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I used to run a dedicated motorcycle towing service in southern CommieFornia. I learned a few things in those 13 years of service to the motorcycling community.

One thing that I stress for all riders is, Pick a trusted friend, and add his/her name to the bike's registration as "OR", not "and.".

You will protect them by maintaining good insurance on the bike, but in the event of an accident or your death, your bike will probably wind up in Bubba's Tow Yard in the middle of the country.

One thing about tow yards is that they WILL NOT release a bike to anyone but the registered owner. So if you are the only name on the registration, and you are in a coma or dead, the bike will remain in the yard, incurring daily impound fees, until such time as you can either retrieve the bike yourself, or have your Executor show up at their office with a Certificate of Death. Your brother-in-law can beg all he wants, but they will not release your bike to him.

I cannot stress the importance of this enough.

Also, make a good, color copy of your vehicle registration and keep it in your wallet or some place where you can access it OUTside of the impound yard. If you bike is a total, and you want to go into the yard to retrieve your iPad, your phone, your camera, your credit cards, etc. etc., they may not allow you to get to your bike until you show them the registration. This cannot be done, if the only copy of the registration is IN the bike In the yard.

As an alternative that a tow yard may or may not accept, you can draft a legal letter allowing (insert names here) to recover your bike on your behalf. It would be a Power of Attorney for Property, and specifically identify your bike and trailer, etc. Year, Make, Model, Color, VIN, License Plate. This should be notarized in order to make the document official.

I cannot tell you how many times I was called to a yard to "go get my bike" only to find the owner at the tow yard window, unable to satisfy the yard guy that he is in fact the owner of the bike. Yard guy WILL NOT walk out to your bike to get your registration, so it does no good to say, "Just go look at the registration! My name is on it!"

I hope you never find yourself in this situation, but a little bit of prepping can help you avoid a horrible experience.

Joe
 

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Very informative and thought provoking. Thank you for the post.
 

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I posted on another thread recently but worth repeating; if you are conscious and able, have your vehicle towed home - not the tow yard. Keep control thru the entire insurance process. Insurance company will reimburse you for towing (if your fault - partially at least) as well as damage repairs or total loss. Lesson from Dad 45 years ago (he owned a garage and towing service for a LONG time).
 

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Agree, this is very enlightening, and I will be doing this a.s.a.p. life has enough headaches, if I can make things easier and fewer issues later I'm in like Flynn! Thanks, for sharing @gravedigger
 

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OP, original message.
The OP said he worked in a tow yard in California and offered a solution for getting your vehicle out of impound in the case you're unable to do so in person. I don't see where it is written that the advise is ONLY for California, in fact the OP gives this example - "your bike will probably wind up in Bubba's Tow Yard in the middle of the country". So I presume he's offering the advice for anyone in ANY state.

So, you may have MANY reasons for wanting to stay out of California but I don't see why this would specifically be one.

Thus - "What has California have to do with it".
 

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As an LEO I was the PD's impound officer for three years and was the liason with the towing companies. What the OP said is true for Tucson as well. However, as the liason officer I could authorize a 3rd party to retrieve the car or items from the car from a towing company's yard if they could prove they were there on behalf of the owner. If the car was in the PD's impound yard the 3rd party would have to contact the detective assigned the case for access. I can't speak for the rest of AZ but I bet it's the same.
 
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