Tag Archives: Tips/training

Kentucky Motorcycle Accident Statistics & KY Helmet Laws

(Contributed post)

Should Kentucky motorcycle riders wear helmets?

There were 122,360 motorcycles registered in Kentucky as of 2018, according to the Kentucky Traffic Collision Facts, 2018 Report (Collision Report). And while motorcycles are part of less than 1% of all collisions, they amount to 7% of fatal accidents. Riders need to be aware that though the risk of a crash is low, the likelihood of being seriously injured or killed in a collision isn’t negligible.

One of the factors that can determine whether a collision results in a fatality is whether riders wear helmets. Kentucky doesn’t have a universal helmet law. A vast majority of riders can decide not to wear a helmet—and many do. But what is the consequence of this choice? Many could argue the outcome is unnecessary injuries and deaths.

Kentucky Helmet Laws

As of 1998, Kentucky has limited helmet laws, according to Kentucky Safety Facts, published by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Previously, Kentucky had a universal helmet law in place, which was originally enacted in 1968.

Currently, a rider is required to wear a helmet only if they:

  • Are under 21 years old;
  • Possess a motorcycle instruction permit; or
  • Have held an operator’s license for less than one year.

In general, young and inexperienced riders must have helmets. But riders who have held a license for over one year and are older than 21 years old can forgo this safety equipment.

The real question is, are Kentuckians wearing helmets? The answer appears to be that a little over half of riders are using helmets. In 2017, 60% of riders surveyed wore helmets, according to the Collision Report. (Kentucky didn’t gather data for 2018.) This figure was down from 68% in 2015.

Motorcycle Crashes in Kentucky

The Kentucky State Police reported 1,494 motorcycles were involved in collisions in the state in 2018, according to the Collision Report. This amounted to only 0.61% of all collisions—a negligent amount. Passenger cars and trucks were far more likely to be involved in a crash at 90.98 percent, followed by large trucks at 4.35 percent.

Fatal Motorcycle Crashes: Do Helmets Matter?

When it came to fatal collisions, motorcycles played a bigger role. In 2018, 86 motorcycles were involved in deadly crashes, amounting to 7.47% of all fatal collisions and 88 deaths, according to the Collision Report.

Riders might wonder whether helmets play a significant role in preventing motorcycle fatalities. The numbers suggest they do. In 2018, 54 motorcycle riders were killed when they weren’t using a helmet, while 34 riders who used a helmet were killed.

There also was a difference between the number of motorcyclists injured while wearing a helmet vs. not. The same year, 536 motorcycle riders were injured while not using a helmet, while 496 were injured while wearing a helmet.

Kentucky lawmakers know helmet laws matter. When legislators repealed Kentucky’s universal helmet law in 1998, motorcycle facilities increased over 50%, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that helmets reduce motorcycle rider fatalities up to 37% and brain injuries up to 65%.

Additionally, in May 2020, motorcycle safety awareness month, Kentucky Office of Highway Safety Acting Executive Director Jason Siwula encouraged motorcyclists to wear protective gear, including helmets, according to ABC 13 WBKO.

Motorcyclists Follow Universal Helmet Laws

There’s little debate about it: universal helmet laws that require all or nearly all riders to wear helmets are effective. The U.S. General Accounting Office reviewed nine separate studies and found between 92% and 100% helmet use in states with universal helmet laws. When helmets are required, a vast majority of riders wear them. They obey the law.

In contrast, between 42% and 59% of riders use helmets in states with limited helmet laws. When helmets become optional, many riders choose not to wear them despite their clear safety benefit.

Should Kentucky Motorcyclists Wear Helmets?

Though most motorcycle riders in Kentucky aren’t required to wear helmets, they should. Studies have confirmed that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury and death.

Wearing a helmet is even more important when riders consider minimum auto insurance requirements vs. the average cost of a head injury. Motorists in Kentucky are required to carry minimum liability insurance of $25,000 for bodily injuries per person, $50,000 for all bodily injuries per crash, and $25,000 for property damage. 

Serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI), will cost much more than a minimum auto insurance policy will cover, even if the rider has health insurance. Victims of a motorcycle crash will need to work with a motorcycle accident lawyer to recover as much compensation as possible from the negligent driver.

Treating a TBI is expensive, and a rider who sustained a moderate-to-severe TBI might need years of treatment or even lifelong care. The cost of a TBI is exasperated by the likelihood of unemployment in the years following. The lifetime cost of treating a TBI can vary between $85,000 and $3 million, according to Dr. Chandi Edmonds, previously the director of clinical education in the Physical Therapy and Human Movement Science Department at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

By wearing helmets, despite the legal requirement to do so, motorcyclists reduce the risk of suffering a head injury that could lead to pain and suffering, physical and cognitive disability, unemployment, and extensive medical debt.

Choosing the Right Helmet

The Kentucky Motorcycle Manual provides more information on choosing the right helmet. Whether the rider chooses a full-face or three-quarter helmet style, it should be designed to meet the U.S. Department of Transportation’s standards. 

The helmet should fit snugly and have no visible defects, like loose padding or cracks. Riders should wear the helmet firmly secured to prevent it from coming off during a collision. They also should also consider a brightly colored helmet or a helmet with reflectors to help other motorists see them at night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

‘Free’ vehicle check service offered

A major Australian insurance company has launched a “free” check on the history of used motorcycles and other vehicles so you don’t buy a lemon.

If you are buying a used motorcycle, you should check to see if it is stolen, has money owing on it, has been written off in a crash or has been damaged in a flood or storm.

Buyers used to check the state-based REVS (Register of Encumbered Vehicles) or VSR (Vehicle Securities Register).

Since 2012, this has been nationalised in Australia under the Personal Property Security Register website which now costs $25.

There are several private websites that offer similar services, but they can be quite expensive and may offer information that is not relevant to your purchasing decision.

Be wary if you simply Google-search for “PPSR” as you will also find private suppliers.

These are only useful if you want a more in-depth report that may show things such as odometer regularities, or “clocking” where the seller winds the odd back.

‘Free’ service

Now Budget Direct insurance company has launched a “free” service.

It says it’s a “car search”, but it also works for motorcycles as Budget Direct does insure motorcycles.

This service may save you a couple of bucks, but you need to know that you have to supply your email and phone number.

After I did a search as a test, Budget Direct contacted me via email for an insurance quote.

I then tried to manually unsubscribe from their email service several times, but it kept throwing up an error.

I have not yet been contacted by phone, but I suspect that may be coming.

So while the service may be free from payment, there could be an associated hassle.

PPSR check

There are several scams that make buying a second-hand motorcycle a risk. Click here for some of the most prominent scams.

At least you can be assured with an official PPSR check that you do not end up buying a lemon, a stolen bike or one that will be repossessed by a finance company because the previous owner still owed money on it.

To make a PPSR check, you will need to supply the vehicle identification number (VIN). Never buy a vehicle from anyone unless they provide the VIN.

You can find the VIN on a registration notice or on the bike’s steering head, front frame or on the bottom of the engine.

It could be on a special plate, or stamped or etched into the frame or engine.VIN PPSR Cheap and easy check on used motorcycles

Turn the handlebars to the left and look on the right side of the frame where the steering head goes through the frame.

In a car, a VIN could be in a number of different places: Wheel arches, dashboard, boot, under the spare tyre, doors, door frames, and in the engine bay.

PPSR can also be accessed for various other personal property such as cars, boats, caravans, pant, machinery, shares and even works of art.

You can also search non-material items such as accounts, intellectual property, investment instruments, or licences.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

TruCAM II: Rider’s friend or foe?

While some riders may not like the hi-tech TruCAM II radar gun’s ability to more accurately measure speed, the device could also be considered a friend of the motorcyclist.

Features which may appeal are its ability to target tailgaters, aggressive drivers, distracted driving and vehicles obstructing traffic.

Call to double driver phone penalties roundabouts distracted
Distracted drivers are one of our most hated motorists

So why aren’t they used more for these offences, rather than just speeding offences?

We asked police and transport departments in several states for statistics on offences from TruCAM II units and were either told the figures were not available or would take days/weeks to acquire.

We will update this article if they ever arrive.

TruCAM II

Many police departments now have TruCAM II devices but some don’t divulge their technology.

Victoria Police said they do not use the devices which cost about $A36,000 (£20,000, $US25,000) per unit.

While the units could be a friend to riders, more often than not they seem to be their foe.

Some of their abilities specifically target riders including its “rear-plate mode” which measures the speed of an approaching motorcycle (or other vehicle with a missing or obscured front plate) and tracks it as it passes so that it captures the number plate.

The images are highly accurate to 150m and at speeds up to 320km/h.

Manufacturers Laser Technology Inc (LTI) say the device will detect any vehicle, capturing its make, model and registration plate.

LTI claim the cost of the device is justified by providing better proof of an offence so officers are not required to front court when a fine is challenged.

Other features include:

  • Differentiating speeding motorcycles and other vehicles in heavy traffic, including when lane filtering/splitting;lane filter filtering splitting traffic commute commuting congestion Brisbane
  • Automatically capturing images in a fixed distance, such as school and construction zones;
  • Auto focus, iris and shutter speed for clear number plate images up to 150m away;
  • Enforcing multiple speed limits on the same highway and distinguishing between commercial and private vehicles;
  • Allowing enforcement at night or within tunnels;
  • Capturing vehicles misusing bus, transit or car pool lanes;
  • Detecting vehicles obstructing traffic;
  • Measuring the speed, traveling time and distance between two vehicles for “Following Too Closely” or “tailgating” violations; and
  • Detecting drivers and passengers not wearing seat belts.

Since the system’s clarity can detect seat belt infringements it may also pick up riders who have not done up their helmet chin strap.

LTI say TruCAM II also has built-in detection algorithms to combat laser jammers. (Western Australia is the only state in Australia that allows radar detectors.)

LTI have sold more than 6000 photo/video lasers to more than 90 countries.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

6 Automotive Industry Attorneys Explain Common Auto Dealer Fraud

(Contributed post on common auto dealer fraud for our North American readers)

Most everyone goes into the process of purchasing a motorcycle or car with a healthy degree of skepticism.

However, while you may be prepared for aggressive sales tactics, some dealers also engage in blatantly fraudulent behavior that may catch you by surprise.

When you are an automotive attorney, you reach the point where nothing surprises you anymore. From filing fraudulent loan applications to rebuilding salvage titles and hoisting them on unsuspecting consumers, some auto dealers have almost turned fraud into an art form. And their favorite victims are those with limited incomes and poor credit.

There are many federal and state laws that penalize fraudulent sales, marketing, and financing schemes. However, thousands of consumers still fall victim to fraud every year. Below, we review what attorneys have to say about some of the most common types of auto dealer fraud.

Knowingly Selling Bad Vehicles

When you think of auto fraud, one of the first things that probably comes to mind is dealers making false claims about a vehicle’s condition.

Thomas R. Breeden, a consumer rights attorney in Virginia explains, “One of the most common types of fraud is selling a vehicle without disclosing that it has a history of damage, such as a salvage title due to extensive body and frame destruction or other title blemishes.”

When you complain, the dealer may try to hide behind an “as-is” clause in your contract to avoid responsibility. However, this does not excuse them from failing to disclose known problems with a vehicle. In fact, some states prohibit “as-is” sales completely, and other states severely restrict them.

Even if the dealer claims you’re out of luck, you should consider consulting an attorney about the problem. They can advise you of any options you have for making an auto dealer fraud claim.

False Odometer Readings

Texas attorney Allen Stewart Odometer also points out that “odometer tampering is a common fraudulent scheme.” Used car dealers will roll back the odometer to make it look like it has fewer miles on it.

Stewart points to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stating that more than 450,000 vehicles with false odometer readings are sold each year. This fraud costs American consumers more than $1 billion yearly.

Fraudulent Charges

Another way car dealers commit fraud is to inflate prices above sticker value. They can also add hidden charges without disclosing or explaining them to the customer. Sometimes they will even represent that certain upgrades or services are “required” to get the customer to pay for things they don’t need or want. 

George O. West III has a law practice in Las Vegas that focuses on representing fraud victims. He observes that “[i]t is not uncommon for people to begin to realize they were the victim of auto fraud only after speaking with” an attorney. “Often people have a general feeling that something did not go quite right when they bought their car but may think it is part of the process.”

West explains that although “hidden charges or overcharging . . . may look suspicious, . . . the consumer may not understand exactly what or why they are being charged.” Consumers expect some degree of nickel and diming, so they may just overlook some of these charges. But in fact, many of these types of charges are blatantly fraudulent.

Bait & Switch 

Another common type of fraud occurs when a dealer tells you one thing and then changes their tune later. When it comes to marketing, this often takes the form of a “bait and switch.” 

A bait and switch occurs when the dealer advertises something to get you into the store, such as a particular price or a financing deal. However, when you actually try to take advantage of the deal, they tell you that the car is no longer available and sell you something similar—or even the same car advertised—at a higher price. 

Pauliana Lara, an auto fraud attorney in Southern California, explains, “They get the client very excited, and the client is very emotional, and they end up buying the car.” Lara had a client who fell victim to this scheme and ended up paying $3,000 more than the advertised price for a Prius. When he checked the ad again after getting home with his new car, he realized the car he bought had the exact same VIN as the car in the advertisement.

Yo-Yo Sales

“Yo-yo” sales also involve dealers changing their tune after you’re already on the hook. Missouri attorney Summer Masterson-Goethals explains that a yo-yo sale involves delivering the car to the consumer without finalizing the transaction: “The consumer believes they have a deal but later, the dealer informs the consumer that the transaction fell through for one reason or another and makes the consumer either return the car or agree to different terms than originally bargained for . . . .” Masterson-Goethals warns that sometimes the dealer will even sell the consumer’s trade-in vehicle before going back on the deal. 

Credit Application Fraud

Credit application fraud is extremely common among car dealers. In fact, the Maryland firm of Whitney, LLP reports that 1 in 5 credit applications it reviews for clients reveals credit application fraud and sometimes even forgeries.

Common tactics used in credit application fraud include:

  • Falsely inflating the applicant’s income;
  • Misrepresenting a person’s job title or how long they have worked for an employer;
  • Falsely reporting that the applicant has a job they don’t have;
  • Faking a trade-in so it looks like the borrow has made a larger down payment;
  • Inflating the value of the vehicle so it looks like the borrower has made a down payment when they haven’t or so that the loan-to-value ratio appears greater;
  • Not reporting the applicant’s other financial obligations; and
  • Stating that the applicant’s rent or mortgage payments are lower than they are.

Georgia auto fraud attorney Michael Flinn relates the example of a retired truck driver he represented. Despite Flinn’s client making only $1,500 a month, a dealership sold him a $35,000 vehicle by falsifying his credit application. Eventually, employees at the dealership received federal fraud charges.

Flinn advises consumers to “[a]sk to see the credit application filled out before you sign it. Don’t let there be blanks for your income. Do not agree to providing false income information. . . . Be suspicious if you are being sold more car than you thought you could afford.”

It’s never a good idea to obligate yourself on a loan you can’t afford to pay. This is especially true if the dealer talked you into a more expensive car by fraudulently securing your loan. If you can’t afford to pay your loan, your car will be repossessed. This will affect your credit score and can even lead to bankruptcy.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Truck tyre debris a hazard to riders

Our highways are littered with shredded tyre debris mainly from trucks often using retreaded tyres, posing a significant danger to vulnerable riders.

Ride down any highway in almost any country and you will see heaps of tyre debris, mainly from trucks.

In the USA they quaintly call it “road gators” because they look like alligators crossing the road. Both should be avoided!

Retreads are cheap and legal so long as they comply with the Australian Standards. Retreads have a lower speed rating of 140km/h, but it is still well above the legal highway limit.

Modern retreading processes are supposed to be a lot more reliable and are even used in the airline industry and military.

Tyre debrisTyre debris

So why do we see so much dangerous truck tyre debris on the road such as the above which was dragged off a busy highway?

We assume that there must be a lot of rogue truck operators and tyre companies out there that are retreading the same tyres too often and/or overusing tyres. 

RACQ Principal Technical Researcher Russell Manning says retreads are mainly used by the heavy vehicle industry due to the high cost of new tyres.

“It would be financially and environmentally irresponsible to throw away a truck tyre just because the tread has worn down due the amount of raw materials that go into its manufacture,” he says.  

The displaced tyre treads you see on the road typically come from a rear (usually a trailer) axle so they’ve done a lot of work and have been retreaded a number of times before they failed.”  

Blowout danger

To avoid hitting these “road gators”, we suggest you avoid following vehicles too closely as they can obscure the road ahead.

Also ride in the wheel tracks as they are more likely to be cleared of debris by other vehicles.

Not only is truck tyre debris a danger to riders, but so are the tyres when they blow out as this video graphically shows.

That is why I always quickly ride past a truck and would prefer to cop a speeding fine than be hit by a blown-out tyre.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Determining fault in a motorcycle accident case

(Contributed post for our North American readers)

When someone has been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, they must determine liability if they want to pursue legal claims. Determining liability means figuring out which parties are responsible for causing the accident and the injuries. If another person or entity is responsible for causing your accident and injuries, you may be entitled to recover compensation for all of the losses that you have suffered as a result.

What are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents?

Motorcycle accidents can be caused by many different problems. Most accidents are caused by the negligent actions of motorists. However, some accidents can also be caused by the negligent actions of companies or other entities. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include the following:

  • Motorists turning left onto a highway without seeing an oncoming motorcyclist
  • Failing to yield
  • Changing lanes in front of a motorcyclist without giving the cyclist enough room
  • Failing to check blind spots
  • Speeding
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Driving too fast for weather conditions
  • Opening a door in the path of a motorcyclist when exiting cars parked along the road
  • Making sudden stops
  • Motorists failing to slow down in time to avoid rear-ending a motorcyclist
  • Objects or debris in the road
  • Poorly maintained roadways
  • Defective parts
  • Inadequate maintenance and repairs

Figuring out the causes of motorcycle accidents is important for determining who might be liable for causing them. In some cases, both the motorcyclist and the other driver will share fault. In others, either the motorist or the motorcyclist will be wholly to blame for the accident. Some cases might also involve several liable parties who contributed to the accident’s cause.

An experienced injury lawyer may work with an accident reconstruction expert to identify all of the causes and the responsible parties. Accident reconstruction experts take measurements at the accident scenes to recreate what happened in the moments leading up to the crash. They also get information from the vehicles that were involved and the damage caused to each of them. An attorney may also have investigators talk to people who witnessed the accidents to gain a better understanding of what happened.

Determining the responsible parties after a motorcycle accident

To pursue compensation in a motorcycle accident claim, you must first identify the parties holding legal liability for your accident. An experienced personal injury lawyer can conduct an in-depth investigation to help you to determine fault.

Some of the parties that can be responsible for causing a motorcycle accident include the following:

  • The driver of the vehicle that was involved
  • For motorcycle passengers, the motorcyclist
  • The motorcycle’s manufacturer
  • The manufacturer of a defective part
  • The entity that is responsible for maintaining the roadway
  • Motorcycle repair shop that negligently repaired the motorcycle

To hold a responsible party liable, the injured victim or the family of people who are killed in motorcycle accidents will need to prove that the defendants were negligent. In some cases, several parties may be at fault.Crash accident police wreck america

Proving negligence in a motorcycle accident

To prevail in a motorcycle accident claim, you must be able to prove that the defendant was negligent. The plaintiff has the burden to prove each of the elements of negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, including the following:

  • The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.
  • The defendant breached the duty of care.
  • The defendant’s breach caused the accident and injuries.
  • The plaintiff suffered harm.

All motorists owe a duty of care to people who are traveling on the roads around them to operate their vehicles with the same degree of safety that a reasonable person would under similar circumstances. For example, a motorist is expected to avoid driving while distracted or drunk and to follow the posted speed limits. Breaching a duty of care occurs when a person’s conduct falls below the standard expected of him or her for the situation. The plaintiff will still need to show that the plaintiff’s breach of the standard of care was the direct or proximate cause of the motorcycle accident and that the plaintiff was harmed because of it.

In some cases, the driver and the motorcyclist will share fault. California allows plaintiffs to recover damages even when they are partially to blame under a legal principle called comparative fault. In this type of situation, the jury will the degree of fault that is held by each party. The plaintiff’s damages will be reduced by his or her percentage of fault.

For example, if you are determined to have been 25% at fault for your accident and are awarded a gross verdict of $250,000, your damages will be reduced by 25% or $62,500 for a net award of $187,500.

If several parties contributed to the accident, the jury will determine the percentage of fault held by each party. The liable parties will be responsible for paying the percentages of damages that are attributed to them. For example, if one defendant is found to be 20% at fault while another defendant is found to be 80% at fault, the defendant that is 20% at fault will have to pay 20% of the total verdict award while the defendant who is 80% at fault will be responsible for paying 80% of the total.

Some American states have modified comparative fault rules. In those states, people who are found to be more at fault than the defendants will not be able to recover damages. For example, in a state with a modified comparative fault rule, a plaintiff will not be able to recover damages if the jury finds that he or she is 51% at fault or more. California has a pure comparative fault rule, however. This means that people who are injured in California can recover damages even if they have a greater degree of liability for their accidents than the defendants. For example, if you are 99% at fault for causing an accident, you could still technically file a personal injury lawsuit. However, any damages would be reduced by 99%.

Motorcycle accidents can be devastating for the victims and their families. Fortunately, the law provides families and victims with the ability to recover damages from the parties that caused their accidents and losses. Getting help from experienced personal injury lawyers might help motorcycle accident victims to determine the legal options that may be available to them. By determining liability, the attorneys might help their clients to maximize the compensation that they might be able to recover.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

What Makes Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits Different from Car Accidents?

(Contributed post for our North American readers)

Everyone who decides to operate a motorcycle understands that there are significant differences between this type of transportation method and that of a car, truck, or another passenger vehicle. In fact, a motorcycle license is a different class of driver’s license than for a passenger vehicle, much like you are required to carry a Commercial Driver License (CDL) to operate an 18-wheeler or other large commercial vehicle. There are many reasons that make a motorcycle different from a car, and these reasons are part of why motorcycle accident claims and lawsuits are different than car accident insurance claims.

Below are just a few different reasons why these types of accident claims and lawsuits are different, but the reality is that the differences are much more complex than pointing out the difference in wheels between a motorcycle and a car. To get a comprehensive idea of what makes YOUR accident different, contact motorcycle accident lawyer Richard Morse for a free consultation today. Your case is unique and deserves the care and attention that a proven accident attorney will give you.

Motorcycle Accidents Have Higher Fatality Rates

Everyone who operates a motorcycle, or rides on the back of one, must be aware of the fact that motorcycles are significantly more dangerous than cars. They have higher rates of collisions per capita—for a variety of reasons, most not the fault of the motorcyclist—and a higher fatality rate per accident, meaning that the risks are significant on both accounts. In 2001, the NHTSA showed that motorcyclists were about 26 times as likely to die in a crash than someone riding in a passenger car, and are 5 times as likely to be injured.

Proving Liability Can Be More Complicated With a Motorcycle

Because of the additional complexity of operating a motorcycle safely, insurance companies often try to put the additional fault on the motorcycle driver, whether or not there are clear grounds for this. Insurance companies focus on limiting the amount of money that they pay for any injury claim against their policyholders, and they will use the fact that you were operating a motorcycle instead of a vehicle as a possible grounds for placing some degree of negligence on you.

Helmet Laws May Complicate Injury Claims

If you are in an accident and you are not wearing a helmet in California, then you will have serious issues trying to collect on damages that are related to your head. However, there are states where motorcycle drivers over a certain age are allowed to operate or ride without a helmet, and although this theoretically should not impact their ability to collect on damages, it will likely play a role in your negotiations.

Trying To Fight For What You Deserve Is Harder When You Are Seriously Injured

As mentioned above, motorcycle accidents are 5 times more likely to lead to injury, meaning that there is also an increased risk that you will suffer from serious, life-changing injuries. After you are hurt in an accident, the last thing that you want to be doing is to fight with an insurance company about money that you are rightfully owed. In fact, taking on additional stress will have a serious impact on your recovery process, which is another reason why you need to hire a lawyer as soon as possible.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Finance tips for your next motorcycle

If you can afford to pay cash for your next motorcycle, that’s great, but if you need finance, there are a few things you should have done first before falling in love with a bike on the showroom floor.

TYPE OF LOANS

Thankfully financing a bike is a lot easier than financing your house or even your car. Leases and mortgages are rare in the motorcycle industry, so you are probably only dealing with a personal loan, hire purchase or a secured loan. They are all pretty much the same thing with only slight differences and it may depend on where you get the money.

You can get your finance through a bank, financial service such as a broker, loan specialist, credit union or building society, or through the motorcycle company or dealership network. Most motorcycle companies and dealer networks these days offer finance as part of their service. Yamaha Moto Finance (YMF) is factory-owned while most others have a financial services business underwritten by a finance company or bank.

But before you head to the showroom you should check with your bank, credit union or building society to see if they will lend you money for a motorcycle. Some of these institutions are pretty conservative and they may look upon a loan for a motorcycle as a luxury item and risky, which could affect their likelihood to grant you the loan. And because of the risk, they may insist on loan protection insurance to secure the loan.

BUDGET

Finance seems to make anything affordable and it is easy to over-extend yourself by buying the “up-spec” model when the standard would suit your needs. RACQ spokesman Steve Spalding suggests setting a budget and sticking to it. “Don’t be pressured to accept a finance offer you are not comfortable with,” he says.

Steve also recommends you look beyond the immediate cost of the bike. “Fully consider the full range of ownership costs before committing to a purchase,” he says. That means factoring in financial costs such as depreciation, registration and insurance; running costs such as fuel, tyres and servicing; as well as rider gear.

Steve Spalding RACQ voidSteve Spalding RACQ

RATES

Do your homework on interest rates charged by the various banks and financial services offering loans. Even a decimal point difference in interest rates can end up changing the final repayment amount by hundreds of dollars.

The good news is that rates are low at the moment and there isn’t a lot of difference between the lenders. But there can be hidden costs, fees and mandatory insurance that is included in the financial package, so do your homework carefully. 

You should also do your homework on the value of the new or used bike you are interested in buying. It will help you decide whether the finance deal is reasonable.

LOAN PERIOD

If your financial institution is prepared to grant you the loan, you also need to work out how long you want your loan period. A short period will attract higher interest rates and, of course, higher repayments, while a longer period will have a lower interest rate and lower repayments. However, you should also ask to see the final cost of the loan at the end of the loan contract. The longer loan will usually cost you more. In fact, you may be surprised just how much the loan will end up costing you.

Also, remember that the average period of motorcycle ownership is five years, so you don’t want a loan period beyond that. In fact, you may be the sort of person who likes to change your bike every two or three years and trying to sell or trade in a bike that is still covered by finance can be difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. So consider how long you will own the bike and tailor your loan to suit.

If you are a novice rider and are restricted to a LAMS bike, you should keep the loan even shorter as you are more likely to want to trade up as soon as you graduate to an open licence.

Your loan contract may also offer you the opportunity to make repayments in weekly or monthly instalments. It may be easier to pay monthly, but it is usually cheaper in the long term to pay more frequently. Check the final costs of each type of repayment scheme before committing.

PENALTIES

Your personal and financial circumstances could change in the next few years and you may need to amend your repayments schedule. For example, you may get a big pay rise or promotion and want to pay off your bike sooner. On the other hand, you could lose your job or work contract and need to lengthen your loan so your repayments are reduced. Check your loan contract to see if there is leeway to lengthen or shorten repayments. If there is, ask if there are any penalty fees for changing the repayments.

CASHsell buy test ride demo motorcycle sales showroom selling motorcycles dive

One of the advantages of securing finance before you go to the motorcycle dealership is that you will have a sum of money guaranteed and you can go shopping for the best deal as if you have cash burning in your pocket. Sales staff love to do deals on cash and you could successfully haggle a few hundred dollars off the price or get free services or accessories thrown in to sweeten the deal.

Also, if you have a guaranteed loan, you can use the cash to buy from a private owner, rather than a dealership. While there are often price advantages in private sales, there are also greater risks and issues you should consider such as whether the bike is still under finance, who is the rightful owner, the lack of guarantees, etc.

BROKERS

It is a hassle running around the banks and financial institutions trying to work out how much money you want to spend and organising a loan. There are now several online brokers who specialise in motorcycles such as Aussie Bike Loans. You can ring them or apply online. Usually you have to supply a lot of personal information which can be a bit risky these days with identity fraud running rampant. Make sure they are a reputable firm and if you are still worried, make a phone call where you can better handle the supply of personal information than via an online form.

Brokers will do the scouting for you to find the best deal to suit your personal and financial circumstances. However, they charge a commission to the supplier of the finance which is added to your own contract.

CORPORATE AND DEALER FINANCE

Most motorcycle companies have a financial services arm. It may be a wholly owned like YMF, or it may be underwritten by an existing financial institution.

Others offer finance at their dealerships, independent of corporate ownership or partnership.

One-make dealers often offer financial services through the motorcycle company’s financial institution or its third-party partner, while some multi-franchise dealers have their own arrangements with financial institutions.

Getting a loan through your dealer, whether it’s the motorcycle company finance company or their own, makes the whole motorcycle shopping business very easy and convenient. Dealers these days are like a one-stop shop. Once you’ve decided on the bike, they can arrange finance, as well as insurance and all the other legal paperwork that seems to take ages and delay you from that golden moment when you throw your leg over your dream machine.

Some dealers can even take some of the immediate financial pain out of running your bike by including some services, accessories and maybe even rider gear in your financial package. However, remember that you will end up paying more in the long run, so be careful what you include in the loan.

Another advantage of corporate or dealer finance is that they can look at the life of the vehicle and maybe even offer you a guaranteed buy-back price at the end of your loan so you can trade up to a newer model.

Harley-Davidson Financial Services offer a guaranteed buy-back system that takes the financial guesswork out of owning a bike.

Luxury car brands have been doing this for years to build brand loyalty and it is starting to filter through to the motorcycle industry, especially luxury brands such as BMW and top-end models.

However, you should read the fine print on these deals because they load up the final price of the bike and there are usually a lot of conditions. They can include a limit on the number of kilometres you can rack up on your odometer, the accessories you add, modifications, servicing by an approved dealer and, of course, the trade-in condition of your bike.Motorcycle dealership sale accessories jeans helmets jackets

BMW’s Full Circle Guaranteed Future Value not only offers variable periods from two to four years, but three options at the end of loan term: Sell or trade the bike and take any profit over and above the GFV; hand back the bike and avoid any losses; or refinance and continue ownership.

Some customers may be concerned that it locks them into buying from that dealer and maybe locks them into buying a certain brand. It’s great if you have loyalty to a particular marque, but not if you want to try different brands.

It could also cost more to finance a bike with a guaranteed buy-back price and you could be risking the whole deal if you damage your bike, even slightly.

Some motorcycle companies see these schemes as a way to develop a long-term partnership with their customers. Meanwhile, customers can view it as an essential service that gives them peace of mind.

ATTRACTIVE RATES

Another point about corporate or dealer finance that you should be aware of is the attractive rates. Dealer finance can sometimes offer finance at low or even zero interest. That is a sales tool that the banks and financial institutions can’t equal because they have to make money on the interest they charge you. The motorcycle manufacturers or  dealers, however, can offer low interest rates because they have control over the final price of the motorcycle. A zero percent loan may look attractive, but you may also pay more for the bike in the long run. Sometimes it’s a genuine low interest rate used as an attractive incentive to push surplus stock, but you should do your sums to work out if the final price really is cheaper or more expensive.

NEW AND USED

While some financial institutions will only offer finance on new bikes, dealers may also offer loans on approved used bikes. Harley-Davidson Financial Services is one such company that offers conventional hire purchase loans on approved genuine pre-owned vehicles. The bikes must come from official Harley dealerships, be Australian compliant, have less than 50,000km on the odo and be under five years old. The advantage is the Harleys also come with a one-year warranty and one-year roadside assistance.

FINAL WARNING

Despite all the homework, you may still blunder your way into a loan that rips you off, or where the contractor fails to fulfil their end of the deal, or where your circumstances change. In the worst case scenario the company could repossess your prized possession!

Before it gets to that stage, if you have a dispute over your loan or insurance, complain to the supplier first as all reputable firms have a complaints department. If you are still not happy, don’t rush off to your solicitor as that can end up costing you a fortune. Instead, go to the Financial Ombudsman Service who offer a free service.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Warning to riders after cattle crashes

Two riders were injured in separate crashes with stray cattle over the weekend, promoting us to reissue our warning to riders now exploring the country after the lockdown measures have eased in some states.

On Sunday (4 May 2020) a rider hit a bull at Wetheron north of Gayndah, Central Queensland.

Paramedics treated him on the scene for significant lower limb injuries and he was airlifted to hospital.

On Saturday a rider in his 20s hit a cow on Maleny Stanley River Rd at Booroobin, South East Queensland. No other details are available, but the ambulance did attend.

Our best wishes to the riders for a full and speedy recovery.

Cattle warning

Riders are being urged to use a mobile phone app to record roadkill in an effort to identify hotspots and help save lives. Roadkill Reporter app

The latest Austroads Guide to Road Safety Part 5: Road Safety for Rural and Remote Areas found that motorcycles are significantly over-represented in crashes with animals.

It cited Australian insurance data that found more than 80% of animal crashes involved kangaroos. Other common animal strike crashes involved wombats, dogs, cats, and cattle.

“The majority of animal/vehicle collisions in Australia occur on regional and remote roads and most often take place around dawn and dusk or during the darker hours,” it found.

However, Austroads also noted an underreporting of animal-related crashes.

Click here for tips on how not to become roadkill.

To help identify hotspots for roadkill crashes, riders have been asked to download the free Roadkill Reporter app for Android and Apple iOS developed by wildlife scientist Bruce Englefield.

The app allows users to take a photo which is GPS and time stamped, and logged online with authorities.

Data is then used to “mitigate” roadkill crashes in hotspot areas with remedies such as over- and under-road crossings for animals, signage, fences.

A 2016 study by Californian non-profit science and medicine research communication hub, PLOS, found that fences were the most effective measure, reducing roadkill by 54%.roadkill cattle cow livestock wildlife road safety
Be aware that there may be road rules that require motorists to give away to livestock or face a fine of up to $2600.

Riders certainly should do their best to avoid a run-in with cattle. They are much bigger than you and you will come off second-best!

Slow down or even pull over, switch off the engine and wait for them to pass.

If you ride by slowly, don’t blip the throttle as a loud exhaust can startle them, especially young cattle, causing them to charge.

Try to ride behind the direction a cow or bull is facing as they are less likely to do a u-turn if they bolt.

Do not use your horn to alert them of your presence as that could startle them.

Black cattle can be particularly difficult to spot in the distance as they are the same colour as the road.

Manure on the road is a good indication of livestock on the road ahead, maybe just up around that blind corner or over the crest of the next hill.

An AAMI survey of 20,000 claims in 2015 indicated animal strikes are a very serious problem in terms of safety and the economyroadkill horses

However, nine out of 10 animal strikes involves a kangaroo.

Riders are encouraged to report livestock and injured wildlife on the roads to local police, road authorities or council.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Learn from motorway ramp crash video

We can all learn something from this video from a Canadian truck’s dash cam that captures the moment a rider hits a freeway barrier and flies over the side of the off-ramp.

It happened in Montreal last week and the unlicensed rider suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

The male rider is lucky to be alive and owes his life to the truck and a police officer who was nearby.

What can we learn?

The lack of a licence indicates the rider was unskilled, although he wasn’t traveling very fast.

Some suggest he had target fixation.

If you don’t know what that term means, think of it as “if you look at it, you will run into it”.

Learn crash videoTarget fixation

Target fixation often happens in a corner when a rider goes in too fast, looks at where he thinks he will crash and that’s where the bike goes.

However, you can actually make target fixation work for you by consciously choosing where you want to be and the bike will go there.

Click here for more information.

Counter steering

Learn crash videoThe other interesting take from this video is that the bike keeps going.

It shows how important rider input is in steering a motorcycle.

Above about 8km/h, a motorcycle’s wheels have a gyroscopic effect which keeps the bike upright.

Without any rider input, a bike sits up straight and continues on.

To steer, you have to “counter steer” in the opposite direction.

In an emergency situation like this, your instinct is to turn the handlebars toward the direction you want to go.

While we can’t see this rider turn toward the wall, even the slightest bar movement in the wrong direction can have a catastrophic effect.

Check out this video where a rider makes several mistakes.

First, the rider enters the corner too shallow which makes the bike run wide. The rider should take a wider approach so the bike is leaning and turning away from oncoming traffic.

Read more about apexes here.

Second, the rider sees the truck and develops target fixation.

The third problem is that the rider has not practised counter steering, so he swaps back and forth between steering and counter-steering, weaving into the truck.

You need to practise counter steering to ensure that it becomes your reflex action in an emergency.

Click here to find out how to practise counter steering.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com