“As it stands now, only fleeing the scene of the crime will net you any charges if you kill a bicyclist or a pedestrian while driving,” Cheney said. He cited Kirk Turner, a Chesapeake resident killed by a tractor trailer on Cedar Road.
“I can’t comprehend how the truck driver who ran over Kirk Turner last year, on a 35mph, four-lane suburban street, wasn’t charged with at least a misdemeanor count of violating the Three Foot Law,” said Cheney, who noted that a law is only as useful as it is enforced by police. “Drivers have run over and killed cyclists from behind in both Norfolk and Virginia Beach in recent years, but were not charged with any crimes.”
Travis Davidson, head of Tidewater Bicycle Association–which has been advocating for this bill–has encouraged his members and all cyclists to lobby their representatives to pass this life-saving legislation.
“I believe this bill will resonate with the majority of our citizens as a ‘common courtesy’ issue that we shouldn’t need to talk about but, sadly, bills like this one have been routinely voted against in our General Assembly and this is why it is very important for concerned citizens to contact their delegates and senators immediately,” Davidson said.
Virginia Bicycling Federation supports the bill.
“This bill gives bicyclists in Virginia the same legal protection from tailgating as given to drivers,” said Champe Burnley, president of the federation. “If passed by both houses, I’m confident it will reduce crashes and ultimately save lives.”