The Legislature hereby finds and declares that:
(a) Motorcycles account for approximately three percent of the state's registered motor vehicles but are involved in over six percent of the state's motor vehicle fatalities.
(b) In terms of fatalities per vehicle mile traveled, the state's motorcyclists face about ten times the risk of passenger car occupants.
(c) Lack of proper riding skills have been shown to be largely responsible for the motorcycle fatality problem.
(d) It is therefore the purpose of this article to provide for a motorcycle safety education program in this state.
(a) The West Virginia motorcycle safety education program is hereby established within the division to be administered by the commissioner. The program shall include rider training courses and instructor training courses. It may also include efforts to enhance public motorcycle safety awareness, alcohol and drug effects awareness for motorcyclists, driver improvement efforts, licensing improvement efforts, program promotion and other efforts to enhance motorcycle safety through education.
(b) The commissioner shall appoint a program coordinator who shall oversee and direct the program, and conduct an annual evaluation. Rider training courses shall be conducted annually in no fewer than four sites throughout the state, commencing no later than the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-six.
(a) The division shall establish standards for the rider training course designed to develop and instill the knowledge, attitudes, habits and skills necessary for safe operation of a motorcycle.
(b) Rider training courses shall be open to all residents of the state who are eligible for a motorcycle learner's permit. An adequate number of rider training courses shall be provided to meet the reasonably anticipated needs of all persons in the state who are eligible and who desire to participate in the program. Program delivery may be phased in over a reasonable period of time.
(c) The division shall issue certificates of completion in the manner and form prescribed by the commissioner to persons who satisfactorily complete the requirements of the course.
(a) The division shall establish standards for an approved motorcycle rider education instructor preparation course. Successful completion of the course shall require the participant to demonstrate knowledge of the course material, knowledge of safe motorcycle operating practices, and the necessary aptitude for instructing students.
(b) The division shall establish minimum requirements for the qualification of a rider education instructor.
The division may enter into contracts with either public or private organizations for technical assistance in conducting rider and instructor training courses, if the courses are administered and taught according to standards established by the division. An organization conducting such courses may charge a reasonable tuition fee. The division shall determine the maximum tuition fee an organization may charge.
The commissioner may exempt applicants for a motorcycle driver's license or endorsement from all or part of the special motorcycle license examination required by section seven-b, article two of this chapter if the applicant presents a certificate of completion of the rider training course specified in sections two and three, article one-d of this chapter.
(b) The fund shall be used by the division of motor vehicles to defray the cost of implementing and administering the motorcycle safety education program established in section two of this article.
(b) The board may recommend to the superintendent of the state police types and makes of protective helmets, eye protection devices and equipment offered for sale, purchased or used by any person. The board may make recommendations to the commissioner of motor vehicles regarding the use of the moneys in the motorcycle safety fund created under section seven of this article. The board shall report annually to the Legislature on or before the first day of each regular legislative session.
(c) The appointed members shall serve without compensation, however, members are entitled to reimbursement of travel and other necessary expenses actually incurred while engaged in legitimate board activities in accordance with the guidelines of the travel management office of the department of administration or successor agency.
Acts, 2010 Reg. Sess., Ch. 32.