Bike-Related Bills in the 2016 Virginia General Assembly

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With the 2016 session underway, we’re supporting bills for dooring, vulnerable road users, and maintenance funding for bike lanes; and opposing a statewide mandatory helmet law.

Dooring

SB117 states that “no operator shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side adjacent to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so.” “No operator” means drivers, modified in committee from “no person” to include passengers. “Moving traffic” does include people on bicycles. Status: passed by the Senate Feb. 2 in a 24-16 vote. Assigned to House Transportation Subcommittee 1.

Vulnerable Road Users

HB1173 makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor with license suspension for any driver who, by driving in a careless or distracted manner, causes serious injury to a vulnerable road user, defined as a “person riding a bicycle, electric wheelchair, electric bicycle, wheelchair, skateboard, skates, foot-scooter, animal, or animal-drawn vehicle.” Status: Passed By Indefinitely (killed for 2016) in House Transportation Subcommittee 1 on Monday, 2/8.

Maintenance Funding for Bike Lanes

SB669 provides that state funding based on lane-miles not be cut when those lanes are converted to bike lanes, such as in a road diet. Status: Passed by the Senate 40-0. Assigned to House Transportation Subcommittee 3.

HB1335 is an identical bill in the House. Status: Tabled by voice vote (killed for 2016) in House Transportation Subcommittee 3 on Thursday, 2/11.

Statewide Mandatory Helmet Law — Oppose

HB1360 would require everyone in Virginia under 18 years of age to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle or electric assist bicycle. Additionally, it would allow municipalities to pass laws requiring helmets while using power assisted mobility devices or toys, such as electric wheelchairs or hoverboards. We oppose this bill. Status: Tabled by voice vote (killed for 2016) in House Transporttion Subcommittee 3 on Thursday, 2/11.

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1 comment… add one
  • Unfortunately, SB 117 was amended in the Senate Transportation Committee to apply only to an “operator” of a “parked” motor vehicle, and the full Senate passed this amended/substitute bill [ http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?161+ful+SB117S1 ].

    While this substitute bill is clearly better than having no Virginia statute against negligent dooring, Virginia would have the weakest anti-dooring law in the U.S. if SB 117 makes it though the House of Delegates and is signed by the governor.

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