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New passing law takes effect July 1

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

Passing motorists will have to leave a little more distance between their vehicle and bikes, mopeds and some other forms of transportation on Virginia roads come July 1.

Senate Bill 97, passed by lawmakers in the 2014 General Assembly session, increases from two to three feet the minimum clearance between a passing vehicle and a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, moped, animal or animal-drawn vehicle.

According to the Virginia Bicycle Federation (VBF), Virginia is the 21st state to pass the three-foot passing law. Only Pennsylvania requires more distance — four feet.

It’s hoped increasing the distance will reduce the number of bicycle fatalities on the commonwealth’s roads. Eight people were killed and over 600 were injured in bicycle crashes on state roads during 2013, according to Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

“As we see more people choose to ride bikes or walk rather than drive their cars, this extra foot of clearance makes streets much safer for cyclists. We hope that drivers will use extra care when they pass a rider and avoid potential crashes,” said Champe Burnley, VBF president.

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One Response to New passing law takes effect July 1

  1. Whole E. Cow

    June 27, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Well I guess I need to keep my tape measure with me at all times. I just wish the mopeds would stay of the 55 mph roads. I thought they passed a law to keep the mopeds off these roads. If they did law enforcement is not enforcing it. I see them every day going up and down Rt.11 in the 55 zones. I am amazed that they are not run over every day. I saw the law included animals, so someone please tell the deer, possums, coons, groundhogs, dogs and cats to please stay at least 3 feet from me, for I am sure the fine and cost of court is hefty. I really don’t have the money for that. Wow with all the problems we have in this state and some dufus came up with this. And they actually voted on it. Gee wiz. Real rocket scientist these people. As for me, if it is that dangerous to ride a bike on the road I don’t think I would do that. They call it self-preservation. HAPPY MOTORING ALL

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