WEST VIRGINIA LEGISLATURE
2016 REGULAR SESSION
House Bill 4280
By Delegates kelly, Cooper, Perry, Sobonya, Atkinson, Azinger, Romine, McGeehan, Trecost,
J. Nelson and Butler
[Introduced January 26, 2016; referred to the
Committee on Roads and Transportation then the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §17C-15-44 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended relating to permitting persons who are twenty-one years of age or older to operate or be a passenger on a motorcycle without a helmet.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §17C-15-44 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
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 under the age of twenty-one shall 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. 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 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 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 operator shall carry any other person nor shall 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 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 belts.
(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.
(f) There is hereby created a six member motorcycle safety and education committee consisting 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, 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 July 1, 1999, 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: The purpose of this bill is to permit persons who are twenty-one years of age or older to operate or be a passenger on a motorcycle without a helmet.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.