2018 Virginia Legislative Bicycle Roundup – January 9, 2018

2018 Virginia Legislative Bicycle Roundup – January 9, 2018

Each year, the Virginia Bicycle Federation watches for bills that might affect bicycling and walking in Virginia, bills that could make it safer and easier or more dangerous and difficult to bicycle and walk. RIDE Solutions reports on the bills that the Virginia Bicycle Federation is watching. This article is for informational purposes; RIDE Solutions neither endorses nor opposes proposed legislation. You can find more information and track these bills at http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/

Distracted Driving

Virginia law prohibits texting and driving, and each year sees several attempts to increase the ban from texting to other uses of smart phones and other distractions. Bicyclists and pedestrians are at greater risk of injury or death from all traffic crashes. Less distracted driving could mean safer roads for everyone.

HB177, Richard Bell and SB97, David Marsden and Kaye Kory. Prohibits driving with an animal in your lap, and increases the ban on use of handheld devices.

HB115, Michael Webert. Expands the definition of “distracted driving” to include not giving proper time and attention to driving.

HB116, Michael Webert. Authorizes local governments to prohibit distracted driving.

HB180, Christopher Collins. Increases the ban on use of handheld devices.

HB506, Michael Mullin. Use of personal communication device is improper driving.

HB510, Michael Mullin. Increases penalties if someone is injured or killed by a driver who was distracted using a cell phone.

SB74, Scott Surovell. Increases the ban on use of handheld devices.

Vulnerable User

Legislation concerning traffic injuries and fatalities to “vulnerable users” is introduced each year. Bicyclists and pedestrians are overrepresented in traffic fatalities and injuries compared to other travelers.

HB181, Christopher Collins. Increases penalties and ability to cite improper driving.

HB426, Mark Levine. Careless driving that results in injury or death of a vulnerable road user is a Class I misdemeanor.

SB87, Scott Surovell. Careless driving that results in injury or death of a vulnerable road user is a traffic infraction.

Other pro-bike and pro-walk bills

These bills could make conditions safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

HB308, Vivian Watts and SB88, Scott Surovell. Prohibits motor vehicles from using a bicycle lane to pass on the right.

HB464, Lee Carter and SB46, Barbara Favola. Drivers must stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk.

Could be bad for bicycling and walking

These bills could make bicycling and walking more dangerous or difficult.

HB 59, John Bell. Reduces road costs by eliminating the bike/ped requirements.

HB72, Bob Thomas and Mark Cole and SB207, Richard Stuart. Stand-alone bike/ped infrastructure no longer eligible for state funding.

HB428, Daniel Marshall. Establishes a minimum 45 mph speed limit on county roads with 4 lanes. Since most bicycles cannot maintain 45 mph speed, this would prohibit bicycles.

Neither good nor bad for bicycling and walking

These bills are of interest to bicycling and walking but the implications are unclear.

House Joint Resolution 59, “Celebrating Transportation Day”, Chris Head and John Edwards. This resolution recognizes Virginia’s transportation achievements. It does not recognize any bicycle-related achievements.

HB134, John Bell and SB117, Barbara Favola and SB125, Richard Black. Increases the Value Engineering threshold from $5 to $15 million.

SB81, Emmett Hanger, Kaye Kory. Protects landowner liability during educational activity. Could have implications for mountain bicycling.

 

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