Motorcycling Related Laws – Update from the Virginia General Assembly

Thank you to those who personally lobbied and/or wrote emails to members of the House Transportation Subcommittee supporting HB 2446, VCOM’s bill that would have allowed motorcycles to drive on the right shoulder of limited access highways when (i) traffic on such highway is stopped or traveling at a speed of not more than 10 miles per hour, (ii) the driver of such motorcycle travels at a speed of not more than 15 miles per hour, and (iii) the driver of such motorcycle uses the first available exit to leave the highway.

Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, the bill faced heavy opposition from the Virginia State Police and other state agencies. Being that this was the first time that this bill has been introduced, members of the subcommittee sided with caution and failed to take action on the bill. That essentially ends the bill for the year. That does not mean the issue is gone. We have had numerous legislative victories that took four or five years to achieve. As long as this issue is important to Virginia motorcyclists, VCOM will continue to pursue it.

The subcommittee also acted on HB 1872, a bill introduced at the request of ABATE of Virginia that would allow motorcyclists to ride without a motorcycle helmet if they are over the age of 20 and are a registered organ donor. The bill failed to advance on a vote of 6-2. While VCOM generally supports freedom of choice, we had grave concerns over the organ donor requirement, which we found disturbing, and quite possibly illegal. VCOM did not support HB 1872, although, out of respect to the members of ABATE of Virginia, we did not actively oppose it either. Instead, VCOM made all legislators aware that HB 1872 was not introduced at the request of VCOM as many had mistakenly assumed.

Finally, I will be on WNIS 790 this evening at 6:00 pm talking and taking questions about these and other legislative issues affecting motorcyclists at the 2019 session of the Virginia General Assembly. If you are in Hampton Roads you can listen on AM 790. Those outside of the Hampton Roads area can live stream at Click on the “Listen Live” tab at the top right of the page.

As always, if you have any questions or comments concerning any of the pending legislation affecting Virginia motorcyclists, please do not hesitate to contact VCOM.