Only those who ride understand what it is like to own, maintain, and ride a motorcycle. So I will make no attempt to explain it here. Those who own motorcycles are particularly interested in keeping their vehicles, even when they find themselves in a financial bind.
I had a situation a long time ago when my clients desperately needed to file a bankruptcy. The problem wasn’t that they had four vehicles, two of which were Harley Davidson motorcycles. The problem was that they had large payments on all four, and I knew that the Court, while sympathetic to motorcycle owners, might have a problem with four vehicle payments.
I had to inform my clients there may be an issue later in the case, and the Court could possibly allow them to keep four vehicles but only if two of them are payment-free. The clients said it was no contest - their cars would go and the motorcycles would stay. These people live in Western Pennsylvania, so that tells you how strongly they feel about their motorcycles!
Court is Reasonable
The Court is very reasonable where motorcycles are concerned. Many of our clients have motorcycles that are paid for and, as long as the total amount of assets, motorcycle, and everything else is within what the law allows, there is never a problem. Many people use their bikes for transportation, such as going to work, during nice and sometimes not-so-nice weather. I have never had any issues with clients keeping their motorcycles and making the payments.
Many of our clients have cars and motorcycles, but in many cases the motorcycles are used mostly for recreation. I rarely have a problem as long as the total of the assets are within the limits set by the law. Occasionally, we run into a situation like I described earlier, but we can often work out a solution that makes sense.
The most difficult situation is when the client has a large motorcycle payment to make but does not have the money. In this situation, the Court may indicate that if the client doesn’t have enough money to pay their utilities then do they really need a $400 per month motorcycle payment?
Keeping Your Bike Safe
In over three decades of practicing law, I have never seen the Court take the bike away and sell it. If there is a large balance owed on the bike, there is no reason for the Court to sell it as there will be no money left over for other creditors.
The point is, if you are experiencing financial difficulty and are worried about the fate of your motorcycles, don’t shy away from contacting us to see what we can do to help. We will need to look at your financial situation, but don't assume you are going to lose your bike in a bankruptcy. Instead, keep your eyes on the road and ride safely.