Monthly Archives: November 2018

What Are The Average Motorcycle Insurance

Average motorcycle insurance rates depend on how much of an accident risk your insurance company deems you and your bike to be. While motorcycle fatalities have declined over the last couple of years, insurance companies tend to see bikes as more risky than cars; thus, your rates for motorcycle insurance will probably be higher than for comparable auto insurance. There are several factors that control how much you pay for motorcycle insurance.

Type of Bike – High-powered sports bikes are more expensive to insure than other motorbikes. These bikes are harder to control; therefore, there’s a greater risk that you will get into an accident while driving a high-powered sports bike. The average motorcycle insurance rate on a sports bike may be close to double that of a lower-powered bike for this reason.

If you want to drive this kind of bike, it’s imperative that you take a driver’s safety course. Not only will this type of class help you become a safer motorcycle driver, but most insurance companies offer bikers a hefty discount if they complete a safety course.

Experience Level – Insurance companies also take your age, experience level and driving history into account when determining the insurance rate for motorcycle coverage. If you’ve never driven a bike before, you’re more likely to get into an accident because of your inexperience. This is especially true of younger drivers, who statistically get into more fatal accidents than older people regardless of whether they are driving a motorcycle or a car.

In addition to your experience level, your insurance company considers your driving history. It may seem unfair to have to pay higher than average motorcycle insurance rates because you have multiple speeding tickets while driving a car, but insurance companies see your driving history as a reasonable measure of how safe a driver you are. If you are constantly speeding or breaking other traffic laws, insurance companies assume you take a lot of risks while driving or are an impatient driver. Thus, you are more likely to get into an accident, regardless of whether you are driving a motorcycle or a car, and your insurance company will charge you a higher rate than it would charge someone who has a cleaner driving record.

Location – Average motorcycle insurance rates differ from state to state because of a wide range of factors. Some states feature poor weather for part of the year. These states may charge you a cheaper rate than states that are sunny year-round because you probably won’t be able to use your bike in heavy rain or snow. Thus, you only have to pay for insurance for the months that you will be using the bike.

Regardless of the weather in your state, urban locations usually require you to pay higher insurance rates than rural locations. The standard of living in cities is higher than out in the country, so everything will be more expensive. In addition, there’s more traffic and congestion in urban locales. This means that there is a greater chance of getting into an accident. Bikes are considered riskier than automobiles when there is congestion because bikers may be tempted to ride between lanes; automobiles are too large to be able to do this.

Type of Insurance – By law, you usually have to carry liability insurance on your motorcycle. Liability insurance is the cheapest type of insurance; it covers damage to other people’s property and bodily injury to other drivers in the event of an accident. However, it doesn’t cover repairs to your motorcycle. You have to purchase comprehensive or collision insurance for this purpose, which is more expensive.

Saving Money on Motorcycle Insurance – Since the average motorcycle insurance rates are much more expensive than comparable auto insurance, it’s important to do whatever you can to keep costs down. Most insurance companies offer discounts to motorcyclists who install anti-theft devices on their motorcycle; the reduced risk of theft drives down the price of motorcycle insurance. You can also get discounts for taking driver safety courses or for insuring your motorcycle and your automobile via the same insurer.

Motorcycle Driving Lessons

For individuals who own a motorcycle, would like to buy one, or simply want to rent one for a weekend ride, the option to first take motorcycle driving lessons is something you have to consider. This will ensure your optimal safety on the roads. In addition to teaching you proper hand signals, turning signals, how to use the controls on your bike, and how to ride, you are also going to learn all about defensive driving, and how to be as safe as possible when you are on the road. With so many threats to you while driving, especially on a motorcycle, the best instructors can truly help to keep you safe on your motorcycle. They will teach you how you can become less of a threat to others as well while you are on the road.

When you do choose to enroll in motorcycle driving lessons, you have to make sure that you take the lessons from highly trained individuals. You will want to find those instructors and schools that have been in business for years. Try to get references from past students. A little homework is in order here. You want to find the schools that have a proven track record in helping others learn how to ride, and learn how to be as safe as they possibly could be while out on the road.

Since you are only on two wheels with no shields to speak of, motorcycle driving offers less protection to you than automobile driving. With no metal surrounding you, risk of injury is far greater on a bike. But that risk can be controlled to a certain extent and that is why it would behoove you to take some motorcycle driving lessons at your earliest convenience.

With the 2013 new year comes new opportunities. Why not resolve to drive your motorcycle the right way by taking some lessons. You will be amazed at all the tips and techniques that you will learn. The defensive driving tips alone will be worth the price of admission. For instance, did you know that a majority of motorcycle accidents happen because of an automobile driver making a left turn across the path of an on coming motorcycle. The motorcycle profile is very narrow as compared to a car and many automobile drivers will not see a biker coming down the road because of this fact. They proceed to turn out of a side street only to have the motorcycle rider hit them broadside.

Watching out for cars coming out of side streets is just one of the many tips that you will learn. So make 2013 a safe year by enrolling today in some motorcycle driving lessons!

Motorcycle Accidents

From Marlon Brando in The Wild Ones, to Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda in Easy Rider, there has always been a certain culture, image or mystique surrounding motorcycles. Ask any motorcycle rider what they love about riding and you will get answers like: I love the wind in my face, there’s nothing like the feeling of freedom on the open road, it’s the best way to see the country, the power and sense of speed is exhilarating, it’s fun and it’s an adrenaline rush. Some may even say, “It’s the risk and danger of it.”

Whether riding a tricked out Harley, a classic Indian or just a daily commuter, there is just something about cruising down the highway or zipping through town on a motorcycle. In today’s economy of high gas prices, they can offer an affordable alternative when filling up at the pump. But there is also another side to motorcycles: accidents.

There is a saying among motorcyclists: “If you ride long enough, it’s not if you’re going to have an accident, it’s when“. And when those accidents happen they are far more likely to cause severe injury or death. Statistics show that on a per-mile driven basis, there are 35 times more deaths among motorcycle riders than automobile drivers. In Emergency Rooms, a dark term for motorcycles is donor cycles. That’s a pretty alarming and the statistics bear closer examination, so let’s break it down.

  • 56% of motorcycle deaths involve collisions with other vehicles
  • 78% of those deaths are from head-on collisions with automobiles or trucks
  • 25% of motorcycle deaths involve hitting a fixed object
  • 75% of motorcycle accidents involve the rider not properly negotiating a curve
  • Half of all motorcycle accidents involve speed and/or alcohol

Here’s one more statistic that may not be so surprising. “Super sport” motorcycles – the high powered machines that are built on a lightweight racing frame modified for street use – have a four times higher death rate than conventional motorcycles. These bikes can reach speeds of over 160 miles per hour and are most often driven by male riders under thirty years of age. Insane speed, plus testosterone, plus youthful, poor judgment can be a lethal combination.

Yes those are sobering statistics, but it doesn’t mean anyone who owns a motorcycle should put it up for sale immediately or send it off the salvage yard to be crushed. There are ways to reduce the risk of becoming a statistic and continue to enjoy your two-wheeled fun machine. It just involves taking a few precautions and using a healthy dose of common sense.

First and foremost, protect yourself.

  • Always wear an approved helmet – no exceptions! 37% of riders who died when not wearing a helmet would have probably survived had they worn one.
  • Wear eye protection: face shield, goggles or sun glasses
  • Wear protective clothing: full finger gloves, long pants, boots, and motorcycle jackets made of leather or other protective material. Some jackets have built-in padding and even body armor.
  • Wear bright colors, even if it’s just your helmet
  • Maintain your bike
  • Be aware of road hazards like pot holes, loose gravel, wet pavement and animals
  • Take a safety class

Second, don’t just pay attention. Be vigilant! Not everyone on the road is motorcycle conscious and not everyone out there is motorcycle friendly. Drive defensively and never assume other drivers notice or even see you. Remember, the widest part of you and your motorcycle is probably the handlebars. The most common comment made by drivers after a collision with a motorcycle is, “I didn’t see it.”

Finally, and it should go without saying, never ever ride after you’ve been drinking. Even a small lapse in reaction time or judgment can be disastrous – even fatal.

Motorcycles can be dangerous and are by design not as safe as being inside an automobile. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be a fun way to get around. Know the risks, protect yourself and always be alert and watchful. Like Steppenwolf song said, “Get your motor runnin’, head out on the highway!” And always, be careful out there.

Michigan Motorcycle Accidents and Your Rights

Most motorcyclists use every possible safety precaution. However, a mistake by another driver may be the cause of a motorcycle accident. In that situation, even the most careful and skilled motorcyclist is at risk of life-threatening injury.

In the United States, about 4,000 motorcyclists die on the highways every year. Traffic accidents injure another 67,000 motorcyclists annually in this country. Many survivors of motorcycle crashes suffer serious injuries that require hospitalization, surgery, and long-term medical treatment. Victims often, never fully regain their ability to return to work or resume family responsibilities.

Even if a motorcycle accident victim fully recovers, the accident can take its toll. An individual may lose time and income from work, need help with household chores, and have to cope with the pain of injuries and necessary medical treatments. In short, a serious motorcycle accident can significantly change the victim’s life — temporarily or even permanently. That is why, if you or a family member is involved in a motorcycle accident, you need to protect your rights.

Motorcycle Accidents in Michigan

The facts about Michigan motorcycle accidents are clear. In 2005, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning reported 120 motorcyclists died in crashes. Another 2,660 motorcyclists were injured in accidents in that year alone. Compared with other travelers, motorcyclists are at greater risk. A Michigan motorcyclist was the victim in 1 out of every 7 crashes causing death, and 1 out of 28 crashes causing injury. Statistics show that the danger is increasing. In the last 10 years, the number of Michigan motorcycle accidents rose by 45%. At the same time, the number of Michigan motorcycle accidents that resulted in death rose by 98%. These facts just begin to show the seriousness of these crashes. Statistics certainly cannot describe the lasting impact on the victims or their families.

What to do After a Michigan Motorcycle Accident to Protect your Rights

If you or other accident victims need emergency medical assistance, ask someone to call an ambulance. If you can, while you are still at the accident scene, collect the following information:

  • Get the name, address, and telephone number of the other driver(s).
  • Get the drivers license number(s) of the other driver(s).
  • Get the insurance information of the other driver(s).
  • Get the make, model and year of the other vehicles(s) and check the vehicle registration.
  • Take down the vehicle owner’s name and address, if the driver does not own that vehicle.
  • If it is a business vehicle, write down the name, address, and telephone number of that business.
  • If it is leased or rented, write down the name, address, and telephone number of the rental company.
  • Give the other driver(s) your name, address, driver’s license number and insurance information.
  • Look around the accident scene to locate all possible witnesses to the accident. Ask for their names, addresses, and telephone numbers (home, cell, and work). If the witnesses do not want to get involved, write down their automobile license plate numbers and the states where the license plates were issued.
  • Listen carefully to comments that the other driver(s) make about events leading up to the accident, such as “I didn’t see you,” and write down their comments.

Call the police, or have someone else call them immediately. Generally, the police officer will interview all the drivers and any witnesses at the accident scene. The police may also collect vital physical evidence and record the location of skid marks, highway signs and markings, and debris from the accident. All this information is critical to “reconstruction” of the accident, to determine the speed of each vehicle, the point of impact, and the person responsible for the accident.

Ask the police officer to find out where the other driver was going. If the driver was traveling on a work assignment, you may have legal claims against both the careless driver and his or her employer. If you did not go to the emergency room right after the accident, see a doctor as soon as possible. It is very important to get a check-up, because you may not be able to tell how badly you are hurt right after an accident. Be sure to follow all the doctor’s instructions about further medical care, tests, treatment, or restrictions on your activity.

After a serious accident, the at-fault driver or his/her insurance company may try to take advantage of an injured victim. To avoid this, follow these guidelines:

  • Do NOT get into an argument with the other driver(s) about what happened.
  • Do NOT sign any statements or documents about the facts of the accident.
  • Do NOT have your bike repaired. Wait until you have an attorney who will get your bike photographed and inspected, notify the other driver’s insurance company, and show it the damage to your motorcycle.
  • Do NOT answer questions from an insurance company or from an attorney representing the other driver.
  • If your own insurance policy requires you to report your accident within a certain time, get an attorney to help you with this as well.

After an accident, it is essential to consult a Michigan motorcycle accident lawyer immediately. In important ways, the legal claims of a Michigan motorcyclist are different — and more complicated — than the claims of an automobile driver, because Michigan law does not consider a motorcycle to be a “motor vehicle.”

Michigan Third Party Claims

The most important legal claim that may be available to an individual who is seriously injured in a Michigan motorcycle accident is a Third Party lawsuit against the driver whose negligence caused the collision. Under Michigan law, you must file this legal action within 3 years of the date of the accident. Your claim would include damages for non-economic loss, including your pain and suffering.

Michigan First Party Claims

The victim of a Michigan motorcycle accident also may have a First Party claim, for No-Fault benefits that cover economic damages, including medical costs, wage loss, attendant care, and replacement services. However, an individual who held legal title to the motorcycle on which he or she was injured, and did not carry the basic liability insurance required by Michigan law, cannot get First Party Benefits. These No-Fault First-Party benefits may be crucial to the economic survival of the injured motorcyclist. Michigan law requires the victim to claim these benefits within one year. To make a proper claim, you first must determine which insurance company is responsible for paying your No-Fault benefits. An attorney can help you through this process, which based on the following legal guidelines:

Michigan Motorcycle Order of Priority for No-Fault Benefits

  • 1st priority is to the insurer of the owner of the motor vehicle involved in the accident, if none then…
  • 2nd priority is to the insurer of the operator of the motor vehicle involved in the accident, if none then…
  • 3rd priority is to the motor vehicle insurer of the operator of the motorcycle involved in the accident, if none then…
  • 4th priority is to the motor vehicle insurer of the owner of the motorcycle involved in the accident, if none then…
  • 5th priority is to the Assigned Claims Facility.

The Michigan Assigned Claims Facility

The Assigned Claims Facility is the State Agency with the power to assign an insurance company to provide benefits to an injured victim who is not eligible for other No-Fault insurance coverage. To get an application for these Benefits, you can contact the Assigned Claim Facility directly at 517-322-1875.

Road Defect Claims

Some motorcycle accidents are not caused by negligent motorists, but instead result from a roadway defect, due to faulty repair of the pavement. In some cases, an injured motorcyclist can make a claim against the state, county, or local government agency responsible for repairing the roadway. These cases involve complicated legal and factual issues. In addition, the time to file these claims is much less than the time for pursing other legal actions. You need an experienced attorney to handle these complex requirements properly. If you believe that you may have a road defect claim, or if you or a loved one was injured in a Michigan motorcycle accident, talk with an experienced Michigan motorcycle accident lawyer.

Attorney Marya Sieminski joined the Law Offices of Sam Bernstein in 2003. She is admitted to practice law in Michigan state courts and in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated magna cum laude from Wayne State University Law School. Marya has worked as a trial lawyer for 10 years and exclusively represented victims in personal injury litigation and in workers compensation claims. She also was appointed by the Governor to serve on the State of Michigan Workers Compensation Qualifications Advisory Committee.