‘Maintenance Funding for Bike Lanes’ to Full House Transpo Committee; ‘Dooring’ to Courts of Justice Committee

SB669, the Maintenance Reimbursement for Bike Lanes bill, was heard in House Transportation SubComm3 this morning at 7:30. Chaired by Del. Greg Habeeb of Salem, and with Del. Garrett of Lynchburg sitting as a Committee member (and not as Chair, as he is on Sub Comm 1), I was surprised that there was no move to Table or Pass the bill by, but only a discussion regarding whether they should Refer the bill to the full Committee, or Report it. Since Del. Garrett had been (and I think, is still) opposed to the bill, it was decided to REFER it, a distinction I don’t think matters that much, since the bill will get a full hearing in front of the FULL Committee in either case, on Tuesday, 3/1 at 8:30. I am encouraged at this turn of events, since it is obvious that some behind the scenes contacts have been made that appear to have improved the climate considerably for this bill, as noted by the comments of some hitherto opposed or luke warm Delegates.

Then SB117, the Dooring bill, was heard before the Full House Transportation Committee (but only with 13, then 14 members of the 22 in attendance since the Education Committee was meeting across the hall and a number of the Trans Comm members and our patron Sen. Petersen were over there). Del. Habeeb (just a Committee member, and not the Chair on the Full Committee) who is an attorney and obviously looked to by the others on the Committee as their legal expert, expressed several concerns about the legal ramifications of this bill. At length, Sen. Petersen came in from the other meeting and he & Del. Habeeb discussed Habeeb’s concerns very cordially before the entire committee, leaving all parties in agreement (since there was no real desire expressed to kill the bill) that it should be referred to either the Civil or Criminal SubCommittee of the Courts of Justice Committee (Monday & Wed., 1/2 hour after adjournment) and then to the Full Courts of Justice Committee to get the legal concerns worked out prior to sending the bill to the Full House for final passage. We appeared to have several converts from their opposing positions expressed at earlier meetings, including Del. Minchew who stated that he had recently almost been doored while riding his motorcycle, so again I am cautiously optimistic as we go forward to the next step in the process.

‘Dooring’ Reports Out of Subcommittee; Maintenance Funding for Bike Lanes in Subcommittee Thurs.

SB117 the “Dooring” bill was first on the docket in House Transportation SubCommittee 1 and was heard shortly after 7 a.m. Sen. Chap Petersen did a very good job of presenting it, and I spoke in favor of it, followed by Champe Burnley, & Lisa Guthrie of the Transit Assn.

Del. Adams of Martinsville then moved to Table it, seconded by Del. Pillion of Abingdon. On the vote they were joined by Chairman Garrett of Lynchburg, but they were one vote short, as Dels. Plum of Reston, Ward of Newport News, Anderson of Manassas & LeMunyon of Chantilly voted Nay. That motion failing, Del. Plum moved to report, seconded by Ward. Being joined again by Anderson & LeMunyon , and opposed by the same 3, the bill was Reported 4-3.

It now goes on to the Full House Transportation Committee (where the same 7 Delegates will be joined by 15 others to make up the full Committee) on Thursday a.m. at a more civilized 8:30. In looking down the list of members, it would appear that we would have a good chance to get this bill onto the House floor for final passage if our team mates in the Virginia Beach area can make some calls to

Chairman Villanueva (delrvillanueva@house.virginia.gov),

and Delegates Scott Taylor (delstaylor@house.virginia.gov)

& Glenn Davis (delgbavis@house.virginia.gov)

asking them to support the bill

Certainly wouldn’t hurt for our folks in Northern VA to contact Hugo, Minchew, Dudenhefer, LaRock, & Filler-Corn

Richmond area Betsy CarrDelores McQuinn, & Lamont Bagby

and Roanoke area Greg Habeeb

all with a similar message. Its been a lot of work to get it to this point. Lets give it our best shot and not have any regrets if we miss it by a vote or two.

You can use WABA’s automated message to send to your delegate.

SB669 the Maintenance Reimbursement for Bike Lanes bill also will be heard on Thursday morning, and those making contacts should certainly mention it in their messages, although we got some bad news this morning from one of the Delegates that a number of Delegates in the House are generally opposed to the conversion of vehicular travel lanes to bike lanes and do not support this bill which would incentivize a jurisdiction to do so. Despite his pessimistic outlook toward the bill, lets ask support for it anyway and see if we can prove him wrong.

Dooring, Maintenance Funding for Bike Lanes in House Subcommittees Next Week

Both these bills have been passed by the Senate, and are now making their way through the House.

A very quiet week for Bicycling Advocacy, as we thought SB669 the Maintenance Reimbursement for Bike Lanes bill, would be heard in House Transportation SubCommittee 3, to which it is assigned, at their meeting this morning at 7 a.m. As it turned out, it is still the ONLY bill assigned to that SubComm and its Chair apparently didn’t see the need to bring the 7 other SubComm members in for one bill, so cancelled the meeting.

I found it unusual that a number of Senate bills that had crossed over went directly to the full House Transportation Committee, which met this morning at 8:30, without first going to a SubComm, but for some reason the Chair did not see fit to do this with SB669. With this unusual handling, we will watch to see if it shows up on the docket for the full Committee on Tuesday at 8:30, and if not, perhaps in SubComm3 next Thursday at 7 a.m.

SB117 the Dooring bill, has been assigned to House Trans Sub1, which meets at my favorite time of 7 a.m. on Monday, so we expect to see it on the docket for that meeting, which has not been posted yet. Not thrilled with the uncertainty of all of this, but we keep watching the Legislative website and will be there when the time comes for both of these bills.

If your delegate is on any of these committees, please ask them to support these bills.

‘Dooring’ & ‘Maintenance Funding’ Bills Need Your Support Now

Two bike-related bills have been passed by the Senate, and now need your support in the House.

SB117, the dooring bill, would make it illegal for a driver to open a car door into the path of a cyclist. Currently there is no law governing this in Virginia. Lack of a ticketable infraction can make it harder for dooring victims to get compensation for their injuries. SB117 would change that.

SB669, maintenance funding for bike lanes, would preserve maintenance funding based on lane-miles when lanes are converted to bike lanes. Concern about loss of this funding can keep municipalities from moving forward with bike lane projects, such as road diets. SB669 should eliminate such concerns.

Please contact your delegate now, and ask them to support these bills. If you don’t know who your state delegate is, use the Who’s My Legislator page.

It’s especially important to write now if your delegate is on the House Transportation Committee, listed below. SB117 may be in Subcommittee 1 as soon as Monday, 2/23; and SB669 may be in Subcommittee 3 as soon as Thursday, 2/18.

Update:  SB117 Dooring has reported out of subcommittee, and may be in full committee on Thurs. 2/26.  SB669 will be in Subcommittee 3 on Thurs. 2/26 as well.

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Helmet Bill Killed in Committee; Cell Phone Restrictions Defeated; Maintenance Funding for Bike Lanes

House Transportation SubCommittee 3 met this morning at 7 a.m. and heard several bills, including HB1335, the House version of the “Maintenance Reimbursement for Vehicular Lanes that have been converted to Bike Lanes” bill whose identical Senate version SB669, patroned by Ken Alexander of Norfolk had sailed through both the Senate Transportation Committee and the Senate floor unanimously.

Although Del. Scott Taylor of Va Beach did a good job of presenting it, and a number of witnesses spoke in favor of the bill, with only two witnesses raising some indirect questions about it, Del. Garrett of Lynchburg moved that it be tabled and it went down to defeat on a voice vote, with Chairman Habeeb (Salem), and Dels. Minchew (Loudoun) and Austin (Covington) agreeing to kill the bill on a party line vote, with only Toscano (Charlottesville) and Filler-Corn (Springfield) voting nay.   [click to continue…]

Helmet Bill Clears Subcommittee; Vulnerable User Passed By; Maintenance Funding for Bike Lanes, & Cell Phone Restrictions

Several of the bills we are interested in were heard in House Transportation Subcommittee 1, which met yesterday morning at 7 a.m.

We thought Del. Yost of Blacksburg’s bill HB1360 which would require all cyclists under 18 years of age to wear helmets while riding would not be that well received so did not speak against it. We were surprised to see it get reported out by a 6-1 vote, so now have to take a more active position in opposition. Although we personally wear helmets when riding, and RABA has always “Strongly Recommended” that riders do so on its rides, we don’t feel that it should be required by law. It also poses some obvious enforcement problems for law enforcement, particularly with the “under 18 years of age” clause in it. We expect that it will be heard in the House Transportation Committee meeting at 8:30 on Thursday, and will speak in opposition to it at that time.

Sen. Rip Sullivan of Northern VA did a nice job of presenting HB1173, the House version of the Vulnerable Road User bill ( Penalizing the person who operates a motor vehicle in a careless or distracted manner and is the cause of serious physical injury to a vulnerable road user), but it met the same fate as Sen. Scott Surovell’s identical Senate bill had earlier, and did not survive. As had been the case in Senate Transportation, some members of the committee seemed to think that the punishment of a Class 1 Misdemeanor, and a one year suspension of license, for this offense, which is more severe than that for failing to “Move Over” for law enforcement at an accident, or workers at a road construction site, is too severe. We’ll take a close look at that prior to bringing it back again next session. [click to continue…]

Dooring Bill Passes Senate; Bike Lane Maintenance Funding Clears Senate Committee

SB117 Sen. Petersen’s Dooring bill passed the Senate floor yesterday by 24 – 16 as Republicans Chase (Chesterfield), Cosgrove (Chesapeake), DeSteph (Virginia Beach), Reeves (Fredericksburg), and Suetterlein (Roanoke) voted along with the Democrats.

This vote, though encouraging, compares with a 28 -12 vote in 2014, where it later failed by a 4 -3 margin in House Trans Sub 2, and a 27 -12 vote last year, where we also failed 4-3 in House Trans Sub 2, so we have some work to do before this bill crosses over to the House. It certainly would be in order at this point to thank your Senator (if they are a Democrat, or one of the Republicans noted above) if they supported the bill. [click to continue…]

Bike-Related Bills in the 2016 Virginia General Assembly

Please link to and share this page. We’ll update it regularly.

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.


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.

Dooring Clears Senate Transpo; Senate’s Vulnerable User Bill Passed By

This is Bud’s report from Wednesday, January 27.

Senator Scott Surovell led off the Senate Transportation Committee proceedings today with SB663, the Vulnerable Road User bill. After a good bit of discussion, where one of the key points made was that the Class I Misdemeanor, plus having their license suspended, that was provided if someone was guilty of this careless driving and a road user was injured or killed, was more severe than that contained in the Code section that requires a motorist to Move Over when there is an incident being handled by a law enforcement officer.

Getting the sense that the Committee felt that this was a good idea, but with the punishment called for out of proportion to that in other sections of the Code, it was moved to Pass the Bill By for the Year and refer it to the Commission on Transportation Accountability for them to report back with a recommendation at the 2017 Session. This motion was passed 10 to 2 with one Senator absent, and only Deeds & Favola voting against. (Note: an identical bill, HB1173, is working its way through the House.) [click to continue…]