Bike Safety, Laws and Codes
Bicyclists and motorists basically have the same rights, responsibilities and duties, and the laws governing traffic regulation apply equally to both.
Many jurisdictions in Northern Virginia require the use of bicycle helmets. Fairfax County is one of them. Fairfax County Code Section 82-6-38.1 defines the use of a protective helmet while operating a Bicycle: Any person under the age of fifteen years of age shall wear a protective helmet that meets the standards promulgated by the American National Standards Institute or the Snell Memorial Foundation while riding or being carried on a bicycle on any highway, sidewalk, or public bicycle path.
Virginia code requires that every bicycle ridden between sunset and sunrise must have at least one white headlamp visible for at least 500 feet.
The bicycle must have a red reflector mounted on the rear visible for at least 600 feet.
Additionally, on roads with a posted speed of 35 mph or higher, the bicycle must be equipped with at least one red taillight visible for at least 500 feet. Taillights may be steady or flashing, are allowed under all conditions and may be attached to either the cycle or rider.
For more detailed information regarding laws for bicycling, rights and duties, and riding/safety tips, visit the Virginia Department of Transportation’s bicycle site: www.vdot.virginia.gov/programs/bk-laws.asp