Legislature Leaves Cyclists (Almost) Empty-Handed

20 Feb
From zifflaw.com.

From zifflaw.com.

SB1060 — Following too Close

I am sad to report that SB1060, a bill that would have amended the state code to make “don’t follow too closely” apply to all vehicles included bicycles, was defeated 42-55 on the House floor.  Bud Vye, the tireless advocate, provides the details at the Virginia Bicycling Federation, including who voted against.  If one of them is your delegate, it’s still worth sending a note or calling to ask why they did so and express your disapproval.  I know that my delegate, Jennifer McClellan, voted in favor, but a number of others from this region voted against.

Cracking Down on Texting

I nearly titled this post “Legislature Leaves Cyclists Empty-Handed,” but I just read a piece in the RTD that the state Senate has backed a bill making texting while driving a primary offense (meaning you can be stopped just for that), and raising the fine to $250.  Distracted driving of all kinds is one of the greatest dangers to cyclists (and pedestrians and other motorists), so this is good news.

What to Make of Webb’s Conviction?

The other big news story we’ve been following — also related to advocacy efforts — is the trial and recent conviction of Elias Webb for hit-and-run.  Style asked three local advocates to respond to the Webb conviction.  The fact that Webb was convicted and will likely serve some time is an encouraging sign the Richmonders have a measure of respect for cyclists, since it’s not uncommon for drivers in this kind of situation to get a slap on the wrist or less.

Although the comments in response to this piece are not as strongly bike vs. car as some others have been, it’s clear that cyclists and motorists tend to blame one another.  Is it too much of a stretch to suggest that, yes, some cyclists could do more to be visible and predictable, and motorists should also get used to seeing and accepting bicyclists and take more care around them?  BOTH need more education and awareness.  Admitting that you could maybe do better — either as a cyclist or motorist or both — is the first step toward getting away from this eternal finger-pointing.

Keeping Track of Injuries and Fatalities

The League of American Bicyclists has just put out a call asking folks to contact Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to demand that statistics and goals for pedestrian and bicycle safety be included in transportation planning by the DOT.  According to the League:

The US Department of Transportation is required by the new transportation law to establish national safety goals and performance measures to guide the states. Right now, they are NOT proposing any separate national goals or performance measures to improve the safety of bicyclists and/or pedestrians. We cannot let this happen – these measures will be used to guide traffic safety policy and funding at the national and state level for years to come.

Click here and look for the top alert if you would like to send an email.  It’ll only take a few seconds!

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One Response to “Legislature Leaves Cyclists (Almost) Empty-Handed”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. What to do Next: Ride!! | Bikeable Richmond - March 2, 2013

    […] previous post delivered the sobering news that only one of several bills that would contribute to cyclist safety […]

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