Buy a lottery ticket, PLEASE!

December 7, 2017 Comments Off on Buy a lottery ticket, PLEASE!

I am an expert conversation killer, having the ability to bring the liveliest discussions to a screeching halt with a few ill-chosen words, or well-chosen ones, such that you could even consider me a mass murderer of happy dialogue, a Ted Bundy in the world of social gatherings. One of the main reasons that conversations in my presence wilt like delicate orchids in a blast furnace has to do with the topics I introduce.

The topics themselves are harmless, just like guns, because after all, topics don’t kill conversations, people kill conversations. For example, it’s conceivable that there are many social groupings that would relish a conversation about learning Chinese, or about medieval European cities, or about the relationship between Croatian and Bosnian and the degree of mutual intelligibility between Czech and Slovakian, but that’s like saying there are many foods that go well with Bearnaise sauce … and not knowing that chocolate ice cream isn’t one of them.

Even good friends who like to read and who enjoy a robust chat never take the bait, so what I usually do is end up listening, adding a comment every now and then, and keeping most of my thoughts to myself. This, in fact, is the only reason I’m able to hang onto the admittedly few friends I have; I have the hard-earned wisdom to know when to be silent, and its corollary, the knowledge of when to shut up.

Still, even my mustard gas convo weaponry can’t account for the fact that the moment I mention the word “insurance” a pall goes over the crowd. And I talk about insurance a lot.

It’s not because I sell insurance, but because my job puts me into contact with insurance policies all the time, every day, and what’s worse, it puts me into contact with no insurance policies where there by all rights should have been one. I’ve written about the importance of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and how it can protect you when you are on a bike and you get hit by a car. If you’re unfamiliar with this crucial topic, please read this.

But recently in L.A. I’ve noticed a very disturbing trend: Cyclists who get hit by cars and who themselves have no UM/UIM coverage under their own auto policy because they don’t own a car. More and more people are simply going bipedal or bicycle-only and stepping off the one-man-one-car, an-auto-in-every-pot mentality that made America mildly great and obese and prematurely dead.

For these cyclists and pedestrians, who have no auto insurance and therefore no UM/UIM coverage to protect them when they are victimized by a hit-and-run or uninsured driver, there is actually a very practical solution. But before I get to it, I have to conquer the conversation-slaughtering effect of the word “insurance.”

Why do people hate the word so much that the moment you say it they stop listening, reading, thinking? Why so much odium surrounding a word that’s ostensibly there to protect you? I’ll tell you why: Because insurance is one of those things in life that signifies a negative obligation with no payoff. Sure, if you need it it pays off, it’s insurance, but the connotation is “pay something and get nothing.” So, like trying to sell people a “living will” or “probate services,” you’re pretty much fucked the minute you mention it.

So I figured out a way around it. All along we’ve been calling it the wrong thing. Instead of saying “insurance,” we should be calling it by its real name, which is “lottery ticket.” Now that will get anyone’s attention! Hey, can I sell you a lottery ticket?

Even if you don’t want one, at least you’re listening. And everyone has an opinion on lotteries, and deep down everyone wants a winning ticket. NO ONE WANTS A WINNING INSURANCE POLICY BECAUSE YOU GENERALLY HAVE TO GET MAIMED OR DIE. But everyone wants a lottery ticket because you might get money!!!!!

Therefore, today’s blog post is about getting a Non-Operator Lottery Ticket. These lottery tickets can be purchased even if you don’t own or drive a car or even have a driving license. The way they work is this: You go to a Lottery Ticket Sales Company (formerly known as an insurance company), and tell them you want one of these non-operator lottery tickets. They will sell you tickets which, if you win, will pay up to $500,000 if the driver who hits you is uninsured or underinsured. These lottery tickets are affordable and a must-have if you ride a bicycle and don’t own a car.

Before you go out and purchase a new speedsuit or a pair of rad cycling glasses or some more carbon to go with your 100% carbon that is all carbon, please get yourself one of these non-operator lottery tickets. Because unfortunately, if you ride enough on the streets of Los Angeles, there’s a real good chance you’re going to win.

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Don’t get hit and then what?

September 15, 2017 § 24 Comments

There are a lot of dark stories in the world today about the cager v. biker wars. And they are wars. The bikers get killed and maimed and the cagers get a speeding ticket. The bikers put in an imaginary magic protection road stripe and the cagers rip it out. The bikers say “You’re killing us!” and the cagers say “Exactly!” Cf. Jennifer King and the troll triumvirate of Garrett Uno, Cynthia “the Beast” Uno, Robert Lewis Chapman, Jr., and the unbearable heaviness of cager hate and stunted lives of those who wage it.

Maybe I will get around to expanding on this article by Peter Flax, but I doubt it. How do you expand on the universe? Read it and bleed.

However, on September 21 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM at Performance Bicycle in Long Beach, I will be expanding on my own tiny little universe of how not to get killed while riding your bike. If you’re in the neighborhood I hope you can make it.

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Performance Bicycle, Long Beach

Cycling Savvy, led by Big Orange’s own Gary Cziko, has been instrumental in the last two years teaching people the very best in Bee Gees riding techniques, i.e. “Stayin’ Alive.” Gary’s techniques work. There are two parts of the Cycling Savvy curriculum, however, that are either ignored or lightly addressed, kind of like not enough vinaigrette on a mountain of salad, and I’m going to talk about them at the event in Long Beach.

  • What to do if you’re a victim or witness to a bike-car collision.
  • How to protect yourself and your family if you or they get hit while cycling.
  • How not to get hit through insane use of over-the-top lighting, day and night.

Performance is supporting the seminar with some killer deals on, guess what, lighting. There will also be covfefe to keep you awake. However, I can promise that you won’t need it, or you’ll get your money back at this free event.

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Appreciative reader maxes out UM coverage

November 3, 2011 § 2 Comments

Dear Wankmeister,

Thank you so much for your tip on raising the uninsured motorist coverage on my auto liability policy. Looks like $500,000 per person & $1,000,000 per accident will only cost me $100 per year…probably the most prudent cycling-related decision I’ve ever made! Now I can relax while I’m drinking coffee and talking about how fast I used to be, and if an uninsured or under-insured motorist plows thru the coffee shop, I’ll be covered! Thank you Wankmeister!

Signed,
Yusta Befit

Dear Yusta,

Congratulations on bucking the norm for cyclists–i.e. you actually made a smart decision, and more incredibly, it had to do with cycling, and (almost) unbelievably, it potentially benefits your wife and kids. To recap: 85% of drivers in California only carry the minimum liability insurance, which is $15,000. This means that when some drunk chick coming back from an all-nighter in Redondo runs you over on Sunday morning–yes, that’s the horrific, infamous case we all know about–you are only able to recover $15k. This barely pays for the first couple of hours you’ll spend eating through a tube. The remaining 262,800 hours left, assuming you live another 30 years, you’ll be S.O.L. “UM” coverage is the insurance tacked onto your policy that covers you when someone hits you with insufficient coverage, as in the above example. And although some insurance agents will swear otherwise, your uninsured motorist coverage, at least in California, covers you if you’re on the bike, or you’re a pedestrian and you get whacked by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. Guess what? It happens all the time: biker gets hit, has lots of medical bills, and the offending driver is only on the hook for the first $15k. The remainder? Comes out of the biker’s pocket or the biker winds up in bankruptcy due to overwhelming medical bills. The great news, as Yusta Befit points out above, is that you can jack your UM coverage up to very high levels for only a few bucks. Considering all the useless bike crap you spend money on in a year, this is the bargain of all bargains. Imagine how happy your significant other will be when you smile up at him/her through a full-body cast and say, “Don’t worry, honey, we’re covered!”

Assuredly,
The Wankmeister

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