Virginia Bicycle vs. Motorcycle Laws

Virginia traffic laws apply to all bicyclists. This is because the Code of Virginia applies to all persons that are operating on the highways of the Commonwealth.  When bicyclists are operating on a highway, they have to follow the rules of the road.

There are some special rules of the road for bicyclists regarding certain times they can ride, where to ride, whether they can ride single file or double, and things like that. However, generally, bicyclists are expected to follow the rules of the road. A failure to follow the rules of the road can result in a bicyclist being cited by the local authorities for a violation of traffic law.

Some would think a bicycle being pulled over and ticketed is uncommon, but it happens more than you may think. There are certain places that actively enforce the rules of the road against bicyclists because law enforcement wants to keep them safe and keep motorists safe as well.

It is important for an individual to understand both bicycle and motorcycle laws in Virginia. If you have been charged with a crime relating to the operation of such a vehicle, it is crucial that you consult with an attorney immediately.

Distinct Bicycle Laws

Some of the distinct laws that may apply to bicycles and not motorcycles include requirements regarding:

  • Reflectors when riding at night
  • The use of hand signals from making turns
  • That bicycles are prohibited from riding on sidewalks
  • Obeying the rules of the road including the stop signs, yield signs, and traffic signals

Bicycles vs. Motorcycles

The main difference between bicycles and motorcycles are that bicycles are operated by human force, by pedaling and by coasting and gravity. Motorcycles are operated by engines and are mechanical.

Some other differences between bicycles and motorcycles in Virginia include the speed. Motorcycles can travel in any lane they choose whereas bicycles are expected to travel in the rightmost lane, if possible, close to the right boundary line of the lane.

Vehicle Specific Laws

There are a variety of additional laws that may apply to either bicycles or motorcycles in Virginia. The most common are where a person can ride a motorcycle, and that motorcycles require licensing whereas bicycles do not.

There are also instances in which the DUI and other serious traffic and licensing laws would apply for one and not the other.

Some laws that apply to both are basic traffic laws, stop signs, obeying the right of way, and things of that nature.

Consequences Depending on the Vehicle

Generally, a person has additional consequences for someone who is riding a motorcycle versus a bicycle to include the requirement of licensing in Virginia.

A person does not have to have a license to drive a bicycle, but a person does have to have a license to drive a motorcycle. The ability to be charged with driving on a suspended license, the ability to be charged with reckless driving, and charges like that can arise on a motorcycle as opposed to a bicycle.

Dangers of Riding a Bicycle

There are a lot of things about bicycles that makes them potentially dangerous. First is that they are human powered, and humans are fallible, so there is sometimes a high potential for error. They are also relatively lightweight and are subject to things on the road that would not cause a crash on a motorcycle or an automobile, such as cracks, divots, or footing.

They are also prone to mechanical breakdowns, chains falling off, or tires running flat, all of which can produce dangerous occurrences. It is also easy for someone to fall off a bike.

Again, things that would not bother motorcycles or cars, such as a dog, tree, lamp, a stick, or a piece of glass in the road can all result in serious injuries, not to mention colliding with another bicycle or colliding with another motor vehicle.