There’s a new Virginia bicycling safety law in the books slated to take effect July 1st.
The new regulation – HB2262, the Bicyclist Safety Act – is another law in a wave of cycling safety laws enacted in various states to help cyclists and motorists share the road more safely.
Read on to learn the details of Virginia’s new law, all about National Bike Month, and get key cycling safety tips as the weather turns warmer.
The Virginia Bicycling Safety Act
On March 31st, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed the Bicyclist Safety Act into law. This new traffic regulation requires motorists to:
- Change lanes while passing cyclists when the lane is not wide enough to pass the cyclist with at least 3 feet of space in between
- Allows cyclists to ride two abreast at all times, which was previously restricted
- Convenes a work group to review issues related to allowing bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs – and to report any other roadway safety issues to the chairmen of the House and Senate Committees on Transportation
These changes will ideally encourage safer conditions for cyclists and motorists on Virginia’s roadways.
National Bike Month Brings Focus on Bike Safety
News of the new safety act comes at an ideal time. In May, we celebrate National Bike Month, a month of awareness established in 1956 by the League of American Bicyclists. The month spreads awareness about the many benefits of cycling as well as promotes the issue of cycling safety.
You can learn more about National Bike Month here.
Cycling Safety Tips to Remember for Adults and Kids
Recent biking accident statistics for the U.S. show that although the number of accidents and deaths were down in 2020 (likely due to COVID lockdown), there isn’t any evidence that the roads are safer and friendlier to bikers.
As the weather turns warmer and we begin spending more time outside, cyclists and parents with kids who love to bike should keep these key safety tips in mind.
- Ride a bike that fits you—if it’s too big, it’s harder to control the bike.
- Ride a bike that works! If the brakes don’t work, it doesn’t really matter how well you ride.
- Wear protective equipment and clothes to make you more visible to others. This includes a bike helmet, bright clothing, reflective gear at night, use white front lights & red rear lights on your bike to increase visibility.
- Ride one per seat, with both hands on the handlebars, unless you are signaling a turn.
- Carry all items in a backpack or strapped to the back of the bike.
- Tuck and tie your shoelaces and pant legs so they don’t get caught in your bike chain.
- Plan your route—if driving as a vehicle on the road, choose routes with less traffic and slower speeds. Your safest route may be away from traffic altogether, in a bike lane or on a bike path.
- Learn and use bicycling hand signals to let motorists know when you are turning or stopping. Here’s a handy cheat sheet.
If You or a Loved One Experiences a Bike Accident, I Can Help
Bike accidents involving cars on the roadway can happen in an instant. If you experience or have experienced a cycling accident and are dealing with injuries that sideline you from your job and increasing medical bills stemming from the incident, I can help you get back to your life.
Give me a call at 703.813.6460 or contact me about your case and I’ll work with you to get you the compensation you deserve.