Monday, January 20, 2014

Following too closely and Don't pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk make it out of House Subcommittee

Two bills that will improve bike safety made it out of Virginia House Subcommittee 2 this morning. The two bills are HB 82, sponsored by McLean Del. Barbara Comstock, which changes the "following too closely" law so that it would apply to bicyclists, by removing a single word, "motorist." Virginia is the only state where it's not illegal to tailgate a bicyclist. FABB worked with Del. Comstock to ensure that only the second occurrence of "motorist" was struck from the existing language so that it would not apply to bicyclists following other bicyclists. Del. Comstock agreed to modify her bill to make this change.

The second bill is HB 320 sponsored by Del. Kory, which makes it illegal for a vehicle to pass another vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk. On many multi-lane roads cyclists and pedestrians have been struck when one car stops, the cyclist proceeds, and the second car does not stop.

The bills will next be heard in the full House Transportation Committee, possibly as early as tomorrow. Herndon Del. Rust is chair of this committee and it would be helpful, especially if you are a constituent, to send Del. Rust a note asking him to support these bills.

Thanks to VBF, Jeff Anderson of FABB, and others for speaking out at the committee meeting in support of these bills. It was an early morning for Jeff who left Vienna at 4:50 a.m. so he could get to the 7:00 a.m. meeting.

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What are chances they enforce the crosswalk one? It's Already illegal in most states and I can't tell you how many times I've stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk - on my bike or in a car - and had a motorist blow past me and almost take them out.

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