This video was created by Sterling Noren’s Motorcycle Travel Channel. Below is the transcript.
Scott O’Sullivan: There is a unconscious bias against motorcycle riders.
Sterling Noren: That’s Scott O’Sullivan. He’s the founder of Rider Justice Motorcycle Lawyers. I’ve known Scott for several years through the Overland community, and Rider Justice is a sponsor of the Motorcycle Travel Channel.
Scott O’Sullivan: But when you’re just minding your own business, riding your bike, and somebody turns left in front of you and there’s nothing you can do, that’s not the motorcycle rider’s fault, but somehow there’s always this sort of bias against riders. There just is.
Sterling Noren: I sat down with Scott to talk about motorcycle law and the right kind of insurance that I need to protect myself. I hope you find this information as useful as I did.
Scott O’Sullivan: I started it with my passion for motorcycle riding and the motorcycle community. I’ve been a motorcycle lawyer now for over twenty-five years, and I use it really as a vehicle to celebrate the entire motorcycling community and also trying to pass laws, make roads safer, try to do whatever we can to kind of help our motorcycle brothers and sisters out on the road. That’s what we have to do to try to keep this community safe.
Sterling Noren: Rider Justice also works hard to get laws passed in favor of motorcyclists.
Scott O’Sullivan: I was the only lawyer in the state of Colorado that was testifying before the state legislature to get phones out of people’s hands. I helped write and pass the first law in Colorado against texting and driving. I’ve also helped with other laws like the vulnerable user law, meaning people who get hit by somebody while on a motorcycle. It used to just be a slap on the wrist. It was crazy, and now we’ve made it so that there’s a really good chance they’re going to lose their license and there’s more penalties to be paid.
Sterling Noren: I asked Scott if there’s anything I should do or shouldn’t do if I’m involved in a motorcycle accident.
Scott O’Sullivan: The insurance companies, regardless of who they are, they’re just not on your side at that point. And you may be in the hospital or you may be recovering, and there’s no reason really to talk to them. Believe it or not, we really actually do live in a polite society, and so when they ask you questions like, “Sterling, how are you doing today?” And you say, “Oh, I’m fine.” And then you get into it, well, then they’ll ask me later, “How come he said he’s doing fine?” And I’m like, “He’s just being polite.” But they use that against you. So the best thing you do is talk to me first before you talk to an insurance company. Even if it’s property damage, we can help with your property damage for free. It’s just don’t muddy the record before you talk to somebody.
Sterling Noren: Having the right insurance is one of the most important things you can do to be prepared, and Rider Justice is here to help.
Scott O’Sullivan: I want to help them know what kind of insurance they need. I don’t sell insurance, I just sue them all the time, but it’s important for them to know the right kind of coverage they should have so that God forbid if you do get hit by somebody, you’ve got the right coverage because the only person that’s going to protect you is you.
There’s no magical rainbow at the end of an accident or something like that. Really what it ends up being is getting the right motorcycle insurance, which is under-insured motorist coverage to protect you if God forbid somebody does hit you while you’re out there. Having that right coverage before you even put the kickstand up can make a whole difference for your whole life and your family and your kids and everybody else.
Sterling Noren: Let’s face it, insurance can be difficult and confusing. I asked Scott if he had any advice on what kind of insurance I need for myself and my vehicle.
Scott O’Sullivan: There can be a combination of insurances that are involved. While you’re riding, some of your equipment that you have, your stoves, your sleeping bag, your tent, and all that stuff that actually could be covered under your homeowner’s insurance. But here’s the catch, and this is where it gets tricky, is if you have, let’s say, $300,000 in content coverage, your coverage as soon as it walks out the door, as soon as that camera walks out the door and goes on your bike, is 10% of the total amount of your content coverage. So if you have $300,000 in coverage, it’s only $30,000 in content coverage once it walks out the house.
So where it becomes a real problem is people who have renter’s insurance because sometimes they only have $30,000 in renter’s insurance, and that 10% is three grand. So you really have to talk to an insurance broker and change those coverages, and it’s really cheap to do it. And unfortunately for a lot of the overlanding and the ADV biking community, they don’t know about it until it’s too late.
Sterling Noren: I also like to travel in my four-by-four van, which I’ve customized with additional equipment and accessories over 10 years, and I asked Scott if there’s any special insurance needs for my overland vehicle.
Scott O’Sullivan: The legal principles are pretty similar. The difference can be the property damage aspects to it because of the up-fitting of your vehicle on all those things can be more complicated on the property damage side of things. It’s important to know how to properly insure that as well, so if, God forbid, something does happen, at least you got a chance.
Sterling Noren: If you need help with your motorcycle insurance questions or determining what level of coverage is right for you, give Rider Justice a call.
Scott O’Sullivan: I’m happy to look at your policies just to give you an idea, and it’s up to you what you choose to do, to see where you may have some gaps in your coverage. And that it’s up to you, your needs and your economic where you’re at in life, but at least it gives me a chance to really try to help you.
Sterling Noren: Despite the challenges and difficulties that come with this line of work, Scott really remains positive.
Scott O’Sullivan: The ones that I love are where they are determined, they get back, they work their butts off, they’re back being healthy again, and they’re back riding, and they’re back loving it. And I have now countless numbers of stories of that and I love it. It just talks about the human spirit and it also talks about just how important riding is to so many people in America and how it makes a difference in their lives. They don’t just want a ride, they live for it. It’s part of who they are, and I just love those stories.
Sterling Noren: If you have any questions about motorcycle law or the right kind of insurance for you, contact Rider Justice.