Updated: 2014 Bike Legislation — Please Contact Your Legislators

Help us get this legislation passed. Please email or call your delegate and senator, and ask them to support these bills. If you don’t know who they are, use the Who’s My Legislator page.

A quick note stating your name, address, that you are a constituent and to please support the following bills is all that’s required. Just mention the bill number and what it’s about.

SB 97, three foot passing: in 22 states and the District of Columbia, motorists are required to leave three feet of clearance while passing people on bikes. In Pennsylvania, it’s four feet. Virginia, only two. (Yikes!) This bill changes one word in current law, from “two” to “three”. Passed by the Senate, will cross over to the House.

SB 225, dooring: “No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle on the side adjacent to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so.” Currently there is no law to stop anyone from opening a car door into the path of a cyclist, or find them negligent for injuring a cyclist while doing so. Passed by the Senate 1/29, will cross over to the House.

HB 82, following bicycles too closely: striking “motor” from the text makes it illegal for motorists to follow non-motorized vehicles too closely — including people on bikes. Passed by the House 1/28, will cross over to the Senate.

HB 542, wearing of masks in public: changes current law to make it only about using a mask to facilitate committing a crime. Currently, it’s a class 6 felony for a cyclist to wear a mask for cold weather protection. Reported out of Courts of Justice Committee 2/7/14, full House vote likely Mon. 2/10/14.

HB 1250, Sunday hunting: would allow landowners to hunt on Sundays on their own land. Of course the bullets don’t know where the boundaries are. Currently, with hunting prohibited on Sundays, cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy one bullet-free day a week in the woods. We’re against this bill. Awaiting vote by the Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee.

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5 comments… add one
  • Could the tailgating change have the unintended consequence of giving a legal basis for law enforcement to harass cyclists regarding drafting / pacelining?

    Could a sheriff intent on harassing cyclists say that a paceline consists of a bunch of vehicles following each other at a distance that is less than “reasonable and prudent”?

    The cyclists would not be violating the law under the current law, but the sherriff could try to apply it under the new law.

    What do you think?

    – Mitch

  • Mitch: pacelining cyclists are communicating verbally and non-verbally — cooperating — therefore “reasonable and prudent.” See the bill’s text.

  • Just curious. I see lots of people biking during hunting season, including people out trail riding…..uh, when was the last time one was shot by a hunter?

    Right, never. That’s what I thought. So why would this suddenly become an issue if hunting is allowed on Sundays?

  • Is there already something in the laws that say a bicyle is considered a vehicle? As I read on the states website may of the laws talk about bicycles and cars as two different things, separating them.

  • Michael: VDOT’s biking and walking page explains,

    “Every person riding a bicycle on a highway shall be subject to the provisions of the Code of Virginia section on motor vehicles and shall have the rights and duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle unless a provision clearly indicates otherwise.”

    The above link has links to the relevant code sections.

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