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Virginia’s new three feet bicycle passing law

By John Singleton on March 8, 2022

Riding a bicycle is a wonderful way to stay in shape, and it allows to you to breathe fresh air while experiencing the natural splendor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. When practiced as a group activity, cycling is also a nice way to connect with friends and family.

But riding a bike can be dangerous. Despite a new Virginia law designed to protect cyclists, bicycle fatalities rose by 75 percent in 2021. Many cyclists report that they are reluctant to ride due to the threat of accidents caused by unsafe automobiles.

Brantley Tyndall, Director of Outreach for a Virginia bike riders’ advocacy group says, “People are absolutely afraid to ride bikes” because of hazards caused by careless automobile drivers. He cites a survey in which 60 percent of respondents said they “would bike more if it were safer.”

What is the three feet law?

Two new laws went into effect in January 2021 to protect cyclists. One law forces drivers to take greater care when passing bicycles, and the other allows bicyclists to travel alongside each other in a single lane.

Just like the name implies, the three feet law requires motorists to allow three feet of space whenever they pass a bicycle on the road. Previously, drivers only had to provide two feet of space when passing. Bicycle riders say that the extra foot makes them feel a lot safer. The law also applies to mopeds, electric bikes, electric personal assistive mobility devices, animals, and animal-drawn vehicles.

If the road is not wide enough, then drivers are expected to slow down and wait until there is room to pass the bicycle safely. Drivers are also allowed to cross over a double yellow line to pass a bicycle when there is no opposing traffic.

Families riding side by side

The change in the law that allows cyclists to travel side by side in the same lane brings added peace of mind to many riders, especially parents. Previously, groups of riders were forced to ride in single file. That created worries for parents who prefer to protect their children by riding next to them instead of in front or behind them.

Helping bicycle accident victims in Virginia

Both of our partners, Ken Gibson and John Singleton, are proud fathers who enjoy cycling with the family. We applaud these new laws that protect bicycle riders in Virginia.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a bicycle accident caused by a negligent driver, we’re here to help. Our team at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys will fight to get you a fair settlement to cover the cost of your medical care and other expenses related to your accident. Call (804) 413-6777 today to learn more. And ask about our no-fee guarantee. We get paid when you get paid.

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Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.

  • Safety Education
    GibsonSingleton launches a “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
  • Annual Coat Drive
    During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
  • Hands-on Service
    John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
  • Supporting Local Schools
    The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.