Scott O’Sullivan and his team have been helping injured motorcycle riders in Colorado since 1998. If you need assistance after an accident, please call us at 303-865-3934 or visit our website www.riderjustice.com
May is Motorcycle Awareness month and a time for ALL RIDERS to work to get the awareness out to the driving community. Yesterday I was asked to participate in a CDOT campaign focused on helmet use by riders. Riding will always be about Freedom of the Ride, and individual choice, but it is clear that we riders cannot STOP drivers from driving distracted, we cannot STOP drivers from texting & driving.
While listening to the speakers, I was overwhelmed to hear that motorcycle fatalities were up 33%. That means in real numbers that 137 motorcycle riders died on their bikes in 2020, up from 103 the previous year. This is the largest number of motorcycle fatalities EVER in the state of Colorado.
I began to wonder as I was standing there, what can I do when I get on the bike and go out for a ride to ensure that I get home safe or survive if I get into an accident and the answer that kept coming into my mind was WEAR MY HELMET each time I ride.
This will not be the answer that many will want to hear, but the reality is that I have a family to come home to, I am a wife, mother and grandmother who wants to see my grandchildren grow up. I will make the PLEDGE today to never get on my bike without putting my safety gear on to give me a better chance of surviving in the event of an accident.
I am pleased to announce that Colorado Rider News will be working with BikerDown and Rider Justice to implement a helmet giveaway each month to those that might not be able to afford a new helmet or would like to upgrade to a better helmet. See the ad in this issue of CRN to learn how you sign up for a chance to win a new helmet! Rider Justice will also work with Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson to size and evaluate the type of helmet a rider wants to ride with. We thank all of the sponsors of this program.
4 years ago, Colorado Rider News was launched because our community had lost 2 of our publications in Colorado devoted to motorcycle riding. Publishing this publication isn’t easy and takes tremendous commitment. CRN with the help of many of our advertisers has grown in distribution and our success is because we have focused on biker owned businesses and all things Colorado.
We will premiering Motorcycle Rider News in the Las Vegas community in June of this year to continue that message and giving Vegas motorcycle riders a voice in the community. Wish us Luck!
Colorado Rider News
Publisher, Colorado Rider News
By Laurie Montoya
Tomorrow, May 15th BikerDown will again be hosting their 9th Annual Look Twice Ride and our theme again this year is CAN YOU SEE ME NOW. Motorcycle fatalities are up 33% from 2019 to 137. These are un-imaginable statistic and one that riders hope will not happen to them, however, there is hardly a week that goes by that someone in our network of friends isn’t reported to have gone down or passed from a motorcycle accident.
It is a well-known fact that the public does not watch for motorcycles no matter how many billboards CDOT puts up or lighted signs that are only up a few days in May or in August during Sturgis. It is a well-known fact that most motorcycle accidents involve a car and/or some sort of distracted driving. Distracted Driving comes in many forms including texting/driving, use of handheld mobile devices while driving, putting your makeup on while the vehicle is moving, looking in the back seat at your kids, eating while driving to changing the radio station.
Our riding community continues to be the victim of irresponsible drivers who are out driving with no driver’s license and little to no insurance and driver’s leaving accident victims on the ground and leaving the scene. Driver’s change lanes without looking and run stop signs/lights, hit the biker, and keep on going.
We are asking all riders who have been injured in a motorcycle accident or know of someone who is currently hospitalized from an accident, riders who have lost a loved one on the bike to STAND with us on Saturday, May 15th and show this community of drivers to WATCH FOR US!
Riders will need to pre-register for the ride to guarantee themselves 1 of our motorcycle awareness t shirts. T-shirts will be available the day of the event in limited sizes. Registration is $25.00 per rider. Each rider who pre-registers will get 1 free month of motorcycle roadside assistance sponsored by Motorcycle Towing Services.
Our ride will start and end this year at Dirty Dogs Roadhouse in Golden with kickstands up at 10-10:30 am. The Look Twice ride is known for great rides routes and safety is always key for this event. Dirty Dogs will have some great entertainment for our event, and our sponsors and biker community always donate great raffles and 50/50 drawings prizes.
Our sponsor for the ride is again Rider Justice. For over 8 years, Scott O’Sullivan from RiderJustice.com has supported this event as well as BikerDown Foundation to ensure that injured motorcycle riders have a resource to go when they go down.
This is BikerDown Colorado’s primary fundraiser that will enable us to continue the mission of helping injured riders until the end of the year!
The first Saturday in May (May 1st this year) was a day for the record books. Drivers could see over 200 badass female motorcyclists roaring through Denver this past weekend. A girl from the Littleton area who had walked over with her mother to see what all the rumble of bikes was about said, “They look like superheroes.”
What’s cooler than cool helmets, ponytails, sunglasses, leather jackets, Harley-Davidsons and 200+ badass women crushing stereotypes as they soar through the streets of Denver on motorcycles? Yeah, I hear crickets too. Nothing is cooler.
The event was scheduled to start at 9:00 a.m. in the parking lot of Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson in Littleton, but women riders and volunteers were so excited for this event that they started showing up at 7:30 a.m. All morning as the number’s increased, you could see how happy the women riders were to have a day of their own, a day to empower one another, to see girlfriends and to forget about this past year. It felt so great to be outside and to feel normal again, said Cathy, a new rider to Denver.
Audrey Paulas, co-founder of the event scheduled an amazing ride for the women, but her volunteers and team leaders executed the ride perfectly and safely. When the women returned to Rocky Mountain for the afternoon activities, everyone commented that it was just a great ride!
Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson hosted this year’s event and was chosen because Kathy Yevoli for over 40 years, has owned the Harley dealership and inspires women riders to go for your dreams and enjoy the ride. Women riding groups and club as well as women biker related businesses are growing in our motorcycle community every year.
“Being a female rider in 2021 is awesome, but there is still some prejudice and stereotypes towards women bikers and a lot of improvements which need to take place in the industry,” Laurie Montoya, who co-hosted this event, has experienced those types of challenges herself, but continued to say to herself during those low times, you might not want to deal with me now, but years down the road, you will know who I am.”
“These kinds of events are a perfect moment for us to make a statement and show that women riders are more than ever-present on the road.”
Montoya also said she is excited to “see a bunch of women from different worlds and different day jobs come together on a very special day.”
International Female Ride Day has been around 15 years, but this is just the 1st one of this size to come to Denver, and an event that Audrey, Kathy and Laurie said we will make it bigger and better next year!
Marina Yevoli, who oversees marketing for Rocky Mountain, said they would be happy to make it an annual event after seeing the success this year.
If there is something we need in 2021, it’s a reason to celebrate. This ride raised over $4,000.00 with the proceeds being split between the Jefferson County Food Bank and #2wheels4meals that feeds 1st responders and injured riders.
A special thank you to all of our sponsors who donated to this event, so we had no expenses and 100% of what was raised was distributed. Our event was sponsored by Rider Justice, Rocky Mountain Harley Davidson, Colorado Rider News, and Cool Biker Lunch and Rides.
See you ladies next year and remember…..JUST RIDE!
UPDATE: The 2nd swap meet hosted by The Colorado Motorcycle Expo and Dirty Dogs Roadhouse in March was another record crowd and the weather again shined upon our biker community. There was a better diversity of vendors selling everything from parts to amazing riding hats.
Sadly, this will be our final swap meet of the season. Dirty Dogs Roadhouse is the #1 biker bar for a reason and with the warm weather and beautiful weekends to ride, they need both parking lots to accommodate customers.
On behalf of all the sponsors, Scott from The Colorado Motorcycle Expo, Rider Justice, Colorado Rider News, Mark & Rob and the staff at Dirty Dogs Roadhouse, we want to THANK YOU ALL. This modified swap meet was a testament to the pride and unity the biker community feels for each other.
Our biker owned businesses were struggling in this pandemic as the events they heavily relied on to get them thru the winter are rescheduled, cancelled, or eliminated entirely. We hope that these 3 months helped them get thru this tough time and get ready for any spring events they can find.
Please come out for the final swap meet on Sunday, April 11th from 10am to 4pm
Personal injury attorneys have a bad rap. That is no surprise to anyone. The slur “ambulance chaser” is applied to the entire profession because, well, it was earned. There was a time when personal injury attorneys showed up at disaster sites of all kinds and handed out their business cards, hunting for injured clients. I’ve never actually heard of an attorney chasing an ambulance, but I still think the profession has earned the term.
In my estimation, too many people pursue this field of law for pure financial gain. Luckily, there are some of us who pursue it as a calling, our vocation. But how can you tell the difference?
I have written extensively about the legal shops that I call “personal injury mills.” These are the personal injury firms that chew clients up and spit them out, usually with settlements well below what they could have (should have) received. The problem can be especially bad for motorcycle crash victims who often sustain significant injuries, are facing police bias just because they were on a motorcycle, are dealing with hospital bills and big medical decisions, and don’t have time to “babysit” motorcycle attorneys who aren’t doing their job properly.
So, I am going to share the top 4 ways to know if a motorcycle accident lawyer is an ambulance chaser. I’ll share the list and then I’ll take a deeper dive into each of the reasons I give.
Your personal injury attorney might be an ambulance chaser if he/she…
- Only speaks to you once and hands your case off to a paralegal, never or rarely speaking with you again.
- Charges you fees for anything at all before your case settles.
- Talks about settling before understanding your injuries completely. (Or tells you to stop medical treatment so that he/she can settle!)
- Tells you what your case is worth before considering all the sources of compensation available to you.
Now, let me break these down so that you understand why they are red flags.
1. Only speaks to you once and hands your case off to a paralegal, never or rarely speaking with you again.
Most ambulance chasers are playing a wicked numbers game. They need a very high number of motorcycle crash cases to pay for their marketing, so they churn clients in the door and lead them to settlement as quickly as possible. In their haste, these attorneys will generally do a very good dog-and-pony show prior to a prospect signing up – meeting with them, returning calls, etc. – but as soon as the client (read: injured victim of a motorcycle crash who probably needs some significant legal help) signs on the dotted line, their case is taken over by a paralegal.
While paralegals are fantastic supports to attorneys, they are not attorneys. If an attorney is not 100% in charge of your case, then you will not receive the representation you need. If only paralegals return your calls, it’s a good sign that the attorney has no idea who you are.
2. Charges you fees for anything at all before your case settles.
The entire personal injury field works on a contingency basis, which means we do not get paid unless you get paid. We must incur all of the costs to research your case, hire the experts to study the scene of the motorcycle accident, work with hospitals and doctors to reduce your medical bills, and (this is perhaps the most important) be willing to absorb all those charges for as long as your treatment takes. If a motorcycle crash victim is seriously injured, that could be years.
I have heard of attorneys charging their clients for everything from expert witness testimonies to copier paper while they are still working on the case.
If your lawyer is trying to charge you for anything at all prior to your case’s completion, you are probably dealing with an ambulance chaser.
3. Talks about settling before understanding your injuries completely. (Or tells you to stop medical treatment so that he/she can settle!)
Many personal injury attorneys would rather “take the bird in hand” than wait for the two in the bush. By this, I mean that they would rather settle your case for less and do it quickly than wait (perhaps years) for a potentially higher settlement.
However, motorcycle crash victims often need a lot of time to recover. In Colorado, a case cannot be closed until a victim ceases treatment, thereby putting an end to medical bills. Ambulance chasers would rather convince their clients that they are “fine” than take time to make sure that their recovery is truly headed in the right direction.
Ambulance chasers need the cash now, and they will get it from your case at your expense by encouraging you to quit medical treatment and settle early.
4. Tells you what your case is worth before considering all the sources of compensation available to you.
One of the most time-intensive (and rewarding!) aspects of being a motorcycle accident attorney is in taking a deep dive into the motorcycle victim’s insurance, the at-fault driver’s insurance, the many other “pots” that may be available for compensation, and putting together a complete picture for each client of what their case may be worth. This takes time. And it also takes a level of passion that you will only find in an attorney who does this work as a vocation.
I have worked with clients who have been told by other attorneys (before they even signed up, let alone researched the accident) that they can only get $25,000 from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Often, my deeper research reveals additional details, like perhaps the driver was in his mom’s car and her insurance is available, too. Or maybe the at-fault driver was in a rental, opening up another “pot” for compensation. You need an attorney who is willing to take the time (and who has the time) to investigate every aspect of your crash.
If you have any questions about your motorcycle crash, don’t hesitate to contact me today! You can call or text me at 303-388-5304.
Scott O’Sullivan is the founder of Rider Justice and the O’Sullivan Law Firm.
Mother nature clearly loves the biker community and on February 20th the day of our 1ST modified swap meet at Dirty Dogs Roadhouse in conjunction with Scott from the Colorado Motorcycle Expo and Rider Justice and Colorado Rider News was confirmation that that in the biker world, “If you build it….THEY WILL COME”.
Swap meets at Dirty Dogs are regularly done in June and December with great vendors everywhere, Mark can be found roasting something to satisfy the overwhelming crowd. It was unclear to all of us that even if the weather were nice, how many attendees would come out to support the biker owned business.
It was about 10am, that we got our answer, the parking lot was full up top, and drivers were parking on the side of Colfax all the way up past Wrigley’s. Riders were walking around with the goods they had purchased, and you could see the guys carrying around parts to sell and parts they had bought
This modified swap meet is a testament to the pride and unity the biker community feels for each other. Our biker owned businesses are struggling in this pandemic as the events they heavily rely on to get them thru the winter are rescheduled, cancelled, or eliminated entirely. Scott Schultz from our Expo, Scott O’Sullivan from Rider Justice and myself met with Mark and Rob from Dirty Dogs Roadhouse to see if we could come up with an option to help these businesses, the modified swap meet was the option we all came up with that could help everyone.
The party continued long after the swap meet was over with riders and vendors staying around just to celebrate a day of normality and listening to great music.
After the event was concluded, we spoke with several of the vendor who said the swap meet was a god send, and would help them get thru the month. Most said they would be back again in March and were so grateful for the opportunity to sell their items and make a few dollars.
If you are biker owned business and would like to participate in our March 20th swap meet, please visit the expo’s website at www.coloradomotorcycleexpo.com. Good spots are still available
As my Rider Justice friends know, I’m not just a huge advocate for Colorado motorcycle rights and safety, I’m also a motorcycle and car accident attorney. I’ve been a Denver personal injury attorney for more than 20 years. It is my vocation – my calling in life – because I can’t stand when a victim’s rights are violated by negligent drivers and insurance companies.
But I digress.
Recently, I worked with a company called Knott Laboratory, which performs accident reconstruction investigations. As Ricky L. Nguyen said to me, Knott Lab provides forensic reports on every type of machine you can imagine.
“If it’s got moving parts, we get it,” said Ricky, who added that they also perform fire event investigations. You can check out their demo reel here. Caution: even though the images are computer-generated, it can be pretty alarming to see the types of accidents they investigate. (One word: woodchipper.)
As he and I were talking, I started sharing stories of some of my past cases, explaining why some of them were so upsetting or surprising. While there may be common types of accidents (such as left-hand turns in front of oncoming traffic), I do often find myself so concerned for victims that I ask, “Why?!” Sometimes, we never get the answer to that question. But Ricky can answer “how,” which can help me get the proper compensation for victims from insurance companies.
How Motorcycle Crashes are Different
Ricky and I began discussing the differences between motorcycle crashes and auto crashes, and he said, “motorcycles do funny things in accidents.” (I’m sure that he meant “strange” when he said “funny.”)
I have seen a lot of images from motorcycle crashes in the Denver metro area and I can tell you that they are definitely different from car accident scenes. Sadly, they are usually much more tragic.
Of course, motorcycles are smaller than cars, so they don’t stand much chance in a collision with a vehicle that outweighs them by many factors. However, Ricky, who is an engineer, said that there are some other issues that make motorcycles behave strangely in crash situations.
Ricky explained that, “Motorcycles are smaller and they act erratically in accidents. They aren’t like cars, which tend to be like smooth boxes. Motorcycles have parts sticking out that catch on the road and cause them to do funny things, curve around other objects, land funny. Also, the weight difference between motorcycles and cars is significant. Motorcycles change trajectory more easily.”
I have hired accident reconstruction engineers in the past to help me prove that the other driver is at fault, causing my client’s injuries. In some cases, I observe the reconstruction process like a great episode of CSI. It takes a ton of investigative work to discern the cause of an accident.
Ricky said that the engineers at Knott Lab gather police reports, witness statements, visit the accident site for remaining evidence such as skid marks, talk to the district attorneys that may be involved, collect photos that may have been taken at the accident, and assemble pretty much anything else that they can get their hands on.
They also use high-tech to assess the vehicles’ damage as well as the scene of the accident.
“We do a laser scan of the vehicles so that we can recreate the vehicle visually and do a 3D image,” said Ricky. “We also do a scan of the accident site so that we can assess slope, geometry, heights of nearby obstacles, etc.”
Based on that information, the engineers can often create a written report that explains what happened and who was at fault. But for more complex cases, Ricky said they create the computer simulations like what you see in their demo video.
Advice for Bikers
I asked Ricky if he had any advice for motorcycle riders who are in accidents, things that they can do to help prove their innocence. Gratifyingly, he said something that I say all the time: take pictures!
“Everybody has smart phones today; take pictures!” he said. “As many as possible! Also, try not to touch or move the vehicle. Typically, police officers want you to move the vehicle, but take pictures first. And take pictures of the damage on the road, your motorcycle, the other driver’s car, everything. The more we can see of the accident scene, the more it helps.”
Finally, as someone who fights for motorcyclist rights, I want you to know that, just because the police give YOU the ticket after an accident (because they normally assume it was the biker’s fault), don’t assume that you don’t have a good case. I have won cases for motorcyclists even after the cop gave them the ticket. I can find witnesses and even hire a company like Knott Lab to prove your innocence. I’d love to help you.