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Saturday, January 20, 2018

2018 Legislative Update

Virginia Coalition of Motorcyclists 2018 Legislative Update

January 17, 2018
The website for the Virginia Coalition of Motorcyclists (VCOM) has been updated to show the current list of bills pending before the Virginia General Assembly which would potentially affect motorcyclists if they become law.  You may view those bills and follow their status at  Simply click on the “Bills Of Interest” button at the bottom of the page.   For your convenience I have listed those bills below, along with links to the General Assembly Website so that you can track them should you wish.  Keep in mind that bills will continue to be published until Friday.  If any other bills of interest are introduced we will update both the VCOM website and this list.  We will also keep you informed of any developments concerning the legislation below.

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments concerning any of this legislation please do not hesitate to contact me.

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

Senate Bills

Distracted Driving
Bill Number: SB275
Introduced by Senator Stuart

This bill is one of several bills that would attempt to strengthen laws against both texting and driving, as well as allowing hand held devices to distract drivers from the task at hand which is driving.

While VCOM recognizes that such laws are very difficult to enforce, we generally support efforts to curtail distracted driving.

Read more about this bill at the following link:

Motor Vehicle Insurance Limits
Bill Number: SB611
Introduced by Senator Surovell

Increases the minimum motor vehicle liability insurance coverage amounts from $25,000 to $100,000 in cases of bodily injury to or death of one person, from $50,000 to $200,000 in cases of bodily injury to or death of more than one person in any one accident, and from $20,000 to $40,000 for property damage coverage.

VCOM wants to make Virginia Motorcyclists aware of this bill so that they can contact their legislators should they wish.  VCOM takes no position on this bill.

Read more about this bill at the following link:

Motor Vehicle Insurance Limits
Bill Number: SB364
Introduced by Senator Newman

Increases the minimum liability coverage amount from $20,000 to $50,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.
VCOM wants to make Virginia Motorcyclists aware of this bill so that they can contact their legislators should they wish.  VCOM takes no position on this bill.

Read more about this bill at the following link:

Regulation of Attire
Bill Number: SB667
Introduced by Senator Deeds

Authorizes a locality to pass an ordinance to regulate, restrict, or prohibit the wearing of any combination of attire or weaponry commonly associated with military combat, paramilitary operations, or warfare that gives the impression that the wearer is an on-duty member of the United States Armed Forces, an official law-enforcement agency, or the militia during any permitted assembly of persons or movement of persons or vehicles if such attire constitutes a threat to the public safety or welfare.

VCOM opposes this bill and sees First Amendment Implications.  Given the wording of this bill VCOM fears that it could unintentionally negatively impact the many military veteran motorcycle clubs in Virginia, as well as groups such as the Blue Knights.  VCOM respects the intentions of the bill, but we are extremely uncomfortable with the actual language of the bill.

Read more about this bill at the following link:

Bills in The House of Representatives

Careless Driving
Bill Number: HB426
Introduced by Delegate Levine

Provides that a person who operates a motor vehicle in a careless or distracted manner and causes of serious bodily injury to a pedestrian or person riding a bicycle, electric wheelchair, electric bicycle, wheel chair, skateboard, skates, foot-scooter, animal, or animal-drawn vehicle is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

VCOM believes that enhancing punishment on those who due to careless driving cause serious bodily injury or death should not be limited to only certain types of road users.  We believe that the bill is too narrow and we will work to expand the protection to all road users to include motorcyclists

Read more about this bill at the following link:

Auxiliary Lighting for Motorcycles
Bill Number: Not Yet Issued
Introduced by Delegate Robinson by Request of VCOM

This bill 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.  Several states neighboring Virginia (Maryland, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee & West Virginia) do not prohibit such lighting, or have adopted similar legislation in order to allow motorcyclists to take advantage of the benefit of this type of lighting should they wish.  There have not been any reported problems associated with such legislation.  This bill adopts language recently approved by Illinois. Virginia Code and federal regulation require side lighting for automobiles and trucks, but not motorcycles. There is currently no “approved” lighting on the market which is appropriate for most motorcycles.

This Bill has not yet been published so we have included the language below:  Remember that the language in italics is the language that the bill would add to existing code.  The language not in italics is already existing code.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That § 46.2-1012 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 46.2-1012. Headlights, auxiliary headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and illumination of license plates on motorcycles or autocycles.
Every motorcycle or autocycle shall be equipped with at least one headlight which shall be of a type that has been approved by the Superintendent and shall be capable of projecting sufficient light to the front of such motorcycle or autocycle to render discernible a person or object at a distance of 200 feet. However, the lights shall not project a glaring or dazzling light to persons approaching such motorcycles or autocycles. In addition, each motorcycle or autocycle may be equipped with not more than two auxiliary headlights of a type approved by the Superintendent except as otherwise provided in this section.

Motorcycles or autocycles may be equipped with means of modulating the high beam of their headlights between high and low beam at a rate of 200 to 280 flashes per minute. Such headlights shall not be so modulated during periods when headlights would ordinarily be required to be lighted under § 46.2-1030.

Notwithstanding § 46.2-1002, motorcycles or autocycles may be equipped with standard bulb running lights or light-emitting diode (LED) pods or strips as auxiliary lighting. Such lighting shall be (i) either red or amber in color and (ii) directed toward the ground in such a manner that no part of the beam will strike the level of the surface on which the motorcycle or autocycle stands at a distance of more than 10 feet from the vehicle. Such lighting shall not (a) project a beam of light of an intensity greater than 25 candlepower or its equivalent from a single lamp or bulb; (b) be blinking, flashing, oscillating, or rotating; or (c) be attached to the wheels of the motorcycle or autocycle.

Every motorcycle or autocycle registered in the Commonwealth and operated on the highways of the Commonwealth shall be equipped with at least one brake light of a type approved by the Superintendent. Motorcycles or autocycles may be equipped with one or more auxiliary brake lights of a type approved by the Superintendent. The Superintendent may by regulation prescribe or limit the size, number, location, and configuration of such auxiliary brake lights.

Every motorcycle or autocycle shall carry at the rear at least one or more red lights plainly visible in clear weather from a distance of 500 feet to the rear of such vehicle. Such tail lights shall be constructed and so mounted in their relation to the rear license plate as to illuminate the license plate with a white light so that the same may be read from a distance of 50 feet to the rear of such vehicle. Alternatively, a separate white light shall be so mounted as to illuminate the rear license plate from a distance of 50 feet to the rear of such vehicle. Any such tail lights or special white light shall be of a type approved by the Superintendent.

Motorcycles or autocycles may be equipped with a means of varying the brightness of the vehicle's brake light upon application of the vehicle's brakes.

Prohibition Against Leaving Unattended Vehicles Running
Bill Number: HB605
Introduced by Delegate Carr

Authorizes any locality to adopt an ordinance prohibiting any person from leaving a motor vehicle unattended while the motor vehicle is running, including a vehicle that remains stationary in the parked or neutral position. Such ordinance shall not apply to any commercial, law-enforcement, fire, or emergency medical services vehicle.

VCOM opposes this bill.  Many Virginia motorcyclists ride year round and use their motorcycles as their primary vehicle to go to and from work.  On cold mornings many of those riders who do not have garages allow their motorcycles to warm up outside.  This bill would allow localities to prohibit that practice unless the motorcyclist was standing outside with the motorcycle.  VCOM believes that is an unnecessary burden.  VCOM is also uncomfortable with allowing such a prohibition on one’s property.

Read more about this bill at the following link:

Increase in Cap on Motor Vehicle Inspection Fees
Bill Number: HB582
Introduced by Delegate Bloxom

Increases from $12 to $15 the maximum amount any safety inspection station can charge for an inspection of any motorcycle and increases from $16 to $25 the maximum amount any safety inspection station can charge for an inspection of any vehicle other than a tractor truck, truck that has a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or more, or motor vehicle that is used to transport passengers and has a seating capacity of more than 15 passengers, including the driver, motorcycle, or autocycle.

VCOM recognizes that the cap on fees has been in place for some time now and that it will almost certainly be raised.  The last time  inspection fees for motorcycles were raised VCOM was able to get a portion of that increase to be directed to the Virginia Rider Safety Training Fund.  VCOM will work to do the same thing with this increase should it pass and become law.

Read more about this bill at the following link:

Photo Identification to Register a Motor Vehicle
Bill Number: HB432
Introduced by Delegate Marshall

Requires any person applying to the Department of Motor Vehicles (Department) for a vehicle registration card or certificate of title to present a valid photo identification issued by the Department or, if registering online or by mail, a black and white photocopy thereof.

VCOM opposes this bill.  We do not see the necessity in this and believe that it causes an unnecessary complication in the registration process.  One spouse or partner  would no longer be able to register a motor vehicle for the other.  Additionally, when registering or titling a motor vehicle in the name of both, both spouses would have to appear at the DMV if they did not wish to put photo copies of their identification in the mail.  This bill also runs counter to DMV efforts to streamline most DMV functions and decrease the physical traffic at DMV outlets.

Read more about this bill at the following link:

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

SCRC Family