Motorcyclists are in Good Shape at the Half Way Point in the Virginia General Assembly

We have reached the time in the Virginia General Assembly known as “Crossover,” which is the half way point of the 60 day session. This means that, other than the budget bill, the Senate may now only consider legislation that has passed out of the House of Delegates, and the House of Delegates may only consider legislation that has passed out of the Senate.

Here are the mid-point updates of the legislation that the Virginia Coalition of Motorcyclists (VCOM) has been supporting, opposing, or watching. I have included links to the bills that are still “alive” and working their way through the General Assembly. You may use these links to follow the progress of any legislation which interests you.

House Bills

HB10 – This bill concerns the number of headlights allowed on the front of a motorcycle. The bill was introduced by request of a constituent of Delegate Cole and is identical to SB25 which was introduced by Senator Reeves by request. The bill would allow motorcyclists to burn five lights rather than four for general illumination on the front of the motorcycle. The purpose of this bill is to improve visibility of motorcycles from the front in order to help prevent left turns in front of motorcycles.

Neither HB10 nor SB25 have met any opposition and have therefore moved through their respective bodies on the uncontested calendar. That means that they were voted on in a block with many other bills which were also unopposed. Both bills are on the fast track to become law.

VCOM will be watching the potential conflict in law that these bills create. The bills allow motorcycles to “be equipped with and use not more than five approved lights in order to provide general illumination ahead of the motorcycle.” However, Section 46.2-1012 prohibits motorcycles from being equipped with more than two auxiliary lights. This may require a legislative fix in the future. VCOM will continue to monitor this.

You may follow the progress of this bill and read the text at the following link:

You may follow the progress of its companion, SB25, and read its text at the following link:

HB870 – This bill concerns unfair claim settlement practices and was introduced by Delegate Hugo. It is identical to SB193 which was introduced by Senator Stuart.

Under current law insurance companies and repair facilities are prohibited from making an appraisal of a damaged automobile without making a personal inspection. This bill would also allow appraisals to be done using photographs. This code also requires that any estimate of an automobile that is prepared based on the use of parts not made by the original manufacturer must conspicuously state that to be the fact.

VCOM has worked with both patrons to amend their bills. As a result, each was amended to replace automobile with motor vehicle. As a result, motorcyclists will enjoy this protection that has to date only been extended to owners of automobiles.

You may follow the progress of this bill and read the text at the following link:

You may follow the progress of its companion, SB193, and read its text at the following link:

HB939 – This bill was introduced by Delegate Wilt by request of VCOM. It would allow motorcyclists to utilize LED type auxiliary lights to increase visibility of motorcycles, especially at night. Auxiliary side lighting lessens the chance of a collision caused by an automobile or truck changing lanes into a motorcycle. The problem is that most of this type of lighting is not approved by DOT, ANSI or SAE and is therefore illegal under Virginia law. This bill would allow certain unapproved lighting on motorcycles as a safety device

This bill has faced heavy opposition from the Virginia State Police who insist that all motor vehicle lighting be approved by one of the aforementioned organizations. Despite such opposition, VCOM has, with the assistance of motorcyclists who rallied to email their legislators, worked this bill through committee and onto the House floor where it passed on a vote of 100-0. VCOM will continue to work on this bill in the Senate where it will once again face opposition from the Virginia State Police.

You may follow the progress of this bill and read the text at the following link:

Senate Bills Not Yet Discussed

SB35 – This bill, introduced by Senator Carrico, incrementally adds fees to yearly motor vehicle registrations in order to provide additional funds to the Virginia State Police. By July 1, 2025 that fee would be $12.50 per motor vehicle per year. This means that a household with two cars and two motorcycles would pay $50 per year in additional fees.

To give a better idea of the impact of this bill, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 7,898,197 registered motor vehicles in Virginia in 2014. $12.50 per vehicle per year comes to $98,727,462 per year (That is almost ninety-nine million dollars per year)

VCOM opposed this bill. We believe that this would have a disproportional effect on our community since we tend to own more motor vehicles than the average household.

This bill was sent to the House Committee on Finance and has been carried over until next year. No further action will be taken on this bill during this General Assembly session.

Finally we have SB697. This bill, introduced by Senator Louise Lucas of Portsmouth, would have exempted motorcycles from paying tolls in Virginia. While VCOM very much appreciates the efforts of the Senator, the fate of this bill was sealed upon its introduction. Previous attempts at similar legislation have been met with strong opposition from a legislative body that frowns on removing transportation funding sources of any kind. It was no different this year. The bill was rejected in the Senate Transportation Committee’s sub-committee on tolls.

We will continue to update you on all of the legislation throughout this year’s session. If anyone has any questions concerning these or any other bills, please do not hesitate to contact VCOM.

Once again let me say thank you to all of you who have ever taken your time this year to support Virginia motorcyclists. Your efforts matter more than you know. There is not another group I would rather be affiliated with than you.