Virginia Legislative Update

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Virginia Legislative Update

Postby dcgsrider » Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:19 pm

VCOM is currently supporting two bills in the Virginia General Assembly. See below for more details.

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This year’s Virginia Motorcycle Lobby Day was another success. We had an unofficial count of 110 motorcyclists who came to the Sunday informational session where we discussed this year’s legislation that affects Virginia motorcyclists. The next day we spoke to our legislators at the General Assembly Building about the legislation. I have already received feedback from legislators and their staff saying that the motorcyclists who came by their offices presented themselves well and were very well prepared to discuss the issues. Thank you to each and every one of you who participated in this year’s Virginia Motorcycle Lobby Day. Your efforts and sacrifices make a difference for Virginia motorcyclists.

While we discussed numerous bills, I would like to call attention to two in particular which directly affect motorcycles and motorcyclists. These are HB 1700 and SB 836. VCOM is working closely with each of the sponsors in order to ensure passage of both. You can view all of the legislation on which VCOM takes a position at vcomonline.org

HB 1700 is sponsored by Delegate Tony Wilt of Harrisonburg at the request of VCOM. This bill would allow auxiliary lighting on motorcycles in order to increase motorcycle visibility. The bill also eliminates the five second limit on the amount of time that a motorcycle brake light may modulate. You may follow the bill throughout the session at the following link:

http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604 ... &submit=GO

You may read the entire bill at the following link:

http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604 ... ful+HB1700

The bill has been referred to the House Transportation Committee. When it is referred to a sub-committee I will send an email listing the names of the sub-committee members along with their email addresses so that you may voice your support for this bill.

The other bill of particular interest to Virginia motorcyclists is SB 836. This bill was sponsored by Senator Janet Howell of Fairfax, Virginia. It concerns riding on motorcycles generally and makes it clear that there are times when it is appropriate to ride while standing on the footrests. Current law states that the operator of a motorcycle “shall ride only upon the permanent seat attached to the motorcycle . . .” This is contrary to what is taught in the Basic Rider Course, which identifies several instances when a rider would want to ride while standing on the footrests, such as when crossing obstacles. You may follow this bill at the following link:

http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604 ... &submit=GO

You may read the entire bill at the following link. However, this is not what the final version will look like:

http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604 ... +ful+SB836

VCOM has worked with Senator Howell to re-write the legislation in order to make it less restrictive given the fact that riders stand on the footrests for comfort as well as for safety. A substitute will be offered which simply adds the following language to the statute:

Every person operating a motorcycle, as defined in § 46.2-100 excluding three-wheeled vehicles, shall ride only upon the permanent seat attached to the motorcycle, or while standing on both footrests unless done in a manner so as to endanger life, limb, or property of any person.

There is no sense emailing legislators in support of this bill until the substitute has been filed. With their hectic schedule during this year’s short session they are not going to consider something that has not been filed and assigned a committee. However, when it is filed, I will post the names of the members of the Senate Transportation Committee and their email addresses so that you may voice your support for this bill.

Thank you again to all of you who have ever taken your time to support Virginia motorcyclists. By working together we make Virginia a better place for all riders.

Matt Danielson
McGrath & Danielson
Tom McGrath's Motorcycle Law Group
1-800-321-8968
Motorcyclelawgroup.com
Paul Wilson
Arlington, Va.
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Re: Virginia Legislative Update

Postby dcgsrider » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:44 pm

Update from VCOM: HB1700 and SB836 are on the way to the Governor's desk. Also note pro bono representation if you are ticketed for "standing on the pegs."

Final Virginia Motorcycle Legislative Update
February 24, 2015

For our purposes, we are now through the legislative session. Both HB 1700 and SB 836 have passed both chambers of the General Assembly and are on their way to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law. Both bills will become law as of July 1st of this year. Let’s re-cap what each of these bills mean to Virginia motorcyclists.

HB 1700 started out as a bill with two purposes. The first was to allow the LED type of auxiliary lighting on motorcycles in order to improve side visibility. The second was to eliminate the five second limitation that a motorcycle brake light may modulate. Due to strong opposition from the State Police, the language concerning auxiliary lighting was stripped from the bill with instruction from legislators who appeared sympathetic to our objective for VCOM and the State Police to work on language for next year that is acceptable to both organizations. The language concerning brake lights on motorcycles survived and will become law on July 1st of this year. Current code states that a motorcycle brake light may modulate for up to five seconds when the brake is applied, but after that it must burn steady. Unfortunately, a motorcycle with a smaller brake light can blend into the brake lights of larger motor vehicles in front of it, thus camouflaging the motorcycle from vehicles approaching from the rear. Allowing the brake light to continue to modulate while the brake is engaged makes the motorcycle more conspicuous and more likely to be seen by drivers approaching from the rear. Virginia motorcyclists will now be afforded the right to have that protection.

SB 836 allows motorcyclists to stand on both footrests under certain circumstances. Under current law, a motorcyclist must ride only upon the permanently attached seat. This is contrary to what is taught throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia in the Basic Rider Course. The BRC teaches that it is appropriate to stand on the footrests when crossing obstacles such as railroad tracks and potholes. The problem is that motorcyclists have been receiving tickets for doing exactly what they were taught to do. SB 836 corrects that problem. As of July 1st of this year, motorcyclists will be allowed to stand on their foot rests when safety dictates. VCOM attempted to pass broader language to simply allow the practice under any circumstance, but that attempt met with strong resistance in the Senate Transportation Committee.

With this change in the law, the question may arise as to who decides when safety dictates standing on the foot rests. VCOM’s position is that the rider should make that decision. We will watch to see how this change iis received by law enforcement. If any rider receives a citation for standing on their foot rests, please contact me and we will represent you in court at no cost. Our hope is that this change will rectify the problem, but if it persists, we will go back to the General Assembly with additional ammunition to seek further changes.

As always if anyone has any questions or comments about either of these bills, or about any other matters concerning laws affecting motorcyclists, please feel free to contact me.

Matt Danielson
McGrath & Danielson
Tom McGrath's Motorcycle Law Group
1-800-321-8968
Motorcyclelawgroup.com
Paul Wilson
Arlington, Va.
2009 R1200GS "Franz" Namibia Orange
IBA# 12143
KI4PW
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Re: Virginia Legislative Update

Postby bdimon » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:21 pm

Many thanks to Tom McGrath's Motorcycle Law Group for their efforts on behalf of Virginia motorcyclists and their offer to represent peg standing riders pro bono. =D>
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Re: Virginia Legislative Update

Postby eap » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:08 pm

bdimon wrote:Many thanks to Tom McGrath's Motorcycle Law Group for their efforts on behalf of Virginia motorcyclists and their offer to represent peg standing riders pro bono. =D>


Ditto! On behalf of all non-Virginia riders too!!
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