The General Assembly convened for this year’s session a couple of weeks ago, and as usual there are a number of bicycling-related bills under consideration. Click here for a full description of each bill and links for contacting your representatives from the Virginia Bicycling Federation.
Three Foot Passing
Over 20 states, including Maryland, Georgia, Mississippi, and Arkansas have already passed three-foot passing laws. Pennsylvania’s law requires four feet. Current law in Virginia is two feet. Part of the point here is to raise awareness among motorists about safe passing. VBF recently reported that the Senate bill made it through committee and is heading to the Senate floor. In previous years the House transportation committee was where this bill stalled, so will be especially important to exert pressure when it comes up there.
Following Too Closely
Current law on following too closely only applies to motorized vehicles, so as it is a motorist cannot be cited for following a cyclist too closely.
Virginia is currently one of a handful of states with no law that would hold a someone responsible for opening their car door and causing harm to a cyclist. This kind of law is still a far cry from setting the level of motorist responsibility as high as some countries in Europe (see previous post), but it’s a step in that direction.