H. B. 2403
(By Delegates Butcher, Coleman and Davis)
[Introduced January 27, 1999; referred to the
Committee on Roads and Transportation then the
A BILL to amend and reenact section forty-four, article fifteen,
chapter seventeen-c of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to
motorcycle operators and passengers; requiring certain
persons under the age of eighteen or who have been licensed
less than two years to wear a helmet; helmet standards;
requiring the use of eye protection and setting standards
therefor; equipment standards; carrying of passengers; and
approval of equipment.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section forty-four, article fifteen, chapter
seventeen-c of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read
ARTICLE 15. EQUIPMENT.
§17C-15-44. Safety equipment and requirements for
motorcyclists, motorcycles, motor-driven
cycles and mopeds; motorcycle safety
standards and education committee.
(a) No person
shall under eighteen years of age may operate
or be a passenger on any motorcycle or motor-driven cycle unless
the person is wearing securely fastened on his or her head by
either a neck or chin strap a protective helmet designed to
deflect blows, resist penetration and spread impact forces:
Provided, That no person who has not had a valid motorcycle
license under section one, article two, chapter seventeen-b of
this code or a valid license which has been endorsed under
section seven-b, article two, chapter seventeen-b of this code
may operate any motorcycle or motor-driven cycle unless he or she
is wearing securely fastened on his or her head by either a neck
or chin strap a protective helmet designed to deflect blows,
resist penetration and spread impact forces. Any helmet worn by
an operator or passenger shall meet the current performance
specifications established by the American National Standards
Institute Standard, Z 90.1, the United States Department of
Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218 or
Snell Safety Standards for Protective Headgear for Vehicle Users.
(b) No person
shall may operate or be a passenger on any
motorcycle or motor-driven cycle unless the person is wearing safety, shatter-resistant eyeglasses (excluding contact lenses),
or eyegoggles or face shield that complies with the performance
specifications established by the American National Standards
Institute for Head, Eye and Respiratory Protection, Z 2.1. In
addition, if any motorcycle, motor-driven cycle or moped is
equipped with a windshield or windscreen, the windshield or
windscreen shall be constructed of safety, shatter-resistant
material that complies with the performance specifications
established by Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle
Safety Standard No. 205 and American National Standards
Institute, Safety Glazing Materials for Glazing Motor Vehicles
Operated on Land Highways, Standard Z 26.1.
(c) No person
shall may operate a motorcycle, motor-driven
cycle or moped on which the handlebars or grips are more than
fifteen inches higher than the uppermost part of the operator's
seat when the seat is not depressed in any manner.
(d) A person operating a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle or
moped shall ride in a seated position facing forward and only
upon a permanent operator's seat attached to the vehicle. No
shall may carry any other person nor shall may any other
person ride on the vehicle unless the vehicle is designed to
carry more than one person, in which event a passenger may ride
behind the operator upon the permanent operator's seat if it is
designed for two persons, or upon another seat firmly attached to
the vehicle to the rear of the operator's seat and equipped with footrests designed and located for use by the passenger or in a
sidecar firmly attached to the vehicle. No person shall may ride
side saddle on a seat. An operator may carry as many passengers
as there are seats and footrests to accommodate those passengers.
Additional passengers may be carried in a factory produced
sidecar provided that there is one passenger per seat.
Passengers riding in a sidecar shall be restrained by safety
(e) Every motorcycle, motor-driven cycle and moped shall be
equipped with a rearview mirror affixed to the handlebars or
fairings and adjusted so that the operator shall have a clear
view of the road and condition of traffic behind him for a
distance of at least two hundred feet.
There is hereby created a The six member motorcycle
safety and education committee consisting is continued. It
consists of: The superintendent of the state police or a
designee; the commissioner of motor vehicles or a designee; the
director of the West Virginia safety council or a designee; a
licensed motorcycle operator; an owner of a motorcycle
dealership; and a supplier of aftermarket nonfranchised
motorcycle supplies. The nongovernmental representatives shall
be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the
Senate and shall serve without compensation. and The terms shall
be for three years, except that as to the members first
appointed, one shall be appointed for a term of one year, one shall be appointed for a term of two years and one shall be
appointed for a term of three years. Members may be reappointed
to the committee.
The committee shall continue to exist pursuant to the
provisions of article ten, chapter four of this code until the
first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-nine, to
allow for the completion of a preliminary performance review by
the joint committee on government operations.
The committee is
hereby authorized to recommend to the
superintendent of public safety types and makes of protective
helmets, eye protection devices and equipment offered for sale,
purchased or used by any person. The committee is authorized to
make recommendations to the commissioner of motor vehicles
regarding the use of the moneys in the motorcycle safety fund
created under section seven, article one-d, chapter seventeen-b
of this code.
NOTE: This bill would remove the requirement that adult
motorcycle operators and passengers and operators licensed for
less than two years wear helmets.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken
from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language
that would be added.