SB 97, the Three Foot Passing bill, was reported out of Senate Transportation Committee this afternoon by what appeared to be a unanimous vote except for Sen. Carrico, from far southwest VA, the former State Trooper and long time opponent of anything advancing bicycling safety. It’s possible that there were another nay vote or two, since proxies are used when a member who is present leaves the room, and there is quite a bit of that with this committee, since the Senate Courts of Justice Committee meets right across the hall at exactly the same time, so some members go back and forth if they have a bill over there. We’ll see the official tally, when the results are posted on the Legislative website later today.
In addition to Patty Kruszewski and I, the reps of the Cities of Virginia Beach and Arlington, Champe Burnley on behalf of the Greater Richmond Bicycling Coalition, Tom Bowden on behalf of Bike Virginia, Brantley Tyndall on behalf of SportsBackers, and Janet Brooking on behalf of Drive Smart Virginia all spoke in support of the bill, whose next stop is the Senate Floor.
SB225, the Dooring bill, was passed by until next Wednesday’s Committee meeting at the request of the patron, Sen. Petersen, although I wasn’t clear why. Naturally, I would just as soon have it heard today and perhaps save another trip down there.
SB 139, a bill patroned by Sen. George Barker from Northern VA, to change the use of a cell phone while driving by a Provisional license holder (we used to call that a Learner’s Permit) from a secondary to a primary offense, was also reported out, again with only Sen. Carrico dissenting. Janet Brooking of Drive Smart Virginia & I spoke in support of the bill.
A secondary offense can only be ticketed when the driver is stopped for some other reason, while a primary offense is cause for being ticketed all by itself, so this change, if enacted, will be a significant step against Distracted Driving.