A. Every person operating a motorcycle or autocycle shall wear a face shield, safety glasses or goggles, or have his motorcycle or autocycle equipped with safety glass or a windshield at all times while operating the vehicle, and operators and any passengers thereon shall wear protective helmets. Operators and passengers riding on motorcycles with wheels of eight inches or less in diameter or in three-wheeled motorcycles or autocycles that have nonremovable roofs, windshields, and enclosed bodies shall not be required to wear protective helmets. The windshields, face shields, glasses or goggles, and protective helmets required by this section shall meet or exceed the standards and specifications of the Snell Memorial Foundation, the American National Standards Institute, Inc., or the federal Department of Transportation. Failure to wear a face shield, safety glasses or goggles, or protective helmets shall not constitute negligence per se in any civil proceeding. The provisions of this section requiring the wearing of protective helmets shall not apply to operators of or passengers on motorcycles or autocycles being operated (i) as part of an organized parade authorized by the Department of Transportation or the locality in which the parade is being conducted and escorted, accompanied, or participated in by law-enforcement officers of the jurisdiction wherein the parade is held and (ii) at speeds of no more than 15 miles per hour.No motorcycle or autocycle operator shall use any face shield, safety glasses, or goggles, or have his motorcycle or autocycle equipped with safety glass or a windshield, unless of a type either (i) approved by the Superintendent prior to July 1, 1996, or (ii) that meets or exceeds the standards and specifications of the Snell Memorial Foundation, the American National Standards Institute, Inc., or the federal Department of Transportation and is marked in accordance with such standards.
B. It shall be unlawful to sell or offer for sale, for highway use in Virginia, any protective helmet that fails to meet or exceed any standard as provided in the foregoing provisions of this section. Any violation of this subsection is a Class 4 misdemeanor.
Code 1950, §§ 46-183.1, 46-183.2; 1954, c. 204; 1958, c. 541, § 46.1-172; 1968, c. 498; 1970, cc. 29, 99; 1982, cc. 390, 681; 1989, cc. 6, 727; 1996, c. 690; 1998, c. 789; 2014, cc. 53, 256.