Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bike bills in 2015 VA Legislative Session

Virginia Bicycling Federation has posted a list of bike-related bills in this year's Virginia Legislature. Below are this year’s bills of interest to cyclists See also a google spreadsheet on the bike bills. Here's the info from the VBF site:
We support all except one, the mandatory sidepath bill, which of course we oppose. Some of these bills are identical, or nearly so. As they move forward, they are typically “conformed” into a single bill.

Following (Bicycles) Too Closely
SB1220, by simply striking one instance of the word “motor,” would include non-motorized vehicles, including bicycles, among the vehicles and other that a driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow too closely. We support these bills. [HB 1342 is the House version]

Crossing the Double Yellow Line to Pass Cyclists
SB781, SB1027 and SB1228 would allow drivers to cross the double yellow line to pass vehicles traveling at 25 MPH or less. Most drivers already do this to pass postal jeeps, street sweepers, farm vehicles and lawnmowing equipment. Making this clearly legal would let drivers feel free to pass people on bikes with at least the 3′ minimum clearance now required by law, and eliminate the most common excuse for not doing so. We support these bills.

Highway Maintenance Payments — Road Diets
HB1402 would preserve maintenance funding based on lane-miles, when regular travel lanes are converted to bike lanes. Concern about loss of lane-mile funding keeps many municipalities from implementing road diets, creating bike lanes and improving safety for all road users. We support this bill.

Highway Maintenance Payments For Paved Trails
HB1502 would allow cities to receive maintenance funds for VDOT-constructed paved trails at 50% of the rate allowed for collector roads and local streets. We support this bill.

SB882 would make it it illegal to open a traffic-side car door into the path of a cyclist, punishable by $100 fine. It would also make it easier for cyclists to be fairly compensated after being injured by carelessly opened car doors. We support this bill.

Distracted Driving — Hands-Free Devices Only
HB1926 and SB1279 would ban use of any personal communications device while driving, unless that device is hands-free or the vehicle is stopped. We support this bill.

Stop for Pedestrians in Crosswalks
HB2159 would require motorists to stop for pedestrians crossing highways at marked crosswalks (current language says “yield”). We support this bill.

Mandatory Sidepaths
HB1746 would require people on bikes to use any available sidepath or bike lane, and prohibit their riding in the roadway. Naturally we oppose this bill.

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