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Ask Our Lawyer - May 2012

Places To Ride Before You Die – Hell’s Angels, 1942 Style

Next year, on your way to Daytona tooling down I-16 or I-95 near Savannah, you may want to stop and pay homage to the Hell’s Angels of the 8th Air Force. There you will find a museum dedicated to the Mighty 8th of the Army Air Corps. It was in Savannah that the 303rd Bombardment Group (H) was formed to fight the Germans during WW II. The Hell’s Angels, as that group called itself, often fought the “Abbeville Kids,” the German yellow-nosed FW190s. On January 11, 1944, the 303rd made a devastating strike that took out much of the German Air Force. For this, the Hell’s Angels were awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for bravery against the enemy. At the Mighty 8th Museum, you will learn all about those who sacrificed their lives for ours. An interesting fact that I learned was the 8th suffered more casualties than the entire Marine Corps during WW II.

If you want to get on the lighter side of things, ride into Savannah to Chippewa Square. (Savannah is laid out in a series of squares with the houses on the outside and a park in the center. They say London is laid out the same way). It was there that Forrest Gump told his life story - feather and all.

Motorcyclists Have To Squat And Grunt? - You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me!

I own too many vehicles/motorcycles to be proud of. Some say I have a collection problem, in that most of these vehicles/motorcycles are not worth much. But I like them, age, rust and all. I like to think of them as classics - Kentucky classics. Some have estimated that it takes me up to 2 hours a year just to keep up with the plates and stickers for the “Kentucky collection.” No problem. But sometimes I don’t keep up with the plate thing. So imagine this: Bubba-ette pulls me over after spotting my ‘84 shovel with expired plates. If I go against my own advice and go 4th Amendment on her (you usually go to jail and get towed when you do that) I can be stripped searched with no problem if that is the policy of the local gendarmes.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington, has held that regardless of the innocuous nature of the crime (like expired plates), the police can take a peek at your privates. While I was not hurt in the war, I can say that I am not fired up about posing in front of my non-favorite cops, especially Beaumadine. Sure they have a right to make sure that bad guys with bad stuff stuck up there are not being introduced into the general prison/jail population, but come on - does that include a guy with a Kentucky vehicle collection who was a little slow on the new plate, who hasn’t had a traffic ticket in years? What has happened to our 4 th Amendment? No wonder we need ABATE if there are people with law degrees, people who are judges who think like that. If they can take a peek up your ass for no real threatening reason, you can damn well be certain that a peek into your home may be next.

The Harley Or Yamaha Has Been Sitting In The Garage Since October - WHAT Do You Do With It Before You Ride?

Many of us are fair weather riders. I got a sidecar for my shovel so I could try riding in the ice and snow. Now, I know why most folks don’t want to ride very far in snow and ice - it is only fun for about an hour. And, even though a side car makes any motorcycle one hell of a snow dog, pushing one out of a snow drift is challenging. Following is a good list of several items of inspection from the MSF that most of us know about, but I thought was well worth reviewing. Pay special attention to the last item - insurance check. Most of the checklists that you see omit that one - and it is the most critical. Check your policy to make sure that you have at least 250k-500k with the same in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Remember that is the coverage for you in case the person that runs over you has no or low insurance limits. This is the coverage that you can use to make your mortgage payments, feed the family and your dog while you are laid up.

Points To Check Before You Ride - MSF Guidelines

Start the riding season right with the T-CLOCS inspection created by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. The following is a summary of their pre-ride inspection checklist that will help you get your bike ready to ride after a long few months of extreme cold and harsh conditions.

T - Tires and Wheels

• Check the air pressure of your tires and inflate to the pressure specified in your owner's manual. Look for wear-and-tear on the treads, and for cracks, bulges or embedded objects.

• Check your wheels for roundness, cracks and dents, and bent, broken or missing spokes.

C – Controls

• Review the levers and pedals to make sure they're still lubricated, and adjusted and fitted properly. They should not be broken, bent, or cracked.

• Inspect cables to make sure they are not frayed, kinked, or folded into sharp angles. Also, test to make sure your bike's cables at no time interfere with your ability to steer.

• Check hoses for cuts, cracks, leaks, bulges, chafing or deterioration. Like cables, hoses should not interfere with your steering or suspension, and should not be folded into sharp angles.

• Test that the throttle moves freely, does not stick and snaps closed when released.

L - Lights

• If you removed your battery over the winter, re-install it - your owner's manual should tell you how. Check the battery to make sure the terminals are clean and tight, and that it's properly charged and secured. Check the vent tube to confirm it is not kinked or plugged, and is routed properly.

• Look over the lenses on the bike to make sure they are not cracked or broken, are securely mounted and do not have excessive condensation trapped within.

• Make sure the reflectors are not cracked, broken and are securely mounted.

• Review the bike's headlamp for cracks. Confirm it points at the right height and direction. Test the operation of the high beam and low beam options.

• Test the tail lamp and brake lights to make sure they work when they should, and they are not cracked. Clean and ensure they are properly secured.

• Test both of the turn signals - left and right!

O- Oil and other fluids

• Check the levels and quality of the engine oil, transmission oil, shaft drive, hydraulic fluid, coolant and fuel. Replace or top-up fluids that need it.

• Check for leaks of these same fluids.

C - Chassis

• Review the condition of the frame, looking for lifting paint, cracks, or dents.

• Make sure the front forks and rear shocks are properly adjusted.

• Check the tension of the belt or chain. Lubricate the chain if needed, and inspect the teeth of the sprockets confirming they are not hooked and are properly mounted.

• Replace broken or missing fasteners and tighten if loosened.

S- Stands

• For both center stands and side stands, make sure they are not cracked or bent and that the stand springs into place and has the required tension to hold the bike in position.

For more spring-ready tips, check your owner's manual. It's sure to have a checklist for getting your particular make and model of bike ready for a summer of riding after a long winter of inactivity. Also, don't be shy to take it into a professional for a spring tune-up if you are at all unsure or uncertain. It will be money well spent.

Now that you, or a professional, has inspected the bike to make sure it's ready for the coming riding season, let's not forget that your riding skills have not been practiced in quite a few months. In fact, it's likely you're down right rusty (it's been a long winter after all.) Make your first ride a short one at low speeds. A test ride in a parking lot or around the block will give you an opportunity to get a feel again for the skills required to brake and maneuver a bike safely. You can even take a refresher course. After all, if your bike needs a tune-up, wouldn't also the rider? There are courses designed specifically for the experienced rider that builds upon existing rider skills.

Finally, ADJUST YOUR MOTORCYCLE INSURANCE COVERAGE. Many insurance companies will allow you to remove road or driving coverages on your bike over the winter months. Now that you're getting your bike ready for the road, you will need to revise that coverage. Since motorcycle insurance rates can vary significantly year to year, it's wise to compare motorcycle insurance quotes every year before committing to another season of monthly insurance premiums; and riders looking to buy a new ride should compare insurance quotes for different models to see how much they'll cost to insure before they make a final decision.

Spring Roadwork Guidelines

These notes come from the Missouri DOT, but apply to all of the places we ride. -Rod

The spring pavement striping program has begun, and drivers will see slow-moving caravans of trucks painting roadways throughout the state. Crisp, easy-to-see striping is a significant safety feature on roadways. The paint contains glass beads that reflect light from headlights in the dark. The striping trains move between 8 mph and 12 mph when workers are painting white and yellow lines on the highways. The trucks have flashing lights, boards with flashing arrows and signs that say "Wet Paint."

Many striping crews are working 12-hour days Monday through Saturday. Although most of the striping is done during daylight hours, some nighttime work will be scheduled when traffic volumes are lighter. Rain or very damp conditions will cancel or cut short any striping work that is scheduled.

Safety Tips

Motorists should use caution in and around the striping equipment and crew workers. Here are riding tips to remember when coming upon a striping project:

- Stay behind the last truck in the work train. This will keep you from tracking fresh paint across the lanes and damaging the new stripes. It also will prevent paint from getting onto your bike.

- On four-lane highways, pull around the striping train by merging carefully into the open lane.

- On two-lane highways, stay behind the last truck in the striping train, placed well behind the striping truck. This will give the new paint the few minutes it needs to dry. If traffic backs up behind the striping train, crews will pull out of the way where it is safe to do so and let congestion clear.

- If you drive through wet paint, which is water-based, clean your bike as quickly as possible with a high-powered water hose such as those used in car washes.

Good tips for safe riding this spring!

ABATE, though many know it not, is one of the greatest rights organizations ever; but what it reaches for by far exceeds what it has achieved, and what it has achieved is magnificent.

Remember, injured ABATE members pay only 28 ½% of total recovery and expenses as approved by client, consistent with and conforming to applicable state law. Elsewhere, you may pay 33 ⅓%, 40% or even 50% of your recovery. And, ABATE members are not charged for recovery of damage to your motorcycle, and have access to a 24-hour toll-free telephone number.

Call us at (800) 25-RIDER

If you have any questions you would like to ask the lawyer, please submit them to ASK OUR LAWYER, at rodtaylor@abatelegal.com. © 2012, ABATE Legal Services.