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New Virginia bicycle laws begin on July 1

Many new laws will go into effect in Virginia on July 1, including changes to bicycle traffic...
Many new laws will go into effect in Virginia on July 1, including changes to bicycle traffic laws. Motorists will now be required to change lanes to pass cyclists, even if that means crossing a solid yellow line.(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 6:17 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Many new laws will go into effect in Virginia on July 1, including changes to bicycle traffic laws. Motorists will now be required to change lanes to pass cyclists, even if that means crossing a solid yellow line.

“If the lane that you’re in is not wide enough to do that passing, to give that three feet, then you’re to go into to the next lane over to pass the bicyclist ensuring that they have plenty of space,” said Sergeant Wayne Westfall, the head of Harrisonburg Police Department’s traffic division.

Westfall urges motorists to be patient and wait until it’s safe to pass cyclists to protect everyone involved.

Cyclists will now also be able to ride two abreast, or side-by-side in a lane. Currently, they may ride side by side but must go into a single file line to allow cars to pass.

“If there are larger groups of people riding bikes, if they can ride two abreast it’s actually gonna be a shorter distance for a driver to pass them in a car, it’s actually gonna make that interaction much safer,” said Kyle Lawrence, executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Bike Coalition.

Lawrence says the new bike laws will help make the roads safer for motorists and cyclists if everyone does their part.

He adds that there is a third part of the legislation that says Virginia State Police will conduct a study to decide whether or not to adopt the “Safety Stop”, which would allow cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs.

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