New Law Aims to Make Roads Safer for Cyclists - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

New Law Aims to Make Roads Safer for Cyclists

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - You could be paying big bucks the next time you pass a cyclist on the road: a new law hopes to make roads safer for bike riders.

Currently, if you're driving a car, you have to give a cyclist at least two feet. But starting next week, motorists will have to give bike riders a three foot berth, or they could face a hefty fine.

A few years ago, Karen Mullins' husband was riding his bike in Richmond when he was struck and left bleeding on the side of the road. 

"He was hit by a hit-and-run driver and we never found who did that," Karen said. 

Thankfully, he survived but was hospitalized.

"It's really difficult to not be overcome with anger of that, that someone could just hit someone and keep driving," Karen said. 

Lawmakers are hoping a new law requiring drivers to give cyclists three feet of clearance will help prevent accidents and save lives in the future.
Senator Bryce Reeves, the bike bill's sponsor, said: "Eight Virginians died and more than 600 were injured in crashes involving bicycles here in Virginia."

Reeves spoke about the law with a number of supporters in Richmond Thursday. He says even if it's a small country road, drivers cannot pass a cyclist without three feet and cannot go over the double yellow lines.

"You must wait until there's a hash mark and it's safe," Reeves explained.

He also said officers will be able to use discretion and in many cases, he expects bike riders to pull over and let oncoming traffic pass. If drivers fail to do so, they could pay fines issues by a judge and will get three points on their license.

The new law goes into effect on July 1.

What do you think of the new law that's designed to keep cyclists safe? Leave a comment here, or weigh in on our Facebook page.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

 

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