Monday, February 29, 2016

Cue Tom Petty - the waiting is the hardest part

Get it? Spring..... around the corner.... Hahaha!!
This might literally be the toughest time of year for motorcycle enthusiasts that live in the frozen tundra for six months out of the year. Lately, where I live, I've been getting teased with warmer spring-like weather one day, only to have the temps plummet to -5°F for the low two days later....

But, while we're still waiting, now is the time to start going over what you should go over on your bike before that first spring ride. There are quite a few websites/blogs that will give you mostly the same information:

  1. Read your owners manual - you'd be surprised at just  how much information is in there!!
  2. Fuel - hopefully you filled your gas tank with treated gas so that it would stay fresh. 
  3. Battery - Harley batteries are sealed, so you don't need to check the acid levels. And if you've had your bike on a battery tender all through winter, you're doing good! Just do a quick check and make sure there's no corrosion building up. 
  4. Oil & Filter - did you change these before you put your bike to bed? If so you're good to go. If not you should do it now.
  5. Controls - check your cables for fraying and correct adjustment, throttle for smooth movement, pedals & levers for breakage.
  6. Tires - where the rubber meets the road is the most important part of your ride!! Check for proper inflation, and that you have enough tread depth. Showing 'wear bars' on your tire but don't have the money to spend for your bike's new shoes?? Stop and think of the real cost that you could pay....
  7. Lights - do they all light up?? Check that the low & high beam, running, turn signals, emergency and brake lights are all working.
Familiar with T-CLOCS? It's an acronym to help you remember what to check before going out on a ride - and it doesn't hurt to check out your cage (aka car) also. Here's a checklist from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation just for you!!

But, THE MOST IMPORTANT SAFETY PRECAUTION YOU CAN DO NOW IS to check over your Motorcycle Insurance Policy. "Oh, I've got the required insured amounts for my motorcycle - I'm good!!", but sadly you probably are not.

Unfortunately I lost a dear friend last year in a motorcycle accident. He and his wife (each on their own bike) had traveled to South Dakota and were celebrating the 75th Year of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally when he was struck by a cager and killed. Since then his widow has been an advocate for proper motorcycle insurance coverage.

AND know your Motorcycle Insurance Coverage
The person that hit my friend also had the required insurance amounts for her vehicle, that is the minimum insurance amounts, but nothing more. In New York State those minimum amounts are $25K bodily injury per person/$50K total bodily injury if more than one person is injured. Did you know that the average Life Flight (when the rider/driver is flown to the trauma center) is $15,000? Then add in emergency room, surgical suite, and hospitalization costs.... These minimum amounts have not kept up with the increasing medical costs. 

Sure my friend's widow could sue the cager that hit her husband, but chances are slim to none that she'd receive any settlement before the driver declares bankruptcy. Do you know the saying, "You can't get blood from a stone."? That applies here.

So what can you do? Check out your Uninsured/Under-Insured Motorist coverage levels. This is what my friend and his wife both have - and it's what saved her from financial ruin. UM/UIM is what kicks in after the coverage limits from the other at-fault motorist are reached. And all for what is usually a minor increase to your insurance bill - but again, consider the true cost of not having this type of insurance coverage .

Check out these articles below for more information. Or - better yet - go over your insurance policy with your insurance agent (or attorney) and ask him/her to explain everything!!