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 Your Motorcycle

Articles related to riding your motorcycle

Rancho Cordova California CHP Captain Arrested in Suspected DUI Motorcycle Crash

Scene of CHP Officer DUI Motorcycle Accident

Scene of CHP Officer DUI Motorcycle Accident

PLACERVILLE – California

A captain with the California Highway Patrol has been arrested for suspected drunken driving after crashing his Harley-Davidson motorcycle in El Dorado County.

A CHP accident report obtained indicates that Robert D. Patrick, 47, was arrested late Friday night, and then released for treatment of moderate injuries related to the motorcycle accident, at Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

According to the report, Patrick was riding a 2008 Harley-Davidson Fatboy southbound on Mt. Aukum Road south of Fairplay Road when he failed to negotiate a curve. The motorcycle traveled onto the dirt shoulder and overturned.

The report stated that due to Patrick’s level of injuries, his level of sobriety was undetermined and subject to further investigation. Patrick was released from the hospital Saturday.

Patrick is a 25-year CHP veteran and commander of special operations at the CHP’s Valley Division office in Rancho Cordova, according to CHP Asst. Chief Ken Hill, who is Patrick’s immediate boss.

Hill indicated that the investigating officers gave Patrick no special courtesy because of his position with the CHP.

“I can assure you we handled it the way we would with any citizen. There was no preferential treatment,” Hill said.

Hill said an internal CHP investigation was underway in addition to the criminal case that will be handled by the El Dorado County District Attorney.

Hill said appropriate action would be taken at the conclusion, but that a DUI conviction would not necessarily end Patrick’s career with the CHP.

For the record I do not think anyone should be riding motorcycles after drinking any alcoholic beverage, because it is flat out too dangerous.

I have friends who regularly drink a beer or two and then ride. I always tell them that it is a big mistake. It is better to wait until you are done riding, before you drink.

The case of CHP Officer Robert D. Patrick is a horrendous example of the pot calling the kettle black. I wonder how many people Officer Patrick has busted in his career for drinking and driving.

I am quite sure he also knows how alcohol affects a person’s ability to drive, let alone ride a motorcycle.

Officer Patrick is innocent until proven guilty. However, if he is found guilty of DUI on a motorcycle, his ass should be fired. We do not need officers breaking the laws we hire them to enforce.

You can read a copy of the CHP Report by Clicking Here Now.

California Motorcycle Accident Attorney and Biker Lawyer

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

When a Bad Road Causes a Car or Motorcycle Accident in California.

 Dangerous and Defective Roads Kill and Injure Many People Each Year

Many of you may not know that you can recover damages if a dangerous or defective road causes you to crash in your vehicle.

I have dealt with all sorts of defective and dangerous road cases. Some cases involve holes, bumps, debris, rocks, gravel, poorly maintained roads, defectively designed roads, curves, intersections, signals, guard rails, etc.

Some of these types of cases are utterly devastating to the victims.

I recently saw a TV news special where it was flat out stated that many defective roads are known about, but are not being repaired due to budget deficits related to the recession.

The recession and the economy do not excuse anyone from maintaining a dangerous or defective road.

If you are on a public road in California, and the road caused you to crash and become injured, you will need to file a governmental claim with the appropriate governmental agency within 6 months from the day you had your accident.

If the governmental entity rejects your claim within 45 days of receipt of claim, you have 6 months from the date of the rejection to file a lawsuit against the governmental entity.

If they do not reject the claim, you have 2 years to sue from the date of the accident.

If you are on a private road on private property, you have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.

Defective and Dangerous road cases are very complex to such an extent that many personal injury attorneys do not do these types of cases.

I handle these types of cases. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a dangerous or defective road, give me a call for a free consultation 7 days a week, 24 hours a day at 800-816-1529, ext. 1, or you may submit your case to us through the blog by clicking here.

By California Personal Injury Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © March 9, 2011

Why I like Riding Motorcycles

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

The main reason I like riding motorcycles is the feeling I get when I open my Harley Davidson Electra Glide up on the open road.

To be frank, I enjoy riding virtually any brand, make, or model motorcycle on the open road. I just happen to presently ride an Electra Glide.

There is no real way to describe the feeling I get when I ride my motorcycle, except to say that it is it is basically like meditation, or even psychotherapy.

If I am stressed out, taking my motorcycle out for a ride will calm me down.

As for me, I am a long distance rider. This means that I put 10-20k miles or more on my motorcycle every year.

I know many guys who bar hop or event hop on their motorcycles, some just ride on the weekends; hell that is all right too. Whatever floats your boat if you know what I mean?

I really like the fact that many women are also riding their own motorcycles these days. The more riders the merrier.

All bikers and motorcyclist all basically share the same kind of experience when riding; we feel the wind on our face and body, we know what it feels like to crack the throttle on a powerful machine that we ride on and not in, and we all experience the utter freedom and thrill of riding a motorcycle on the open road. City traffic kind of sucks, but once we get on the open road, it is the ultimate.

No cager or person who does not ride will ever understand the feeling of riding a motorcycle, and what a rush it really is.

Another added benefit of being a biker and a motorcyclist is that most if not all bikers and motorcyclist are amongst the most gracious, giving, and all around cool people you are ever going to meet.

You might see a tough looking guy in leathers with a big beard, a real scary looking dude, and yet the guy will turn out to be the nicest guy you will ever meet.

Most bikers will bend over backwards to help each other in times of need, in a way no biker or motorcyclist will ordinarily ever get to experience.

I kind of feel sorry for people who do not ride motorcycles; they will never know the experience of going to a motorcycle rally and having 1000’s of instant friends.

So there it is. I am grateful to be a biker.

By Biker Lawyer and Motorcycle Accident Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez, © March 3, 2011

Is riding a Motorcycle like Riding a Bike?

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

You have all heard the old saying that once you learn how to ride a bicycle, you never forget how to ride a bicycle. People use this old saying in analogies all of the time to describe activities which you supposedly never forgot how to do once you learn how to do them.

Well I will tell you what, if you learned how to ride a bicycle as a kid, but then you don’t try to ride a bicycle again until you are an adult, you may be able to balance yourself on the bicycle, and you may be able to peddle the bike, and turn it, but you are not going to ride the bicycle as well as when you rode all of the time as a kid. It takes practice to re-acquaint yourself to the bicycle.

The same hold true for riding motorcycles. I have known many people over the years that think they can just get back on a motorcycle after not riding for many years, or even months, and think that they can ride just as good as they did when they previously rode the motorcycle.

This assumption can kill or maim you. If you have been off of your motorcycle for a period of years or even months, you need to re-acquaint yourself to riding your motorcycle again. I don’t care how good you used to ride, or think you used ride.

Riding a motorcycle is a precision activity. You need to be in decent physical and mental shape to ride safely, and you need to have sharp mental and physical reflexes to ride safely.

Notice I used the term safely.

If you have not ridden a motorcycle for years, and let’s say you have just purchased a new motorcycle, what should you do?

I recommend taking a certified MSF class on your new motorcycle to learn how to ride your new motorcycle, before getting on the road in traffic.

They say it takes at least 1000 miles to get used to a new motorcycle, I say it may take longer to become comfortable on a new motorcycle, especially in traffic.

Riding your motorcycle is not like riding a bicycle, if you have been off of your motorcycle for a time; you need to take it very slow and easy until you get back in the saddle so to say.

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney and Biker Lawyer, Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © February 8, 2011

Biker Attorney “Jeff H.” A.K.A. Jeff in Korea was in a bad motorcycle accident.

 
 
 

An X-Ray showing Jeff's right arm fracture

An X-Ray showing Jeff's right arm fracture

There is a biker attorney named Jeff H. in Korea that has become a long distance pen pal of sorts with me.

Over the years since I started the Biker Law Blog, he has shared comments, exchanged emails, and such.

Jeff lives, works, and rides, in the nation of Korea, and yes he is a real biker lawyer like me.

A couple of days ago Jeff informed me that he was in a motorcycle accident, and sent me the following letter through the blog describing his accident.

He states that “even biker lawyers can go down once in a while. Be Careful.”

I suggest that all of you read this letter carefully. Maybe it will save your live. It is not often that you get a firsthand account of an accident such as this, written by a fellow attorney.

Jeff I wish you Godspeed on your recovery.

Below is the actual letter sent to me by Jeff in Korea:

Okay. Some of you have no idea what happened to me. Others know basically what happened to me. I think only a few of you know exactly what happened to me. Now that I have this nifty software that allows me to speak into a microphone and watch the words magically appear on the computer screen, I can sit back, rest my arms, and tell you all what happened.

Early in the afternoon of October 30, 2010, my friend Jeremy and I were riding our motorcycles to lunch. After a delicious lunch at the Seamen’s Club, Jeremy headed home, and I took off by myself to go take care of some other business. Just before 1 PM, I was riding along a four-lane highway with two lanes going in each direction. I like to take this particular road because it’s not well traveled by other vehicles, so there’s not much traffic to worry about.

I was southbound on the inside lane nearest to the double yellow lines, and another car was approaching northbound from the opposite direction on the inside lane nearest the double yellow line. Suddenly, and without any warning whatsoever, a large delivery truck that was sitting on the right shoulder of the road completely outside of the traffic lanes began to make an illegal U-turn directly in front of me in an effort to proceed in the northbound lane. However, due to the other car that was traveling opposite me in the northbound lane, the delivery truck could not complete the illegal U-turn and he had to stop his truck directly in front of me, blocking both southbound lanes.

He pulled out and stopped in front of me so quickly that I didn’t have time or space to maneuver around the truck. So, I slammed on my brakes, locked my wheels, honked my horn, cursed as loudly as possible, and prayed for the best. Unfortunately, it was not my lucky day. At some point in the space of what I estimate to be about 2 seconds between the time that he began to pull out in front of me and the time that I slammed broadside into the side of his truck, I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to stop.

I had no time to take any other evasive maneuvers or safety measures, such as laying the bike down or doing anything else. I T-boned the truck. I hit broadside. Hard. Very, very hard.

I don’t remember actually hitting the truck. I remember getting very, very close to it, and I remember bouncing off the truck. The next thing I remember was lying on my back in the middle of the road. So, I remember approaching the truck, bouncing off the truck, and laying in the road. The actual impact and landing in the road are gone from my memory.

The driver got out of his truck, and immediately started calling for an ambulance, the police, his company, his insurance company, and anyone else he could reach. I remember mumbling something to him like, “why? Why couldn’t you wait 3 seconds to make that turn?”

It took a few minutes for the police to arrive. While waiting, I had one of the most incredible sensations of my entire life. I knew that my right arm was badly broken because I could distinctly feel that my right hand was laying flat on the road up to my elbow, but my shoulder felt like my arm was pointing straight up in the air. I tried to flex my fingers, but my fingers didn’t move. It still felt like I was pointing toward the sky, but my hand remained flat on the road. It was really a very weird sensation. Also, my left wrist hurt and I couldn’t move my fingers on my left hand, so I knew that my left hand was broken somewhere as well. I knew that both of my arms hurt like hell, but because of the adrenaline or some other reason, the pain wasn’t nearly as bad as it probably should have been.

When the police and the ambulance arrived, the first thing they did, which is something that is standard in every Korean vehicle accident, was to paint the outline of the truck. They spray painted the outline of my bike where it was, and I remember them mucking around and spray painting the outline of my body. It was sort of like a crime scene body outline like you see on TV.

The next thing was the ambulance driver, the EMT, and the policeman wondering how to get big old me onto the gurney and into the back of the ambulance. Eventually, and with no small amount of jostling my broken arms, they managed to get me on to the very narrow gurney and into the back of the ambulance. Now, at this point, it must be understood that Korean ambulances are not like ambulances in America. Ambulances are not these big, huge, spacious, fully equipped mobile trauma centers. Korean ambulances are more like old Volkswagen minivans. They’re very narrow, very old, and in generally very poor condition.

It was my intention to go to Pusan National University Hospital, which is approximately 20 min. away from the accident site in normal traffic. However, due to the fact that the ambulance I was in had no suspension whatsoever, I felt every bump, every pothole, every rock, every cigarette butt, and every gust of air. This made me extremely uncomfortable. Because of this discomfort, I had no choice but to ask the ambulance driver to take me to a closer hospital. The closest hospital was Haedong Hospital.

A quick back story for those who don’t know: Almost exactly 4 years ago, I was involved in another motorcycle accident that left me with a shattered femur in my right thigh. I was treated for that accident at Haedong Hospital. They put a titanium plate and 15 screws in my right thigh. After five weeks in the hospital, I was released. Six days after my release, the titanium plate broke. I had to return to Haedong Hospital, where they opened up my thigh removed the broken plate, did various surgical procedures, and replaced the broken plate with a longer, wider thicker titanium plate. I had my theories as to why the titanium plate broke, and the filed a malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and the doctor that performed the surgery. After lengthy negotiations, we reached a settlement that I was slightly less than happy with, but I could live with it.

Fast forward back to the date of this current accident. I arrived in Haedong Hospital, and was wheeled into the emergency room. The emergency room physician confirmed that I had a broken arm above the elbow on my right arm and my left wrist was broken. I finally had a chance to look at my left wrist and knew immediately what had happened because I had suffered nearly exactly the same break when I was in junior high school. I knew exactly how it felt and looked. The doctor confirmed that I had suffered a compression fracture on my wrist, which basically meant that I had completely destroyed my wrist joint and the two bones in my forearm had pushed up and past the bones in my wrist, so my wrist was actually below the two bones on my arm.

The emergency room doctor sent me out to do x-rays. I won’t get into how uncomfortable it was to manipulate my broken right arm to take x-rays, but I will suffice to say it was extremely painful. After the x-rays, I was wheeled back to the emergency room, where the emergency room physician told me that due to the swelling in my wrist and arm it would not be possible to perform the surgery until the swelling had decreased. He said that the surgery would most likely take place on the following Monday, which was two days after the accident. I asked him why this was the case, and he explained that if you perform the surgery while the arms are swollen, then it makes it harder to stretch the skin over the swollen arm to close the injury, which can lead to a much greater risk of infection.

They wheeled me up to the eighth floor and into a private room. The eighth floor is where I spent my two stints in the hospital for my broken femur four years previously. In fact, I was next door to the room I was in last time I was at Haedong Hospital. The head nurse was the same person, and she recognized me. Also, one of the nurses from my previous visit was still working there, and she recognized me as well. They both expressed their concerns that I was back in the hospital.

The nursing staff kept me comfortable during the weekend. They advised me that the physician who would be performing my surgery would visit me on Monday. Imagine my surprise when Monday morning rolled around, and the doctor walked into my room and he was the doctor that I had filed my medical malpractice lawsuit against. AWKWARD!

After a few uncomfortable moments and some even more uncomfortable small talk, he advised that my arm and wrist were still too swollen to do the surgery on that day. He said that they would give me medicine to help the swelling go down as early as possible, but that it would be at least Wednesday before the surgery could be performed. It made me extremely unhappy that I would have to wait for five days after the accident to have my broken limbs repaired. But, what was I to do?

An X-Ray showing Jeff's Left Wrist fracture

An X-Ray showing Jeff's Left Wrist fracture

Tuesday evening, the nurse stopped by to tell me that my surgery would take place the following morning, and that I was not to eat or drink anything from that time forward. Just before I settled down and went to sleep, the doctor came in and told me there was a problem. He said that there was a special tube that they needed to insert into my throat to keep me breathing after I was placed under anesthetic, but that they didn’t have that particular tube at the hospital at that time. My first question was why they didn’t have it at the hospital. He replied that they had sent it out to be replaced a couple of weeks earlier, but that it had not been replaced yet. My next question was how they did surgery on other people without that particular tube. I was told that generally when doing surgery on Koreans, they used a smaller tube, but it was necessary to use a larger tube for me. I took that to mean that they could probably use the same tube that they use for everybody else, but he wanted to do the surgery as properly as possible, and wanted to use the best equipment in light of our earlier lawsuit.

I asked how long it would take to get the equipment back at the hospital. The doctor told me it would take approximately 2 more weeks. I sputtered something about it being utterly ridiculous to expect me to lay in my bed with two broken arms for two more weeks to await surgery. I told them that I would be transferring to another hospital the next day. The doctor seemed visibly relieved by this decision.

I asked him what hospital he would recommend that I go to. He said that any university level hospital should be sufficient. He went on to tell me that I had to understand that because my injuries were not life-threatening and not considered an emergency, I would likely not be able to receive surgery immediately at the new hospital, and I would probably have to wait until the doctor assigned to my case had free time in his schedule to perform the surgery.

I asked him to recommend the hospital that could perform the surgery the quickest. He said that he did not have any connections with any other doctors at other hospitals that would allow him to order them to treat me any faster than they could or even to request that they treat me as fast as they could. He said that the only hospital that really would provide him with an opportunity to politely ask that they try to see me as swiftly as possible would be Pusan National University Hospital. I said I would go to that hospital and asked him to make the arrangements as quickly as possible.

The next morning, Wednesday morning, the doctor came to my room and advised me that there was yet another problem. He said that from that morning until the end of the week, all of the anesthesiologists in the country were attending a major conference, and that the anesthesiologists who remained at the hospitals were only working on patients who were in life-threatening situations. The doctor told me that because my situation was not considered life-threatening, I would probably not be able to have my surgery until the following Monday, nine days after my accident, regardless of which hospital I transferred to. This made me extremely upset.

I asked him which of three particular hospitals would treat me the fastest in his estimation. One of my suggestions included the brand-new and, by Korean standards, quite luxurious hospital, Baek Hospital in Haeundae, Pusan, which was about 45 minutes away. He said that that hospital would probably be my best bet for faster surgery. I told them to make the arrangements immediately. He said he would.

Within a couple of hours. I completed my checkout procedures and was being loaded into yet another tiny little ambulance for the journey to the new hospital. The ambulance driver was going to take the inner city Expressway, which would’ve taken a very long time to get me to the hospital. So, I suggested that he drive through town, go through a particular tunnel, and cross the bridge that runs across the bay and leads right to the hospital’s front door, which would take a much shorter time than the route they had planned. They complimented me on my brilliant idea.

Unfortunately, they decided to try to improve on my idea. They decided that they would take a shorter route to the tunnel. I didn’t notice this until I looked out the window of the ambulance and saw that we weren’t where I thought we should have been. I asked where we were going, and they told me they were taking the pier road to the tunnel. I specifically did not want to go on this road because I knew that it was under major construction and that there were potholes, bumps, train tracks, and various other obstacles along this road. As such, I was forced to endure perhaps the bumpiest ride that could be conceived by the human brain.

Eventually, we reached the new hospital. As we pulled into the driveway up to the emergency room, the ambulance driver commented, “wow, THIS is what a hospital looks like.”

I was wheeled into the emergency room, and was pleased to note that they were awaiting my arrival. The emergency room staff was friendly, helpful, and very professional. They took excellent care of me. They made me as comfortable as possible. However, that was all to end too soon.

So the doctor came and told me they would have to take new x-rays and perform CT scans on both limbs. They wheeled me into the into the x-ray room and took the x-rays as carefully as possible. The next stop was to the CT room, where they did their best not to hurt me anymore than they had to. After those steps were complete, they wheeled me back to the emergency room to await the doctor’s further opinion.

The doctor came and said that my left wrist was not that badly broken and probably should have been treated immediately after the accident. By simply resetting the bone and wrapping my hand in a cast. However, because five days had elapsed since the accident, the bone had started to heal again, and they would have to re-break it before setting it again. I said that would be no problem, and told him to shoot me up with painkillers and anesthetic and then to go on with the procedure. He informed me that it had to be done without the benefit of anesthetic. He went on to tell me that it was more dangerous NOT to use anesthetic because my arm would be dead, and they wouldn’t have the benefit of my screams to tell them how much they were moving the arm.

They wheeled me into the emergency surgery room, and told me that they were sorry for what they were about to do to me. One guy grabbed my left bicep, and the other guy grabbed my left forearm in one hand and my left hand in his other hand. The second guy then proceeded to twist and pull my wrist until he heard it snap and I screamed. He said it was done and wrapped me up. He then sent me off for a new round of x-rays to determine whether it could be set by hand or would require surgery.

After examining the x-rays, the doctor decided it would be worth trying to set my hand without surgery. I asked him how that was done. He said it was done the same way as re-breaking my arm but backwards. In other words, they would hold my arm and he would pull my arm and try to force the bone back into place, again using my screams to determine how well things were going. That was a horrible procedure, and equally as painful as having it re-broken. He then sent me for another round of x-rays.

After examining the latest x-rays, he determined that the wrist hadn’t been set well enough, and that I would, in fact, have to have surgery. So, as it turned out, it was not necessary for me to go through the pain of having it reset by hand. Oh well, nice try.

The doctor told me about the anesthesiologist situation. He said they would get me into surgery as soon as possible, but he didn’t know if it would be that day or the next day. He did guarantee that I wouldn’t have to wait five more days to get my arms set.

They began procedures of arranging for me to have a room in the hospital. By now, it was getting late in the day. It was about 4:30 PM. unexpectedly, the doctor came over and told me that the anesthesiologist had decided to stay around and perform my surgery that day. Luckily, I had not eaten anything since the night before, so there was no problem with waiting for me to digest food in my stomach.

They immediately began preparing me for surgery. Soon, I was wheeled into the operating room, and hooked up to numerous machines, tubes, and needles. They told me that the procedures would begin shortly. I asked who the head anesthesiologist was, and was introduced to the man. I thanked him profusely for agreeing to perform my surgery that day. He seemed genuinely touched that I would take time to say that to him.

With those niceties out of the way, the anesthesiologist opened the valve on one of the tubes. Anesthetic flowed into my veins, and it was lights out. I awoke several hours later in my spacious private room. The doctor stopped by a short while later and explained that they had the steel plate in my left wrist and that they had put to plates in my right arm one on each side of the humerus, which is the bone that runs from the elbow to the shoulder.

I left the hospital a week after surgery. Now I’m in the process of slowly recovering. My left wrist is still a little bit swollen, and the joint is still very stiff. My right arm is what is causing the concern. The break in my right arm was an inch or two above the elbow joint. This is a very unusual and dangerous place for a break to occur. This is because the radial nerve into the hand runs directly across the location of the break. The radial nerve is the nerve that controls the extension of the fingers and the raising of the wrist. The doctor said I was extremely lucky not to sever the nerve or damage the nerve covering. However, in the course of placing two steel plates in my arm, they couldn’t help but move the nerve and do some minor bruising to the nerve.

As a result of the concussion or contusion or bruising of the nerve, my right hand remains about 60% paralyzed, and I have sensation of only about 50% of the back of my right hand. I can lower my wrist and to curl my fingers. However, I cannot raise my wrist or fully extend my fingers. The doctors assure me that the feeling and motion will eventually return to my hand, but that it could take anywhere from one to four months. It’s only been three weeks and a couple of days since the accident, but I’m becoming very impatient for the use of my right hand. As it stands now, because my right hand is mostly paralyzed, I can only type with the index finger of my right hand. Also, because the joint is so stiff in my left wrist and because it hurts to bend it in the position of the keyboard, I can only type with my left index finger. Thus, I do two-finger hunt and peck typing. This makes my arm and wrist tired and painful.

Thankfully, I made the smart decision to buy the Dragon Naturally Speaking software, which allows me to speak into a microphone and watch my voice be converted to text. I am completely satisfied with this program. In fact, it’s actually more accurate and much faster than my actual typing. I fully intend to continue using the software even after I’m healed.

The road to recovery will be long. However, I will get through it.

As far as compensation goes, I’m very lucky. Thankfully, the delivery truck driver was insured in just about every way possible. Even better, the truck driver’s insurance company is one of my law firm’s major clients. And, even better than that, I am very well acquainted with the insurance adjuster that is been assigned to handle my accident. He’s taking very good care of me, and actually doing more than is required of him. So, if everything continues this way, then I should be able to get through this without having to file a lawsuit. But, if I have to, at least I know I have a good lawyer. Ha!

This should suffice to let you all know what happened to me over the past three weeks. Drive safely, and please, PLEASE WATCH OUT FOR MOTORCYCLES!

End of Letter.

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 Website

A Horrible Crash in Ocotillo Wells, California, Kills 5, including 4 Members of the Saddle Tramps Motorcycle Club

Scene of accident that killed 4 members of the Saddle tramps MC

Scene of accident that killed 4 members of the Saddle tramps MC

*** November 16, 2010, Update – The driver of the Dodge Avenger is not going to be charged with drunk driving because no alcohol was found in his system. It was originally reported by the C.H.P. that they smelled alcohol on his breath.

A group of riders from the Saddle Tramps Motorcycle Club, a San Diego County club, were riding on Saturday, November 13, 2010, on Route 98, which is a rural freeway, about 80 miles east of San Diego, to celebrate their 10th anniversary, when there was a horrific accident that killed 4 of them including a husband and wife on one motorcycle.

The riders were in a group, when an idiot in a Gold Honda revved up behind them and repeatedly tried to pass the group of motorcycles by crossing over into the lane of oncoming traffic to the left of the motorcycles.

The Gold Honda then caused a Dodge Avenger that was in the opposing lane, to crash into the group of motorcycles as he attempted to swerve out the way of the idiot in the Gold Honda who was trying to pass the pack of motorcycles.

The Avenger then plowed into the group of motorcycles, killing 4 of them. A passenger in the Dodge Avenger was also killed.

The idiot in the Gold Honda who caused the crash by speeding in the wrong lane of traffic, then kept on going and got away for now.

The California Highway Patrol is looking for the guy in the Honda, which did not suffer any damage in the accident.

Witnesses said that the driver of the Honda was wearing a baseball cap. If anyone has any information, they are requested to call the California Highway Patrol.

The C.H.P., arrested the driver of the Dodge Avenger on suspicion of drunk driving because he had alcohol on his breath, however officials do not consider him to be at fault in the accident, because he was forced off of the road by the idiot in the Honda.

Several other bikers who were injured in the accident were airlifted to hospitals.

What lessons can be learned by this day of carnage? There are two; (1) Live each day as though it is going to be your last, because you never know when your number will come up; and (2) if a car comes up behind you very fast, and tries to pass you, yield if you can do so safely. Put your turn signal on, and move to the right, or even get off if you can.

I am not saying this accident could have been prevented, I am saying that when it is car against motorcycle, the car will always win no matter how tough you are, or how in the right you are.

My prayers and condolences go out to the members and the families of the Saddle Tramps Motorcycle Club.

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.

November 15, 2010 Update: Click here to read a detailed story about the accident on Yahoo News.

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney, and Biker Lawyer, Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © October 14, 2010

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

A Letter from a Biker Law Blog Reader

102 year old-biker chick

102 year old-biker chick shown for illustrative purposes only

I am publishing a letter from a reader of the Biker Law Blog named Brian W. with his permission. I am not publishing his last name for privacy reasons.

Here is his letter:

I am sending you this email in reference to an article you wrote regarding “Too old to ride” (at least that was the theme of the letter).

I am 68, and had my first bike when I was 14 (1939 Norton), and a steady rider ever since.

I have owned just about ever make and model over the years, and about 6 years ago I purchased a Honda Shadow Spirit 1100. It seemed to fit the bill for what I wanted, which was a reasonably priced touring bike.

Well, all that said and done, it’s truly time to quit and face the fact that I am not 20 anymore.

In the last year, I have “dropped” the bike from a basically stopped position, and also under 5 miles an hour. So many times, I have lost count actually.

As the bike has a dry weight of over 600 Lbs. there is not a hope in hell that I can get it upright by myself.

That is the minor side, as I have had 2 accidents, which of course I took no blame for!

In retrospect, it was a case of age and reaction time and sheer physical strength.

The days of being bullet proof have sadly passed, and I will miss taking my rides, and trips, but common sense has prevailed.

Thank goodness, I was not hurt to any degree, but on reflection, I certainly could have died, and my wife is now a happy puppy and doesn’t sit at home waiting for a phone call.

Best regards, and please pass this on to those who still feel they are bullet proof.

Brian W.

You can read the article that Brian was talking about by clicking here. I suspect that with the Baby Boomer generation all heading into retirement, the issue Brian discusses will become more and more prevalent on a daily basis.

Since writing me the letter and sending it to me, Brian and I have traded a couple of emails back and forth. Part of my response to Brian is below:

Dear Brian,

It saddens me to hear that you have come to a point in your life where you have determined that you can no longer safely ride.

It makes me feel good knowing that after weighing the pros and cons, you have opted to use common sense rather than stubbornness.

I have articles showing that fatal motorcycle accidents for persons over 50 have increased four fold in the past decade, for reasons which you stated in your email to me.

…………

Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq.
The Law Offices of Norman Gregory Fernandez & Associates

I do not think there is a need to elaborate on this subject anymore than Brian’s letter to me and my response back to him.

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney, and Biker Lawyer, Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © October 5, 2005 2010

Should you Ride Your Motorcycle if You Have an Illness or Medical Condition?

Are you too sick or too ill to ride your motorcycle?

Are you too sick or too ill to ride your motorcycle?

If you are a biker like me, you have probably had an occurrence sometime in your life (unless you are superman or superwoman), where you have been sick or suffered from some kind of medical condition, which could affect your ability to ride.

The key phrase above is “could affect your ability to ride.”

I have written other articles on being too old to ride, which you can read by clicking here, and being spooked after an accident, and whether you should ride, which you can read by clicking here.

An illness or medical condition is almost analogous to maybe being too old to ride, or being spooked after an accident, because each also affects whether you should ride or not.

Look folks, if you have an illness or a medical condition which would affect your ability to be 100% sharp on your motorcycle, you should probably not be riding your motorcycle until the illness or medical condition is gone.

If the illness or medical condition that you have is permanent, you will want to speak to your doctor to decide if riding a motorcycle is safe for you.

I myself have had rides planned out with my brothers, or friends, and have had to cancel my ride plans because I had a cold or flu, or a condition that in my mind meant that I could not or should not have been riding my motorcycle.

A simple common cold could be the basis for not riding your motorcycle, until you get better.

How are you going to control your motorcycle, when you are sneezing, coughing, eyes are watering, and your ears are so stuffed that you cannot safely hear?

Is it worth your life to you to take a chance?

Now that flu season is upon us, (and many of you have not received your flu shots,) many of us will be getting the flu.

It should be obvious that riding with the flu is not a good idea; wait until you get better before you get back on your motorcycle.

I heard of one guy who had an epileptic seizure while riding his motorcycle, with his wife on the back. He ended up going off of the side of the road, crashing through a chain link fence, with both of them flying off of the motorcycle into some dirt. They were both roughed up a bit, but they lived.

Look, I am a biker through and through, however do you think I would be riding a motorcycle, or even a car if I had epilepsy? This guy is a candidate for the Darwin Awards. Epileptics have seizures. Being behind the wheel of a car, or sitting on a motorcycle is not compatible with seizures.

I heard of another guy who would pass out from time to time because of a medical condition he had. This guy luckily determined that he should not be riding a motorcycle with his condition. The list goes on and on.

I truly feel bad for those of you with medical conditions that make it unsafe for you to ride a motorcycle. Some of these conditions also make it unsafe for you to operate a 4 wheel car as well.

Hell some people take prescription heavy duty medications for pain. If you get stopped for driving or riding under the influence of these drugs, you can go to jail and lose your license just like if you were drinking and driving.

Do you think it is a good idea to be riding a motorcycle, while under heavy doses of Oxycontin or Vicodin?

For those of you with physical issues, maybe a Trike, or three wheeled motorcycle is for you? Maybe riding is too physically demanding.

Look, the purpose of my article is not to scare you away from riding your motorcycle. The purpose of my article is to educate you.

Sometimes you may have to not ride due to a physical condition or illness, and it is OK to not ride if it is not safe for you to do so!

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney, and Biker Lawyer, Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © November 4, 2010

You Should Always Keep an Emergency Information Form in Your Wallet at All Times (I.C.E. Card)

California Motorcycle Accident Attorney and Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez

California Motorcycle Accident Attorney and Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez

I always recommend keeping an Emergency Information Form, or I.C.E. card (In Case of Emergency) card in you, and your loved ones wallets, purses, or on your person at all times.

Why? Because you never know when you will have a life or death emergency.

Having an I.C.E. card can not only mean the difference between life and death for you or a loved one in an emergency, it will also allow emergency responders to contact your family or whoever you designate as your emergency contacts in case you are unable to communicate.

An Emergency Information Card is ideal for:

  • Children
  • Elderly persons
  • Motorcycle Riders
  • Participants of risky activities
  • Anyone with serious medical conditions or allergies

However, even if you are not in the above categories, an Emergency Information Card may god forbid help you one day. Everyone should carry one.

It is one of those things that you never think that you will need until you actually need it. It can save your life.

My law firm has created an Emergency Information Form that can be  filled in online and printed, a blank form can be printed and filled in by hand, it can be saved to your computer for later use, or you may even email it to your family and friends so that they can create their own Emergency Contact Form.

To go my law firm Emergency Information Form Click Here now. You may fill in the form on your computer, and then click the print button to print the form.

You may print in on one or two pages, or print the form two sided on one piece of paper. You may also use your printer or a copy machine to reduce the size of the printed form if you like.

Then simply fold it up and stick it in your wallet, purse, or somewhere where an emergency responder can find it.

I myself have one of these cards in my wallet, and I also keep an “In case of Emergency” contact in my cell phone. The problem with the cell phone is that if it is broken up on the side of the road, it is useless.

I am glad that I could provide this service for you. Hopefully like motorcycle or car insurance, you will never need it!

By California Personal Injury Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © September 2010

Motorcycle Riders Beware; The Bad Economy Can Kill You.

Potholes in street are a bikers worst nightmare

Potholes in street are a bikers worst nightmare

I hope the headline of this article got your attention.

The sad fact is that it is true. The bad economy that we are in right now can kill you or severely injure you if you ride a motorcycle, or are a motorcycle passenger.

You see, the streets, roads, highways, freeways, and interstates of cities, states, and our nation are falling apart, and are in a severe state of disrepair.

Many roads that you ride on have dangerous conditions such as potholes, significant cracks, debris, missing signs, or might even be in a dangerous state due to road construction.

I have represented many motorcycle accident victims whose motorcycle accidents were caused by dangerous conditions on the road.

Heck, in just the last couple of weeks, I have had multiple new motorcycle accident victims sign up with me, because they crashed due to dangerous conditions on the road.

Just recently, I watched a report on a local TV news channel about the fact that Los Angeles has a severe backlog of street repairs that need to be done, but that are on hold due to budget constraints.

They know about severe defects and are not fixing them. In some cases the streets are so bad, that they need to be replaced. Still they are doing nothing.

Well this is unacceptable. You see that the government owes each of us a duty to maintain our roads and highways in a safe condition, such that it is fit to be used in the manner in which it is intended.

Maybe instead of paying government workers six figure salaries, cushy insurance benefits and huge pension plans, that most people in private industry do not get, maybe they should take some of this money and fix our roads.

You see the government knows full well that if you have a road with potholes and other defects, that us motorcycle riders can and do hit these defects and crash.

There are many riders being severely injured and even killed right now, because our roads are not being maintained in a safe manner.

Maybe much of the so-called stimulus money should be spent fixing our roads and streets. Two birds can be killed with one stone; stimulate the economy and fix our infrastructure at the same time.

Getting back on subject, local city, county, and state governments are claiming that they cannot fix our roads because of the economy and their budget deficits.

Well guess what, they are still on the hook for negligence if their failure to fix a road or street, causes a motorcycle rider to crash.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to a dangerous road condition anywhere in California, give me a call for a free consultation at 800-816-1529 x. 1.

In California you have only 6 months from the date of your accident, to file a claim against a governmental or public entity. You do not have time to mess around.

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney and Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © August 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 do you do with your hands if you are stopped by the Police!

what to do if you are stopped by the police. **** 5/16/10 Update: Officer found guilty in shooting of sitting biker, see below for link.

**** 5/12/10 Update: See Video of shooting victim testifying in Court below.

When you are stopped by the Police in your car, on your motorcycle, or other motor vehicle, it is usually because the police think you have done something wrong.

It is very important that you keep your hands visible to the police officers for various reasons, the most important of which is so that you do not get shot or tasered.

Here is a link to some very disturbing video of a man being shot by the police while sitting on his motorcycle; click here to see video and story. The police officer is facing felony charges. The man who was shot is paralyzed as a result.

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The police officers defense attorney is arguing that the police thought that this man had a gun. Judging by the video, it looks like a cold blooded shooting that was unjustified, however if you put yourself in the officers shoes, how did he know for sure that the biker did not have a gun when he turned toward him? If you were a cop, what would you do under similar circumstances?

I for one, sure the hell do not want to be the victim of a shooting such as this; who does?

There are a few things you can do to ensure that your encounters with law enforcement are safer for you and for law enforcement.

If you are in a car or other enclosed vehicle, turn off you ignition, place your car keys on the dash board, and keep your hands on the steering wheel. If the officer asks for your license and registration, ask the officer if it is ok to remove your hands from the wheel, and tell him where you are going to reach to get the information he or she is requesting. Once you get the information, put your hands back on the steering wheel until allowed to leave by the officer.

If you on a motorcycle, turn off the motorcycle, put you hands on the handlebars, and wait for the officer to approach. Do not remove your hands from the handlebars until the officer asks for your license and registration, at which time ask for permission to remove your hands from the handlebars, and inform the officer where you will be reaching.

In either case, do not exit your vehicle unless asked to do so, and do not get off of your motorcycle unless asked to do so.

I know many of you are thinking that having to do this is plain wrong. The purpose of the above exercise is not being right or wrong; it is to protect your life by assuring the police that you are not a threat.

I am not sure if this above procedure would have prevented the shooting of the guy on the motorcycle in the video, only god knows.

Officer found guilty for shooting, click here for story.

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

Lucky to be alive after the Laughlin River Run 2010; however, we still had a good time!

California Motorcycle Accident Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez at the Laughlin River Run 2010

California Motorcycle Accident Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez at the Laughlin River Run 2010

See Videos Below

Well the title says it all, my wife and I owe our lives to god after this years Laughlin River Run. I will explain below.

If you did not know it, it is said that the Laughlin River Run is the largest motorcycle rally in the western United States, and some people say that it is the second largest motorcycle rally in the nation next to Sturgis. It is a great time.

You can read an article I wrote about a previous Laughlin River Run that I did by clicking here.

This year’s run began when we packed up my Harley Davidson Electra Glide to go to the Laughlin River Run 2010 on Friday, April 23, 2010.

Since I had to be in Court early Friday morning in Victorville, CA, we could not leave for the Laughlin River Run until Friday afternoon. Many of my friends left on the Thursday, the day before, but I could not go with them because I had to be in Court.

Therefore my wife and I planned on riding alone to Laughlin. By the time I did my pre-ride routine, and we got the motorcycle all packed up, it was very late. We did not get out of dodge until around 7pm; it was already dusk. I had to make a couple of stops along the way before we got on the road. Read the rest of the article below the videos.

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By the time we hit the Pearblossom Highway, it was almost dark. We made good time to Victorville and onto the I-15 east. We stopped at Denny’s in Barstow and had dinner because we knew we would not get into Laughlin until around 1am or so according to the GPS.

Once back on the road we made good time from the I-15 to the I-40 split. If any of you have ridden on the I-40 between Barstow and Needles, you know that this is amongst the most isolated and desolate places in the United States. This is the Mohave Desert and there is nothing there except Rattlesnakes, Scorpions, and a couple of gas stations along the way.

While on this road we hit some pretty good speeds to say the least, I love riding through the desert at night, there is something spiritual and empty about it. We eventually passed a sign that said “next services 55 miles.” My odometer was already at around 60 miles since my last gas stop. I knew my Harley would easily make the next gas stop in 55 miles so that is where I decided to make my last gas stop before Needles.

Saying that I was riding at a pretty good speed is an understatement. I will just say this, I opened her up on the open road, we were hauling ass. As usual, I rode one handed a lot to relieve stress and give each hand a break from holding on. I was riding like normal, everything seemed normal.

We then approached the last desolate gas station in a shit hole called Essex; this is the place that I planned on stopping to get fuel before we got to our motel in Needles. It was around midnight by this time.

As I got off of the I-40 into the darkness, at a very, shall we say, decent rate of speed, I was still holding on one handed and banking normally. I then downshifted and slowed her up until we got to the stop sign at the end of the ramp.

When I accelerated out of 1st gear the motorcycle started to wobble uncontrollably. You must understand, I have been riding for many years. I immediately knew that something was seriously wrong. I stopped the motorcycle, and tried again; same thing. My wife was on the back.

The gas station on the exit where we stopped was at least a mile down a curved road from where you exit. You could not see it from where I stopped. We were basically just under the bridge in the middle of the friggen desert at night, it was pitch dark, and there was nothing out there with us except snakes, scorpion, coyotes, and god knows what else.

I got my mini led flash light out of the tour pak to see if I could see anything wrong with the motorcycle, everything looked fine. I pushed down on the motorcycle to see if there was something wrong with the shocks, they seemed fine. Everything looked fine. I thought it might be the road which was very rough and irregular. I got on the bike and tried again; same thing, an uncontrollable wobble.

I knew we could not sit out in the desert. Literally at this time in the morning on the I-40 there is very little if no traffic at all. On this particular off ramp there was no one and no light. It was pitch dark. So I proceeded to 1st gear ride the wobblier all the way to the gas station which seemed like a very long distance from the ramp, with my wife on the back.

I very much wanted to accelerate faster to see if the wobble would go away, but frankly the wobble was so bad, even at a couple of miles per hour I could barely control her to get to the gas station. I did not want to take any further chances on dropping the motorcycle, or getting my wife and I injured.

I am telling you, it took all of my concentration, and nerve to get the damm thing down the road. It was wobbling violently all the way.

Upon arrival at the gas station, I recognized it from previous trips I have taken on the 40. It is a unique place in the middle of no where. They have no pay phone, no air for tires, and the guy that works there at night looks like one of the guys from the movie Deliverance. They also have a bunch of fish tanks in the place. This place is literally isolated in the middle of no where.

Once we got there, I inspected the motorcycle and could not see anything visibly wrong with the motorcycle. I have AAA roadside service with premier RV and Motorcycle coverage, so I decided that I had better call AAA and get the motorcycle towed back to my home.

To make a long story short, there was no cell phone coverage at the gas station, they had no pay phone, and they guy behind the counter said I could not use his phone. After purchasing a couple of drinks for my wife and me, I finally convinced the guy to let me call AAA which is an 800 number. While I was on the phone with them, the guy at the counter kept on telling me that I had to get off because it was a business line; you get the picture we were screwed and at the mercy of this guy at the gas station for now. AAA told me that they would have someone there in two hours. Two hours! I told them I wanted to get the motorcycle towed back to my house.

It was cold as hell outside by this time in the desert after midnight. Luckily, there were some seats inside. Unfortunately, the guy that worked in the gas station seemed to have a few nuts loose. He must have had a hearing problem, because he screamed when he talked to you, and the guy would not stop talking. My wife and I wanted to just sit there and wait for AAA; instead this guy came to where we were sitting and non stop talked the entire time. I should say he non stop yelled the entire time.

While we were waiting, a couple of motorcycles stopped in at the place. A couple of guys from a famous motorcycle club also stopped in. 4 total motorcycles. We all came to a consensus that I had a flat rear tire.

Although my rear Metzler 880 tire was basically new with all of the tread on it, and it appeared to be fine, upon a closer inspection of the tire, as the guys watched me ride it slowly in the gas station lighted area, they said it looked flat. One guy said that motorcycle tires are heavy duty, and appear to be ok even when they are flat. None of us had a tire gauge, and the gas station did not have one.

This was a new one on me. I always change out my tires when the tread appears to be worn. I have never experienced a flat motorcycle tire before.

I purchased some fix a flat from the gas station to see if I could get the tire up and working. AAA called at this time, I told the guy who was actually coming out from AAA that I wanted to be towed home. He then dropped the news that the premier towing plan that I paid for only covered 100 miles for RV and Motorcycle, it is 200 miles for a car. I told him that I was going to try fix a flat and for him to call me back. The fix a flat did not work, and luckily it did not work. I knew it would be a bad move to try to ride in the middle of the desert in the middle of the night on fix a flat, plus the bottle said it was not for motorcycle use. When the AAA guy called back, I told him that we were just going to have it towed to our motel in Needles, CA.

So there we sat in the middle of no where, in the middle of the night, with a guy from the movie deliverance that would not stop talking to us, waiting for AAA, with no cell phone service, basically stranded. It was very cold outside. This was the beginning of our Laughlin River Run 2010 experience.

At around 2am we got a break from the action when some drunks pulled in and started fighting with each other about one of them putting out some gas money. Other than that we were stuck, and there was no customers coming in.

Finally the AAA guy showed up with an SUV and a trailer two and half hours later at 2:30am. We got the bike on the trailer and as he was strapping it in he broke off one of the reflectors on my front frame. I was not going to say shit because I just wanted to get the motorcycle towed to anywhere but where we were at.

After a 40 mile trip at 55 miles per hour (speed limit of vehicles with a trailer in this part of the country) we finally got to the motel at around 3:30am. We got the motorcycle off of the trailer and I was bummed. The guy gave me the card of some bike shop in Fort Mohave across the river. I would call them in the morning after a few hours sleep.

At this point while we were in the Motel, I realized that my wife and I were lucky to be alive. I cannot stress this point enough. Over and over in my head I tried to remember a point in the trip where I felt that something was wrong with the motorcycle. Had the motorcycle gone into a wobble of the type that we had when we got off of the I-40, at lets say 90 miles per hour, we would have been history, we would most likely be dead.

Think about it; I was riding one handed at speeds of 70mph plus and my rear tire had gone flat somewhere along the line. We could have crashed and no one would have seen us until they were running over us, or we could have gone off of the side of the road, and not be seen until daylight or even days later. This is how dark and desolate this stretch of the desert is. The only explanation I have for us not crashing that night was that GOD was watching over us. We are now still alive because of the grace of god.

This experience has changed both my wife and I. I am going to write a separate article on this subject, but suffice is to say; I am now much more cognizant of each and every bump and cranny while riding the motorcycle. After years of meticulous detail in checking my tires and tread, I finally had a catastrophic failure that could have been fatal. Thank GOD we made it out of this one alive and ok.

We did not get to sleep until around 5:30am Saturday morning. I set the clock to wake up at 9am so that I could call the shop on the card that the tow truck driver gave me. The tow truck driver told me that there was no Harley Davidson dealership within a hundred miles.

When we woke up in the morning, we discovered that our cell phones did not work in Needles either. Needles, California is a small desert town on the Arizona, Nevada border. I used the motel phone to call the shop on the card that the tow truck driver gave us. A girl answered the phone; XXX (I will not write their real name) and tattoo shop. I immediately knew I was screwed. Tattoo shop? I told her that I needed a tire for my Electra Glide. When she asked me for the size of the tire, I knew I was in trouble at that point; any reputable Harley shop knows the size of a stock Harley Davidson tire. I gave her the tire size. When she told me, “oh yes, we have some good used tires in that size available,” I knew that I needed to find a better solution.

There was no way in hell that I was going to ride with my wife on a used tire in the middle of the Mohave Desert.

I found the yellow pages in the room; it was the thinnest yellow pages I have ever seen. I looked under motorcycles. There was a small square ad for Harley Davidson’s, Honda, etc. They were located in Kingman, Arizona about 70 miles from where we were at. I called them up. Turns out that they were a Harley Davidson dealership. The gal on the phone said that they had 19 tires in stock. I did not tell her I had a Metzler on the bike, I knew she was referring to the stock Dunlop that comes with the motorcycle. I did not care, I was desperate. I told her that I was towing the motorcycle in.

I then called AAA, and used up another one of my 4 tows for the year, and told them I wanted to get my motorcycle towed to the dealership in Kingman. They told me that they would be at the motel within an hour.

My wife and I at this point were hungry, in need of coffee, and not having a very good time at all to say the least. My wife contemplated staying in the room and sleeping while I got the motorcycle repaired. Lucky for her she decided to come with me as you will read below. There was no food or restaurant anywhere close or within walking distance to the motel where we were staying.

Finally the tow truck driver arrived with a big flat bed tow truck. The guy had fresh oil spilled all over the flat bed from a car he towed previously; he had not cleaned it. I just wanted to get my motorcycle to the Harley Davidson dealership in Kingman.

The guy seemed like he knew what he was doing. I expressed my concern as I rode the bike onto the flatbed that if the tires hit the oil or my foot hit the oil I could drop the bike. He said “don’t worry; I know what I am doing.”

He strapped the bike on the flatbed, and we proceeded to drive the one hour to Kingman in the tow truck.

While on the I-40, in Kingman, we could see what appeared to be a big motorcycle event to the left. There were thousands of motorcycles, tents, a band, trailers, you name it; it was the friggen Harley dealership we were going to. They were literally having a rally and poker run to go along with the Laughlin River run. No one on the phone told me that this event was going on! It would not have mattered either way, we were stuck and this was the only game in town.

As we got off of the freeway and made a turn, the tow trunk driver pulled off the road and said he “had to check my bike, it looks like the straps have come loose.” As I got out of the truck, I saw my beautiful and treasured Electra Glide sitting squarely on its side on the flat bed truck. The bike had fallen over. I could not fucking believe it. There was my motorcycle that I polish and take care of like nothing else in my life sitting on its side on the flatbed truck. I was too tired, and too desperate to get out of this BS situation to scream at or punch the guy. I told him the straps are not holding my bike, the bike had fallen all the way over. He knew it. I could see that he was embarrassed. He told me that he would take care of any damage.

We then lifted my motorcycle back up. I did not see any visible damage. He strapped the bike back up and we went the ½ mile to the Harley Dealership. Picture this, there were police, there was security, there was thousands of motorcycles and people, they had the entrances to the dealership all blocked off to traffic, it was a damm festival/rally. The guy in the tow truck asked me if I could get the motorcycle in from the street, through all of the people and motorcycles. I said hell no, I had a flat tire and could barely hold the thing up with the wobble with no people around.

I jumped out of the truck and told one of the security guys that we were going to service. Almost instantly, the guy removed the blockade from the entrance, and ran in front of the tow truck, parting the way for us, all of the way to the gated service entrance. I was amazed and so was the two truck driver.

The guys from service all jumped on the back of the flatbed. They all bitched about the fresh spilled oil on the flatbed, but we got the bike off. I told them that the bike had fallen on the flatbed, and they all gave me empathy. At this point I felt like everything was going be ok, I was home, at a real Harley Davidson dealership.

The tow truck driver gave me his card and told me not to worry, that he would take care of any damage. I did not give him a tip because he dropped my bike.

So there we were, at the Kingman, Arizona Harley Davison Dealership, during Laughlin River Run weekend, with thousands of other people. Yippee. As it turns out, there were a lot of other people that broke down, and who were in service just like us.

The service gal told me that they had the Metzler 880 in stock, which made happy that I would not have to ride with a mismatched Dunlop stocker on the back. I told her “hell since I am here, why don’t you also do an inspection of the motorcycle, check the timing, and change out the fluids.”

I run with fossil oil in all of my motorcycles. This dealership told me they only used synthetic, so I went with what they had. I was happy. Hell at this point I really did not care about cost, I just wanted to get back out on the road; well I should have been concerned; they ripped me off! I will talk about that below.

I was told it would take two hours to replace the tire, and to do what I had asked. Great!

By the way, we still had no cell phone service in Kingman, Arizona, which made it impossible for us to check messages or get a hold of our friends in Laughlin.

So there we were. We got to the dealership at around noon. We were hungry. Everything we needed was at the dealer event; we got some good food, some lemonade. They had beer and such, but neither I nor my wife drink alcohol. We checked out the vendors, we basically had a good time.

However, when 3pm rolled I became concerned. I went up to the desk. I was told that there were motorcycles still ahead of me. At 4:00pm I noticed that my motorcycle was still sitting out back and had not been touched. I was told that I was next.

The dealership was scheduled to close at 6pm, and the crowd was starting to significantly thin out. At 5pm, my bike was inside being worked on, but no word. The gal at the desk told me that she would find me when the bike was done.

At 5:45, I told my wife to go ask about the bike; I knew the gal at the counter was sick of telling me to wait. At this time I saw the mechanic test riding my motorcycle back into the service gate; thank god, my baby was ready to rock and roll. Before my wife came to tell me, I knew my motorcycle was ready; with 15 minutes to spare before they closed.

It was 9 hours since we woke up, and 6 hours since we got to the dealership.

When I got the counter I had a sinking feeling that they were going to overcharge me, boy was I right. When I asked how much do I owe, she said $500.00. Five fucken hundred dollars, to replace a rear tire, change the fluids, inspect the bike, clean the air filter, and add brake fluid. I was shocked but I did not say anything because I was grateful that my wife and I were alive, and that my bike was fixed.

It could have been much worse. Hell the tow alone from the motel to the dealership would have cost $400.00 had I not had AAA premier membership.

I bit my lip and gave her my Visa checkcard. Earlier at the dealership parts desk, I purchased a reflector to replace the one that the original tow truck guy broke off, and a paint repair kit to fix a couple of dings I have in the paint. The dealership nailed me for $500.00. Hell in the San Fernando Valley, I got both tires replaced for less money.

The gal told me that they inspected the motorcycle from the fall on the tow truck and that there was no damage. Hell I did not even see a scratch; another miracle. She told me that I would soon need to get new brake pads, but other than that, I was good to go.

I asked her what was wrong with the original rear tire. She brought it out and told me to look inside. She said you could see an imperfection inside. To me it still looked like a brand new tire. There was no holes, nothing to explain why it went flat, other than a supposid defect inside.

Another troublesome thing is that she told me that the reason my bike took so long to get done was because the mechanic could not balance the first Metzler they put on, they had to use a second tire. This concerned me, and still does. Is there a problem with the rim?

Suffice is to say I was more relieved than pissed off at this point. I cannot explain how happy I was to get my motorcycle back working. If you are going to take a long road trip, make sure you have money or a credit card just in case something goes wrong!

When we finally got into Laughlin on Saturday night, the rally nightlife was in full swing; it seemed like we missed everything. Because it was night, most of the vendors were closed, but there was still a lot happening.

We went to the Edgewater Casino, where I proceeded to loose about $200 bucks within a half hour on the slot machines. I could not win anything, not even a teaser! It became apparent to me that my luck on this trick was just not there, and we would just be lucky to make it home alive and safe.

We decided to go into the nightclub at the Edgewater and dance a bit. We had fun. We rode back to our motel in Needles and crashed out at around 4 or 5 am.

When we got back to Laughlin at around 2 on Sunday afternoon, the rally was closing down and everyone was heading out. The vendors were all closing up, but there were many still open. We missed most of the goings on because of the bike issues.

What did I do? I bought a rally shirt, and then proceeded to loose another $150 bucks and the slots and blackjack. My wife did not do any better. We waked along the river a bit, socialized with some of the people, and then decided to hit the road.

We had a good run back home, arriving at around 2am.

Will I be back at the Laughlin River Run next year? Hell Yes, I cannot wait.

Maybe next year I will tell you more about the actual rally itself.

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

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

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