Thursday, January 23, 2014

VA legislative update page - Bills that need your support

VBF has posted extensive information on bike bills currently being worked in the Virginia legislature. The info will be updated regularly. Please check out the page and contact your Delegate and/or Senator, depending on the status of the proposed legislation, to ask them to support these bills.

Below is the most current update. Check back frequently to see if you can help generate support for the bills that are still active:
Help us get this legislation passed. Please email or call your delegate and senator, and ask them to support these bills. If you don’t know who they are, use the Who’s My Legislator page.

A quick note stating your name, address, that you are a constituent and to please support the following bills is all that’s required. Just mention the bill number and what it’s about.

SB 97, three foot passing: in 22 states and the District of Columbia, motorists are required to leave three feet of clearance while passing people on bikes. In Pennsylvania, it’s four feet. Virginia, only two. (Yikes!) This bill changes one word in current law, from “two” to “three”. Passed by the Senate, will cross over to the House.

SB 225, dooring: “No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side adjacent to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so.” Currently there is no law to stop anyone from opening a car door into the path of a cyclist, or find them negligent for injuring a cyclist while doing so. Senate vote likely Monday, 1/27.

HB 82, following bicycles too closely: striking “motor” from the text makes it illegal for motorists to follow non-motorized vehicles too closely — including people on bikes. House vote likely Friday, 1/24.

HB 320, reckless driving, passing other vehicles at crosswalks and intersections: “Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, a driver of another vehicle whose vehicle is approaching the stopped vehicle from the rear and who overtakes or passes the stopped vehicle is guilty of reckless driving.” Awaiting vote by the full House Transportation Committee, Thursday 1/23.

HB 277, stop for pedestrians in marked crosswalks: current law says only “yield” which is not strong enough. A complete stop better demonstrates having yielded, and is easier to enforce. Failed to report (killed) in committee.

HB 542, wearing of masks in public: changes current law to make it only about using a mask to facilitate committing a crime. Currently, it’s a class 6 felony for a cyclist to wear a mask for cold weather protection. Awaiting vote by the Courts of Justice Committee.

HB 1250, Sunday hunting: would allow landowners to hunt on Sundays on their own land. Of course the bullets don’t know where the boundaries are. Currently, with hunting prohibited on Sundays, cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy one bullet-free day a week in the woods. We’re against this bill. Awaiting vote by the Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee.



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