New Bicycle, Motorists Law to Take Effect in Virginia on July 1

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Part of the issue for cyclists in Williamsburg is the safety aspect. Gretchen Bedell said that often, motorists aren't aware of the cyclists going through intersections, which makes her nervous for her children's safety. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Gretchen Bedell)
Starting July 1, motor vehicles will be required to change lanes when passing cyclists on the road. (WYDaily file)

STATEWIDE — Motor vehicles will soon need to make more room for bicyclists on the road in the Commonwealth.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) announced in a June 29 news release that residents should be aware of a new bicycle and motorist law that will take effect July 1.  

Currently, motorists are not required to switch lanes when passing bicyclists on the road.

However, starting July 1, drivers will be required to change lanes when passing cyclists unless the lane of travel is wide enough to accommodate three feet distance between the vehicle and the bicycle.

This law will also apply to people riding electric mobility devices, mopeds, animals or animal-driven vehicle.  

“This law increases safety for bicyclists by providing more space between them and much larger vehicles when motorists pass on our roadways,” DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative, said. “We all share our roads and we all share the responsibility to look out for each other.”

The new law will also allow two bike riders to ride side-by-side without having to ride in a single line, even when vehicles are approaching in the same lane. 

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