Action Alerts!

Support the bike related bills in the 2015 Virginia General Assembly. Please contact your legislators.

Let’s extend the Custis Trail along I-66, all the way to Haymarket! Attend the public meetings and submit your comments.

HB1342, Following Too Closely, Clears House Transpo Committee

HB1342 “Don’t Follow Another Vehicle Too Closely”…

…was reported out of the House Transportation Committee by an 18 – 1 vote this morning, with Del. Garrett from Lynchburg again casting the only dissenting vote. Again Del. Bill DeSteph of VA. Beach did a nice job of presenting it. Now the bill goes on the the floor of the House fairly soon, so it is in order for everyone to make a call to their Delegate asking them to be on the lookout for this bill, and support it, when it comes up on the floor.

If you don’t know who your delegate is, go to this link:

http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/

…and hit Who’s My Legislator under the Quick Links on the right side, upper half of the page.

While you are at it, also see who your Senator is, and have their number and email handy for when we have bills in the Senate, as we do on Wednesday afternoon at the Senate Transportation Committee, where the Dooring, Crossing the Double Yellow Line, and their version of the Following too Closely bill will all be heard.

Bike-Related Bills in the 2015 Virginia General Assembly

Below are this year’s bills of interest to cyclists. We support all except one, the mandatory sidepath bill, which of course we oppose.

Some of these bills are identical, or nearly so. Any that move forward together are typically “conformed” into a single bill.

See our online spreadsheet for a detailed listing, with status and links to history of each bill.

Following (Bicycles) Too Closely

HB1342 and SB1220, by striking one instance of the word “motor,” would include non-motorized vehicles (bicycles) among the vehicles and other that a driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow too closely. We support these bills.

Crossing the Double Yellow Line to Pass Cyclists

SB781 would allow drivers to cross the double yellow line to pass vehicles traveling at 25 MPH or less. Most drivers already do this to pass postal jeeps, street sweepers, farm vehicles and lawnmowing equipment. Making this clearly legal would let drivers feel free to pass people on bikes with at least the 3′ minimum clearance now required by law, and eliminate the most common excuse for not doing so. We support this bill.

Highway Maintenance Payments — Road Diets

HB1402 would preserve maintenance funding based on lane-miles, when regular travel lanes are converted to bike lanes. Concern about loss of lane-mile funding keeps many municipalities from implementing road diets, creating bike lanes and improving safety for all road users. We support this bill.

Dooring

SB882 would make it it illegal to open a traffic-side car door into the path of a cyclist, punishable by $100 fine. It would also make it easier for cyclists to be fairly compensated after being injured by carelessly opened car doors. We support this bill.

Mandatory Sidepaths & Roadway Prohibitions

HB1746 would require people on bikes to use any available sidepath or bike lane, and prohibit their riding in the roadway. Naturally we oppose this bill.

HB2353 would restrict mopeds to roads with speed limits of 45 MPH or less.  Though not a bicycling bill per se, we oppose this bill.

HB1342 ‘Following Too Closely’ Clears Subcommittee

Delegate Bill DeSteph of Virginia Beach did a nice job of presenting HB1342 “Motor vehicles not to follow any other vehicles more closely than is reasonable and prudent” in House Transportation SubCommittee 2 this morning at 7 a.m. With minimal discussion, the bill was reported out by a 6-1 vote, with only Chairman Garrett dissenting, to keep his record intact of never supporting any bicycling safety bill.

Now the bill is very likely to be heard in the House Transportation Committee Tuesday morning at 8:30, as everything is on a fast track in this 46 day “Short” legislative session.

As expected, HB1746, the Mandatory Sidepath bill has now been assigned to Transportation, and could also be heard on Tuesday, but more likely will be assigned further to Sub2 for hearing next Monday at 7 a.m., where I will be there in opposition.

Wednesday afternoon we should see the “Crossing the double yellow line” (SB781, SB1027, SB1228) “Dooring” (SB882), and Sen. Reeves’ version of the “Don’t follow too closely” bill (SB1220) in Senate Transportation.

Thursday morning at 7 a.m. will see the three Maintenance reimbursement bills (HB1402, HB1501, HB1502), to wrap up a very busy week.

No referral to a committee yet of the “Stop for Pedestrians in a Crosswalk” or the bill to “Ban Handheld Cell Phone Usage When Driving” but that should happen soon.

For those who haven’t yet seen it, here’s the link to the VBF & RABA list of bills we are following: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/11_c5tEb8-2uY3N6AKBNc9pbSfb-fs_xivugUC7euxNk/edit?usp=sharing

Rail-With-Trail for Virginia Beach?

With the planned extension of Hampton Roads Transit’s Tide light rail into Virginia Beach, we’re thrilled that a trail along the rail corridor is finally being seriously considered. Rail-with-trail is a win for everyone, addressing every point in the goals of the rail project itself:

  • Improve access, operations and reliability of the public transportation system
  • Provide a cost-effective, efficient travel option that connects residential and employment areas as well as recreational venues
  • Implement service that helps manage growth in vehicle miles traveled and supports the development of sustainable and livable communities
  • Support Virginia Beach economic development activities consistent with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and related land use strategies
  • Support the tourism industry of Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads region by providing an alternative to travel on congested roadways
  • Support preservation and protection of the environment

With congestion and parking an issue in almost every beach town, shouldn’t we be providing safe routes to the beach for biking and walking?

Read the rest of the story:  Bike, walking path proposed along VB light rail extension

Special thanks to Bruce Drees.

rvaMORE’s Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day, October 2014

On Saturday, October 4, 2014 rvaMORE held our 3rd. IMBA Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day. We hosted 25 kids and their parents on Belle Isle in the middle of the James River in Richmond Virginia.

rvaMORE’s purpose is to increase mountain bike access to the Richmond region. Over the past 10 years rvaMORE has built and maintained over 25 miles of trails in the city of Richmond. Events and assets like the Belle Isle Skills area and single track trails take dedicated volunteers and funds to build and maintain.

All of our programs are produced with donated funds and volunteer labor. We need your support to keep events like this happening. Please go to www.rvamore.org and donate to our Pay Pal link. Consider $25.00 per month.

Annual Meeting Sun. Nov. 16 – Board Elections & Legislative Strategy

Join us Sunday, November 16, 1:30-3:30 PM for the Virginia Bicycling Federation Annual Meeting at the Richmond REI store, 2020 Old Brick Rd, Glen Allen, VA 23060.

We’re still finalizing the agenda, but the main business will be planning our strategy for the upcoming General Assembly session, which starts in January. We’ll also elect our own 2015 board and officers.

Is there an issue you’d like to see addressed at the state level? Bring it to us. Are you concerned about recent issues — a dooring bill, following bicyclists too closely, stopping for pedestrians (and cyclists) in crosswalks? Get the inside scoop on what’s going on, maybe even lend a hand.

All are welcome, but we do appreciate an RSVP: champe_burnley@hotmail.com

Fairfax County Bike Master Plan Passes Unanimously; $100M Transpo Bond Issue Up for Vote

“17 speakers testified at the public hearing in support of the proposed plan. Only one person spoke in opposition. “By giving me [transportation] choices, you literally have changed my life” said Jenifer Joy Madden, a County resident speaking about connecting to new bus and Metro service in Tysons on bicycle.”

WABA has the story (Thanks Greg!), with more from FABB (Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling).

Also important is the $100M smart growth transportation bond issue for Fairfax County residents to vote on next Tuesday, Nov. 4. According to the Coalition for Smarter Growth, who endorse it:

“…Fairfax will be able to upgrade sidewalks, trails, and bike lanes; improve safety around schools; and make local spot improvements to roads throughout the county. These local investments will improve access to transit, schools, stores, parks, and libraries; and offer many other benefits, including:

  • A sustainable future: By providing more opportunities to walk and bike for daily trips, the projects will help reduce the amount we have to drive. With 1/3 of climate change pollution coming from transportation, this is an important way for Fairfax to fight climate change and improve the air we breathe.
  • Improved safety: The bond measure will support many pedestrian and bicycle projects in Fairfax County, including sidewalks, bike paths, and crossing signals. These investments, along with proposed turn lanes and signal improvements, will make county roads safer for all users.
  • Safe Routes to School: Approximately $17.5 million of the bond measure will pay for projects that make it safer for children to walk or bike to and from school. These projects will help reduce the growing traffic around our schools at arrival and dismissal, and even allow for high school students to walk or bike instead of driving.
  • A healthy Fairfax: Lack of physical activity is contributing to growing rates of obesity and obesity-related health problems, such as diabetes — even among our children. The walking and bicycling projects included in this bond measure will make it easier for children and adults to walk and bike to work, schools, stores, parks, and libraries, integrating healthy physical activity into our daily lives.”

So if you’re a Fairfax resident, make sure you get to the polls. If you have friends there, please share this with them and get them to the polls too.

Congrats to Fairfax County for passing their first bike master plan ever; and many thanks to the supremely competent and hard working bike advocates there who pushed get it done.

Updates


Fairfax County now has a Bicycle Master Plan – Update
(FABB)

City of Richmond Adopts Complete Streets Policy

City Administration begins development of guidelines for implementation

Richmond, VA – The City of Richmond achieved another milestone toward becoming a bike and pedestrian friendly city by adopting a Complete Streets Policy on October 13. Complete Streets is a transportation policy and design approach that helps make communities healthier, more livable, economically competitive and resilient. They are streets designed and operated to be safe, comfortable and convenient for all users regardless of age, ability or mode of travel.

Adopting a Complete Streets Policy was a recommendation of the Mayor’s Pedestrian, Bicycling and Trails Commission, the City’s RVAgreen Sustainability Plan, Richmond Connects and the Green City Commission. The policy outlines the design and construction standards for sidewalks, public ways and public rights-of-way and requires that City transportation improvement projects provide appropriate accommodations to promote safe usage for all users.

“The goal of the Complete Streets Policy is to balance the access, mobility and safety of all users while creating a stronger and healthier community,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “City residents as well as those who come to the city to work and play will all benefit from safer roads, more transportation choices, increased mobility and reduced pollution.”

The City Administration is working to develop guidelines for implementing complete streets in the City of Richmond as required by the City’s Complete Streets Policy. As detailed in Resolution 2014-R172-170, the City Administration has 12-months to develop implementation guidelines and incorporate those into the City’s “Right-of-Way Design and Construction Standards Manual.”

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Download the PDF of this press release.

Richmond Women’s Cycling Summit, Thurs., Oct. 23

2014 Richmond Women's Bike Summit Flyer

Please share this with anyone who might be interested. Also see the event Facebook page and website.

RideRichmond will host the inaugural Richmond Women’s Cycling Summit on Thursday, October 23, 2014, at the Virginia War Memorial, Freedom Hall at 7:00pm. The goal of the summit is to empower women to ride bicycles and participate in their communities as riders and leaders, as well as bring the nationwide momentum of more women cyclists to Richmond. The event is co-sponsored by Richmond Area Bicycling Association (RABA) and Virginia Bicycling Federation (VBF). [click to continue…]

Please Take the VTrans 2040 Intermodal Transportation Survey

VTrans 2040

PotomacCyclist writes:

VTrans 2040 is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s long-range multimodal statewide (Commonwealth-wide?) transportation plan. Responses to the VTrans online survey will help to shape the long-term plans for Virginia. If you want to participate and let Virginia know how you feel about transportation planning, check out the survey. As an added incentive, they are holding prize drawings on Aug. 15, Sept. 15 and Oct. 15, for a $100 gift card.

But the primary purpose is to help shape transportation planning in Virginia. The survey takes less than 10 minutes.

https://www.research.net/s/vtrans

http://www.vtrans.org/about_us.asp

From their website: “The Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment is located within the Office of the Secretary of Transportation and was created in 2002 to encourage the coordination of multimodal and intermodal planning across the various transportation modes within the Commonwealth. Since then, the office has produced multiple statewide planning efforts, performance reports and collaborated with multiple entities to promote a safe, strategic and seamless transportation system.”

“The office now consists of 3 staff members and is supported by all the agencies involved in Virginia’s transportation system.”

It’s not a large organization like VDOT is, but there’s no downside (that I can see) to filling out the survey.