Thursday, January 28, 2010

Support SB 566, three feet to pass

The Virginia Senate Transportation Committee will meet today at 2 p.m. to consider Senate Bill 566:
Careless driving; following too closely; passing other vehicles. Creates the offense of careless driving as a Class 3 misdemeanor. The bill also adds bicycles, electric personal assistive mobility devices, electric power-assisted bicycles, and mopeds to the list of vehicles that the driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow more closely than is reasonable. Also increases passing distance from two to three feet.
According to Allen Muchnick of Virginia Bicycling Federation, the careless driving language will be removed from the Senate bill. The House bill is HB 163 House Bill, HB 1048, [was merged with SB 566, see VFB update.]

Even without the careless driving provision the proposed bill will benefit cyclists by helping to prevent harassment by motorists who follow or pass too close. Besides Sen. Ticer, the patron of SB 566, Sen. Chap Petersen (804-698-7534) and [no longer on Transportation Committee] Sen. Dave Marsden (804-698-7637) are both from Northern Virginia and are members of the Senate Transporation Committee. Please contact these senators and ask for their support for SB 566.

For more information on contacting your legislators, see Allen Muchnick's response to a question from Alan Young on why it is important to contact committee members, even if you do not live in their district.

VBF if posting frequent updates on bicycle-related legislature.

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FYI, when I called Sen. Peterson's office today, they informed my that he was no longer on the Transportation Committee. I double checked the VA General Assembly site and confirmed:

Not a totally wasted call, as they always appreciate hearing from constituents, but he can't really do anything about it at the moment.
Thanks for the info Brian. As you can see, I've corrected the post to remove Sen. Peterson's name.
HB 163 is not similar to SB 566 and has little or nothing to do with bicycling.

The House version of SB 566 is (or rather was) HB 1048.

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