14 Feb Virginia Car Accidents: Va. Code Ann. § 46.2-800 & 46.2-903, et seq. – A Lawyer’s Bicycling
Many motorists have a bad attitude about bicyclists, horsemen, and others non-motorists riding on the state highways, incorrectly thinking they have no business being on the road. But Virginia law is clear that bicyclists, horsemen, and some other vulnerable riders have equal rights to the road, so a vehicle accident with them may be the motorist’s fault.
“Every person riding a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, moped, or an animal or driving an animal on a highway shall . . . have all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle . . . .” See, Va. Code Ann. § 46.2-800. Indeed, in Virginia local ordinance may prohibit bicyclists from riding on sidewalks and crosswalks, forcing them onto the highways. See, e.g., § 46.2-904.
Of course, bicyclists have some special highway limitations. Generally, they must “ride as close as safely practicable to the right,” must “move into a single file formation as quickly as practicable when being overtaken,” see, § 46.2-905; must not carry any article that “prevents… keeping at least one hand on the handle bars,” or “carry more persons at one time than the number of persons for which [the bicycle] was designed” (except a child under 6 years old in special seat or trailer), see, § 46.2-906; and by local ordinance if under 14 years old may have to wear a special helmet. See, § 46.2-906.1.