The Road King
“Motorcycle Mike” Levine’s goal is to educate every biker in New York
Published in 2018 New York Metro Super Lawyers magazine
on September 13, 2018
Updated on October 3, 2018
Growing up on Long Island, Mike Levine was forever changed by the sight of the Nassau and Suffolk County police motor units as they cruised parades and escorted dignitaries.
“I always thought motorcycle cops were the coolest human beings alive, riding around on Harley-Davidson motorcycles all day long, pulling over bad guys,” says Levine, a plaintiff’s personal injury attorney at Rappaport, Glass, Levine & Zullo. “In New York, they did and do ride Harley-Davidson Road Kings, so I decided the first Harley-Davidson I’d buy would be a Road King. I wanted to be like them. I thought it was really cool, how they could make a career riding around on motorcycles.”
He adds: “I’ve made a career of riding around on motorcycles, but in a different way.”
Levine, who rides a few times a month with friends on his 2013 Road Glide Custom, has a niche practice representing motorcyclists injured in accidents.
“Riding a motorcycle, you have an appreciation for the dangers associated with being on a motorcycle,” says Levine, a husband and father of two. “Just for instance, when you ride on a highway, sometimes between each lane, they would put in filler as they’re paving the lanes. Nowadays they try to make one consistent layer, but on some roads you’ll have one layer for one lane, then there’ll be a separate layer for a second lane, a third layer for a third lane, and in between each lane, there’s a depression, or a rut, and that for a motorcyclist can be the kiss of death.
“I also know that almost 80 percent of all my clients injured on motorcycles are the victims of left-turning drivers. You wouldn’t know that unless you rode a motorcycle. Almost always when my client is the victim of a [left-turning] driver, the driver says, ‘I never saw him.’ People are very accustomed to seeing two headlights coming at them, but they’re not as accustomed to seeing a single headlight. For some reason, it doesn’t have the same visual impact that two headlights has. My bike, as a result, is lit up like a runway. I try to make myself as visible as I can—especially now, with all the distracted driving going on.”
Along with motorists’ blind spots and distracted driving, Levine says the biggest threats to motorcyclists are alcohol- and drug-impaired drivers.
“I represent a guy right now who lost his left leg above the knee, amputated at the scene, due to a driver who had just left the bar,” he says. “But for a good Samaritan who stopped and helped my client from bleeding out, he would’ve been dead.”
For several years, Levine has melded his personal and professional passions in presenting the Motorcycle Mike Poker Run, a charity fundraiser that this year benefited Canine Companions for Independence. Levine has also served as mayor of Old Field since 2008.
“I’m civic-minded,” he says. “My residents in my village call me ‘Mayor Mike,’ and my motorcycle buddies started calling me ‘Motorcycle Mike’ a few years ago.”
The nickname stuck, and Levine lives up to it every day as a committed advocate for motorcycle safety and readiness.
“I lecture all year long throughout the metropolitan area on insurance coverage,” he says. “My goal is to educate every motorcyclist throughout New York about having adequate coverage. Among motorcyclists, there’s an old expression: ‘There are motorcyclists who have gone down, and there are motorcyclists who will go down.’ Unfortunately, it’s one of the dangers.”