Biking is one of the most popular forms of recreation and exercise for Virginians, as well as an increasingly popular way to commute. However, riding a bicycle comes with risks, especially when doing so on public roads that lack dedicated bike lanes. Many bicyclists have experienced first-hand the threat posed by motorists who don’t safely share the road. To combat this danger, Virginia recently introduced a law designed to reduce the risk of collisions by giving cyclists more space on shared roads.
What Is the New Three Feet Rule?
In early 2021, Virginia enacted two laws aimed at keeping bicyclists safe on public streets and roads. The first law changed the rules that required bicyclists to ride single-file in a traffic lane. Now, bicyclists may ride side by side in a single traffic lane.
The second law, known as the “three feet” rule, requires drivers of motor vehicles to keep at least three feet of space between themselves and a bicyclist when passing. Previously, drivers only had to keep at least two feet of space from bicyclists. The law also applies to mopeds, electric bikes, electric mobility devices such as scooters or wheelchairs, and animal-drawn vehicles. Drivers are permitted to cross over the double yellow line to pass a bicycle when there is no approaching traffic in the oncoming lane. If a driver does not have enough room to safely pass a bicyclist, the driver is required to slow down and stay behind the bicycle until reaching a spot where the driver has enough room to safely pass.
Benefits of the Three Feet Rule for Bicyclists
These new laws are expected to offer significant benefits for bicyclists. Cyclists say that even the extra foot of space required by the three feet rule helps them feel safer. In addition, allowing bicycles to ride side by side in the same traffic lane can help families with younger children ride together. Parents can now ride alongside their children to keep an eye on them and protect them from vehicular traffic. Previously, parents were required to either ride in front of or behind their child when on a public road.
How We Can Help If You’ve Been Injured in a Bicycle Accident
Despite the new laws designed to help keep cyclists safe on the road, bicycle accidents still happen all too frequently in Virginia. If you’ve been hurt in a bicycle accident caused by a motorist, the attorneys of Whitestone Young, PC can help by:
- Collecting evidence from the accident, including photos or surveillance video footage, police accident reports, and witness statements
- Identifying the driver who hit you and other parties who might be liable for your injuries
- Preparing your legal case, including working with accident reconstruction experts to help us explain how the accident happened and how the driver caused it
- Calculating your past, ongoing, and future expenses and losses
- Filing claims on your behalf with the insurance company and aggressively pursuing a settlement that gets you fair and full compensation as efficiently as possible
- Pursuing all your legal options by filing a lawsuit and going to trial, if litigation becomes necessary to demand maximum financial recovery
Don’t wait to get the legal help you need after being injured in a cycling accident that wasn’t your fault. Contact Whitestone Young, PC today for a free, no-obligation consultation to talk with a Fairfax, VA bicycle accident lawyer about your case. We can explain your legal options for recovering compensation for the injuries and losses that you may have suffered.