Thursday, April 3, 2014

Three foot passing bill goes into effect July 1

On July 1 Virginia will too!
Senate Bill 97, Minimum Clearance for Passing, was signed into law by Governor McAuliffe on March 27. The bill requires that "Any driver of any vehicle overtaking a bicycle...shall pass at a reasonable speed at least three feet to the left of the overtaken bicycle..." The new law goes into effect on July 1.

This is a major victory for Virginia Bicycling Federation, WABA, and everyone else who worked to get this bill passed, including FABB supporters who contacted their legislators during the session (see the FABB three feet to pass coverage). Thanks to everyone for their hard work.

Dangerous pass. Note bike wheel
in lower left corner of photo.
The next step is an educational campaign alerting everyone to the new requirement. It's a good opportunity to spread the message that bicyclists belong on the road and that motorists must treat bicyclists with respect when passing them. When Georgia passed their three foot passing bill, bike groups held "3 Feet 2 Pass" rides to celebrate. Austin police produced a video on their vulnerable road users bill that includes a requirement that motorists allow three feet to pass and commercial vehicles allow six feet. Austin police also were out on bikes actively enforcing the bill.

Why not celebrate early and encourage everyone to allow three feet or more to pass bicyclists (unlike the driver of the truck and trailer seen in the photo at the right taken today in Reston).

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