VIRGINIA BICYCLE LAWS
For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact attorney Timmy Finch directly.
Right to the Road
- Virginia bicyclists generally have the same rights, and same duties, as drivers of motor vehicles.
- Clinging to motor vehicles while biking is not permitted.
- Bicycles may only carry the number of persons for which it is designed.
- Cyclists may not carry any items which prevents them from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars
- Virginia law prohibits the wearing of headsets or earphones on both ears while riding
- Required by local ordinance for any operator or passenger 14 years of age or younger in Alexandria, Arlington Co., Fairfax Co. Falls Church, Vienna and other jurisdictions.
- Virginia’s DWI statute does not apply to bicyclists.
Where to Ride
- When in travel lanes, bicyclists must ride with the flow of traffic as closely as practicable to the right side of the roadway.
- Full lane use allowed when traveling at the normal speed of traffic, passing, preparing for a turn, avoiding hazards, traveling in a lane too narrow to share and avoiding a mandatory turn lane.
- Sidewalk riding is permitted except where prohibited by local ordinances but bicyclists riding on a sidewalk must yield the right of way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before passing a pedestrian.
Bike Lanes, Bike Paths and Multi-Use Paths
- Mandatory use of bike lanes is not required.
Stop Signs and Traffic Control Devices
- Bicyclists are required to come to a full and complete stop at all stop signs and traffic lights displaying a red signal.
- Cyclists must give the proper signals that are visible to other bicyclists and cars when turning or stopping.
Drivers Overtaking Bicyclists
- Motor vehicle drivers must allow at least 3 feet of space when passing a bicyclist.
Bicycles Passing Cars
- Cyclists may overtake and pass another vehicle or cyclist on either side of the road, staying in the same lane as the overtaken vehicle/cyclist, or change to a different lane, or ride off the roadway as necessary to pass with safety
- Bicyclists may not ride more than 2 abreast and may not impede motor vehicle traffic.
- Cyclists riding two abreast must move into single file if they impede the normal flow of traffic or when being overtaken from the rear by a faster moving vehicle or cyclist;
- On a laned roadway, cyclists riding two abreast must ride in a single lane.
- Front white light and rear red reflector required when dark, may be attached to operator; rear red light required on roads 35 mph and up.
- Bikes must have functioning brakes.
Electric Assist Bikes
- E-bikes are defined as “electric power assisted bicycles,” so long as the e-bike’s motor is under 1,000w, has a maximum speed of 25mph and has operable pedals. The same rules of the road apply to both e-bikes and human-powered bicycles.
- E-bikes are not subject to the registration, licensing or insurance requirements that apply to motor vehicles.
- Helmets are not required but the age minimum for e-bike use is 14.
- E-bikes are allowed on sidewalks and bike paths.