As more commuters turn to bicycles as an alternative method of transportation, lawmakers say everyone must rethink how we take to the roads.
That approach is now reflected in a new law that takes effect on July 1st. The law will require motorists to allow three feet of clearance when passing bicyclists.
Current law requires just two feet of passing distance, but the eight deaths and 600 injuries resulting from bicycle-related crashes last year prompted Spotsylvania Senator Bryce Reeves to introduce the legislation. He says it’s the first step in protecting bicyclists, and more laws are coming. Reeves says this is also the time to remind motorists to adhere to other laws that apply to cyclists.
The law requires drivers to pass at a reasonable speed. And it also applies to passing mopeds, personal mobility devices, and animal-drawn vehicles. Initially, the Virginia Bicycling Association will rely on the media to get the word out, but they’re also partnering with the DMV, DRIVE SMART Virginia, and the State Police to further educate drivers.
This traffic infraction is considered an improper passing violation, which could earn a driver 3 points on their license if convicted. There could also be court costs and potential fines.