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Introduced Version Senate Bill 293 History

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Senate Bill No. 293

(By Senators Chafin and Hunter)

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[Introduced February 25, 2005; referred to the

Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.]

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A BILL to amend and reenact §17C-15-44 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to motorcycle operators and passengers; requiring that motorcycle operators and passengers under twenty-one years of age wear helmets while riding; and requiring that any operator licensed less than two years wear a helmet while riding.

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 shall under twenty-one 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 an operator twenty-one years of age or older is exempt from the helmet requirement only after having a valid motorcycle license under section one, article two, chapter seventeen-b of this code for two years or a valid license which has been endorsed under section seven-b of said article for two years. 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 operator 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 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
or her for a distance of at least two hundred feet.
(f) There is hereby created a six The eight 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 as provided in section eight, article one-d, chapter seventeen-b of this code
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: The purpose of this bill is to remove the requirement that motorcycle operators and passengers 21 years old or older wear helmets, except that all operators licensed less than two years would be required to wear helmets. The bill also modifies language concerning the motorcycle safety and education committee to correctly reflect it is an eight member board, provided under §17B-1D-8, rather than a six member board, while making minor stylistic changes as well.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
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