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

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

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

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

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

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

All of these topics warrant a lengthy discussion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep both wheels on the road!

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

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A Rider and Passenger Die in Motorcycle Accident on the 405 Freeway in Seal Beach, California

Biker Law Blog NewsSEAL BEACH – California

A man and woman died Sunday when they lost control of their Harley-Davidson motorcycle, cut across the 405 freeway, hit a car and were launched head first into a cement wall, California Highway Patrol officials said.

The man, 60, and woman, 57, were wearing full helmets, but the blunt-force trauma was too strong, said Officer Stacey Willits, who was at the scene.

The accident occurred at 11:18 a.m. on the northbound 405 near the Seal Beach Blvd. exit. The two were taken to Long Beach Memorial Hospital with massive head wounds. They were pronounced dead at 12:07 p.m. and 12:25 p.m. Their identities have not been released.

The man was driving, and the woman was his passenger, Willits said.

Witnesses said the pair was driving in the first or second lane of the northbound 405 freeway at about 65 mph when the motorcycle started fish-tailing, Willits said. The bike then made an almost 90-degree turn and cut across the freeway to the sixth (slow) lane. It hit the left-rear corner of a Honda Accord and ejected the riders into a concrete road-construction divider.

The investigation is still open and officers do not yet know what caused the couple to lose control of the motorcycle. Willits asked that anyone who saw the bike lose control call the California Highway Patrol office in Westminster at 714-892-4262.

Law enforcement officers shut down the third through sixth lanes of the freeway for about an hour while CHP investigated the accident.

This accident is a horrible tragedy. I send my prayers and condolences out to the friends and family of the victims of this accident.

Based on the witness reports from this accident regarding the motorcycle’s rear end beginning to fishtail, it is possible that the victims suffered from a rear tire blow out, or a loose and unstable swing arm, or something to that effect. They could have even locked up the rear end braking too heavy. However there is no evidence based on the witness reports that the motorcycle was braking at the time of the accident.

Both victims were wearing full face helmets.

This accident should remind all bikers to check their tire tread and tire pressure before they ride their motorcycles. I am not saying that this is what caused the motorcycle accident, because I do not know, but it may have played a factor.

California Motorcycle Accident Attorney, and Biker Lawyer

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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.

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Loose Gravel on the Road can be a Biker and Motorcyclist worst Nightmare; Beware.

motorcycle riding on gravel

Gravel and Motorcycles do not mix.

If you are a biker or a motorcyclist, and you actually ride your motorcycle, you have probably had a run in with loose gravel on the road or a parking lot at some point or another. It can be a real bitch to say the least.

Talking to a new client this evening brought up some bad memories I have had riding though gravel in the past myself, not to mention the many cases I have handled of motorcycle accidents caused by loose gravel.

My new client, who we will call Lucy for this article, was a passenger on a motorcycle that was being driven by her ex-boyfriend that went down when they hit a patch of gravel.

He was pinned underneath the motorcycle, she was thrown off and suffered severe injuries.

I am representing Lucy the passenger.

As she described it, they were not riding fast, and they turned into onto a familiar street, and then the bike (a Harley Davidson) just kind of slid out from underneath them for no apparent reason. Once they were down they realized that they hit a patch of gravel. Both were injured.

As we all know or should know, a motorcycle only has 2 wheels that we balance on when riding. Unlike a car or other cage vehicle, generally a motorcycle’s 2 wheels have a very small tread area that actually contacts with the ground when we are riding. Yea I know that some of you have 200’s on the rear, or fat racing slicks on your sport motorcycle, but that is not the norm.

Most of us have a very small amount of tread that contact with the ground when we are riding. If we ride over loose gravel, sand, or rocks on the road, it can very well cause your motorcycle to slide out from under you and ruin your whole day.

My worst experience with gravel happened on a very lonely unnamed off ramp on Highway 40 in Arizona between Flagstaff and Kingman in the middle of the night. My then fiancé and I got off to get some gas. It was pitch dark. No lights at all except for my headlight. The gas station was on the other side of the interstate under a bridge. There was no light from it at all when I got off.

As I turned left my motorcycle slid out from under me. I am no expert rider, but I managed to keep the motorcycle up. I was scared shitless. Had we gone down, we could have been run over by someone speeding down the off ramp due to no light, or we could have been laying there for quite some time. We were literally in the middle of no where, in the middle of the night. (Just the way Bikers like it.)

When we got to the gas station I told my fiancé what happened. She was so tired that she had no clue that we almost ate it.

Who is at fault if an Accident is caused by loose gravel, or on the Road?

Generally the person operating the motorcycle has a duty of due care to ride the motorcycle safely on all surfaces, therefore the rider is responsible.

However, it can also be argued that it is reasonably foreseeable to private persons, private property owners, or governmental entitles, that loose gravel or sand on hard pavement can create a dangerous condition to persons riding motorcycles because these vehicles balance on two wheels only, and loose gravel or sand can cause them to go out of control.

In other words, an experienced Biker Attorney and Motorcycle Accident Attorney such as me can and will go after a person or entity that knowingly puts loose gravel or sand on a road that is used by motorcycle riders, because it creates a dangerous condition that they either know about, or should know about.

This is a very good reason why you do not want to go to a garden variety personal injury attorney who advertises that they do motorcycle accident cases, but has no clue what it is to actually ride a motorcycle. Only a real biker and rider of motorcycles understands the gravel or sand problem as it relates to motorcycle riders. I understand the problem because I have experienced it.

So there it is; if you go down due to loose gravel or sand on a public or private road, or even a parking lot anywhere in California, you should give me a call for a free consultation at 800-816-1529 x. 1. I will tell you over the phone if you have a good case.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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When You Have Not Ridden Your Motorcycle For a Few Months; Take It Easy!

California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Norman G. Fernandez discusses not riding your motorcycle for a while.It is winter time in the good old USA. In many parts of the country, many bikers and motorcyclist have their motorcycles in winter storage until the weather gets better. In other parts of the country, motorcycles have been sitting for weeks or months just waiting for the weather to get better so their owners can ride again.

When it comes time to ride again, some bikers and motorcyclist may have been off of their motorcycles for weeks or months. This is when you need to be most careful!

Riding a motorcycle is not like riding a bicycle as the old saying goes. In order to ride a motorcycle safely, you must ride consistently. Even being out of the saddle a couple of weeks can make you rusty.

How many of you have done a thousand mile plus, multi-day motorcycle run? Is it not true that after a few hundred miles you are sharp as steel on your motorcycle? The reason you are as sharp as steel is because you are on your motorcycle riding.

The more you ride, the better you get. The less you ride, the rustier you get. It is as simple as that.

The worst possible thing you can do if you have been out of the saddle for some amount of time, is to jump back on and ride like a bat out of hell. It takes a bit of time to re-acclimate yourself to your motorcycle and riding in traffic.

I know a guy who builds motorcycles for a living. Due to health issues, he did not ride his motorcycle for a few months. What did he do, as soon as he got back into the saddle on his motorcycle? He rode like he never took any time off. He promptly almost lost his ass due to his accelerating too fast through a water puddle in an intersection. Not only was he embarrassed, but he pulled his back out trying to keep the motorcycle up. This experience actually caused him to quit riding.

I have seen lots of bone head moves on motorcycles. Most if not all of them can be avoided by exercising simple safety measures and discretion.

So if you have been out of the saddle for a bit of time. Take it damm easy and get re-acquainted with your motorcycle.

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney and Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez, © 2009

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Why Upgrading Your Motorcycle Suspension is Important for Motorcycle Safety.

Motorcycle Suspension issues by biker law blog guest contributor Greg N.This article is by Guest Contributor Greg N. of MotoYard.com.

I talk to a lot of people who say, “why should I upgrade my suspension, I don’t race”, well there are many other very good reasons why you should upgrade, most important one being safety. I can’t tell you how many times I thanked myself for upgrading mine.

Whether you ride a Harley or a Suzuki GSXR, there are upgrades available and they are similar on both types of bikes. For cruisers there are plenty of choices – Progressive Suspension, Works Performance, Race Tech to name a few. For sport bikes there are choices as well with Penske, Race Tech and of course Ohlins among others.

So what is the difference between your stock suspension and an aftermarket one? Well, it’s always safe to assume that aftermarket is better, because although the manufacturer wants to put out a good bike, they do try to cut costs, so of course they cut corners, and the only thing an aftermarket manufacturer can do is improve (otherwise why would anyone buy it). There are very few manufacturers that use good components, like Ducati, but instead of spending $20K on a Ducati, you can have the same suspension for much less on pretty much any bike. Most stock forks (made by Showa or other manufacturers) are damper rod forks, with aftermarket forks you get cartridge forks. Although most newer sport bikes come with cartridge forks, they use wimpy springs that can’t compare to an Ohlins fork for example. One thing to remember is that most newer bikes will have a much better suspension than its older counterpart. For example the 2008 Yamaha R1 shock is a much better shock than say, the 2006. What a lot of people don’t know is in a lot of cases the shock on the newer model bike will fit an older one just fine. What that means is you can go to a site that has used motorcycle parts, like eBay.com or Motoyard.com and find a used one for much cheaper than you would pay for an Ohlins shock. A lot of people will replace their brand new shocks with an aftermarket one and sell the stock one for cheap.

Another way to go is of course to get those expensive aftermarket components. In my personal experience there is no comparison, no matter how good the manufacturer says they made the suspension that year. A really nice rear shock can run you over $1000 new, and so can the front forks. On some bikes you have some options, instead of replacing the whole fork, you can replace the internals (the cartridge). There are companies that will build the forks for you like Race Tech, but you can usually go to any competent bike shop and they can change the fork internals for you. This is not a very simple job to do on your own, since the springs are under pressure and there are many little pieces that tend to get lost. As for replacing the rear shock, you can probably do it yourself, with a help of a friend. Most times, it’s just one or a few bolts that you need to take out (top and bottom of the shock) and while your friend is holding the bike up by the seat (since it’s not attached to the swingarm or wheel with the shock, it’s pretty light), you can pull out the old shock and put a new one in, in about 20 minutes.

Another great thing about aftermarket shocks and forks is that they are adjustable. Yeah, the manufacturers claim theirs are adjustable too, but if you have ever tried to adjust your compression or rebound on your stock forks, you will probably notice that the changes are so small, they are barely noticeable. With an aftermarket shock and forks you will definitely notice the difference.

So the question still remains: why do you need a new suspension? Well, if you race, you know the difference it makes on the track. If you don’t, what you get is a much safer bike on the street. Aftermarket shocks will not “bottom out” as easily when you hit a bump and your bike will feel much more predictable in turns. You also will have much better braking feel and performance. What is predictable? Well, when you are in a middle of a turn, and you hit a bump, you don’t expect or want your bike’s front wheel to skip and go in another direction. With a good suspension you can minimize those times, we all had, when we wonder if we might have been going a little too fast into that turn.
So, is it worth spending thousands of dollars on new suspension? In my opinion – Yes. If you are looking to do it on a budget, and you have an older model bike, find out if a newer model bike has a better suspension and see if it fits yours – you can probably upgrade for a quarter of the price or less.

By Greg N. of Motoyard.com.

If you want to write an article for The Biker Law Blog which gets well over 100,000 hits per month, please email your article to me at Norman@norman-law.com.

Thanks,

Biker and Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Norman Gregory Fernandez

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2008

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Make Motorcycle Riding Safety Your Top Priority!

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

Here is a checklist that every motorcycle rider should follow:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preparing to Ride

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

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

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

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

Hydraulic and Coolant fluids — Level should be checked weekly.

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

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

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

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

Horn — Test the horn.

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

California Motorcycle Accident Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Safe this Season so says the Biker Law Blog!

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

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, © 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(6) Do not tailgate Cars.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep Both Wheels on the Road!

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2007

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Michelin Announces Motorcycle Tire Recall / Check Your Tires!

Motorcycle accident lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez discusses Michelin Motorcycle Tire RecallMichelin has announced a recall of some motorcycle tires. Anybody who is using the below tires needs to get them replaced. If you are not sure what tires you are using on your motorcycle go inspect them now to make sure they are not the subject of the below recall. Below is the press release about the tire recall.

GREENVILLE, S.C., June 15 /CNW/ — Michelin has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Transport Canada that it is recalling Michelin(R) Pilot(R) Power 2CT and Pilot(R) Power 120/70 ZR 17 (58W) front motorcycle tires with the “Made in France” markings in the United States and Canada. This recall involves these specific tires only and has no impact on any other Michelin tires. Related actions are under way in other countries.

An examination of these tires showed a possible defect in the tread due to a manufacturing irregularity. No cases of pressure loss have been reported and no accidents have occurred.

Because rider safety is the primary concern, Michelin has decided as a precaution to replace the 120/70 ZR 17 (58W) Michelin Pilot Power 2CT and Michelin Pilot Power front tires, which can be identified by the following markings on the sidewall:

A “Made in France” label DOT 6UCW 980T or DOT 6UCW 979T

Any consumer in the United States or Canada who believes they are affected by the recall should not wait to receive notification but should call Michelin Consumer Relations at 1 866 324 2835.

The company will be replacing all potentially affected tires in a comprehensive commitment to retrieve from the market any tire that does not meet Michelin quality standards. Replacement tires are available at no cost (including mounting and balancing) to consumers through participating Michelin(R) motorcycle tire servicing retailers.

About Michelin

Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America (www.michelin.com) employs more than 22,000 and operates 19 major manufacturing plants in 17 locations.

About the DOT Code and Tire Identification Number

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) markings serve as the tire’s fingerprint and signify compliance with U.S. Tire Safety Standards. The DOT code can be found on the sidewall right above the rim printed in small type less than half an inch tall.

Make sure your tire is of the make and model:

Michelin(R) Pilot(R) Power 2CT or Michelin(R) Pilot(R) Power 120/70 ZR 17 (58W) Then, look for a DOT code 6UCW 980T or DOT 6UCW 979T on the sidewall.

If you are having difficulty identifying your tire’s DOT code, please ask your local tire dealer to assist you or call Michelin Consumer Relations at 1 866 324 2835. End of Press Release.

If you have had an accident using these tires, you should contact the U.S. Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) and report it. You can get to their website by clicking here now. You should also consult with a lawyer. If you are anywhere in the State of California and have suffered an injury due to having an accident with any of these tires, you can give me a call at 818-584-8831 or go to my Biker Lawyer website by clicking here now or going to www.bikerlawyer.net.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2007

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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month!

California Biker Motorcycle Lawyer Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez at the Hollister Independence Day RallyThe Month of May has been designated as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. You can read the official release from the NHTSA by clicking here.

You can read another article from the American Motorcyclist Association about Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month by clicking here.

You can read yet another article about Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation by clicking here.

You can also read about a bi-partisan Congressional Resolution to promote May as being Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month by clicking here.

I have written many motorcycle safety articles that you can read on this blog by clicking the Safety Tips button on the top of the Blog. I am sure not the holy grail of motorcycle safety, but my many years of riding have given me some good incite into the subject. You might want to read some of the articles even if you think you know it all. You may learn something. I am also inviting all bikers to submit safety articles to me by sending them to Norman@norman-law.com . If the articles are good, I will publish them on the Blog and give you full author credits.

Let’s use this month to get the word out to other bikers, motorcyclist, and cagers, about motorcycle safety.

Keep Both Wheels on the Road.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2007

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Riding your Motorcycle; Safety Tips from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation

Norman Gregory Fernandez friendsThe Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) is the premier organization in the country with respect to promulgating motorcycle safety. They have published an outstanding 86 page manual on riding your motorcycle, and motorcycle safety tips.

Even if you are a long time rider of motorcycles I highly recommend reading the manual. You may learn a few things that you did not know about!

I highly recommend that you read this manual for valuable information on riding your motorcycle and motorcycle safety tips. You can read the manual by Clicking Here Now.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, ESQ. , Copyright 2006

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

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

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

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

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