Bicycle enthusiasts have a lot of great options for rides around Virginia Beach and Norfolk, as both cities have designated bike paths traversing through the area. However, in those places where bicyclists ride alongside both cars and pedestrians, dangerous situations can arise.
Generally speaking, if a bicyclist is riding on the roadway, then he or she is subject to motor vehicle laws. If the bicyclist is on the sidewalk, then they are subject to the rights and duties of a pedestrian. Because the rider can utilize the rights of both pedestrians and automobiles, confusion can arise for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists alike.
However, there are laws and ordinances that apply specifically to bicyclists, and knowing these laws can help keep you and those around you safer. We’ve listed some of them here:
- In Virginia Beach and Norfolk, a helmet is mandatory for riders under 14 years of age. This ordinance is not enforced in Chesapeake or Suffolk, but we strongly urge young and old riders alike to wear helmets.
- Bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks unless prohibited by local ordinances, so be sure to check with your local officials.
- Bicyclists must ride with the flow of traffic on the right side of the highway and cannot ride against the flow of traffic.
- When crossing intersections, bicyclists can make left turns as motorists or as pedestrians. Please see the Virginia Department of Transportation website for details on how these turns should be made.
- Bicyclists cannot wear headphones while riding.
- If a bicyclist is in an accident that involves injury, property damage or death, the bicyclist’s name and address must be given to the police and to any other person involved in the accident.
For a complete list of Virginia's bicycle laws visit the Virginia Department of Transportation website. If you have been involved in a recent bicycle accident, or have any questions about your rights as a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorist, please don’t hesitate to contact our office. Stay safe and have fun on your rides!