Friday, February 28, 2014

Virginia close to "3-foot law" for bicycle safety

Hurrah for the Virginia Senate, which has sent the House of Delegates a bill that would require motorists to leave three feet of clearance while passing a bicycle rider.  I wrote my District 7 delegate, Nick Rush, to ask him to support SB97 when it comes up next week.  Here's part of my letter:
I call that three feet a "margin of life" because I have personally experienced how a vehicle passing too close can destabilize a bicycle or disorient the rider. A friend of mine lost a valued friend and coworker who was grazed by a passing truck as she commuted by bike to her job at the Fort Lauderdale airport. That was one of the deaths that contributed to Florida's adoption of a three-foot law.

Now 22 states and the District of Columbia have similar statutes requiring motorists to pass by three feet or more. These laws save lives not only by the threat of a penalty but by their educational influence. They remind drivers of how much damage their motor vehicles can do.
If you're a Virginian or like to ride bicycles, I hope you'll reach out to the Virginia House and say a good word for SB97.