Update: “Following Too Closely” is out of committee, and up for a vote on the House floor. Please contact your delegate.
With a very short docket for the last Transportation SubComm2 meeting of the session this morning at 7 a.m., SB1060, our “3 foot passing and don’t follow too closely” bill was presented first by Sen. Bryce Reeves. He did a nice job of presenting it, only to be followed by Del John Cox launching into the slide show on his lap top of RABA cyclists riding more than two abreast and refusing to fall into single file formation when being approached from the rear by a faster moving vehicle. He continued by noting that he took these photos himself on Blanton Rd. near his home, and that we also could take such pictures almost any Saturday or Sunday morning.
An unusual, and lengthy, discussion followed primarily between he and I with other committee members chiming in occasionally, during which I stated that neither RABA nor VBF condoned this type of riding, would like to see some tickets issued to enforce the code (but the law enforcement units in our area don’t seem to have time to do so) and don’t think that improper riding should prevent the passage of legislation which would improve the safety of cyclists on the highways.
Eventually Del. Cox brought the discussion to a close and offered me the choice of holding this bill over until next year while we convene a study committee of all stake holders over the summer to discuss what should be done, or amend SB1060 to conform to the bill of Del. Lopez (HB1950) as amended, that had been reported out of this committee, and the full Transportation committee, a few days ago, only to fail on the floor of the House. Having been told by several VBF Board members that this language (a vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely,etc.) that does not specify a “motor” vehicle will not be interpreted to prohibit bicycles drafting one another, I chose the latter option.
The bill was then amended to the exact language of Del. Lopez’s HB1950 bill as it had been amended in the subcommittee, and was reported out unanimously, to be heard at the final meeting of the full House Transportation Committee tomorrow morning at 8:30. The amended bill will continue to be known as SB1060 and patroned by Sen. Reeves.
Now, with the support of Del. Cox and the entire subcommittee, I expect the bill will be reported unanimously, so that no messages to the Committee members are necessary.
Once the bill is reported, however, it would be helpful for everyone to contact their delegates to alert them to be ready to support this bill on the floor of the House.
Thanks to everyone who contacted the subcommittee members!
Although not as good as I had hoped for, I think we did make a little progress, and think we can now get this amended bill all the way through.