Senate Bill No. 196
(By Senators Chafin, Bailey, Anderson, Mitchell and Bowman)
[Introduced January 25, 2000; referred to the Committee
on Transportation; and then to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
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; and to further amend said
article by adding thereto a new section, designated section
fifty, all relating to requiring persons under the age of
eighteen to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle or when
riding an all-terrain vehicle on public lands or public-use
corridors designated for all-terrain vehicles.
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; and that said article be further amended by adding thereto a new section, designated section
fifty, all 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 the age of eighteen 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. 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
eye goggles 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
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 or her 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 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
§17C-15-50. Safety equipment and requirements for all-terrain
No person under the age of eighteen may operate or otherwise ride an all-terrain vehicle (ATV), as defined in section one,
article one, chapter seventeen-a of this code, on public lands or
public use corridors designated for ATVs unless he or she is
wearing a protective helmet of a type approved by the
superintendent of the West Virginia state police.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require persons under the
age of 18 to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle or when riding
an all-terrain vehicle on public lands or public use corridors
designated for all-terrain vehicles. The bill eliminates the
helmet requirement for motorcycle riders aged 18 or over.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would
§17C-15-50 is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring
have been omitted.