Motorcycles: Freedom of the Open Road
Who can forget James Bond in Quantum of Solace, the film Faster, or Peter Fonda’s character of Wyatt in the 1969 iconic film, Easy Rider? Flying down the highway on the heels of a tailwind—you’re one with open road—equals a freedom of spirit and motion you just can’t get from a car.
Riding a motorcycle is the ultimate freedom. But this vehicular freedom comes at a steep price to throttle jockeys who might assume that insuring their bike is the same as underwriting a car or truck once they’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident on Cape Cod.
What motorcycle riders need to know about the law and insurance
Among the key Massachusetts motorcycle laws in the Commonwealth, unlike for automobiles, no automatic no-fault benefits exist for bikes after an accident. This is mostly because legislators had in the past deemed that motorcycles are inherently dangerous. In short, this means the typical $8,000 no-fault benefit to pay medical bills and lost wages is unavailable following a motorcycle accident.
However, if you’re riding a bike, you can purchase medical payment coverage to cover the cost of medical expenses. This is the number one thing an injury lawyer will advise. Buy as much motorcycle insurance as you can afford, because this sort of coverage is fairly inexpensive. But remember, because it’s so easy to be injured in a motorcycle accident, the purchase of underinsurance coverage is critical in assuring you are compensated adequately for an injury.
This coverage will supplement whatever the other driver had (if any) in order to increase your recovery. Lawyers will counsel clients to maximize their medical payment and underinsurance coverage in their policies, especially motorcycle riders. Merely having basic health insurance coverage usually isn’t enough. In most cases, you will have to reimburse your health insurance company out of your settlement to reimburse them for their coverage. If medical payments are available, they can be used to offset such payments. Lawyers see first-hand the tragedy of the aftermath especially for those who are underinsured or worse yet, have no insurance at all.
Again, before you hit the magic button on your bike, be sure your insurance is squared. And this goes for the Sunday-only biker donning a motorcycle helmet who rides a short distance in daylight, or an experienced biker taking hairpins and high-sides in excess of 100 m.p.h. whether you’re handling a busa or bobber, bonnie, chopper or motard. Have fun on the road, but be safe, and smart. Wear appropriate equipment and clothing and avoid Fool’s Gear: t-shirt, no helmet, sandals and shorts. Go with ATGATT – All The Gear, All the Time: helmet, boots, leather pants, jacket and gloves.
Equally as important, however, is the insurance you provide for yourself that brings peace of mind to the open road. Paul & Steven Aiken, of Aiken & Aiken, P.C., specialize in the areas of personal injury, civil litigation and workers’ compensation law in Hyannis, MA. Aiken & Aiken is one of the first Personal Injury Law Firms on the Cape and represents clients in all towns on Cape Cod and throughout Southeastern Massachusetts. They are especially successful with cases involving complex medical issues.