motorcycle mechanicYou have your dream motorcycle, but you’re not sure your current mechanic is the right one to keep your bike in top condition. How can you tell whether you need to find a new mechanic? Unfortunately, we’re not aware of any national certification for motorcycle mechanics like the one automotive mechanics have, but there are a few ways to tell if your guy or gal is competent.

Has he or she taken manufacturer training?

If your mechanic has trained with Harley or Honda, he or she should be a good choice for your Harley or Honda bike. Typically, mechanics who are committed to their careers seek out manufacturer or other specialized training to keep up their skills, and they take new or refresher training regularly. If your mechanic has never taken any, or it’s been 20 years since he or she has, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere.

With that said, motorcycle dealerships don’t always employ the best mechanics. Yes, the dealership is a good place to start when looking for a mechanic, but don’t assume that every dealership mechanic is a good one. In addition, you’ll typically pay more to a dealership than you will to an independent shop or self-employed mechanic.

How much experience does he or she have?

Of course, every seasoned mechanic was a new mechanic at some point. If you choose to work with a less-experienced mechanic, ensure that he or she has access to more experienced mechanics in case of problems.

How professional is your mechanic?

Do you receive estimates (preferably written), and is the final bill approximately the same? When the mechanic actually does the work, he or she may find other issues. When that happens, he or she should contact you for permission to continue with the new work. Communication is a key trait for good mechanics, no matter what they repair.

Are the repairs completed promptly, and do you receive an itemized bill? If not, perhaps it’s time to start looking. Professional mechanics will also show you defective parts and keep your bike as clean as possible.

Does he or she have references and liability insurance?

Any good mechanic should be able to provide references. Liability insurance protects you in case the bike is damaged while being repaired.

Do you like him or her?

If you don’t like your mechanic, take that as a sign and move on. You don’t have to be best friends, but you do need to feel respected as the client. Your mechanic should be open to answering questions and giving you advice about keeping your bike in top mechanical shape. The best mechanics are glad to talk shop with you and believe part of their job is to educate and inform.

As South Carolina motorcycle accident lawyers who ride, we’ve seen our share of good and not-so-good mechanics. Do you have any tips for those who are seeking their perfect mechanic?

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mandatory helmet lawsOver the 4th of July weekend, a New York man died while on a ride to protest the mandatory helmet law in his state.

Philip Contos 55, died when his bike fishtailed and he went over the handlebars, hitting his head on the road. Medical personnel at the hospital had no doubt Contos would have survived if he had worn a helmet.

Contos was participating in the 11th annual helmet protest ride sponsored by the Onondaga chapter of ABATE, American Bikers Aimed Toward Education. The group lobbies for freedom and awareness among bikers and the public. The Syracuse chapter president, Christinea Rathbun, told a news agency how saddened and shocked the group was at Contos’ death.

ABATE believes that each adult rider should have a choice whether to wear a helmet, but New York is one of 20 states with a mandatory helmet law applying to all ages. South Carolina’s law requires riders under age 21 to wear a helmet.

A representative of the Governors Highway Safety Association, Jim Hedlund, stated that a helmet reduces the risk of fatality in a motorcycle accident by 40%. However, ABATE of New York’s website notes that helmet laws do nothing to prevent accidents, and the decision to wear one should be up to each adult rider.

As South Carolina motorcycle accident lawyers, we represent riders who were victims of motorcycle and auto accidents, and we see both sides: victims who did and did not wear helmets.

What do you think? Should wearing a motorcycle helmet be mandated by law, and why or why not?

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