Saturday, February 23, 2013

2013 Virginia Bike Bills

The Virginia legislative session officially ends today. This morning the Senate will be voting on the Transportation bill, HB2313, which earlier passed the House by a vote of 60-40. That bill will have a significant impact on bicycling in Northern Virginia, both positive and negative. Bike facilities will be included in most proposed local transportation projects. Many of those project involve road widening and major grade-separated interchanges, both of which often make conditions worse for cyclists.

Sen. Chap Peterson who introduced dooring bill.
Photo: Connection Newspapers
We've compiled the following list of bike bills that were introduced in this year's Virginia legislative session, which ends today. See also a Connection article Virginia Lawmakers Strike Down Bike Safety Bills: Local cyclists vow return in 2014.

Bicycle Bills in VA Legislative Session

Several bike bills were introduced at the start of the 2013 Virginia legislative session. Below is a brief summary of how they fared. See the VBF website for more details.
  • SB 736, Motor vehicle doors; requires drivers and passengers to wait for reasonable opportunity to open—Also known as the "dooring" bill. Introduced by Senator Chap Peterson. Failed to report (defeated) in Transportation (7-Y 7-N)
  • SB 959, Crossing highways: Allows local governing bodies to adopt ordinances requiring users of shared-use paths to stop before crossing highways at marked crosswalks. Passed by Senate 40-Y, 0-N and House 90-Y, 6-N. Awaiting Governor's signature. Sponsored by Sen. Favola. Text of the bill:
    • D. Where a shared-use path crosses a highway at a clearly marked crosswalk and there are no traffic control signals at such crossing, the local governing body may by ordinance require pedestrians, cyclists, and any other users of such shared-used path to come to a complete stop prior to entering such crosswalk. Such local ordinance may provide for a fine not to exceed $100 for violations. Any locality adopting such an ordinance shall install and maintain stop signs, consistent with standards adopted by the Commonwealth Transportation Board and to the extent necessary in coordination with the Department of Transportation. At such crosswalks, no user of such shared-use path shall enter the crosswalk in disregard of approaching traffic.
    • E. A locality adopting an ordinance under subsection D shall coordinate the enforcement and placement of any stop signs affecting a shared-use path owned and operated by a park authority formed under Chapter 57 (§ 15.2-5700 et seq.) of Title 15.2 with such authority.
  • SB 1060, Following too closely; passing other vehicles—Introduced by Senator Bryce Reeves, includes the three foot passing requirement. Defeated by House 42-Y 55-N.
  • HB 1950, Following too closely—House version of the bill. Introduced by Del. Alfonso Lopez, it removes a single word, "motor," from the existing bill. Engrossment refused by House (defeated).
  • HB 784, Exercise due care—Introduced by Del. Alfonso Lopez, it "Requires drivers to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian or the operator of a human-powered vehicle." This should not be too much to ask. Passed by indefinitely (defeated) in Transportation by voice vote
  • HB 1495, Handheld personal communications devices; prohibits use while operating motor vehicle, etc..—Also known as "Texting while Driving," introduced by Del. Rosalyn Dance. Incorporated by Courts of Justice into HB1907 and passed by the House 92-Y, 4-N, 2-A. Passed Senate 28-Y 12-N

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