Last spring we wrote about Virginia’s ranking by the League of American Bicyclists as 16th in the nation for bike safety. Along with the ranking, the League recommended areas of improvement for the Commonwealth. In particular, three important bike safety bills were defeated during the 2013 legislative session in Virginia. Passing these bills into law would move the state further in terms of bike safety.
In the current 2014 session, these same three bills have gotten a little farther, and have passed through their respective legislative bodies, crossing over for consideration by the “other side” ! Once the bills have passed both the House and the Senate, they will become law.
The three bills are:
This bill would require drivers of any vehicle to not follow more closely than is reasonable to any other vehicle, including bicyclists.
This bill requires motorists to leave three feet of clearance while passing bicyclists. 22 other states and Washington, DC that have similar statutes require motorists to pass by three feet or more.
If this law is enacted, drivers and passengers in Virginia will be legally required to exercise care when opening their car doors with respect to adjacent traffic. Dooring of bicyclists by drivers and passengers can cause serious injury and this bill seeks to reduce the potential of dooring.
UPDATE 2/25/14 – SB225 was defeated 4-3 in a House transportation subcommittee.
Source: Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA) website.
At Abrams Landau, Ltd., bike accident attorney Doug Landau has represented cyclists who have been “doored,” run off the road, or even run over. Given the number of times we hear “Share the Road,” isn’t it time for the law to enforce the mantra?
WABA has put together a page on its website to help interested citizens contact their elected officials to voice support for these bills. We encourage you to take advantage of this and advocate for passage of these bills into law!