Two bills designed to make biking safer made it out of the Senate last week and need support to get them out of the heavily Republican House of Delegates.
SB 1338 would prohibit driving in a bicycle lane to pass or attempt to pass another vehicle. The Virginia Senate passed SB 1338 on a 23-17 vote, with only four Republicans voting in favor. Unfortunately, Subcommittee #1 failed to report SB 1338 to the full House Transportation Committee on a 3-4 vote. Thus, unless someone (such as Del. Anderson) who voted against reporting SB 1338 changes his mind and asks that SB 1338 be reconsidered in the full Transportation Committee, SB 1338 is now dead.
SB 1339 would establish a traffic infraction when a careless or distracted motorist is the proximate cause of serious physical injury to a pedestrian, bicyclist, or other “vulnerable road user”, as defined in this bill. The Virginia Senate passed SB 1339 on a 21-19 vote, with only two Republicans voting in favor.
Subcommittee #1 recommended that SB 1339 be referred to the House Courts of Justice Committee, so SB 1339 is still alive. The Courts of Justice Committee meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons, so SB 1339 may go before that committee in a few days.
The House Courts of Justice Committee members from Northern Virginia are listed below. Please call or email one or more of these delegates as soon as possible to ask them to support SB 1339.
Del. Dave Albo (Chair), R, HD-42 (Springfield), 804-698-1042, DelDAlbo@house.virginia.gov
Del. Jackson Miller, R, HD-50 (Manassas), 804-698-1050, DelJMiller@house.virginia.gov
Del. Vivian Watts, D, HD-39 (Annandale), 804-698-1039, DelVWatts@house.virginia.gov
Del. Charniele Herring, D, HD-46 (Alexandria), 804-698-1046, DelCHerring@house.virginia.gov
Del. Patrick Hope, D, HD-47 (Arlington), 804-698-1047, DelPHope@house.virginia.gov
Del. Paul Krizek, D, HD-44 (Mount Vernon), 804-698-1044, DelPKrizek@house.virginia.gov
Del. Todd Gilbert, D, HD-15 (Woodstock), 804-698-1015, DelTGilbert@house.virginia.gov
A short and simple request to support SB 1339 should suffice. Please include your home address and contact information, so they know you are a constituent or live near their district. Here’s a sample message:
Subject: Support SB 1339
Dear Delegate xxxxxxxxx,
Please vote for SB 1339, which was just referred to the House Courts of Justice Committee. SB 1339 would hold a careless or distracted motorist accountable when his or her negligence causes serious injury to a pedestrian, bicyclist, or other “vulnerable road user”.
As a [name of county] resident,I would greatly appreciate your support for this simple and straightforward traffic-law improvement, to help make me and my family safer when we travel by foot or bicycle. Thank you for your consideration.
Your Street Address
Your City, VA Zipcode
And remember, the House of Delegates elections are this fall.