Lots of Legislation

20 Jan

Ride Richmond has a comprehensive list of bills that have been introduced in the General Assembly this session that directly or indirectly pertain to cyclists.  Just scroll down below the Bicycle Action Day (1/29) information — which you hopefully will transfer to your calendar with the plan to join us!

The dooring bill mentioned in recent posts seems to be attracting more attention than others, perhaps because a number of the other proposals, such as a 3-foot standard for passing a cyclist (the law in VA now says 2 feet), have been introduced before.  Or — admittedly I’m being hopeful here — it’s because this is a perfectly reasonable law that has nevertheless attracted strong opposition from some legislators.  For some of the points pro and con, see this recent CBS Richmond report on the Virginia Bicycling Federation site.

The real gist of the law is that anyone opening a car door where there is traffic should be careful in doing so, and could be held responsible if they’re not.  “But that’s unenforceable,” some say.  Well, it is in cases when an accident occurs.  And, like the 3-foot passing law (which gets the same criticism), part of the point is simply to make drivers aware of something and encourage them to be more cautious, not just punish them for not doing something.

It’s hard to resist the interpretation that the opposition to laws like this really lies in the sense that something is being done for cyclists (who for whatever reason don’t deserve it) and against motorists, which in turn goes back to the default idea that roads are really for cars and everyone else should just deal with it.


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