New Bicycle Safety Law in Virginia
There have been several very high profile bicycle accidents in the Richmond area recently. Previously motorists must give bicyclists at least 2 feet of space when passing. Virginia law has been amended to now require three feet of space when passing a a bicyclist. It seems tensions on the road are only increasing as the roads are become more congested. I've seen plenty of drivers pass cyclists on two lane roads with barely any room to spare. Obviously when a car hits a bike there's a significant risk the bicyclist will suffer serious if not fatal injuries so hopefully this law will at least encourage motorists to be cautious when passing a cyclist.
In addition to having to give bicyclists a 3 foot cushion when passing there are several other laws that implicate bicyclists. First bicyclists have the same rights to public roadways as motorists with the exception of interstates. They also have the same obligations so they can not run red lights, make illegal turns, etc. There is at least one other exception to the equal rights on the roadway law, Virginia's drunk driving statute does not apply to bicyclists. However, not everything that is legal is a good idea and biking while drunk certainly fits the build.
Over the next few weeks and months, I'll try to update my blog about other new laws that may effect you.