Southern WV Motorcycle Ride Guide


Experience the thrill of riding in the hills of Southern WV. Scenic highways and byways, breathtaking scenery and rugged terrain provide the backdrop as you enjoy the twists and turns and roller-coaster like features of our quality roads.

Every road leads to adventure and there is a history lesson around every curve. To help you explore we’ve developed a few suggested rides that take you off the beaten path, through our motorcycle friendly towns and into the heart of southern West Virginia.

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West Virginia Motorycle Laws

§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 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 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 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 asidecar 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 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 jointcommittee 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.

Motorcycle Partners

West Virginia Riding Tips

Donning a leather motorcycling jacket does not, in fact, make you indestructible. Common sense driving rules still apply when motorcycling, there are extra measures you should be taking in West Virginia, especially along scenic, winding mountain roads. 5 Often Overlooked Ways to Stay Safe Motorcycling in WV: 1. Know West Virginia's Motorcycle Laws When driving in West Virginia, make sure you have all of the necessary and required safety gear: eye protection, a helmet, and a working headlight (even in the daytime). You can't carry a passenger unless your motorcycle is designed to carry another person, with a seat meant for two or an additional passenger car, and a footrest for the second rider. 2. Be on the Lookout for Wildlife When riding through mountain areas, keep an eye out for animals. Deer often dash into the road, and stop in fear when headlights shine on them. They tend to travel in groups, so if you see one, be on guard and start braking; there are probably more nearby. If a deer or other animal does dash into the road ahead of you, brake aggressively. DO NOT swerve at high speeds. That will make your bike more unstable, and you could lose control, or swerve right into oncoming traffic or another obstacle. Swerving might not even prevent the impact: deer are known to make a mad dash once you near them, and you can't predict which way they'll go. 3. Watch the Winds Our mountain roads are curvy. Seriously curvy. Think you get that? No. Curvier. Much curvier than you're thinking. If the road twists ahead of you and you can't see around the corner, ease on the brakes. Sometimes what looks like a simple curve is actually a sharp turn that keeps on looping and looping around the mountain terrain. Be ready and don't accelerate until you can see the road stretching back out ahead of you. 4. Look out for Coal Trucks Mountain roads tend to be small to reduce the impact on the natural surroundings, which sometimes leaves barely enough room for two cars to pass. It might even get tight enough for only one vehicle. On one-lane roads, remain extra cautious, because large coal trucks might be heading toward you, taking up most of the road. They're bulkier than you, so stay out of their way, and anticipate that they might be coming around any of those curves we told you about. 5. Be Cautious of Gravel Those large coal trucks can cause you trouble even if they're not around. They leave gravel and debris on the road that make for a bumpy ride, so keep your eyes on what's ahead of you. Got it? You're ready for a scenic and "Thrilling" ride in the "Hills" of southern West Virginia!

Motorcycle Itineraries

Your Time . . . Our Roads Itinerary Information The 2017 Motorcycle Touring brochure is full of great riding itineraries - make sure you order your copy or download today. About our rides: The winding hills and sweeping curves beckons motorcycle enthusiasts to our area.  There are groups that return each and every year to tackle yet another mountain and to travel deeper into West Virginia's history and heritage. Each ride invites you to see a different part of Southern West Virginia from our coalfields to our rivers. Hope you enjoy the ride. Maps and directions can be found in the Southern West Virginia Motorcycle Ride Guide Coal Heritage North - This 129 mile loop begins and ends in Beckley, WV. Past and present is well represented on this scenic ride that offers up scenic views, waterfalls, coal history and quaint small towns. Your journey will take you across the New River Gorge Bridge, past the New River Gorge Harley Davidson and down Gauley Mountain.  Along Route 60 you will see Cathedral Falls, Kanawha Falls and where the New and Gauley Rivers meet. Coal Heritage South - This 131 mile loop begins and ends in Beckley, WV. A good part of this ride follows the Coal Heritage Trail and takes you deep into coal country through what were once thriving coal camps.  The remnants of life in the coalfields is evident along this trail.  The coal baron's homes in Bramwell, Twin Falls State Park, Pinnacle Rock, Camp Creek, Burning Rock Outdoor Adventure Park are just a few of the highlights of this trek. Farm Country - This ride begins and ends in Princeton, WV for a total of 111 miles.  Some of the most beautiful farm country in all of West Virginia. This journey is to a simpler time and a simpler place. Beauty and Civil War history collide on this adventure in both Lewisburg and the Historic town of Union, both worth a stop. While traveling through Monroe County keep your eyes peeled for beautiful renditions of quilts that are throughout the area. National Forest - This is our longest suggested ride, totaling 195 miles it begins and ends in Fayetteville, WV.  This ride takes you through two of WV's Coolest Small Town's (Budget Travel) - Fayetteville and Lewisburg are great places to plan your breakfast, lunch or dinner stops. Beginning elevation 1800' this ride travels through the Appalachian Mountains, elevation 4545'. Interesting stops - Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, Droop Mountain, Beartown State Park, Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park, Babcock State Park and the New River Gorge Bridge. National River - This ride begins and ends in Beckley, WV for a total of 123 miles. Travel along our ancient river valleys of the New, Gauley and Meadow Rivers. See the historic Prince Depot and the Glade Creek Grist Mill (Babcock State Park), two of the best photo opportunities along the way. Try one or all of these rides or create your own. The hills, valleys and winding country roads will not disappoint.