Bicycle Laws

​​​​​Man on bikeBicycles are considered vehicles when on the highway
Reference State Code: §§46.2-800 & 46.2-830

Every person riding a bicycle on a highway shall be subject to the provisions of the Code of Virginia section on motor vehicles and shall have the rights and duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle unless a provision clearly indicates otherwise. As a result, bicyclists must obey all traffic signs, signals, lights, and markings.

Virginia Beach helmet law
Reference City Code: 7-50

Children 14 years old and younger are required to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
Although it is not required, it is highly recommended that all cyclists wear helmets.

Where to ride
Reference State Codes: §§46.2-802, 46.2-808, 46.2-826, 46.2-903, 46.2-904, 46.2-905, 46.2-907

  • Bicyclists must ride with the flow of traffic on the right side of the highway.
  • Bicyclists operating a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place under conditions then existing shall ride as close as safely practicable to the right curb or edge of roadway. Exceptions to this are when bicyclists are overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, preparing for a left turn, avoiding unsafe conditions, avoiding riding in a lane that turns or diverges to the right, riding on a one way street where bicyclists may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of roadway, or when the lane width is too narrow to share with a motor vehicle. Additionally, bicycles are not excluded from riding on the highway shoulder.
  • Bicyclists must not ride between two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction unless one lane is a separate or mandatory turn lane.
  • Bicyclists cannot ride more than two abreast on highways.  When riding two abreast, bicyclists cannot impede the movement of traffic and need to move into a single file when being overtaken from the rear.  On a laned roadway, bicyclists shall ride in a single lane.
  • Bicyclists are not permitted to ride on interstate and certain controlled access highways, unless the operation is limited to bicycle or pedestrian facilities that are barrier separated from the roadway and automobile traffic. The restricted sections of the highways are marked with conspicuous signs. 
  • Bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks unless prohibited by local ordinance or traffic control devices. While on sidewalks and shared use paths, bicyclists must always yield the right of way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before passing a pedestrian.
  • Bicyclists pulling onto a sidewalk or highway from a driveway must yield the right of way to pedestrians or vehicles already on the sidewalk or highway.

Right turns, left turns and stopping
Reference State Codes: §§46.2-846,46.2-847,46.2-848,46.2-849

A right turn may be signaled with the right arm.  The signals do not have to be given continuously if both hands are needed to control the bicycle.

Bicyclists may make left turns as either motorists or pedestrians do. To make a pedestrian left turn, the bicyclist should continue straight across the intersecting road, obey the traffic signals, turn left at the corner, and proceed as usual. Bicyclists may also dismount and walk in the crosswalks of the two intersecting roads. If traffic control devices specify the method of crossings, these directions must be followed.  
          Left turn diagrams

Bicycles operated at night must have lights
Reference State Code: §46.2-1015

Every bicycle ridden between sunset and sunrise must have at least one white headlamp with the light being visible at least 500 feet to the front. The bicycle must have a red reflector on the rear visible at least 600 feet to the rear. On roads posted with speed limit of 35 mph or greater, the bicyclist must additionally be equipped with at least one red taillight visible from 500 feet to the rear. Taillights may be steady or blinking, are allowed under all conditions, and may be attached to the cycle or rider

Commuter on bikeNo earphones
Reference State Code: §46.2-1078

It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle, bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, or moped on the highways in the Commonwealth while using earphones on or in both ears.

Overtaking and Passing 
Reference: §46.2-839 & §46.2-839

Any driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction shall do so:
  • At a reasonable speed
  • At least THREE FEET to the left
  • Without again proceeding to the right side of the highway until safely clear of the bicycle

The rider of an overtaken bicycle shall: 

  • Give way to the right
  • Not increase the speed of his bicycle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.
  • Bicyclists must form a single file line and allow vehicles to pass

Reference State Code: §46.2-100

A bicycle is defined as a device propelled solely by human power, upon which a person may ride either on or astride a regular seat attached thereto, having  two or more wheels in tandem, including children's bicycles except a toy vehicle intended for use by young children.  A bicycle is a vehicle when operated on the highway.
A bike lane is defined as that portion of a roadway designated by signs and/or pavement markings for the preferential use of bicycles, electric power-assisted bicycles, and mopeds.
A shared-use path is defined as a bikeway that is physically separated from motorized vehicular traffic by an open space or barrier and is located either within the highway right-of-way or within a separate right-of way.  Shared use paths may also be used by pedestrians, skaters, users of wheel chair conveyances, joggers, and other non-motorized users.
A sidewalk is defined as the portion of a street between the curb lines, or the lateral lines of a roadway, and the adjacent property lines, intended for use by pedestrians.
A highway is defined as the entire width between the boundary lines of every place open to public use for purposes of vehicular travel.
A roadway is defined as the portion of the highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the shoulder.
A vehicle is defined as every device used for the transportation of people or property on a highway.