The Effect of Motorcycle Travel on the Safety and Operations of HOV Facilities in Virginia

Report No: 95-R26

Published in 1995

About the report:

The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 mandated that motorcycles be permitted to travel on federally funded high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) facilities unless they created a safety hazard or adversely affected HOV operations. Although motorcycles had previously been banned from traveling on Virginia's HOV lanes, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) authorized motorcycle travel on HOV facilities in Virginia as of September 21, 1992, for a 2-year trial period. However, out of concern over whether this policy should continue, the CTB resolved that the Virginia Department of Transportation conduct a study to determine whether motorcycles presented a safety risk on HOV lanes. This study found that motorcycles account for as much as 3% of the annual traffic on some HOV lanes. However, in the 2 years after the CTB authorized their travel, there were only five motorcycle crashes on HOV lanes. The study recommends that the CTB allow motorcycles to continue to travel on HOV lanes and that VDOT continue to monitor their travel and crashes.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Jack D. Jernigan, Cheryl W. Lynn

Last updated: December 18, 2023

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