In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it, you don't realize that through that car window, everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.
On a cycle, the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.
-Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
You drive a car, but you ride a motorcycle. With the right training and protective gear, riding a motorcycle can be a fantastic way to get from point A to point B.
Riding a motorcycle can also be a great way save time in traffic. In 2013, the California Motorcyclist Safety Program — A Program of the California Highway Patrol — published Lane Sharing General Guidelines that provide common-sense traffic safety tips for riding between lanes of stopped or slower moving traffic (or moving between lanes to the front of traffic stopped at a traffic light). California law does not prohibit lane sharing. Moreover, intentionally blocking or impeding a motorcyclist in a way that could cause harm to the rider is illegal (Vehicle Code § 22400); and opening a vehicle door to impede a motorcycle is illegal as well (Vehicle Code § 22517).
Another benefit to riding a motorcycle is the cost savings at the pump. In 2008, when gas prices reached $4.50 per gallon, NPR did a story on Driving Motorcycles to Save Gas. Motorcycles are generally more fuel efficient than cars, and with increasing gas prices the savings can add up. That being said, safety and protection should always trump savings. As Pirsig writes, “In a car you’re always in a compartment…One a cycle, the frame is gone.” Safe riding and adequate protective gear are important ways to prevent serious or fatal injuries that can occur when “you’re in the scene” on a bike.
Just like safety training and protective gear, the expense of adequate insurance coverage should not be spared by motorcycle riders. You have to be prepared. When a distracted driver turns in front of a motorcyclist, for example, the crash can cause serious or fatal injuries. Sadly, that example is all too common; and the California state minimum liability insurance requirement of $15,000 for injury or death (Insurance Code §11580.1b) is wholly inadequate under those circumstances. Every motorcycle rider should have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM), which provides an additional source of recovery when the other party does not have enough insurance. If you are unsure about whether or not you have UM/UIM coverage, call your insurance agent today and find out. More insurance will not prevent a motorcycle accident, but adequate coverage is necessary to obtain fair compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one are involved in a motorcycle crash, you should contact a California Motorcycle Accident Attorney to help determine all sources of compensation to ease the financial burden of medical bills and expenses. If UM/UIM coverage is available, your lawyer can guide you through the first-party claims process to ensure that you get full value on the policy. The laws regarding UM/UIM coverage are complex; and even though a UM/UIM claim is with your own insurance company, you have the burden to prove your case. Regardless of who paid the premiums, the UM/UIM insurance carrier always has the incentive to save money by minimizing the compensation payable on your claim. For more information, call for a free consultation with a California Motorcycle Accident Attorney.