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The Virginia Bicycling Federation, a coalition of bicycling advocates and organizations across the Commonwealth (including SVBC!), is supporting an ambitious bicycling safety agenda during this year’s legislative session that began January 10th.

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Support Biking and Walking in the Virginia General Assembly

The Virginia Bicycling Federation brings together bicycling advocates and organizations from across the Commonwealth to work towards changing public policy and community attitudes, to improve the safety, convenience, and acceptance of bicycling, and to promote bicycling for transportation, recreation, public health and economic development.

In 2024, we will be pushing a comprehensive bicycling safety agenda that incorporates lessons from last year’s close legislative defeats. We worked with statewide agency staff and leaders through the year to address concerns and have secured patrons from across the Commonwealth who share a love of bicycling. Initiatives we are supporting include:

  • Safety Stop. This measure, also known as the Idaho Stop or Delaware Yield, would allow a person riding a bicycle to slow and yield (rather than fully stop) at stop signs. That is, they may roll through the intersection if clear and safe to do so. Enacted in 9 other states and the District of Columbia and shown to improve safety outcomes, the Safety Stop enables people on bicycles to move more quickly through an intersection, reducing their exposure to vehicular traffic and increasing their visibility.
  • Bike Safety Omnibus. This bill has two primary features: authorizing the Safety Stop (explained above) and allowing bicyclists to ride side-by-side when in a vehicle travel lane. Both improve visibility and thus safety. The bill would also clarify a driver’s responsibility to change lanes when passing a bicyclist when the lane is too narrow for the driver to pass the bicyclists safely.
  • Bikes May Proceed on Walk Signal. At an increasing number of intersections in Virginia, pedestrians are given a 3- to 7-second ‘head start’ to begin crossing the street before the vehicle signal turns green (known as a leading pedestrian interval or LPI). LPIs allow better visibility and thus safety for pedestrians. This measure would enable people on bicycles to cross with the pedestrian WALK signal so as to benefit from the ‘head start’ and improved visibility at such signalized intersections.

But we need help from folks like YOU, to show our representatives that these proven measures matter. Right now, we’re looking for 3,000 Virginians to sign up in support of our bicycling safety agenda. Later on, we’ll ask you to email and call your legislators ahead of critical votes to remind them of the need to prioritize bicyclists’ safety. We hope you’ll join us, and we encourage you to share this petition with your friends and bicycling networks.

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