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  • Writer's pictureGregory Sandler


Laws regulating motorcycles and their operation are in place to help ensure safety on the state’s highways. Legal requirements vary somewhat from state to state. this blog will provide an overview of motorcycle laws in Virginia.

Perhaps the most notable motorcycle law involves helmets. (Va. Code § 46.2-910). Some states do not require use of helmets when riding, Virginia, however, does require helmets. Use of daytime headlights is another key safety issue for motorcycles. Virginia does not require by law that a headlight be on during the day. It is, however, recommended by the state’s Motorcycle Operator Manual.

Something you see often is motorcyclists using microphones to communicate with passengers and perhaps other cyclists. Virginia law permits their use only for communication persons. The law prohibits the use of earphones that cover both ears, such as for music. While on the subject of noise, mufflers are required for motorcycles by state law.

Virginia law also requires eye protection for riders in the form of goggles, safety glasses, or a helmet shield. If the motorcycle has a windshield, the goggles, glasses, or shield are not required. Motorcycles actually carrying a passenger must have a passenger seat and footrest. If no passenger is being carried, these items are not required. Like an automobile, a motorcycle is required to have only 1 mirror, which can be either left or right. (Va. Code § 46.2-910).

Being licensed to drive a motorcycle in Virginia is not a matter of simply applying. If a person holds a motor vehicle operator’s license and is 19 years of age or older, she must pass a vision exam, a knowledge exam, have a motorcycle learner’s permit for nine months, and then pass a motorcycle road skills test. If the applicant has completed the Virginia Rider Training Program, she is exempt from both the knowledge exam and the skills test.

As a rider myself, I urge you to attend and complete the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Course before attempting to ride. The MSF is an educational organization which conducts rider training and safety courses, to that you will understand how to protect yourself against those in 4 wheels who simply don’t know we share the roadways with them. Visit them at to learn where the courses will be available to you.

I understand the challenges we face on the roadways. While we have to meet specific requirements for safe operation, regular motor vehicle operators require no special education about interacting with motorcycles on the road. If you have been injured while riding by another’s negligence, Call The Sandler Law Group toll free 800-9-THE-LAW or (757) 627-8900 to schedule an initial FREE consultation. You may also contact us online at or by email at

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