Thursday, March 6, 2014

Following Too Closely bill fails in Senate

While we're excited about the passage of the Three Foot Passing bill, SB 97, we were very disappointed that the Following Too Closely bill, HB 82, failed to report out of the Senate Committee on Transportation.

The bill, sponsored by Del. Barbara Comstock of McLean, was approved by the House by a vote of 68-28. Since similar bills have passed the Senate in prior years, we were hopeful it would be approved this year. Unfortunately it failed to report by a vote of 11-4.

Objections were raised about enforceability. In our view, it would be easy to enforce if a cyclist were struck from behind by a motorist. It would be one less argument a motorist could use for hitting a cyclist since it would be illegal to do so. Currently tail-gateing of bicyclists is not illegal in Virginia; it's illegal in all other states.

See the Post article about the bill: More bike legislation scuttled by Virginia lawmakers.

From VBF:
After a decent amount of discussion, and several responses to questions by the State Police Rep to the effect that it was sometimes difficult to do so, but that it was as enforceable as a number of other laws, Sen. Newman of Lynchburg weighed in to the effect that it was primarily an Education problem and that he was suggesting that the bill be referred to some Accountability Commission that I am not familiar with, (and may have the name incorrect for).
Once VBF reports on the next steps for the bill, we'll pass it on.

Thanks to Delegate Comstock for sponsoring the bill and working with the bike community to refine the language and work the bill through the House.

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