Beginner cyclists and avid bikers alike need to understand the rules of the road or they may end up in a serious bike accidents. Lawmakers in Virginia have crafted special laws that apply to those on bicycles and it is important for anyone riding a bicycle to understand exactly what those laws are. Our team of Newport News bike accident lawyers summarized some of the most important rules and regulations. Check them out below...
First things first, anyone riding a bicycle needs to understand that cyclists traveling along Newport News roadways like Warwick Boulevard, Jefferson Avenue or Oyster Point Road are required to obey the same traffic laws as any other vehicle. Cyclists have the same rights and duties as drivers of passenger vehicles and should realize that stop signs, stoplights and speed limits apply to everyone across the board.
Where can you ride?
Riders in Newport News should know that Virginia law clearly says cyclists must ride with the flow of traffic on the right half of the roadway. That means riding while facing traffic is against the law and could lead to legal liability in the event of an accident. Cyclists are required to ride as close as is safe to the right curb or edge of the roadway with only a few exceptions. These exceptions include when a bicyclist is passing another vehicle, avoiding a hazardous object, or preparing to turn. This means that bicycles are not required to use bike lanes, something that other states do mandate.
Where can’t you ride?
Virginia law says that bicyclists are not allowed to ride between two lanes of traffic that is moving in the same direction. The only exception to this rule is if one of those lanes is a turn lane. Additionally, bicyclists are not allowed to ride on the interstate or other controlled access highways.
How many cyclists can ride together?
Virginia law specifically addresses the issue of multiple cyclists riding alongside one another. The law says that riding two bikes abreast is allowed so long as doing so does not impede the flow of traffic. In no circumstances, however, can cyclists ride more than two abreast.
Cyclists and pedestrians
Bicyclists have an obligation to watch for and avoid encounters with pedestrians, especially when cycling on sidewalks. Some states prohibit bicyclists from being on sidewalks in the first place, but Virginia law allows it except where specifically prohibited by local regulations (such as in Alexandria). The law in Virginia states that bikers must yield the right of way to pedestrians when cycling on sidewalks and that bikers must make a verbal signal to pedestrians before passing them.
In Virginia, local laws govern issues of helmets. Currently, local ordinances in many parts of the state require helmets to by warn by any bicyclist under the age of 14. Though these laws recommend helmets for all riders, only those under 14 are specifically required to wear them. Though safety bells are not required, state law does say that bikes out at night must have a front white light and a rear red reflector, though these lights can be attached to the operator of the bike rather than the bike itself.