Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 46.2. Motor Vehicles
Chapter 8. Regulation of Traffic
11/29/2021

Article 13. Motorcycles and Mopeds and All-Terrain Vehicles.

§ 46.2-909. Riding on motorcycles, generally.

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, unless safety dictates standing on both footpegs for no longer than is necessary. Such operator shall not carry any other person, unless the motorcycle is designed to carry more than one person, in which event a passenger may ride on the permanent seat if designed for two persons, or on another seat firmly attached to the rear or side of the seat for the operator. If the motorcycle is designed to carry more than one person, it shall also be equipped with a footrest for the use of such passenger.

Code 1950, §§ 46-183.1, 46-183.2; 1954, c. 204; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-172; 1968, c. 498; 1970, cc. 29, 99; 1982, cc. 390, 681; 1989, cc. 6, 727; 2015, c. 218.

§ 46.2-910. Motorcycle and autocycle operators to wear helmets, etc.; certain sales prohibited; penalty.

A. Every person operating a motorcycle or autocycle shall wear a face shield, safety glasses or goggles, or have his motorcycle or autocycle equipped with safety glass or a windshield at all times while operating the vehicle, and operators and any passengers thereon shall wear protective helmets. Operators and passengers riding on motorcycles with wheels of eight inches or less in diameter or in three-wheeled motorcycles or autocycles that have nonremovable roofs, windshields, and enclosed bodies shall not be required to wear protective helmets. The windshields, face shields, glasses or goggles, and protective helmets required by this section shall meet or exceed the standards and specifications of the Snell Memorial Foundation, the American National Standards Institute, Inc., or the federal Department of Transportation. Failure to wear a face shield, safety glasses or goggles, or protective helmets shall not constitute negligence per se in any civil proceeding. The provisions of this section requiring the wearing of protective helmets shall not apply to operators of or passengers on motorcycles or autocycles being operated (i) as part of an organized parade authorized by the Department of Transportation or the locality in which the parade is being conducted and escorted, accompanied, or participated in by law-enforcement officers of the jurisdiction wherein the parade is held and (ii) at speeds of no more than 15 miles per hour.

No motorcycle or autocycle operator shall use any face shield, safety glasses, or goggles, or have his motorcycle or autocycle equipped with safety glass or a windshield, unless of a type either (i) approved by the Superintendent prior to July 1, 1996, or (ii) that meets or exceeds the standards and specifications of the Snell Memorial Foundation, the American National Standards Institute, Inc., or the federal Department of Transportation and is marked in accordance with such standards.

B. It shall be unlawful to sell or offer for sale, for highway use in Virginia, any protective helmet that fails to meet or exceed any standard as provided in the foregoing provisions of this section. Any violation of this subsection is a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, §§ 46-183.1, 46-183.2; 1954, c. 204; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-172; 1968, c. 498; 1970, cc. 29, 99; 1982, cc. 390, 681; 1989, cc. 6, 727; 1996, c. 690; 1998, c. 789; 2014, cc. 53, 256.

§ 46.2-911. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1994, c. 51.

§ 46.2-911.1. Operation of motor-driven cycles on public highways prohibited.

No person shall operate a motor-driven cycle on or over any public highway in the Commonwealth.

2006, cc. 529, 538.

§ 46.2-912. Operating motorcycle without headlight, horn or rearview mirror.

A. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, motorcycles may be operated without headlights, horns, or rearview mirrors on public highways if all the following conditions are met:

1. The motorcycles are designed for use in trail riding and endurance runs;

2. The motorcycles are being driven by duly licensed persons;

3. The motorcycles are being operated between sunrise and sunset; and

4. The motorcycles are being operated during endurance runs sanctioned by the American Motorcycle Association.

B. No person shall operate motorcycles without such equipment on the public highways of the Commonwealth other than at the times and under the circumstances set forth in this section.

1970, c. 300, § 46.1-172.01; 1978, c. 605; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-913. Vendors of certain motorcycles to furnish statements of registration and licensing requirements.

Every retailer of motorcycles having a rating of seven horsepower or less, shall provide written statements to every vendee regarding registration and licensing of such vehicles and the requirement of a motor vehicle driver's license.

1973, c. 72, § 46.1-172.02; 1978, c. 605; 1984, c. 780; 1989, c. 727.

§ 46.2-914. Limitations on operation of mopeds.

A. No moped shall be driven on any highway or public vehicular area faster than 35 miles per hour. Any person who operates a moped faster than 35 miles per hour shall be deemed, for all the purposes of this title, to be operating a motorcycle.

B. No moped shall be driven on any highway by any person under the age of 16, and every person driving a moped shall carry with him a government-issued form of photo identification that includes his name, address, and date of birth.

C. Operation of mopeds is prohibited on any Interstate Highway System component.

Violation of any provision of this section shall constitute a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of no more than $50.

Code 1950, §§ 46-1, 46-185, 46-186, 46-343; 1954, c. 59; 1958, cc. 501, 541, § 46.1-1; 1964, c. 618; 1966, c. 643; 1968, cc. 285, 641, 653, 685; 1972, cc. 433, 609; 1974, c. 347; 1975, cc. 382, 426; 1976, c. 372; 1977, cc. 252, 585; 1978, cc. 36, 550, 605; 1979, c. 100; 1980, c. 51; 1981, c. 585; 1983, c. 386; 1984, cc. 404, 780; 1985, c. 447; 1986, cc. 72, 613; 1987, c. 151; 1988, cc. 107, 452, 865; 1989, c. 727; 2004, c. 758; 2006, cc. 529, 538; 2008, c. 525; 2009, c. 795; 2013, c. 783.

§ 46.2-915. Stickers required on mopeds.

Any dealer who sells any moped at retail shall affix to any such moped, or verify that there is affixed thereto a permanent decal or sticker which states (i) that the operation of mopeds on highways and public vehicular areas by persons under the age of sixteen is prohibited by Virginia law, (ii) the maximum engine displacement or wattage of the moped, and (iii) the maximum speed at which the moped may be ridden.

Any dealer who sells any such moped which does not have affixed thereto such a permanent decal or sticker shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1976, c. 264, § 46.1-172.03; 1981, c. 585; 1987, c. 344; 1989, c. 727; 2007, c. 111; 2013, c. 783.

§ 46.2-915.1. All-terrain vehicles and off-road motorcycles; penalty.

A. No all-terrain vehicle shall be operated:

1. On any public highway, or other public property, except (i) as authorized by proper authorities, (ii) to the extent necessary to cross a public highway by the most direct route, or (iii) by law-enforcement officers, firefighters, or emergency medical services personnel responding to emergencies;

2. By any person under the age of 16, except that (i) children between the ages of 12 and 16 may operate all-terrain vehicles powered by engines of no more than 90 cubic centimeters displacement and (ii) children less than 12 years old may operate all-terrain vehicles powered by engines of no more than 70 cubic centimeters displacement;

3. By any person unless he is wearing a protective helmet of a type approved by the Superintendent of State Police for use by motorcycle operators;

4. On another person's property without the written consent of the owner of the property or as explicitly authorized by law; or

5. With a passenger at any time, unless such all-terrain vehicle is designed and equipped to be operated with more than one rider.

B. Notwithstanding subsection A, all-terrain vehicles may be operated on the highways in Buchanan County and Tazewell County if the following conditions are met:

1. Such operation is approved by action of the Buchanan County Board of Supervisors for operation along the Pocahontas Trail on Bill Young Mountain and across Virginia Route 635 in Buchanan County and approved by action of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors for operation along the Pocahontas Trail in and between the Town of Pocahontas and Boissevain; across Virginia Routes 644, 663, 659, 627, 734, and 747; within the corporate limits of the Town of Pocahontas in Tazewell County; and across property of the Virginia Department of Corrections in Tazewell County, provided that permission is granted for such operation pursuant to § 2.2-1150;

2. Signs, whose design, number, and location are approved by the Virginia Department of Transportation, have been posted warning motorists that all-terrain vehicles may be operating on the highway;

3. Such all-terrain vehicles are operated during daylight hours on the highway for no more than one mile between one off-road trail and another;

4. Signs required by this subsection are purchased and installed by the person or club requesting the Board of Supervisors' approval for such over-the-road operation of all-terrain vehicles;

5. All-terrain vehicles operators shall, when operating on the highway, obey all rules of the road applicable to other motor vehicles;

6. Riders of such all-terrain vehicles shall wear approved helmets; and

7. Such all-terrain vehicles shall operate at speeds of no more than 25 miles per hour.

No provision of this subsection shall be construed to require all-terrain vehicles operated on a highway as provided in this subsection to comply with lighting requirements contained in this title.

C. Any retailer selling any all-terrain vehicle shall affix thereto, or verify that there is affixed thereto, a decal or sticker, approved by the Superintendent of State Police, which clearly and completely states the prohibition contained in subsection A.

D. A violation of this section shall not constitute negligence, be considered in mitigation of damages of whatever nature, be admissible in evidence or be the subject of comment by counsel in any action for the recovery of damages arising out of the operation, ownership, or maintenance of an all-terrain vehicle or off-road motorcycle, nor shall anything in this section change any existing law, rule, or procedure pertaining to any such civil action, nor shall this section bar any claim which otherwise exists.

E. Violation of any provision of this section shall be punishable by a civil penalty of not more than $500.

F. The provisions of this section shall not apply:

1. To any all-terrain vehicle being used in conjunction with farming activities; or

2. To members of the household or employees of the owner or lessee of private property on which the all-terrain vehicle is operated.

G. For the purposes of this section, "all-terrain vehicle" shall have the meaning ascribed in § 46.2-100.

1989, c. 290, § 46.1-172.04; 1995, c. 670; 2001, c. 147; 2003, c. 313; 2006, c. 896; 2011, c. 822; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

§ 46.2-915.2. Safety equipment for mopeds; effect of violation; penalty.

Every person operating a moped, as defined in § 46.2-100, on a public street or highway shall wear a face shield, safety glasses, or goggles of a type approved by the Superintendent or have his moped equipped with safety glass or a windshield at all times while operating such vehicle, and operators and passengers thereon, if any, shall wear protective helmets of a type approved by the Superintendent. A violation of this section shall not constitute negligence, be considered in mitigation of damages of whatever nature, be admissible in evidence or be the subject of comment by counsel in any action for the recovery of damages arising out of the operation, ownership, or maintenance of a moped or motor vehicle, nor shall anything in this section change any existing law, rule, or procedure pertaining to any such civil action. Any person who knowingly violates this section shall be guilty of a traffic infraction and be subject to a fine of not more than fifty dollars.

1989, c. 6, § 46.1-172; 2013, c. 783.

§ 46.2-916. Ordinances providing for the disposition of unregistered or unlicensed motorcycles.

The governing bodies of counties, cities, and towns may by ordinance provide for the lawful seizure, impounding and disposition of unlicensed or unregistered motorcycles operated either on the highways or on private property without the consent of the private property owner.

1974, c. 540; 1978, c. 17, § 46.1-229.3; 1989, c. 727.