Motorcycle Season: Re-Evaluate Motorcycle and ATV Insurance Coverage
Posted on April 19th, 2023 by Zane Cagle
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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, but it just cannot wait. The high number of serious injury and fatal motorcycle crashes over the last few of weeks serve as a stark reminder that motorcycle season is here. Maybe it takes Midwesterners longer to be aware that motorcycle season is here because we are caught in the Midwest brutal winters for so long. Motorcyclists do not have a few months for the rest of us to Keep a Look Out for Motorcycles. Also, increases in sales of ATV’s, UTVS and just more sophisticated golf carts have literally made these type of vehicles more common all over Missouri and Illinois. Once upon a time, ATV’s and UTV’s were mostly in rural areas, but they are everywhere in every neighborhood. Increased numbers and traffic usually lend to more related crashes and that is proving true.
April Motorcycle/ ATV Crashes
There have been almost 40 motorcycle involved crashes in April in Missouri according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP). Also, there have been about 20 ATV related crashes. These crashes almost always result in serious injuries or death. Considering the flux in weather, 60 combined incidents is really high. These crashes are just the ones worked by the MSHP. There are many more crashes worked by local municipalities. These injures are often life-threatening. Furthermore, the number of the collisions where no insurance is involved can easily ruin an entire family’s financial situation at the same time they suffer a family member’s life-time injury.
Missouri law requires that every motorcyclist carry insurance. Honestly, the law only requires “financial responsibility” which means you carry basic liability which is $25,000.00 . That coverage only applies to other you hit. Liability-only insurance doesn’t ‘actually take care of you, your bike or your injuries. If you are hurt, $25,000 is not really very meaningful. Same with all motor vehicles. Liability coverage leaves you high and dry on your property and your injuries if you are in a single-vehicle collision or if incident is your fault. We are not insurance brokers! We fight insurance companies. However, if there is no insurance, there is no claim to make. Get insured. If you ride a motorcycle, you should consider nothing less than Full Coverage. Your citation for failure to have insurance is a minor thing if you are in a crash and hurt without a insurance coverage.
Some Important Things to Remember About ATV/UTV and Golf Carts
ATV’s, UTV’s, Golf Carts are Not Toys
The number of severe brain injuries that occur due to minor children riding ATV’s and the like are extremely high. Is there a way to remove danger out of everything we do? Of course not. Are all people injured or killed on ATV’s reckless? Of course not. Do we tend to think these ATV’s and supped up golf carts as safe? We often do. However, just like operating any motor vehicle, distraction and small driving errors can result in serious injury or worse. Whether you have one in your neighborhood or on your acreage, operate with the respect that people can be seriously injured quickly and severely. If your child is going to be operating the ATV, supervise. We don’t actually recommend that you allow your minor children to drive or ride solo without parental supervision. The sheer number of deaths and severe brain injuries–permanent injuries that occur while kids are riding ATV’s and the like are really staggering. No, we cannot remove all danger but you can require that your kids adhere to safety rules and wear helmets.
Consider Extending Your Insurance Policy to Your ATV or Golf Cart
So often, we discover these tragic serious or fatal injury ATV incident through the MSHP and in the news . Often, these crashes involve several occupants. These nightmares happen to adults as well as children. So often we find after the fact, the ATV was not included under the insurance policy of the owner. Word to the wise–include your ATV/ UTV, side by side or golf cart on your home owners insurance policy or explore including on your auto policy. Personally, when we purchased a side by side at our house, our plan was to use it to make ice cream runs in the neighborhood. Turns out, it is fun and convenient. We use it all over the neighborhood and for yard work. My family and dog love it! (Yes, the dog does have a safety restraint as he thinks he is a person)
Whoa, all of a sudden, as an injury attorney who represents injured folks at the worst time in their lives, I had to think about the worst case scenario involving our side by side. What if we have neighbors on this thing or one of us crashes this thing into another property, pedestrian or hurt ourselves? Grim, I know. I added an addendum through my home owners insurance and like all insurance, hope I never need it. It’s like anything–plan for the worst and you are covered.
Prevention and Safety is the Key
Preventing motorcycle and ATV crashes is far better than trying to assemble someone after a crash. Often, full assembly is just not an option. I meet so many people that are so grotesquely hurt after motorcycle crashes that it has left a lasting impression. It is an emotional, physical and psychological struggle for those injured to recover. Not only does that individual suffer but their family and all of their relationships suffer no matter how great of a person my client is. Their stories are often very inspirational but tragic just the same. Injuries that are preventable are by definition worse because they could be prevented. Wee all must recognize that motorcyclists and bicyclist have the same rights to a safe roadway as each of us operating a passenger vehicle. So often, these motorcyclists were absolutely following all of the rules and had ridden safely for decades.
WEAR A HELMET
Yes, I know Missouri no longer has a mandatory helmet law. And just like every other state that has repealed their mandatory helmet law, our motorcycle fatalities rose substantially. The statistics are really clear. Appropriately approved motorcycle helmets save lives. Whether you chose to wear it or not is a “personal decision” as they like to say. However, if you are in a motorcycle crash and you must litigate your case, the juror deciding your case will have opinions about it. Just like seat belts in a passenger car, the large majority of the public agree that safety steps are necessary and responsible. The point? Your safety and well being is really more important than any legal case. If you end up in a legal case, then you are seriously hurt.
Wear Protective Clothing
The great thing about protective motorcycle clothing is that is looks very cool. (They kind of did that on purpose) Choosing to ride a motorcycle in your shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops is simply irresponsible. Yet, we have all witnessed the like. Honestly, those that ride recklessly do not ride for long. Motorcycle riding does not have a lot of room for errors or lack of safety. Motorcycle riding does not suffer foolish people for long. Those who ride seriously know exactly what that means. Motorcyclists are required to ride safer, more defensively and must to be alert at all times. Motorcyclists know that so many other drivers do not see them and worse, sometimes don’t care.
When you are hit while on a motorcycle, there are no seat belts and you don’t have the cab protection of the motor vehicle. The metal and velocity directly impact the motorcyclist. Ejection in any motor vehicle scenario greatly reduces one’s likelihood of surviving. Ejection is more the norm than the exception and the injures are almost always REALLY SEVERE.
Motorists Have a Responsibility to Keep a Look out
Motorcyclists have the same right to safe roadways as a passenger vehicle operators or a semi-truck drivers. Just as you have to pay attention to avoid cutting in front of a semi-truck, you have to check your mirrors for motorcycles. Motorcycle season has started and motorcycles are going to be on our roadways. If you don’t ride motorcycles, you may think that does not impact you. If you inadvertently hit a motorcyclist or another passenger vehicle due to failure to pay attention, it is a really an emotional burden. Failing to pay attention or inattentive driving can endanger yourself as well as others.
The thing is, motorcyclists that operate their bikes in a reckless way do not usually ride long. Motorcycle riding is not forgiving or slight errors. However, in order to motorcyclists to be safe, we all have to pay attention. Every serious motorcyclist I know practices extreme safety EVERY TIME THEY CLIMB ON THE BIKE.
We all share the road–let’s do it safely.
If you’ve been in a motorcycle crash, then you are hurt. People who are hurt need an attorney. We represent the seriously injured thus, we represent a lot of motorcyclists hit by other drivers. It’s not a short process, as physical recovery is long for those seriously injured. Serious injuries are life-changing injuries. Again, we would rather continually put out safety messages in an attempt to prevent these life-changing crashes. We do recognize that crashes occur and occur far more often in warmer months. We are available to help seven days a week