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Crossover – Week 6 Legislative Update

Mon, 02/12/2024 - 14:29

VA Bicycling Legislation Update (Crossover) 

We’re halfway through Virginia’s General Assembly session. Tuesday, February 13th is “crossover” – the day that bills introduced in one chamber must pass in their original chamber and “cross over” to be voted on by the other. 

Three Virginia Bicycling Federation-led bills and one priority support bill have passed the House of Delegates and have crossed over to the Senate. Two VBF-supported bills that would enable jurisdictions to expand Automated Speed Enforcement have passed the Senate and have crossed over to the House. 

Action that you can take to help advance bicycling and safe streets initiatives

Act quickly, because we could see our bills in committee as early as Thursday, February 15!

GOOD:

Delegate Sullivan’s Bicyclists Proceed on Walk Signal (HB657 passed 56-42) Delegate Carr’s Safety Stop (HB1077 passed 52-47), and Delegate Willett’s Two Abreast (HB1266 passed 51-47) all passed the House of Delegates and are expected to be referred to the Senate Transportation Committee. There was no floor discussion, a departure from previous attempts. Contact your state Senator today to let them know that you support these proven safety measures!

Delegate LeVere Bolling’s HB937 reported unanimously (99Y—0N) from the House of Delegates and has been referred to the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee. HB937 conveys the intent of the General Assembly that school boards should encourage walking and bike school buses as innovative low-cost or no-cost alternatives to school buses transportation.

Not-so good:

There still seems to be a shared, unexplored misunderstanding by some legislators, in part due to being presented incomplete information from external sources, that the bike bills this year are dangerous. We need to be clear with our Senators that there is no indication in the data that the Safety Stop or Riding Two Abreast contribute to worse safety outcomes. There simply isn’t any data to support that.

In Delaware, there has not been a single bicyclist fatality at a stop sign since their law was enacted. Not one. After multiple requests, Delaware State Police can provide no data that riding two abreast has contributed to any of their cyclist fatalities. Meanwhile, we have not seen the Safety Stop repealed in any state over its 42 year history.

The two anecdotes of “cyclists killed in my district” could not have had any less to do with Safety Stop nor riding two abreast. In fact, there is zero evidence that riding “three or four wide” has contributed to cyclist fatalities in Virginia! And the HB1266 would not authorize that, anyway.

­­­­­­­­­­­Key Updates for other safe streets initiatives:

Speed Limits: Delegate Carr’s HB1071 passed the House 53Y–46N and has been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee. HB1071 provides localities with the authority to reduce the speed limits to 15 miles per hour.  

Automated Speed Enforcement: Senator Roem’s SB336, a bill to expand Automated Speed Enforcement to high-risk intersection segments passed the Senate 22Y – 18N; Senator Bagby’s SB535 (Expanded School Zones) passed the Senate 23Y – 17  Advocates are engaging House Transportation Committee members to ensure that delegates know that the bills will save lives and that camera placement is required to be data driven. As a result, cameras will be placed in locations where they will achieve the greatest benefits in lives saved and injuries avoided. 

Vulnerable Road User Protection: Senator Ebbin’s SB687, Virginia’s Vulnerable Road User (VRU) update had been referred to the Senate Courts of Justice committee on January 25 and scheduled to be heard today, the last day before crossover. It appears as of now that it will not make the deadline to receive a vote on the Senate floor this year and will fail to advance.