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Do Motorcycles Need Turn Signals in West Virginia?

Posted in Motorcycle collision on September 30, 2022

Yes. All motorcycles that were manufactured after January 1, 1973, must have operating turn signals.

The legal team at the Manchin Injury Law Group is supportive of the bikers in West Virginia, both residents and visitors. We support their right to ride the roads, and we are here when those rights are compromised and when legal representation is needed when an injury or a loss is suffered.

The purpose of this blog is to advise all West Virginia bikers of the state’s requirements for motorcycle inspections and the mandatory protective gear and equipment for the rider and the bike.

Inspection Requirements

There are ten aspects to West Virginia’s mandatory annual motorcycle inspection. The following lists the systems and the equipment that are subject of an annual inspection.

  • Brakes – components and the stopping distances
  • Headlamps – output, focus, aim and mountings
  • Lamps at the Rear, Sides and Turn Signals – output, focus and mountings
  • Lighting Equipment – no private motorcycle can have a red lamp illuminating at the front or flashing for advertisement
  • Handlebars – cannot be higher than 15” from the seat
  • Mirrors – mountings, and the operator must have a clear view of at least 200’ in the rear
  • Odometer – all motorcycles less than 10 years old must have an operating odometer
  • Horn – privately-owned bikes cannot have a siren sound or an exhaust whistle; must be audible for 200’
  • Tag Mounting – tag must be clearly visible from the rear and illuminated
  • Muffler and Exhaust Systems – excessive vibrations and condition of the tailpipe

Gear and Equipment

In addition to the annual inspection, West Virginia law requires certain protective gear and equipment for all riders. The gear and the equipment are:

  1. helmet for the rider and the passenger(s);
  2. face and eye protection by way of a face shield or goggles;
  3. windshields or wind screens must be shatter resistant;
  4. rearview mirror must be mounted properly and adjustable for at least 200’ of clear view;
  5. headlamps must always be on during operation and not aimed higher than the lamp’s center; and
  6. tail lamps must be red for the brake light and white to illuminate the tag.


It is unlawful to lane split, ride sidesaddle and all passengers in a sidecar must have individual seats, seatbelts and footrests. If the bike is equipped with lights along the running board, then there cannot be a glare emanating from these lights.

Comparative Negligence

We thought is responsible to list and explain the aspects of the annual inspection and to advise of the requirements for the protective gear. It is also important to know what is prohibited.

To this end, West Virginia law mandates that all claims for personal injury and wrongful death be evaluated on the basis of comparative negligence. This standard allows for what is called modified comparative fault. In plain terms, this means that, if an operator of a motorcycle is involved in an accident and is found to be more than 50% at fault, then recovery for any injury or damage cannot be claimed.

Even if the biker was operating the motorcycle correctly but violated a law in any way, then the claim and the collection of any damages could be compromised to the point of no recovery.

The legal team at the Manchin Injury Law Group want to make sure the bikers of West Virginia are aware of their rights and the expectations within those rights.