Some Laws of Interest To Virginia Cyclist


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 33.1-152.1 
Permissible uses by counties of certain discontinued secondary system 
highways. 
Whenever a secondary system highway is discontinued under 33.1-150, 
the county governing body may by ordinance provide for use of the 
property for any of the following purposes: (i) hiking or bicycle 
trails and paths or other nonvehicular transportation and recreation 
purposes; (ii) greenway corridors for resource protection and 
biodiversity enhancement, with or without public ingress and egress; 
and (iii) access to historic, cultural, and educational sites. 
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 46.2-800 
Riding bicycles or mopeds; riding or driving animals 
Every person riding a bicycle, moped or an animal or driving an animal 
on a highway shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter and 
shall have all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of 
a vehicle, unless the context of the provision clearly indicates 
otherwise. 
The provisions of subsections A and C of 46.2-920 applicable to 
operation of emergency vehicles under emergency conditions shall also 
apply, mutatis mutandis, to bicycles and mopeds operated under similar 
emergency conditions by law-enforcement officers. 
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 46.2-839 
Passing bicycle or moped 
In approaching or passing a person riding a bicycle or moped, the 
driver of a motor vehicle shall pass at a safe distance and at a 
reasonable speed. 
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 46.2-847 
Left turns by bicycles and mopeds 
A person riding a bicycle or moped and intending to turn left shall 
either follow a course described in 46.2-846 or make the turn as 
provided in this section. 
A person riding a bicycle or moped and intending to turn left shall 
approach the turn as close as practicable to the right curb or edge 
of the roadway. After proceeding across the intersecting roadway, the 
rider shall comply with traffic signs or signals and continue his turn 
as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway being 
entered. 
Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, the 
Commonwealth Transportation Board and local authorities, in their 
respective jurisdictions, may cause official traffic control devices 
to be placed at intersections to direct that a specific course be 
traveled by turning bicycles and mopeds. When such devices are so 
placed, no person shall turn a bicycle or moped other than as directed 
by such devices. 
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 46.2-849 
How signals given 
A. Signals required by 46.2-848 shall be given by means of the hand 
and arm or by some mechanical or electrical device approved by the 
Superintendent, in the manner specified in this section. Whenever the 
signal is given by means of the hand and arm, the driver shall indicate 
his intention to start, stop, turn, or partly turn by extending the 
hand and arm beyond the left side of the vehicle in the manner following: 
1. For left turn or to pull to the left, the arm shall be extended in 
   a horizontal position straight from and level with the shoulder; 
2. For right turn or to pull to the right, the arm shall be extended 
   upward; 
3. For slowing down or stopping, the arm shall be extended downward.
 
B. Wherever the lawful speed is more than 35 miles per hour, such 
   signals shall be given continuously for a distance of at least 100 
   feet, and in all other cases at least fifty feet, before slowing 
   down, stopping, turning, or partly turning. 
C. A person riding a bicycle or moped shall signal his intention to 
   stop, or turn. Such signals, however, need not be given continuously 
   if both hands are needed in the control or operation of the bicycle 
   or moped. 
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 46.2-856 
Passing two vehicles abreast 
A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who passes or attempts to 
pass two other vehicles abreast, moving in the same direction, except 
on highways having separate roadways of three or more lanes for each 
direction of travel, or on designated one-way streets or highways. This 
section shall not apply, however, to a motor vehicle passing two other 
vehicles when one or both of such other vehicles is a bicycle or moped; 
nor shall this section apply to a bicycle or moped passing two other 
vehicles. 
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 46.2-857 
Driving two abreast in a single lane 
A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives any motor 
vehicle, including any motorcycle, so as to be abreast of another 
vehicle in a lane designed for one vehicle, or drives any motor vehicle, 
including any motorcycle, so as to travel abreast of any other vehicle 
traveling in a lane designed for one vehicle. However, this section 
shall not apply to any validly authorized parade, motorcade, or 
motorcycle escort, nor shall it apply to a motor vehicle traveling in 
the same lane of traffic as a bicycle or moped. 
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 46.2-903 
Riding or driving vehicles other than bicycles on sidewalks 
No person shall ride or drive any vehicle other than (i) an emergency 
vehicle, as defined in 46.2-920, (ii) a vehicle engaged in snow or ice 
removal and control operations, (iii) a wheel chair or wheel chair 
conveyance, whether self-propelled or otherwise, or (iv) a bicycle on 
the sidewalks of any county, city, or town of the Commonwealth. 
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 46.2-904 
Operation of bicycles on sidewalks and crosswalks 
The governing body of any county, city, or town may by ordinance prohibit 
the riding of bicycles on designated sidewalks or crosswalks, including 
those of any church, school, recreational facility, or any business 
property open to the public where such activity is prohibited. Signs 
indicating such prohibition shall be conspicuously posted in general 
areas where bicycle riding is prohibited. 
A person riding a bicycle on a sidewalk, or across a roadway on a 
crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall 
give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian. 
No person shall ride a bicycle on a sidewalk, or across a roadway on a 
crosswalk, where such use of bicycles is prohibited by official traffic 
control devices. 
A person riding a bicycle on a sidewalk, or across a roadway on a 
crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties of a pedestrian under 
the same circumstances. 
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 46.2-905 
Riding bicycles and mopeds on roadways and bicycle paths 
Any person operating a bicycle or moped on a roadway shall ride as close 
as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway, except under 
any of the following circumstances: 
1. When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same 
   direction; 
2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private 
   road or driveway; and 
3. When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including, but not 
   limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, 
   pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes 
   that make it unsafe to continue along the right curb or edge. 
For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane too 
narrow for a bicycle or moped and another vehicle to pass safely side 
by side within the lane. Persons riding bicycles on a highway shall not 
ride two or more abreast except on paths or parts of highways set aside 
for the exclusive use of bicycles. 
The governing body of any locality may by ordinance provide that 
wherever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a 
roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway. 
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 46.2-906 
Carrying articles on bicycles and mopeds 
No person operating a bicycle or moped on a highway shall carry any 
package, bundle, or article which prevents the driver from keeping at 
least one hand on the handlebars. 
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 46.2-906.1 
Local ordinances may require bicyclists to wear helmets 
The governing body of any county, city or town may, by ordinance, 
provide that every person fourteen years of age or younger shall wear a 
protective helmet that meets the standards promulgated by the American 
National Standards Institute or the Snell Memorial Foundation whenever 
riding or being carried on a bicycle on any highway as defined in 
46.2-100, sidewalk, or public bicycle path. 

Violation of any such ordinance shall be punishable by a fine of 
twenty-five dollars. However, such fine shall be suspended (i) for 
first-time violators and (ii) for violators who, subsequent to the 
violation but prior to imposition of the fine, purchase helmets of 
the type required by the ordinance. 

Violation of any such ordinance shall not constitute negligence, or 
assumption of risk, 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 of any bicycle, nor shall anything in this section change any 
existing law, rule, or procedure pertaining to any civil action. 
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 46.2-907 
Overtaking and passing vehicles 
A person riding a bicycle or moped may overtake and pass another vehicle 
on either the left or right side, staying in the same lane as the 
overtaken vehicle, or changing to a different lane, or riding off the 
roadway as necessary to pass with safety. A person riding a bicycle or 
moped may overtake and pass another vehicle only under conditions which 
permit the movement to be made with safety. A person riding a bicycle or 
moped shall not travel between two lanes of traffic moving in the same 
direction, except where one lane is a separate turn lane or a mandatory 
turn lane. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person riding 
a bicycle or moped shall comply with all rules applicable to the driver 
of a motor vehicle when overtaking and passing. 
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 46.2-908 
Registration of bicycle serial numbers 
Any person who owns a bicycle may register its serial number with the 
local law-enforcement agency of the political subdivision in which such 
person resides. 
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 46.2-932 
Playing on highways; roller skates, skateboards, toys, or other devices 
on wheels or runners; persons riding bicycles, mopeds, etc., not to 
attach to vehicles.  No person shall play on a highway, other than on 
the sidewalks thereof, within a city or town or on any part of a highway 
outside the limits of a city or town designated by the Commonwealth 
Transportation Commissioner exclusively for vehicular travel. No person 
shall use roller skates, skateboards, toys, or other devices on wheels 
or runners, except bicycles, mopeds, and motorcycles, on highways where 
play is prohibited. The governing bodies of counties, cities, and towns 
may designate areas on highways under their control where play is 
permitted and may impose reasonable restrictions on play on such 
highways. If the highways have only two traffic lanes, persons using 
such devices, except bicycles, mopeds, and motorcycles, shall keep as 
near as reasonably possible to the extreme left side or edge of the 
left traffic lane so that they will be facing oncoming traffic at all 
times. No person riding on any bicycle, moped, roller skates, 
skateboards, toys, or other devices on wheels or runners, shall attach 
the same or himself to any vehicle on a roadway. 
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 46.2-1015 
Lights on bicycles and mopeds 
Every bicycle and moped when in use between sunset and sunrise shall be 
equipped with a white light on the front which shall be visible in clear 
weather from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red 
reflector on the rear. Such reflector shall be of a type approved by the 
Superintendent and shall be visible in clear weather from fifty feet to 
300 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful high beams of head 
lights on a motor vehicle. A red light visible in clear weather for 500 
feet to the rear may be used in lieu of or in addition to the red 
reflector. Such lights and reflector shall be of types approved by the 
Superintendent. 
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 46.2-1051 
Certain local governments may impose restrictions on operations of 
certain mopeds, mini-bikes, trail-bikes, and go-carts 
The governing body of any county, city, or town which is located 
within the Northern Virginia Planning District may provide by ordinance 
that no person shall operate and no owner shall permit the operation of, 
either on a highway or on public or private property within 500 feet of 
any residential district, any motorcycle, moped, motorized bicycle, 
motorcycle-like device commonly known as a trail-bike or mini-bike, or 
motorized cart commonly known as a go-cart unless it is equipped with an 
exhaust system of a type installed as standard equipment, or comparable 
to that designed for use on that particular vehicle or device as s
tandard factory equipment, in good working order and in constant 
operation to prevent excessive noise. 
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 46.2-1066 
Brakes 
Every motor vehicle when driven on a highway shall be equipped with 
brakes adequate to control the movements of and to stop and hold such 
vehicle. The brakes shall be maintained in good working order and shall 
conform to the provisions of this article. Every bicycle and moped when 
operated on a highway shall be equipped with a brake which will enable 
the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement. 
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 46.2-1078 
Unlawful to operate motor vehicle, moped, or bicycle while using earphones 
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle, moped, 
or bicycle on the highways in the Commonwealth while using earphones on 
or in both ears. For the purpose of this section, "earphones" shall mean 
any device worn on or in both ears which converts electrical energy to 
sound waves or which impairs or hinders the person's ability to hear, 
but shall not include (i) any prosthetic device which aids the hard of 
hearing, (ii) earphones installed in helmets worn by motorcycle 
operators and riders and used as part of a communications system, or 
(iii) nonprosthetic, closed-ear, open-back, electronic devices designed 
and used to enhance the hearing ability of persons who operate vehicles 
in high-noise environments, provided any such device is being worn by 
the operator of a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 
pounds or more. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the 
driver of any emergency vehicle as defined in 46.2-920. 
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Last update June 4,1998