Each year, the Virginia Bicycle Federation monitors and advocates for or against 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 bills at http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/
The 2020 legislative session starts Wednesday, January 8. Bills related to traffic safety, bicycling, and walking are usually assigned to Transportation Committee or Courts of Justice. The House Transportation Committee Chair this year is Delegate Delores McQuinn and the House Courts of Justice Chair is Delegate Charniele Herring. The Senate Transportation Chair is Senator Joe Morrissey and the Senate Courts of Justice Chair is Senator John Edwards.
It’s early in the session yet, but the bills that have been filed so far that might be of interest to bicyclists and pedestrians are:
HB247, Increased penalties for traffic violations if a pedestrian or wheelchair is killed or injured.
HB377, SB160, and SB136, Ban on driving with a handheld device.
HB543, Defines ebikes and how they can be regulated.
HB621, Automated speed enforcement cameras. In Virginia, 41% of fatal traffic crashes involve speeding, compared to 30% nationally. In 2018, there were more speed-related fatalities than alcohol-related. Automated speed enforcement is a proven countermeasure and routinely used in many European countries.