Virginia lawmakers pass new rules to protect bicyclists on the road

Cyclists are the most vulnerable vehicle on the road, officials say

This new legislation will require drivers to switch lanes when passing a cyclist.

ROANOKE, Va. – A new bill aims to make it safer for drivers and cyclists to share the road.

“When you are a cyclist on the road, you’re the most vulnerable vehicle on the road,” Ride Solutions Director Jeremey Holmes said.

Now there is new legislation that is pedaling in the right direction to administer safety.

Virginia lawmakers passed a bill that requires drivers to switch lanes when passing a cyclist on the road if three feet cannot be maintained.

Calling it a major win, Holmes said the clarity is needed.

“It’s important to get more protections in place to help them be safer but do more things to educate drivers,” he said.

With cyclists as his main customers, Cardinal Bicycle Owner Whit Ellerman said driver education plays a huge role in keeping people safe.

“The more that drivers are aware of the rules that pertain to the road, the better,” he said.

Additionally, the bill says two cyclists can now ride abreast in a lane.

Having to ride single file before, Holmes said this change not only keeps cyclists closer together but saves drivers time.

“Drivers behind a group for example that’s going to spread a line of cyclists to a much longer length to pass,” Holmes said. “So you’re suddenly passing a semi-truck of space versus a passenger vehicle.”

However, more work needs to be done, according to Holmes.

He looks forward to municipalities adding more biking lanes to encourage people to ride to work, school or recreationally.

The bill now awaits Gov. Ralph Northam’s signature to become a law.

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Alexus joined 10 News in October 2020.