February 2009 Motorcycle Newsletter

Attorney Fran Haasch
February 2009 Newsletter
www.LawFran.com

Hello Everyone,
Welcome to our February Newsletter and thank you for making 2008 such a memorable year. We had many successful fundraisers and fun-filled charitable events that owe their success to you, Born To Ride magazine and TV, Full Throttle and Go For A Ride magazine.

I look forward to 2009 being an even better year of incredible events and giving away the 2009 Harley-Davidson Cross Bones on February 11th at Quaker Steak and Lube. Born To Ride will be there shooting pictures and video for an upcoming feature in their magazine and TV show. Remember, you do not have to be present to win the motorcycle, but I would love to hand the keys to the winner in person! The drawing for the motorcycle will be at 9:15pm; I don’t want to keep any of you up too late on a school night.

I hope everyone had a chance to enjoy a little bit (or a lot) of the Super Bowl hype that swept through the Tampa Bay area. I was lucky enough to attend the game and a few of the parties. It was excellent that that our local community got to shine so brightly on such an international stage. We got to show the world what an outstanding location Tampa Bay is to live and visit.

A few weekends ago there was an amazing turnout for the Swamp Cabbage Jam that was held all day Saturday at the Linger Lodge in Bradenton. I hope you all got a chance to get out and enjoy a ride in the beautiful weather. We sponsored the bike show and I want to congratulate Mr. Gary Grubbs (of Deadwood Stampede fame) for taking “Best of Show.” For those of you that didn’t make the event, definitely get on your bike, ride over to the Linger Lodge (www.lingerlodgeresort.com/) and spend an afternoon in one of the most unique and unusual examples of “Old Florida” that our beautiful state has to offer. Please click here for event pictures.

We stopped by to celebrate LAMA’s 2ndAnniversary Party. There were over 600 bikes and almost 300 members from their statewide chapters at this fun and family-friendly event. I look forward to doing it again next year. Please click here for event pictures.

Even with Gasparilla going on, Plant City had a great crowd and some amazing bikes (and it was finally warm enough that you didn’t need to wear a snowmobile suit to ride there!) Please click here for event pictures.

And, to all my friends at the clubhouse, I hope you enjoyed the sandwiches! Thanks for all the support.

With Many Thanks,

Attorney Fran Haasch
Palm Harbor

INSURANCE COVERAGE

GAP Insurance is an important part of the buying process when you purchase your new bike or vehicle. This type of insurance coverage is usually offered through the dealership where you are making your purchase. GAP Insurance is a separate policy than your bike or vehicle policy. In the event your bike or vehicle is deemed a total loss by an insurance company, either by accident, theft or some other type of accident, GAP coverage will pay the balance of your loan after the insurance company has paid their part. If you owe more than the “fair market” or “book value,” you might be held responsible for the difference even if you are not at fault for a motorcycle or car that you no longer own. Insurance companies will usually consider a motorcycle or vehicle a total loss if the property damage to the motorcycle or vehicle exceeds 80% of the book value, not the amount that you might still owe on the motorcycle or vehicle.

POLICY EXCLUSIONS

Unless you carefully read your insurance policy, you may be unpleasantly surprised by exclusions which may not cover a particular set of circumstances. These exclusions help to limit an insurance company’s exposure to situations that the company would deem inappropriate for coverage.

Motorcycle policies generally have exclusions related to using your bike as a taxi, participating in organized racing, and committing criminal or intentionally harmful acts. However, there are other exclusions which may not seem so obvious. These exclusions include not being covered while riding in an organized charity ride, your passenger not being protected by bodily injury coverage if you are at fault, no coverage for damaged or destroyed safety gear and helmets, and even no coverage if you fail to take all reasonable steps to prevent a claimed loss or damage. As you can see, there are a variety of exclusions that can easily fly under the radar due to the lack of attention they get in policies.

This is by no means of an exhaustive list of possible exclusions, nor do all insurance policies contain these particular exclusions. The easiest and safest way to prevent any unwelcome bombshells would be to conduct a thorough read of your insurance policy (there is generally a section set aside for exclusions). If you are still unsure of how the exclusions would affect you, please contact our office and we will be happy to assist you free of charge.

HARLEY’S NEW V-ROD

Last month Harley-Davidson added a new configuration to their VRSC lineup. The aptly named V-Rod Muscle brings a younger appeal to Harley’s model range with its more modern styling and staggering performance. The bike has a low and long profile accompanied by a wide rear tire, new instrument panel, an abbreviated tail section, LED turn signals in the mirror stems, a new deep seat, and a mean looking double barrel exhaust, just to mention a few of the goodies. The power is provided by a liquid-cooled 1250cc v-twin co-developed with Porsche.

Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Harley-Davidson, Mark-Hans Richer explained that “[M]uscle stands out in a crowd of copies and generic motorcycle profiles. It stretches the very definition of what it means to be a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. When we set out to design Muscle, we wanted a bike that would be recognized as a Harley with aggressive styling and refinement.”

Muscle is offered alongside two other V-Rod models and comes in Vivid Black, Brilliant Silver, Dark Blue Denim, and Red Hot Sunglo. For more information on the new V-Rod Muscle, visit your local dealer or go online to www.harley-davidson.com.

LEGISLATIVE CORNER

Florida- A recent Florida Supreme Court decision will severely threaten a child’s ability to participate in high risk recreational activities such as motocross. The ruling eliminates a parent’s ability to sign away a minor child’s right to sue businesses. The case came to fruition when a mother sued a motocross park for the death of her child, who was allegedly allowed to ride a motorcycle that was too big and powerful.

The decision handed down by the Court is limited to commercial operations and should not affect school activities and sports. Chief Justice Peggy Quince stated for the majority that “[w]e find that public policy concerns cannot allow parents to execute pre-injury releases on behalf of minor children. It cannot be presumed that a parent who has decided to voluntarily risk a minor child’s physical well-being is acting in the child’s best interest.” This outcome will likely be devastating to the businesses that provide such sporting activities and the children who want to participate.

New York City- The NY city council is pondering a bill that would put a damper on the loud exhaust systems of motorcycles. The bill would make it illegal for any motorcycle to be on the street without an Environmental Protection Agency stamp on the exhaust. This would hinder a rider’s ability to accessorize with custom loud pipes.

The first offense would be accompanied by a fine of up to $1,000 and temporary forfeiture of the bike until the fine is paid. The second offense, however, would bring a fine of up to $2,500 and permanent forfeiture of the bike. Needless to say, this bill would impose harsh and unfair penalties solely on motorcyclists. Critics of the bill also state that if an exhaust system were to wear out or break, aftermarket replacements would be out of the question. This would require riders to buy another original equipment exhaust system at a greater cost. Hopefully Florida does not take any hints from the way New York City is handling this issue.

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