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Motorcycle Requirements in Virginia
Before you can legally ride a motorcycle in Virginia, you must match these requirements:
- Safety exam: The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires all motorcyclists to complete a motorcycle safety examination, much like drivers must do when applying for a driver’s license. Failing this course will disallow you from receiving a license.
- License and registration: If you pass the mandatory motorcycle safety course, then you can apply for a motorcycle license. If you own a motorcycle, then you must also register your ride with the Virginia DMV and pay annual registration fees.
- Insurance: Motorcycle riders must carry current insurance that meets Virginia’s minimum coverage amounts of 25/50/20. This amount reflects $25,000 for bodily injury/death coverage per person, $50,000 for bodily injury/death coverage per accident, and $20,000 for property damage per accident. Riding a motorcycle without proper insurance can result in your license being suspended and criminal penalties.
- Helmet: In Virginia, motorcycle riders and passengers must wear a helmet whenever the bike is traveling faster than 15 miles per hour. For your safety, though, it is highly advised that you wear a helmet regardless of your motorcycle’s rate of travel. Of note, you also cannot wear headphones while riding your motorcycle in Virginia.
- Bike design: Motorcycles in Virginia need to have installed mufflers to reduce noise contamination caused by the vehicle. There must also be functioning headlights, rearview mirrors, handlebars, footrests, reflectors, taillights, brake lights, fenders, turn signals, and horns that can be used to alert nearby motorists and pedestrians in emergencies.
- Lane-splitting: It is illegal to lane-split – or swerve between traffic by going in and out of adjacent lanes – in Virginia. California is the only state that allows this riding behavior.
Safety Tips for Every Motorcycle Rider
Every rider should take it upon themselves to focus on safety whenever they hit the road. Whether you are a new rider or a veteran, it pays to review some safety tips and hints that every motorcyclist should know.
Seven quick motorcycle safety tips are:
- Try not to stay too close to other vehicles because this increases the likelihood that they will not see you when checking a blind spot and swerve into you.
- Wear bright clothing to increase your visibility.
- Use your headlight during the day.
- Be sure to use turn signals appropriately, including turning them off when you are done turning.
- Give extra space on one side if your motorcycle has a passenger car.
- Never exceed posted speed limits.
- Ride slower when it is raining or foggy.
If you need legal help after a motorcycle accident in Virginia, please remember that Kalfus & Nachman PC is standing by to assist. Call (855) 880-8163 or contact us online at any time.
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