker.

There are also what I call your ubiquitous trailer queens. These are guys that trailer their motorcycle to events, and then unhook them and ride at the actual event, making it appear that they rode to the event. This article not about packing up your car, it is about packing up your motorcycle.

Unless you are doing an Iron Butt Ride which is 1000 miles in a 24 hour period, (basically nonstop riding except to stop for gas and quick meals) a 1000 mile or more motorcycle trip will be a trip that is at least a 2 days or more.

I have done runs that last a week or more.

The big issue for me on long distance motorcycle trips is; what should I carry on the trip, and how should I carry what I need on the trip.

For me what to carry with on long distance motorcycle runs is almost automatic. I carry:

Water
Sunscreen
Flashlight
Small Tool Kit
Knife
1 Quart of Oil
Flare
Lighter
Sunglasses, and clear night glasses
Warm weather and cold weather gloves.
Leather Jacket
Leather Chaps
Spare clothes
Tennis Shoes
Emergency Contact Form
Cell Phone
GPS
Fine cotton cloths
Spray Wax
Plexus windshield cleaner
And whatever else I may need.

When I go on long distance motorcycle runs at least for the past 11 years or so, Elizabeth has been with me. Therefore inevitably, I also have to carry her purse, gloves, jacket, chaps, and whatever else she might want to bring as well which always includes her makeup and cloths.

In the past when I just had a softail or regular large cruiser motorcycle and no bagger, (see the picture above, the motorcycle is packed up to the brim, with tents, chairs, and everything for a full motorcycle rally.) my solution to accommodate all of the stuff that I like to carry, was to first to buy soft saddlebags, or a locking rigid saddlebag system, install a luggage rack behind the sissy bar, and buy a T-Bag soft luggage system that sat on the luggage rack behind the sissy bar, and then secured around the sissy bar.

The locking saddlebag system, called Leatherlykes Bags, was better than soft saddle bags, because they were bigger, and  I could lock the bags and walk away without worrying about being ripped off.

I used the soft T-Bag motorcycle luggage system on a couple of my motorcycles. After a few years, I switched from the T-Bags, to something called the Kuryakyn Full Dresser Bag, when they first came out. This bag had a rigid plastic shelving system in it, held more stuff then the T-Bags, and actually looked better as well. Not only that, but it had a wheel system on it like conventional luggage so when I got to a destination, I could lift it off, and wheel it in.

I used this system a few times on my FLHT Electra Glide Standard when I got her, but once I put the removable Tour Pak on; there was no room for the Full Dresser Bag.

For 6 years with the Electra Glide we would use plastic bags to fill up the side hard Harley Davidson Saddle bags, and the Tour Pak. We would also utilize the luggage rack on top of the tour pak to bungee tie our leathers as necessary.

I eventually went back to T-Bags and got a Dakota bag which is specifically designed to fit the premium luggage rack on a Harley Davidson Electra Glide Tour Pak.

The Dakota Bag is so big, that it pretty much holds everything we need. Obviously there are some items that will not fit in the Dakota, so we continue to keep small plastic bags in the hard side saddle bags.

The Future

Liz and I are talking about riding cross country this summer. I figure on a cross country run we are not going to want to have to constantly lift the Dakota Bag off everytime we stop, and we are not going to want to have to park in a place where we can see the bike everytime we stop so someone does not rip off our Dakota bag.

So after doing some research, I have found a motorcycle tow behind cargo trailer solution that I may purchase and use for our cross country trip on the Electra Glide.

I can get a cargo trailer that holds anywhere from 18 cubic feet of stuff, up to 25-26 cubic feet depending upon how much I want to spend, or how big I want the trailer to be.

I would need to install a motorcycle ball hitch onto my motorcycle for the trailer to hook onto, and rig up a wiring harness for brake and signal lights on the trailer.

It looks like there are many off the shelf trailer solutions for my Harley Davidson Electra Glide.

A cargo trailer at least to me would be the optimum way to travel cross country on a motorcycle, because we can just throw everything we want to take in the trailer, plus there will be room to store souvenirs if we decide to buy any along the way.

The trailer will take away the fun of trying to cram everything into a few small spaces on the motorcycle.

Even with a full Harley Davidson Electra Glide Custom Ultra, things can get tight real quick.

On a cross country trip I want to be able to enjoy the ride and the sights, without worrying about having to wash clothes every couple of days on the road.

There are many out there that say towing a cargo trailer behind a motorcycle is dangerous. Based upon my research, it can be done safely so long as you get used to it and take it easy just like anything else.

In closing, I have found that rigid saddlebags, a nice luggage rack mounted soft or rigid motorcycle luggage system, tour paks, and cargo trailers, all will allow you to carry the things you need on a long distance motorcycle run. What you do is really up to you.

Keep Both Wheels on the Road.

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney, and Biker Lawyer, Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © November 13, 2011

Riding Your Motorcycle in Cold Weather Can Be Deadly.

cold-weather-ridingI knew that the title of this article would get your attention.

With winter and cold weather either here for some of us, or almost here for the rest of us, there are things about riding your motorcycle in the cold that you need to know.

Riding your motorcycle in cold weather can be deadly because of something called hypothermia.

Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature.

Normal body temperature is around 98.6 Fahrenheit. Hypothermia occurs as your body temperature passes below 95 Fahrenheit.

When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system, and other organs can’t work property. Left untreated, hypothermia can eventually lead to complete failure of your heart and respiratory system, and to death.

As the temperature falls, the body shunts blood away from the skin and exposure to the elements. Blood flow is increased to the vital organs of the body including the heart, lungs, kidney, and brain.

Hypothermia most often occurs because of prolonged exposure to cold weather. Inadequate clothing for conditions may not provide enough insulation for the body to prevent heat loss.

Many of you may know that riding your motorcycle in cold weather can cause hypothermia.

I must admit, when I was younger, and did not know so much, I rode around in cold weather all of the time. Many times I was so cold; that my hands were numb, my feet were numb, and my crotch felt like it was frozen. No one ever told me about hypothermia, I just thought I was butt cold.

Luckily I live in an area that has yearlong riding, however, because of this I sometimes take it for granted, and ride in cold weather that I should not ride in, or I get stuck on the road, and am forced to ride home in very cold weather.

Coming from Southern California, I sometimes ride to other areas or States where it is much colder than it is here.

The trouble is that when you ride in cold weather and you’re not dressed properly, your body senses as well as core temperature start to drop, your decision making abilities start to slow down, and just like an intoxicated person, you start to have problems with simple tasks such as clutching and braking because your hands and feet start to go numb.
Many of you may be saying to yourself “why is he writing this, I already know about hypothermia.” Well I had heard about hypothermia as well.

However, in the past when I was freezing my ass off while riding my motorcycle, I never even had any idea that I could be suffering from hypothermia and that my life was at risk.

There is another risk when riding in cold weather as well, frostbite, however, let’s just stick to hypothermia.

wind-chill chartJust to show you how fast temperatures can drop at certain speeds while riding, I am attaching a wind-chill chart here which you can click to read.

Take a look, if you are riding at 60 miles per hour in 40 degree temperatures, the wind-chill factor is 25 degrees. You could get hypothermia in a matter of minutes without the proper riding attire on.

The point of this article is to make you aware of the danger.

There are many solutions out there for cold weather riding, from electric vests, gloves, pants, and insulated riding attire, to standard riding gear.

What is best for you or what is out there for cold weather riding, I will let you research on your own. There are many websites out there dedicated to this one subject.

The next time you are freezing your ass off on a motorcycle ride and you feel your hands and feet becoming numb, you will now think about this article and hypothermia, and maybe stop in a warm restaurant of motel somewhere to get your body heat back and to recover.

Yes it may be a hassle, but it is better to live to ride another day.

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney, and Biker Lawyer, Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © October 10, 2011

An Example of Extreme Weather Riding, Reno 2011

A nice view from the Go Go Bar, Reno Street Vibrations 2011
A nice view from the Go Go Bar, Reno Street Vibrations 2011

My old lady and I just completed a run up to the Reno Street Vibrations Biker Rally this past weekend.

It was around a 450 mile run each way from our home, and sure was an exercise in extreme weather riding for us Southern Californians, who are used to mild temperatures.

The route we took was from the 14 freeway to Highway 395  to the 80, and to our hotel in Reno.

The day we rode up to Reno, Friday, September 23, 2011, started out to be a mild day. The weather was calm at 5:30am when we left our home, around 75 degrees.

As we started riding north, the weather got hotter and hotter, cooled off, and then got hot again as the day went on.

You see highway 395 took us through the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, past Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in North America, up around 8,000 feet and higher, then through Carson City (Lake Tahoe is just above Carson City), and then to Reno which is basically in the Nevada Desert.

I usually wear a light long sleeve type of t-shirt on hot days to protect my skin from the sun, and blue jeans. I know I should wear an armored fabric type of jacket, and I am in the process of trying to find a good one.

My old lady also wears long sleeves, and usually always wears chaps as well.

On Friday, due to traffic conditions, an accident in a bad spot where a biker went down due to a defective road under construction, the heat, and the extreme traffic in Reno again due to construction and the fact that lane splitting is illegal in Nevada, Liz and I were totally spent by the time we got to Reno.

A view from the Reno Street Vibrations 2011
A view from the Reno Street Vibrations 2011

My new Electra Glide Ultra got so hot that it almost cooked that day.

We tried as best as we could to hydrate along the way, but I think that we over did it on Friday. We both almost suffered severe heat stroke by the time we got to Reno. We were both dizzy and sick upon arrival.

I was in such a rush to get to Reno; I ignored my basic riding principals!

In the future, I will make sure we take more breaks, hydrate more, and give ourselves more time to get to a long destination.

450 miles in one day riding two up, is a very long ride under any circumstances. In heat it can be tough.

On the way back from Reno, it was warm when we left, but soon, when we got up into the mountains, we suffered severe weather. There was lighting storms, rain, hail, and cold. Imagine going from warm to very cold in just a few miles.

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

I let Liz use my chaps since she left hers with a friend by mistake, I put a sweatshirt on, my leather jacket, my gauntlet gloves, and we proceeded through the severe weather.

Upon reaching Lone Pine, we stopped to get some food at the Mt. Whitney Restaurant. (A great local restaurant with damn good food.)

Lone Pine is a tourist town along the 395 which caters to people on their way to see Mt. Whitney and Yosemite.

When we walked into the restaurant to eat, we were all bundled up in leathers and more, all of the locals were in t-shirts and shorts. I took my jacket off and sure enough it was at least 80 degrees outside.

We went from warm in Reno when we left, to cold lighting storms, back to warm again, all within a 300 mile stretch.

I proceeded to take my leather jacket and gauntlet’s off again, and switch to light gloves, and then we got on the road again.

There was a 30 mile stretch after Lone Pine, just before Mohave and the 14, where I never was so afraid in my life while riding a motorcycle.

Out of no-where we hit cold, and 60-70 mile per hour wind gusts or more that literally almost knocked my bike over while we were riding.

The wind was hitting us from the side going north to south. When a gust would hit us it caused my head to jerk hard to the left. It also caused the bike to jerk violently, and I have a very heavy bike.

Liz and I had our intercom hooked up, and she was freaking out. I had to tell her to be quiet and not panic. The wind was so bad that I knew if I slowed down and tried to pull over there would be no way I could hold the bike up. I knew the wind would knock us over.

I knew the forward energy and centrifugal force of the tires turning made it safer for us to keep riding than trying to stop.

I was genuinely afraid like I have never been before in my life while riding. It was a horrible experience, especially in the pitch dark of the Mohave Desert.

When we got to a 76 truck stop in Mohave where the 14 hits the 395 we pulled over to get our bearings back. It was then that another couple pulled in on a motorcycle in a panicked state.

They were on a Harley Davidson Road Glide, they each had beanie helmets on with clear glasses on for eye protection, and they were even more panicked than we were.

The women got off of the back of her old man’s bike and literally hugged him and would not let go.

We discussed the fact that it was by the grace of god that we all made it through unscathed.

I put my leather jacket and gauntlet’s back on and we rode off watching the woman from the other bike hugging her old man like there was no tomorrow.

Moral to the story; when riding a motorcycle, be prepared for any weather.

I can’t wait for next year :)

Keep Both Wheels on the Road!

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

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

One of the Pleasures in Life; Being a Motorcycle Rider.

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

There are few things I enjoy in life more than jumping on my Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra and riding my motorcycle on the open road, especially with my brothers.

To be frank, it really is hard for me to express how much I enjoy riding motorcycles. The good thing is that I really do not have to explain it to those of you who already ride motorcycles, because you already know what I am talking about.

One of the reasons I bring this subject up is that last Friday night, I was on my home from a gathering of motorcycle club brothers in Tehachapi, California, when I stopped in Palmdale, California for some gas.

A fat guy dressed in what appeared to me to be medical scrubs of the type that doctors and nurses wear at a hospital, made it a point to walk up to me as I was gassing up my motorcycle to say “You really should not ride motorcycles around here because of all of the illegal aliens and unlicensed drivers.”

I looked at the guy who thought he was giving me genuine advice that would make me stop riding motorcycles after 40 some years, and said “dude, life in general is dangerous, I am not going to live my life here in America, worried about getting hit by an illegal alien or an unlicensed driver. Further, life itself is a fatal illness.”

The guy gave me a puzzled look and walked away.

This guy must be out of his fucking mind thinking that I would quit riding because I was afraid of illegal aliens and unlicensed drivers.

Riding motorcycles is one of the important pleasures that I have in my life.

This guy was not giving advice to a novice. I have literally handled many motorcycle accident cases all over the State of California. Everytime I handle such a case, I think about “what if that were to happen to me.” Yes it kind of freaks you out, but then again, flu season is coming up, am I supposed to hide in my estate afraid of getting swine flu? Hell no.

There is one unalienable fact of life; those who are alive today, will someday die. You cannot live your in fear of what could happen, all you can do is just live.

I am not cavalier about riding motorcycles. I am about as safe of a rider that there is out there, although I could improve my riding attire somewhat. I am thinking about adding an armored riding suit to my repertoire.

This weekend I will be on my new motorcycle. I cannot wait to test out the intercom and the CB that came standard on my Ultra. I have installed the speakers and mic inside Liz’s helmet and mine.

I hope we all have a safe riding weekend everyone; keep both wheels on the road.

Also just a reminder, My 02 Harley Davidson Electra Glide is still for sale. She is sitting in my garage waiting for you to come pick her up. You can check it out here at http://www.galaxystorm.com/bike.

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney, and Biker Lawyer, Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © August 12, 2011

Watch out for Counterfeit DOT Certified Helmets – Look for Revised DOT Labeling.

Watch out for counterfeit helmets bearing DOT labels
Watch out for counterfeit helmets bearing DOT labels

Novelty and/or Counterfeit DOT motorcycle helmets may look the part, but many, if not all, fail to meet federal safety standards.

These dubious novelty and/or counterfeit helmets feature a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved label, but most are counterfeit, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In other words if you buy a cheap helmet that you think is DOT certified because it has a DOT label, you may be buying nothing more than junk.

It is important that if you want to wear a DOT helmet for safety purposes while riding your motorcycle that you ensure you are buying a helmet manufactured by a reputable helmet manufacture.

To help combat counterfeiters, the NHTSA has revised the DOT labeling for motorcycle helmets that now reads “DOT FMVSS No. 218 Certified,” which is an acronym for the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218.

Effective May 13, 2011, all new motorcycle helmets must have one of these new labels in its interior, which show that the lid met federal standards for “Impact Attenuation,” “Penetration” and “Retention System,” such as the strap.

Besides reading “DOT FMVSS No. 218 Certified,” the label will also identify the motorcycle helmet manufacturer, precise model designation and also month and year of manufacture.

According to the FMVSS No. 218, “Each helmet shall be labeled permanently and legibly, in a manner such that the label(s) can be read easily without removing padding or any other permanent part.”

And of course, the DOT logo sticker must be present at the lower rear of the motorcycle helmet.

The NHTSA says these new labeling requirements will enhance overall motorcycle safety based on the following statistics:

  1. A motorcycle helmet that meets the DOT FMVSS No 218 requirements drops the risk of dying in a motorcycle crash by 37 percent, the NHTSA reports; and
  2. If fewer helmets are created that don’t meet the federal standard, the NHTSA reports that between 22 and 75 lives may be saved.

It is good to see the NHTSA trying to save the lives of motorcyclists by attempting to weed out scumbag helmet counterfeiters. However, there is a good chance that the new labels will also be counterfeited.

California Motorcycle Accident Attorney Website

Riding with the Right Gear

California Motorcycle Accident Attorney and Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq.,
California Motorcycle Accident Attorney and Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., Courtesy of the Riverside Press Enterprise Newspaper, and Jennifer Fraley of Sunshine Photography

You have bought a new motorcycle, taken a motorcycle safety course and are ready to hit the open road.

What else can you do to help protect yourself? Wear the right gear – an approved helmet, face or eye protection and protective clothing.

Helmet

Accidents can happen to anyone. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF-USA), one out of every five motorcycle accidents results in head or neck injuries. These injuries can be reduced by wearing an approved helmet. I know they may not look cool, but they can save your life.

There are two primary types of helmets – three-quarters and full face. They provide different levels of coverage. To make sure that you get the most protection from your helmet, make sure that it meets U. S. Department of Transportation and state standards, that it fits snugly all the way around your head, and that it has no obvious defects such as cracks, loose padding or frayed straps.

Whatever type of helmet you chose, be sure to that it fastened securely while riding or it may fly off your head in an accident.

Eye and face protection

When riding, you will be faced with wind, dust, dirt, rain, insects and debris thrown up by other vehicles, you can protect yourself from these by wearing a face shield, googles, or good sunglasses. A plastic shatter-resistant face sheild will also help protect your face in the event of an accident, and goggles will protect your eyes if you’re not wearing a face shield.

To be effective, your eye and face protection must:

  • Be free of scratches
  • Be resistant to penetration
  • Afford a clear view to either side
  • Fasten securely so it will not blow off
  • Allow air to pass through to alleviate fogging
  • Permit enough room for sunglasses or eyeglasses if needed

Protective clothing

The right clothing will help protect you in an accident, as well as providing protection from heat, cold, debris and hot and moving parts of your motorcycle.

Jacket and pants should cover arms and legs completely and fit snugly enough to keep from flapping in the wind. Leather is the best protection but sturdy synthetic materials are a good alternative. Boots or shoes should cover your ankles. Soles should be hard and slip-resistant; tuck laces in so they don’t get caught on your motorcycle. Gloves will give you a better grip and help protect your hands in an accident.

Wear the appropriate clothing for the weather you’ll be experiencing. If you’re too hot or too cold, you may not be able to control your motorcycle as well.

There are plenty of things on the highway that can cause you trouble. Making sure you have the right gear will help
ensure that you have adequate protection should an accident occur.

California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer and Biker Attorney

How Peer Pressure can Kill Biker’s and Motorcyclist

A group of motorcycle riders
Peer Pressure can Kill Bikers and Motorcyclist

If you ride motorcycles with friends, brothers, or acquaintances, the issue of peer pressure being exerted on you to do things you ordinarily would not do on your own pop up from time to time.

It can take many forms.

For instance, how many of you have ridden in a pack where the light has switched to yellow then to red, and you ran the red light to keep up with the pack?

How many of you have stayed in a coffin formation (2 abreast) even on roads where it was not safe to do so, or because you were afraid you would look bad if you did not conform?

How many of you have ridden at excessive speeds to keep up with your friends or buddies?

How many of you have had an illness or a medical condition that required time away from your motorcycle, yet your so-called friends or even brothers try to pressure you into riding by calling you a wussy, or a hypochondriac for not riding until you heal?

How many of you have taken turns too fast because you wanted to keep up with the pack, or not look bad to the other guys you are riding with?

How many of you have ridden with guys who tailgate cars in front of them, and not wanting to fall behind, you ride with the tailgater?

How many of you have ridden in in-climatic weather including extreme cold, rain, wind, etc., just because you did not want to look bad to your friends or the guys you are riding with?

How many of you have flat out done stupid things on your motorcycle, just to fit in with your friends, brothers, or acquaintances?

How many of you have split lanes at excessive speeds to keep up with your friends even though you knew it was unsafe to do so?

How many of you have followed friends who crossed a center line to pass traffic in a pack just to keep up?

How many of you do not wear helmets, or wear a beanie helmet, instead of a full face helmet, just because your friends don’t?

How many of you do not wear leather jackets or proper riding attire, because your friends don’t?

The above list of examples is not meant to be all inclusive, but I think you will all get the picture.

I will say time and time again, that on a motorcycle there are no second chances. If you do not feel comfortable doing something, than you should not do it.

It could mean the difference between life and death.

Just because your friends, a group, or acquaintances on a ride want to take their lives in their hands by riding in an unsafe or stupid manner, does not mean you have to do the same.

It is better to come home at night, than to be laid up in a hospital for weeks or months, or even planted six feet under.

The next time you are in a situation where you do not feel comfortable doing what your friends are doing on a ride, fall back, ride behind them, and catch up to them later. If you do not catch up there will always be another day.

Don’t let foolish peer pressure make you do things you do not want to do.

There are always idiots out there who want to jump off of the bridge; you do not have to jump off of the bridge with them!

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney, and Biker Lawyer, Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © November 9, 2010

Media Coverage; I was on NBC Last Night

In the Parking lot at NBC Studios for Interview and Ride Video
In the Parking lot at NBC Studios for Interview and Ride Video

I gave an interview on motorcycle safety at the NBC studios last month. You can read an article about it by clicking here. The video is embedded below.

The actual story was aired on TV yesterday on multiple timeslots. You can read their story by clicking here. The video is embedded below.

The gist of the story was about motorcycle safety inflatable air vest’s and jacket’s. I gave an interview about the legal aspects about the devices.

I was questioned as to why these types of devices were not mandatory in the State of California, and whether I thought they should be.

In the interview I told NBC that I did not think that these devices should be mandatory because among other things they require attachment to the motorcycle, and the attachment point could fail causing a rider to remain attached to the motorcycle in a crash.

I also told NBC that they jury was still out on whether these things actually provide protection when you go down since they take .5 seconds or more to inflate.

Hell you can see in the crash video at the beginning of their story, that the poor guy who hit the car turning left in front of him would not have been saved with this device on the initial impact. It might have helped once he flew off of the bike, who knows.

I told NBC that I would not want to be the crash dummy for such a device.

I gave at least a 20 minute interview and was asked many questions.

They ended up cutting out the legal aspects of this device out of the entire story and relegated me to 2 quotes and an honorable mention. They also did a write up for their website.

They also got some action shots of my riding my Harley Davidson Electra Glide at the beginning. During one shot, the photographer was riding on the back shooting over my shoulder.

I did not think this story was every going to air. I found out that it was on the air, when my father called me and told me he saw it on TV.

With respect to the airbag device, I might just get a vest for my gal and I. When it comes to safety it is better to be safe than sorry.

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney, and Biker Lawyer, Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2010

Even Experienced Motorcycle Riders Need to Be Careful Riding!

 

Norman's Harley Davidson Electra Glide in the NBC Parking Lot before action shots were taken
Norman's Harley Davidson Electra Glide in the NBC Parking Lot before action shots were taken

Well it has been 40 something years since that sunny summer day in the sixties when my dad first put me on a mini-bike in the fields behind the housing development where we lived at the time.

I have ridden some form of motorcycle ever since.

I will admit that from time to time, especially when I was in my teens, and early 20’s, I was not so concerned about motorcycle safety.

Since becoming an attorney who handles motorcycle accident cases all over the State of California, and becoming a recognized expert on the subject of motorcycle safety, I figure I am really careful at least 99% of the time. The other 1% of the time I do foolish things like maybe crack the throttle and go real fast, or wear no helmet in States that have no helmet laws; stuff like that.

Well today I did a bonehead thing that could have cost me my life.

You see I have been to NBC studios twice in the last few weeks to be interviewed by an Emmy award winning news producer and her team, and to have action shots taken of me on my motorcycle. I am not going to go into any detail with regards to this piece, until it airs so don’t ask.

Today was the action shot day. So I woke up early, suited up, and rode my motorcycle to the NBC studios in Burbank. Hell I went straight to the A lot today, that is where the insiders get to park.

Anyway, back to the subject of this story. It was a real hot day today. It was in the 100’s. It was so hot that I had a gallon jug of water in my tour pak, and when I got home it was hot.

So as I left the NBC studios, the Alameda on-ramp to the 170 freeway was closed so I had to take a detour. I ended up on Lankershiem Blvd. in North Hollywood.

I got into a left hand turn lane behind a big ass truck that had multiple cars in front of it.  This was on old fashioned light with no green arrow. If you are lucky two cars can turn when the thing turns yellow.

The light turns green and nothing. We did not move. It was over 100 degrees, I had long sleeves on to protect myself against the sun, and I had a full face modular helmet on.

I knew if I sat at this light another cycle, I would start to severely overheat the way I was dressed. I decided to move into a traffic lane to the right, flip a U turn, and make a quick right.

Well this is where my life almost ended. I looked in my rear view mirror, did not see anything, and then flipped into the traffic lane to the right. Just as I got into the lane, there was a friggen car right there. In other words, I cut off a car that was doing at least 35mph, on my Electra Glide. Had the guy not been paying attention, had he not hit the brakes, had I not accelerated like a bat out of hell, I would have been toast on the hot pavement.

I fucked up and I know it. When I went to flip a U turn the guy passed me and gave me a hand signal which means “what the fuck” He put his hand out the window with the palm facing up. If you saw it, you would know what it meant. Anyway………….. Right after the incident, I thanked GOD for keeping me safe. I pray that way from time to time.

I analyzed what happened on the long hot ride back home. The first fuckup was that I was in too much of a rush to flip into the lane.

We riders of motorcycles do not get second chances like I got today. I was lucky. Next time I won’t be so lucky.

I should have not relied exclusively on my mirror; I should have turned my head to make sure the coast was clear.

A simple turn of your head can save your life.

The second thing I realized was that even though I feel that a full face helmet is the way to go for safety, it has an inherent flaw; it takes away your peripheral vision. Had I not had a helmet on, I may have seen the car. Then again, if the car had taken me out, I would have rather had the helmet on.

What lessen did I learn today that I am passing on to you; turn your head when changing lanes, don’t just rely on mirrors, turn your head, and take your time.

Yes it may be a little hot, or you may have to wait at a light in 100 degree weather. However, this inconvenience is better than ending up frying on the pavement in a pool of blood.

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney and Biker Lawyer, Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © August 2010

What is Causing the recent Rise in Motorcycle Accident Deaths?

Researchers will Study Motorcycle Crash Causes and Prevention.The U.S. Department of Transportation has recorded a 150 percent jump in motorcyclist fatalities in the past decade. This huge rise in motorcycle fatalities has researchers perplexed.

Even though I do not want it to be so because I myself am a biker and motorcycle rider, Motorcyclists are considered the highest risk motorist group, accounting for 14 percent of all fatal traffic incidents.

Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System recorded 5,290 crash deaths among motorcyclists in 2008 and 96,000 injuries.

The traffic fatality rate for motorcycle riders has steadily increased since 1997, while other motor vehicle-related deaths declined.

The greatest number of motorcycle deaths on the road (36.4%) involves front-end crashes with other vehicles.

Collisions with motor vehicles overall are responsible for slightly less than half of the annual death toll among motorcyclists, according to the federal data.

The Federal Highway Administration will fund a study by Oklahoma State University’s Oklahoma Transportation Center designed to pinpoint causes of the increasing fatality rate among motorcyclists and identify prospective interventions. Researchers will study commonalities among motorcycle crashes ranging from road configurations and environmental conditions to rider experience in assessing the reasons for the high rate of fatalities among motorcyclists.

The Oklahoma Transportation Center research follows a 1981 NHTSA-sponsored study as well as a study conducted by the Association of European Motorcycle Manufacturers from 1999 to 2000 and one conducted in Thailand in 2001. The 1981 study found several factors contributing to motorcycle fatalities, including auto driver failure to detect motorcyclists and lack of safety equipment such as helmets. The study recommended improved licensing and training, as well as measures to make motorcyclists more conspicuous on the roads.

The European study again cited driver error, attributing 50 percent of crashes to auto drivers and 37 percent to motorcycle operators. Significantly, more motorcycle crashes occurred on straight roadways and minor roads than on curved roads or major highways.

Unlike the American and European studies, the Thailand study found rider error to be the major contributor to motorcyclist fatalities, with alcohol implicated in 40 percent of crashes. The most common type of crash was the motorcyclist rear-ending an auto. In the Thai research, only a single motorcyclist acknowledged receiving any training in operating motorcycles; the study concluded that the absence of training led to the high rider error rate.

The upcoming study in Oklahoma will build on the knowledge attained in earlier studies, establishing which crash causes remain of concern and which interventions undertaken in response to earlier studies have proven effective, as well as identifying new contributors to the high incidence of motorcycle crashes.

Look folks, according to the data we have so far, many motorcycle accident deaths can be avoided by having proper training, proper safety equipment such as full leathers and helmets, making yourself more conspicuous (seen) while riding, and not using mind altering drugs or alcohol when riding.

The sad fact is the data shows that a majority of motorcycle related accidents and deaths are due to other motor vehicles such as cars, SUVs’, trucks, bus’s etc., running into the motorcyclist, or cutting them off. Therefore you must have the proper skill and clarity of mind to be constantly looking out for these idiots.

If you or a loved one has had a motorcycle accident anywhere in the State of California, or you were a passenger on a motorcycle that has had an accident in California, you may call me for a free consultation at 800-816-1529 x.1. I ride just like you!

By California Biker Attorney and Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2010

The Biker Law Blog is published by California Motorcycle Accident Attorney & Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq.

The Moy & Fernandez Law Group are real bikers helping other bikers. Unlike some other so called "fake" motorcycle accident attorney's who do not ride motorcycles, Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq. actually rides a motorcycle.

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We handle motorcycle accident cases, motorcycle passenger injury accidents, and other personal injury cases all over the State of California. We are real bikers and motorcycle riders who represent bikers and motorcycle riders who have suffered injuries due to motorcycle accidents and crashes. We handle Motorcycle Accidents, Motorcycle Passenger Accidents, Dangerous Conditions on public roads which cause motorcycle accidents, defective motorcycle cases, Cruiser Motorcycle Accidents, biker rights, criminal law, Car Accidents, Uninsured Motorist Claims, Wrongful Death, Torts, Cager and/or Car negligence, personal injury and Other Injury Cases. We have locations in Southern California and Northern California. We handle personal injury, and motorcycle accident cases in all over California including: Southern California, Central California, and Northern California.

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