Blog Archives

Look Back at Bikes on the Border

The first annual Bikes on the Border is now over a week behind us and judging by the evaluations it was a huge success.  I want to thank everyone who attended and helped make it as enjoyable and informative as it was.  I want to send a special thanks to Jeff Hennie with the Motorcycle Riders Foundation who took his time to come down and give us a presentation concerning federal issues affecting motorcyclists.  I also want to thank ABATE of South Carolina for providing a fantastic hospitality suite.

For those who were unable to attend, Bikes on the Border was a social and informational gathering of motorcyclists from Virginia and the Carolinas.  In addition to Jeff’s presentation we had sessions focusing on the CDC’s recent motorcycle safety study, accident scene preservation, and knowing your rights during a traffic stop.  From the feedback that we have received everyone seemed to find the sessions informative and enjoyable.

We have already started planning for next year’s Bikes on the Border.  Our venue will most likely change but it will still be along the border of North and South Carolina so we can keep our name.  Some of you on this list should expect to be contacted about being session presenters.  We have a wealth of knowledge among us and it needs to be shared.

Some of you expressed an interest in receiving copies of the PowerPoint presentations.  If you wish an electronic copy of any of the PowerPoint presentations please send me a request identifying which presentations you want.  I will get them to you ASAP.

Thanks again to all who attended.  I look forward to seeing you next year.

Using a GPS on Your Motorcycle

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. Virginia is a contributory negligence state. (as are both North Carolina and Maryland)  That means that if the party that injured you can show that you were in some way at fault in causing the accident, then your claim can be denied. Speed can be used as a contributing factor to deny an injury claim, even if the other party is more at fault than you.  Even in other states which are comparative negligence states, speed can be used to reduce the amount of your claim if another person injures you.

Now 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 the party that injures you to avoid paying for the injuries that they caused.

Motorcycle Legislative Wrap Up from Richmond

Even though the General Assembly has not officially adjourned, all of the bills which we have been tracking have either passed or failed.  The most significant piece of legislation for motorcyclists is SB 1038 which, among other things, changes the licensing structure for motorcyclists in the Commonwealth.  The bills which have passed will become law as of July 1st this year.  Let’s take a look at how all of these bills faired.

HB 1476

This is the bill that was introduced by Delegate Ed Scott at the request of Harley Davidson.  It has passed with an amendment which was worked out between Harley-Davidson, VCOM and the DMV.  It changes the criteria for the types of motorcycles which may be used in the Virginia Rider Training Program.  The criteria will now mirror the MSF standards; this being what most states use.  However, as amended and passed, this bill gives the program authority to reject a motorcycle that meets the criteria but is deemed to be an unsafe motorcycle for training purposes.  Being that motorcycle safety begins with training and education, we feel that giving the program greater authority over which types of motorcycles may be used to train new riders is a smart move.  You can view the bill here:

HB 1865

This bill was introduced by Delegate Roxanne Robinson at the request of VCOM and made a part of HB 1476 above.  It clarifies that the criteria for training program motorcycles apply to every motorcycle used and not just a single motorcycle.

SB 1038

This bill, which for the most part was aimed at mopeds, was introduced by Senator Newman, Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.  It was passed even though HB 1984, which was a mirror bill in the House, failed.

This bill provides for the titling and registration of mopeds and distinctive license plates for low-speed vehicles. It also requires a moped operator to carry government-issued photo identification and wear a face shield, safety glasses, or goggles if his moped is not equipped with safety glass or a windshield. It further requires moped riders to wear helmets.

As for its application to motorcycles, this bill changes the current licensing structure and adopts three classes of motorcycle licenses which will be M3, M2 and M.  M3 will be restricted to the operation of a three wheeled motorcycle and will be issued to those who test on a three wheeler or take the trike/sidecar course. M2 will be restricted to the operation of two wheeled motorcycles and issued to those who test on a two wheeled motorcycle or take the basic rider course. M will allow riders to operate either a two wheeled motorcycle or a three wheeled motorcycle.  If a rider currently holds an M classification then they WILL NOT have to take a new exam or get re-licensed.  Current holders of an M endorsement are grandfathered.  The new law only affects those who obtain a license after the law goes into effect on July 1st of this year.  However, when you renew your license, you will be asked to self-certify whether you have experience on two wheels, three wheels or both.  Let your conscience be your guide.  You can view the bill here:

DB 1218

This bill, which has passed, concerns DMV customer service and impacts motorcycles in two ways.  The first thing that this bill does concerns temporary motorcycle endorsements. Under current law, if you take the DMV approved course or, while stationed outside of the Commonwealth, take a motorcycle course approved by the United States Armed Services, your completion card is your motorcycle endorsement for 30 days in order to give you time to get a permanent license at DMV. No further testing is required.  In part, this bill amends the Code to allow for the certificate of completion from any course approved by the United States Armed Services, be it within or without the Commonwealth, to do the same. You must be a military member, spouse or dependent.

The second thing that this bill does, while not specifically aimed at the military, is correct an issue which impacts many military members. Under current law, if you want to stop your motor vehicle insurance while not using your vehicle, you need to cancel your registration and turn in your tag to DMV. If you don’t, your license will be suspended for having a non-insured motor vehicle. Additionally, when you get new insurance it will most likely be high-risk. In order to re-register your motor vehicle you need to go back to the DMV and have it registered. Imagine what a pain that is for a military member who is being deployed long term and does not wish to continue paying insurance.

As of July 1st of this year you will now have a method to deactivate your registration. This will be able to be done online. When you wish to re-activate you simply pay a $10.00 fee. It is also envisioned that this will be able to be done online. Now if you are deployed you can simply go online and deactivate your registration. You can then cancel your insurance. When you return you re-activate. This will also be helpful to those motorcyclists who do not ride during the winter (You know who you are).  You can view the bill here:

HB 2010

This bill would have allowed motorcycle riders in Virginia to choose whether or not to wear a helmet.  Currently 31 states give adult riders that choice.  There were enough votes in both the House and Senate to pass this bill.  That being said, there is a difference between having enough votes and having the right votes.  The bill was sent to an unfriendly committee and an even more unfriendly sub-committee where it was “laid on the table” and left in sub-committee with no further action being taken.  That effectively kills the bill for this year.

That concludes the wrap up of this year’s legislation.  Later in the year I will post information about this year’s legislative round table where motorcyclists will gather to decide upon the legislative agenda which VCOM will pursue in 2014.  The round table usually takes place in August.  Additionally, “Bikes on the Border” is being held March 15th & 16th at South of the Border.  This will be an informational gathering of motorcyclists from Virginia and the Carolinas.  For more information on that you can go to

As always if you have any questions or comments concerning anything that I have written, please feel free to contact me.


Matt Danielson

McGrath & Danielson

Tom McGrath’s Motorcycle Law Group


Bikes On The Border 2013

Sign up for a day of seminars on topics of interest for all motorcycle enthusiasts and rights activists. Your $25.00 conference fee gets you admittance to the conference, Saturday evening buffet, a custom designed “Bikes on the Border” t-shirt and an opportunity to network and swap ideas with likeminded individuals from both Carolinas and Virginia.

Download Event Flyer

Register Now!

Tom McGrath Leading Wheel Award

The Motorcycle Law Group has created an award will be given every year to someone who has made outstanding contributions to motorcyclists. It can be a single great contribution or someone whose body of work over the years in and of itself is an outstanding contribution to motorcycling.

Each year the firm will ask for nominations from motorcyclists. The only rule is that the recipient may not be a member of our law firm. However we made an exception for the first year. This year’s Tom McGrath Leading Wheel Award (Tom had no idea there was going to be such an award) went to the award’s namesake for his outstanding service to motorcyclists over the past twenty years.

Virginia Motorcycle Lobby Day

An opportunity for Virginia motorcyclists to go to the Capitol and present their views on pending legislation. At 1:00 on Sunday the 20th we meet to discuss the legislation affecting motorcyclists, our positions on them and how best to approach your legislators on these issues. Monday we leave the motel at 8:00 am SHARP for the Capitol to practice what we learned on Sunday.

Wyndham Richmond Hotel
4700 S Laburnum Ave
Henrico, Virginia 23231
(804) 226-4300


CBA Swap Meet & Bike Show

Jim, Liz & Wendy will be at the Annual CBA Swap Meet and Bike Show on November 10th & 11th at The Metrolina Expo in Charlotte, NC.  Stop by and see us if you are in the area.

Photo Gallery

Teddy Bear Run

Join us for the 30th Annual Children’s Hospital Teddy Bear Run hosted by the Blue Knights.  Ride starts at  VFW Post 9808, 7168 Flag Lane, Mechanicsville, VA at 1pm.  Hope to see you there!