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

A biker's guide to life.

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

Sunday, February 7, 2016


Motorcycle Auxiliary Light Bill On House Floor

February 6, 2016

Our Auxiliary light bill, HB 939, is on it's second reading on the floor of the House of Delegates.  It came out of the full House Transportation Committee on a 19-2 vote.

This bill would allow motorcyclists to utilize auxiliary lighting, such as LED accent lighting, in order to be more visible at night.  Current Virginia law requires that all lighting be approved by the superintendent of the Virginia State Police.  That means that all lighting must go through an approval process.  The vast majority of smaller lights appropriate for motorcycles have never undergone such a process, and due to the size of the manufacturers making such lighting, most likely never will.

You can view HB 939 at the following link:

VCOM has worked with Delegate Tony Wilt to fashion this bill which allows motorcycles the protection of side lighting currently enjoyed by operators of cars and trucks.  VCOM encourages all motorcyclists to email the members of House of Delegates in support of this bill.  Below is a link that will provide contact information for every member of the House of Delegates.

When emailing delegates, remember to point out the following:
  • The bill increases visibility of motorcycles, especially at night;
  • Unlike automobiles which are required to have side marker lights or wrap around headlights / tail lights which are visible from the side, motorcycle lights are often only visible from the front and rear and do not have the same illumination as automobiles;
  • NHTSA published a report on the effectiveness of side marker lights on motor vehicles.The report concluded that side marker lights are a cost effective safety device which reduce the number of nighttime angular collisions that occur in the United States;
  • Several surrounding states, including Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, have passed similar legislation and motorcyclists from those states are currently riding on Virginia roads with similar lighting.  It makes sense to give Virginia motorcyclists the same safety tools that out of state riders already use on Virginia roads.
Please support this sensible bill which makes motorcycles more visible at night.   When you send emails it is best to send an email to each Delegate individually.  It is also helpful to include your address if you are a constituent.  Once again, below is a link that will provide contact information for every member of the House of Delegates.

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

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Federal Highway Bill

l Baldwin

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Motorcycle Lobby Day Meeting 2016

Sunday January 17, 2016

The Virginia Coalition of Motorcyclists and Tom McGrath's Motorcycle Law Group would like to invite all interested motorcyclists to attend this year's Motorcycle Lobby Day.  This year it will be held on Monday January 18, 2016.  This is a holiday, so many people are off.  That morning Virginia Coalition of Motorcyclists lobbyists, as well as members of other state motorcycle rights organizations, independent motorcyclists and any other interested people will go to the Virginia General Assembly to speak to the Delegates and Senators about upcoming legislation that affects motorcyclists in Virginia.

On Sunday January 17th, beginning at 1:00 p.m., Virginia Coalition of Motorcyclists lobbyists will lead an informational meeting at the Holiday Inn at 2000 Staples Mill Rd, Richmond, VA, 23230 to discuss this year's legislation affecting motorcyclists. We will also discuss how to talk to your legislators about these issues in case you have never done that.  Later that evening, attendees will enjoy a free homemade BBQ dinner.

On Monday the 18th, we leave the hotel at 8:00 a.m. sharp for our annual trip to the Capitol. After lobbying our legislators, we will head to Penny Lane Pub where The Motorcycle Law Group provides lunch to all who attended as a thank you for coming to support Virginia motorcyclists.

This year we know that there will be another bill to amend the Code of Virginia to allow motorcyclists to use auxiliary lights in order to increase visibility to other motorists.  This bill faces heavy opposition from the Virginia State Police and will require strong support from the motorcycling community in order to become law in Virginia.

As always, there will be numerous bills submitted at the last minute which may negatively affect motorcycling.  As these bills are filed, we will identify them and discuss them at Lobby Day so that we can convince legislators to oppose them.  Those who have participated in Lobby Day in the past remember bills that we have defeated such as the one that would have required proof of insurance before one person could sell another person a motorcycle, even if the person buying the motorcycle had no intention of putting the bike on the road.  We defeated that one with the help of all of those who participated at Lobby Day.  A few years ago we defeated a bill that would have prohibited children under eight from riding on a motorcycle as passengers.  We pointed out that the proposed law improperly infringed on the rights and responsibilities of parents.  Those at Lobby Day also pointed out the fact that in the prior ten years not a single child under eight was killed on a motorcycle. Both of these bills may have become law if it were not for the efforts of Virginia motorcyclists who took the time to come to Richmond and oppose them.
I encourage everyone who can to join us.  It is a lot of fun, it is educational, and most importantly it shows the legislators that motorcyclists are a significant and active portion of the electorate.

For more information you may call VCOM at (800) 437-9434.  For Room Reservations call 1- (888) 465-4329.  Make sure to ask for the VCOM rate.  We hope to see you at Lobby Day.

Matt Danielson
McGrath & Danielson
Tom McGrath's Motorcycle Law Group



Saturday, October 31, 2015

Virginia Motorcycle Helmet Reform Meeting

January 17, 2016
We have recently received information which would indicate that there may soon be a realistic opportunity to achieve motorcycle helmet law reform in Virginia.  There will be a meeting to discuss this immediately after the Lobby Day prep session in Richmond on January 17, 2016.

As soon as we have more information concerning the specific time and place for the Sunday Lobby Day I will forward it to this group.  We looking forward to speaking with everyone concerning this issue of importance to all of us.  

Matt Danielson
McGrath & Danielson
The Motorcycle Law Group

SCRC Family