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 20, 2014. 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 19, from 12:00 p.m. until we get through, Virginia Coalition of Motorcyclists lobbyists will lead an informational meeting at the Four Points by Sheraton at 4700 South Laburnum Avenue, Richmond, VA 23231 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 20th, 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 Tom McGrath’s Motorcycle Law Group takes everyone to lunch as a thank you for coming to support Virginia Motorcyclists.
This year we are expecting numerous bills of interest to Virginia motorcyclists. We already know that there will be a bill to modify the definition of a motorcycle, and to create a new classification of motor vehicles called autocycles. In recent years we have seen numerous three wheeled vehicles on the market which are, for all purposes, three wheeled cars. They are controlled by a steering wheel as well as a foot controlled brake and throttle. Yet under current Virginia law these vehicles are motorcycles. There is legislation to make these vehicles autocycles and to further clarify the definition of a motorcycle.
We are also still looking at a bill to increase the penalty for drivers who kill others as a result of violating their right of way. Under current law the offender is usually convicted of failure to yield the right of way, which carries only a fine. We are looking at legislation that would give the court the ability to impose larger fines, suspend the offender’s license, and/or impose jail if the facts and circumstances justified such action. Under current law, the court usually does not have that option. We had been unable to seriously speak with potential patrons until the elections concluded. We are currently speaking with legislators about carrying this bill for us. I will keep you informed as talks progress.
As always, there will be numerous bills submitted at the last minute which will negatively affect motorcycling. As these bills are filed, we will be able to identify them and discuss them at lobby day so that we can convince the legislators why they are bad bills. Those who have participated in Lobby Day in the past remember bills that we have killed 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 killed that one with the help of all of those who participated at Lobby Day. A few years ago we also defeated a bill that would have prohibited children under eight from riding on a motorcycle as a passenger by pointing out that the 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.
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 can call VCOM at (800) 437-9434. For Room Reservations, call (804) 226-4300. As the hotel accommodations were just secured, room blocks may not be available until after December 15. We hope to see you at lobby day.
McGrath & Danielson
The Motorcycle Law Group