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Randy Savely knows what it’s like to face your worst nightmare. In March 2007, he was riding his motorcycle in Denver and was hit by a car. Due to his extensive injuries, Randy’s left leg was amputated at the knee.
Adding insult to injury, Randy was hit by an underinsured motorist. so he was unable to secure a settlement that would cover his medical bills or lost wages.
That accident changed my whole world,” recalls Randy. “It left me with nothing. I lost my leg, my house, my car… everything.”
No one ever thinks this kind of horrific accident can happen to them, including Randy. Yet, according to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2015, motorcyclists were 29 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled, and almost five times more likely to be injured. And, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015, 4,976 people died in motorcycle crashes, up 8.3 percent from 4,594 in 2014.
In Colorado, in 2016, motorcycle deaths hit an all-time high, skyrocketing 15% from the year before. The 2016 number represents a 50% increase from 2012, when 79 deaths were recorded.
It’s easy to read those statistics and feel personally removed from them. But Randy is one of those statistics.
At the time of his accident, Randy worked in the construction industry and he was fortunate to have friends who rallied to his side. Those friends staged a big event, which they called The Randy Run, and they raised money to help Randy with his medical bills.
“That experience raised my awareness on what can happen to a rider who goes down,” says Randy. “I was definitely one of those people who thought it couldn’t happen to me. Then, all of a sudden, I lost my leg.”
After that first year, Randy realized that the biker community was staging a lot of little fundraisers every time a biker went down, but they raised relatively small sums. He decided to turn Randy Run into an annual event – Randy Run for Fallen Bikers – that would raise more money to help more bikers.
While bikers are a generous community, hosting fundraisers for their friends all the time, their efforts rarely raise enough money to cover an injured rider’s medical bills, lost wages, house payments, car payments and more.
So now, Randy tells every single rider he knows one very important piece of advice: It can happen to you so you’d better have the right insurance.
Fact: Every motorcyclist should purchase a minimum of $250,000 in underinsured motorist coverage.
You cannot count on the other driver having enough insurance to cover your medical bills, lost wages and more. In fact, you’d better assume that every other driver on the road only has $25,000 of insurance, the minimum required by the state of Colorado. That won’t even cover your first day in the hospital if you face injuries like Randy’s.
Also, if you own a home, you should purchase an uninsured/underinsured motorist umbrella policy of $1 million.
Randy also shares his inspiring story with riders who are going through the same thing he had faced.
“I have a real strong feeling of what it’s like when you go down,” he says. “I experienced it first-hand. After my leg was taken off, it was six months before I even got a prosthetic leg to walk again. But within a year of my accident, I was back on my bike and doing everything I did before.”
He adds, “After an accident, it’s easy to think your life is over. But I always worked on logic. After my surgery, I sat up the next day and I thought, logically, I lost my leg. But I told my wife, ‘Don’t worry. I will walk and ride again.’”
Randy also used humor to get through the rough times.
My surgeon said, ‘Randy, you lost your leg.’ I said, ‘I know I was there!”
Many motorcycle accidents result in head injuries. Usually, the people who don’t die from brain trauma end up living with brain injuries for the rest of their lives. Consider buying the following to protect yourself from life-threatening injuries:
• Full-face helmet
• Motorcycle boots
• Riding jacket
• Riding gloves
Today, The Randy Run for Fallen Bikers (the organization’s official name) is a 501c3 nonprofit with a board of seven people who help Randy decide how to distribute funds. In order to receive a grant, a rider has to complete an online application, proving that he or she was not at fault in the accident. The grant also requires a police report.
All of the grants help people pay for house payments, car payments, or other bills. The organization does not hand out cash to victims.
“In our bylaws, it states that we do not give out cash,” explains Randy. “We will help with house or car payments. I don’t want people to go through what I did when I lost my house. They need time to think about what is happening to them and how they will handle it. They have to make a lot of decisions and we want to give them a cushion. If they don’t have to worry about their house or car or insurance for a little while, it gives them cushion.”
Randy adds, “Some reach out to us and say, ‘I don’t need your financial support, but I need your moral support.’ I’m happy to give that too.”
If you have a family depending on you, you have a duty to make sure that they can pay for your care if you are permanently hurt or even injured. Even something as simple as road rash can take days or weeks to heal and, depending on your line of work, that could be devastating to your financial situation. Disability insurance, such as Aflac, can help pay for your mortgage, car payment or even groceries! Even if you have fantastic insurance on your motorcycle, it can take months for you to see a dime of that money. Disability insurance can be a bridge of coverage while you wait for your accident case to settle.
This year’s Randy Run for Fallen Bikers was held July 15, 2017 and it was the most successful event in the organization’s history. In past years, the event drew around 75 riders and raised approximately $9,000. This year, there were 110 bikers who helped raise $14,000. The event includes a 120-mile Poker Run, live auction, silent auction, chili cook-off, hog roast and door prizes.
At the event, Randy spoke about the importance of purchasing as much insurance as you can.
“You have to assume that the guy who hits you doesn’t have any insurance at all,” says Randy. “You have to protect yourself.”
If you’d like to read more about motorcycle insurance and motorcycle laws, read this free book, “Motorcycle Law: A Little Book About the Big Things You Should Know.” (You may also go to the Apple store and search the title.)
Randy says that he enjoys helping others who may be facing the same nightmare that he once faced.
“I often see guys who’ve been horribly injured or they’ve lost a leg and they meet me and say, ‘If you can do it, then maybe I can do it, too.’ And it’s true,” says Randy. “It’s all in your attitude.”
Randy was the subject of a three-part series written by Ken Bingenheimer in Motorcycle Colorado. It’s an inspiring story so I encourage you to check it out.