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Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition supports 2021 road safety laws

Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 11:19 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Some lawmakers hope that legislation in Virginia’s General Assembly will make the roads safer, especially for bicyclists.

If passed, the Virginia Bicycle Safety Act, SB 1263 and HB 2262, would make small changes to the Code of Virginia, which includes three parts.

It would require drivers to change lanes to pass a bicyclist when the lane is not wide enough to pass three feet to the left.

It would allow two bicyclists to ride side-by-side at any time and also require bicyclists to yield at a stop sign, but that doesn’t mean they would just blow through the stop sign.

“In cases where an intersection is clear a cyclist can slow instead of coming to a complete stop in order to go through the intersection,” Scottie Pendleton, with the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition, said. “It allows a cyclist to keep more momentum and basically get out of the intersection quicker.”

Pendleton said bicyclists being able to ride side-by-side is much more compact and discourages people driving from passing in the same lane.

“If cyclists are riding end to end in single file as they are required to now, it will be a much longer passing distance,” they said. “It’s like getting around a semi versus getting around a car. The longer you’re in the other lane getting around something, the more dangerous a situation is.”

When commuting to work in downtown Harrisonburg, Pendleton said drivers often try to share the lane with them and often times cut it very close.

“I’ve been clipped by car mirrors before because people come so close. Instead of changing lanes, even if it’s available, they just split the lane with a cyclist,” Pendleton said.

The SVBC shared its support on Facebook, asking members and people of the commonwealth to reach out to their local representatives to support the legislation.

SB 1263 passed the Senate Transportation Committee on Jan. 21, despite local Senator Mark Obenshain voting against it.

From Virginia Bicycling Federation, The Senate version (SB1263) of the Bicyclist Safety Act passes Senate Transportation...

Posted by Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) on Thursday, January 21, 2021

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