These are sayings out of the book Sit Down, Shut Up & Hang On!

A biker's guide to life.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

9 tips to get your Motorcycle ready to ride

9 tips to get your Motorcycle ready to ride

If you’re like me, you’ve noticed the increasing number of motorcycles breaking out for a quick ride. With warming temperatures and yearning riders, it’s time to get your Motorcycle ready for the road. Here are nine tips to help you stay ‘sunny-side up’ and help protect you and the health of your motorcycle.
  1. Charge your battery:The heart of your bike’s electrical system and the source of power to get-up and goin’ is your motorcycle battery. The prudent already have their battery on some form of Battery Tender [Tip: keeping your battery charged can add multiple lives to your energy cell.] But if you don’t have your battery on a charger, the first thing to make your motorcycle ride-ready is to charge your battery.
  2. Change the oil & filter:If you followed our recommendations for winterizing your bike, you changed the oil before putting it in storage for the year – but if not, now’s the time to do it. Swap that stale lubricant for fresh clean oil and a new filter. If you don’t do the work on your bike, make arrangements with your favorite motorcycle maintenance facility to accomplish this important task.
  3. Tires: These jewels are where the ‘rubber meets the road’ literally, so pay special attention to them. Do a full 360 degree check on each tire for any cracking or punctures. Also, check for wear. Excessively worn tires are more easily punctured and less likely to maintain proper traction. On many tires, tread wear indicator bars signal a need for replacement, but another easy check – if you can see the top of Lincoln’s head on a penny when inserted in the tire tread, Lincoln’s head facing down, it’s time for a new tire. If your tires pass the wear test, inflate them to manufacturer’s inflation specs and your rubber is ready to go.
  4. Fuel:If you stabilized the fuel in your motorcycle during the winterization process, you should burn through it or siphon it out and replace it with fresh fuel. If you didn’t winterize, and also didn’t fill the tank before storing, check the fuel tank for rust, which may have formed due to water condensation. If the tank is clean, fill it and ‘ride-on’. If there are signs of rust, you’ll live with the consequences – fouled carburetor, clogged fuel filter, etc. – until you replace the tank.
  5. Cables & Pivot points:A Spring tune up of cables and pivot points is time well spent. Get a good multipurpose spray lubricant and use it on anything that pivots or slides – cables, levers, pedals, kick-stand, etc. Exclusions to its use are chains and drive assemblies. We recommend using chain and driveline lubricants specifically designed for this task. Check with your motorcycle manufacturer for recommended products.  Use fogging oil designed specifically for fuel tanks as part of your winterization at the end of the riding year.
  6. Lighting:  Turn on your motorcycle’s power and check all the lights for any that have inoperative bulbs and replace them i.e.  brake lights, turn signals, headlights, etc. Often, replacement bulbs come in twos, so save extras for the next time you need one. Occasionally, an outage may be due to a fuse failure. Replace the spent fuse, but monitor the outage situation – there may be more awry than a burned-out bulb. Repetitive fuse failures can signal a deeper electrical problem, which may require professional help.
  7. Brakes:Stopping your motorcycle safely is just as important as insuring your bike can accelerate. Before you hit the road, thoroughly check all the components of your brake system – lever adjustment, cables, calipers, brake pads, etc. Review your motorcycle’s manufacturer’s manual for tips on proper brake system adjustment. If settings don’t seem right and you’re not comfortable making adjustments, seek professional help. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
  8. Fluids:Check for all the motorcycle’s fluid levels – brake, clutch, oil, coolant. Top them off as needed. Look for any leaks on the floor where your motorcycle’s been stored. Another way to check for leaks is to start and warm your bike up to running temperature, then turn it off and check for leaks.
  9. Clean:Finally, the old adage, ‘cleanliness is next to Godliness’ is true, and definitely so for your motorcycle. When you’ve taken all the steps to prepare your motorcycle mechanically, thoroughly clean the exterior and your bike will look as good as it runs and you’ll look good riding it!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Motorcycle Lobby Day 2017

The Virginia Coalition of Motorcyclists (VCOM) will be making a change to the annual January legislative meeting.  Lobby Day is usually held on Martin Luther King Day.  For two decades Virginia motorcyclists have gathered on that day to go the state capital in order to urge their legislators to support motorcyclists in Virginia.  However, this year’s legislative agenda hinges more on working with state agencies than it does on winning support of individual legislators.  For this reason, VCOM has decided not to hold a traditional lobby day.  Instead, on a date to be determined, VCOM will host a reception in Richmond in order to give attendees a chance to visit their legislators and show support to those legislators who support us.  It will also be a great opportunity to engage in fellowship with other riders interested in protecting the rights of motorcyclists. 

VCOM continues to work with the Virginia State Police to create acceptable standards to allow motorcyclists in Virginia to utilize accent lighting in order to increase rider nighttime visibility.  At this time, we foresee this as the one issue which may require legislative action.  If it does, we will attempt to schedule the reception on a day that the Senate Transportation Committee meets.  It will be important to have as many supporters there as possible if we are not able to work out an agreement with the State Police.

VCOM is also working with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles in order to create a Driver Improvement Clinic for motorcyclists.  Currently in Virginia, Driver Improvement Clinics, which allow drivers to add positive points to their driver’s license, are held strictly in classroom settings and are geared for automobile drivers.  VCOM is working with the DMV to create a Driver Improvement Clinic for motorcyclists which will include classroom training as well as actual riding time on a range.  We will keep you updated as we move forward on this project.

Finally, VCOM is actively monitoring every bill that is being introduced in the General Assembly this year.  If one is introduced which affects motorcyclists, we will immediately report it on this list and formulate a strategy to either support or oppose the legislation depending on its merit.  In the meantime, if anyone has any questions, comments, or concerns about this or any other matter concerning motorcycling in Virginia, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Matt Danielson
McGrath, Danielson, Sorrell & Fuller
The Motorcycle Law Group

National Motorcycle Conference Coming to Virginia Help Needed

September 21 - 24, 2017
For the first time ever Virginia will host  the Motorcycle Riders Foundation’s Meeting of the Minds.  This annual conference will bring 300 to 500 grassroots motorcycling advocates from across the country to Williamsburg Virginia from September 21-24, 2017.  This conference is the premier motorcyclists rights conference in the country.

I am the conference coordinator and in order to put on a successful conference I will need all of the help that I can get.  Members of VCOM, VABA and ABATE of Virginia have committed to help put this conference on but we will need many more volunteers to make this work.  I am currently looking for volunteers to help organize this conference.   Virginia can host a great conference but it will take input from Virginia motorcyclists.

If you are willing to help, or have any questions please contact me at either or 1-800-437-9434.  September will be here before we know it so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you are interested.  I need all of the help I can get.

Jim Cannon
Director, Virginia Coalition of Motorcyclists

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Reddit Forum

Save the Date: Motorcycle Law Group to Host Reddit Forum

November 15, 2016

We are hosting our first ever, Reddit Ask Us Anything (AUA) forum on Tuesday, November 15, 2016. We invite all of you to join in the conversation as Matt Danielson, Chad Fuller, and Liz Sorrell from Motorcycle Law Group answer questions about:
  • Motorcycle laws and statutes
  • What to do in the event of an accident
  • How much and what type of motorcycle insurance you really need
  • Anything else motorcycle law related
Login to on:
  • Tuesday, November 15
  • 2pm EST - 4pm EST
  • Submit questions for our team to answer! 
What is Reddit? 

Reddit is a social news aggregation and discussion website. Reddit's community members can submit content, like we are doing for this Ask Us Anything event. If you want to join in the conversation but do not have an account, it very easy to sign up (and free).

We would be pleased to have as many of you from our MLG community active and participating on this day. We will send a reminder out the week before and the day of the AUA conversation to direct you to the forum.

If you have any questions please let us know!

Matt Danielson
McGrath, Danielson, Sorrell & Fuller
The Motorcycle Law Group

Friday, July 22, 2016

GPS May Be Spying on You

Your GPS May be Spying on You

Beware. Your GPS may be collecting evidence against you. More and more motorcyclists today are using GPS (Global Positioning Systems) to plan trips, get directions and keep track of miles traveled. However, keep in mind that if you are in a motorcycle accident, you may be collecting evidence that could be used against you in both a criminal and civil trial.

Most GPS systems allow you to keep track of your speed. As such, they can be used as evidence in court. I have come across jurisdictions which, at the scene of an accident when speed is a question, will seize a crash victim’s GPS, get a search warrant, and download the information pertaining to speed. Such action does more than subject the crash victim to a speeding ticket. It can, if the injured party was speeding, put their ability to collect damages for their injuries at risk. That means, if the party who injures you can show that you were in some way at fault in causing the accident, then depending on which state you were injured in, your claim can be reduced, or outright denied.

Keep in mind that I am in no way suggesting that you should not use a GPS on your motorcycle. I am merely suggesting that if you do, keep in mind that depending on the system and how you use it, you could be collecting evidence that could eventually be used by a party that injures you to avoid paying for the injuries they caused.

If you have any further questions or comments concerning this article or any other matters concerning your rights as a motorcyclist, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Matt Danielson
McGrath, Danielson, Sorrell & Fuller
The Motorcycle Law Group

VA Helmet Concerns

On Saturday, July 30, 2016, the Virginia Coalition of Motorcyclists will host a meeting to discuss issues concerning efforts to amend Virginia law to allow adult riders to choose whether or not to wear a motorcycle helmet.  The meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn Express in Lexington, Virginia.  We will start at 1:00 p.m.  The address for the hotel is 880 N Lee Highway, Lexington, VA.  We look forward to discussing this important issue with you.

  Matt Danielson
McGrath, Danielson, Sorrell & Fuller
The Motorcycle Law Group

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Motorcyclists are in Good Shape at the Half Way Point in the Virginia General Assembly

February 17, 2016
We have reached the time in the Virginia General Assembly known as “Crossover,” which is the half way point of the 60 day session.  This means that, other than the budget bill, the Senate may now only consider legislation that has passed out of the House of Delegates, and the House of Delegates may only consider legislation that has passed out of the Senate.

Here are the mid-point updates of the legislation that the Virginia Coalition of Motorcyclists (VCOM) has been supporting, opposing, or watching.  I have included links to the bills that are still “alive” and working their way through the General Assembly.  You may use these links to follow the progress of any legislation which interests you.

House Bills

HB10 – This bill concerns the number of headlights allowed on the front of a motorcycle.  The bill was introduced by request of a constituent of Delegate Cole and is identical to SB25 which was introduced by Senator Reeves by request.  The bill would allow motorcyclists to burn five lights rather than four for general illumination on the front of the motorcycle.  The purpose of this bill is to improve visibility of motorcycles from the front in order to help prevent left turns in front of motorcycles.

Neither HB10 nor SB25 have met any opposition and have therefore moved through their respective bodies on the uncontested calendar.  That means that they were voted on in a block with many other bills which were also unopposed.  Both bills are on the fast track to become law.

VCOM will be watching the potential conflict in law that these bills create.  The bills allow motorcycles to “be equipped with and use not more than five approved lights in order to provide general illumination ahead of the motorcycle.”  However, Section 46.2-1012 prohibits motorcycles from being equipped with more than two auxiliary lights.  This may require a legislative fix in the future.  VCOM will continue to monitor this.

You may follow the progress of this bill and read the text at the following link:

You may follow the progress of its companion, SB25, and read its text at the following link:

HB870 – This bill concerns unfair claim settlement practices and was introduced by Delegate Hugo.  It is identical to SB193 which was introduced by Senator Stuart.

Under current law insurance companies and repair facilities are prohibited from making an appraisal of a damaged automobile without making a personal inspection.  This bill would also allow appraisals to be done using photographs.  This code also requires that any estimate of an automobile that is prepared based on the use of parts not made by the original manufacturer must conspicuously state that to be the fact.

VCOM has worked with both patrons to amend their bills.  As a result, each was amended to replace automobile with motor vehicle.  As a result, motorcyclists will enjoy this protection that has to date only been extended to owners of automobiles.

You may follow the progress of this bill and read the text at the following link:

You may follow the progress of its companion, SB193, and read its text at the following link:

HB939 – This bill was introduced by Delegate Wilt by request of VCOM.  It would allow motorcyclists to utilize LED type auxiliary lights to increase visibility of motorcycles, especially at night.  Auxiliary side lighting lessens the chance of a collision caused by an automobile or truck changing lanes into a motorcycle. The problem is that most of this type of lighting is not approved by DOT, ANSI or SAE and is therefore illegal under Virginia law.  This bill would allow certain unapproved lighting on motorcycles as a safety device

This bill has faced heavy opposition from the Virginia State Police who insist that all motor vehicle lighting be approved by one of the aforementioned organizations.  Despite such opposition, VCOM has, with the assistance of motorcyclists who rallied to email their legislators, worked this bill through committee and onto the House floor where it passed on a vote of 100-0.  VCOM will continue to work on this bill in the Senate where it will once again face opposition from the Virginia State Police.

You may follow the progress of this bill and read the text at the following link:

Senate Bills Not Yet Discussed

SB35 – This bill, introduced by Senator Carrico, incrementally adds fees to yearly motor vehicle registrations in order to provide additional funds to the Virginia State Police.  By July 1, 2025 that fee would be $12.50 per motor vehicle per year.   This means that a household with two cars and two motorcycles would pay $50 per year in additional fees.

To give a better idea of the impact of this bill, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 7,898,197 registered motor vehicles in Virginia in 2014.  $12.50 per vehicle per year comes to $98,727,462 per year (That is almost ninety-nine million dollars per year)

VCOM opposed this bill.  We believe that this would have a disproportional effect on our community since we tend to own more motor vehicles than the average household.

This bill was sent to the House Committee on Finance and has been carried over until next year.  No further action will be taken on this bill during this General Assembly session.

Finally we have SB697.  This bill, introduced by Senator Louise Lucas of Portsmouth, would have exempted motorcycles from paying tolls in Virginia.  While VCOM very much appreciates the efforts of the Senator, the fate of this bill was sealed upon its introduction.  Previous attempts at similar legislation have been met with strong opposition from a legislative body that frowns on removing transportation funding sources of any kind.  It was no different this year.  The bill was rejected in the Senate Transportation Committee’s sub-committee on tolls.

We will continue to update you on all of the legislation throughout this year’s session.  If anyone has any questions concerning these or any other bills, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Once again let me say thank you to all of you who have ever taken your time this year to support Virginia motorcyclists.  Your efforts matter more than you know.  There is not another group I would rather be affiliated with than you.
Matt Danielson
McGrath, Danielson, Sorrell & Fuller
The Motorcycle Law Group

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