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Thread: New Bicycle Two Abreast Law?

  1. #1
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    Default New Bicycle Two Abreast Law?

    Can someone help me understand the impact of the new Virginia law going into effect (SB 362) which, "prohibits persons riding bicycles, electric personal assistive mobility devices, electric power-assisted bicycles, or motorized skateboards or scooters two abreast from impeding the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and requires such persons to move into a single-file formation as quickly as is practicable when being overtaken from the rear by a faster-moving vehicle." This looks (to my lay eyes) like an update to 46.2-905, which, to my surprise, already seems to prohibit taking a lane.

    The cycling community has led me to believe that it is my right to take a lane, but the Virginia Code seems to indicate that we are for the most part restricted to riding single file, glued to the side of the road. What's the story?

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    Quote Originally Posted by accordioneur View Post
    Can someone help me understand the impact of the new Virginia law going into effect (SB 362) which, "prohibits persons riding bicycles, electric personal assistive mobility devices, electric power-assisted bicycles, or motorized skateboards or scooters two abreast from impeding the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and requires such persons to move into a single-file formation as quickly as is practicable when being overtaken from the rear by a faster-moving vehicle." This looks (to my lay eyes) like an update to 46.2-905, which, to my surprise, already seems to prohibit taking a lane.

    The cycling community has led me to believe that it is my right to take a lane, but the Virginia Code seems to indicate that we are for the most part restricted to riding single file, glued to the side of the road. What's the story?
    46.2-905 reads "except under any of the following circumstances: [...] 3. When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right curb or edge;"

    SB 362 is someone's pet peeve made into law, doesn't really change anything. It's a bad signal, but its practical impact is negligible.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by accordioneur View Post
    Can someone help me understand the impact of the new Virginia law going into effect (SB 362) which, "prohibits persons riding bicycles, electric personal assistive mobility devices, electric power-assisted bicycles, or motorized skateboards or scooters two abreast from impeding the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and requires such persons to move into a single-file formation as quickly as is practicable when being overtaken from the rear by a faster-moving vehicle." This looks (to my lay eyes) like an update to 46.2-905, which, to my surprise, already seems to prohibit taking a lane.

    The cycling community has led me to believe that it is my right to take a lane, but the Virginia Code seems to indicate that we are for the most part restricted to riding single file, glued to the side of the road. What's the story?
    SB 362 seems to be in contradiction to many other state laws, and to the standard placement of sharrows, etc.

    Personally I would not worry about it while riding in Arlington, Alexandria, City of Falls Church or Fairfax. If you are riding in a rural county and there is a horse trailer behind you, I would pull over and let them pass.

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    Seems to me the law says you can take the lane for certain reasons, but if there is traffic behind you, wanting to ride two abreast is not a valid reason for taking the lane. The only question is whether you can take the lane for a valid reason while riding two abreast or if you have to do it in single file. The effect, of course, is the same, but if you ride two abreast, the appearance will be different and motorist might presume you're only doing it to ride next to your buddy and not for a valid reason.

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    It's a hopeless muddle and largely unenforceable. Who knows what the legislature was trying to accomplish, other than provide a ham-handed response to some constituent complaints about being "blocked" by cyclists on narrow roads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arlcxrider View Post
    It's a hopeless muddle and largely unenforceable. Who knows what the legislature was trying to accomplish, other than provide a ham-handed response to some constituent complaints about being "blocked" by cyclists on narrow roads.
    IIUC, it was one constituent, who tried to drive around some cyclists while pulling a horse trailer, the trailer fell, the horse died, and the rest of the General Assembly gave in to the sob story.

    Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

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