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McDougle bill to increase safe passing distance for cyclists

Richmond Progressive Examiner: McDougle bill to increase safe passing distance for cyclists

February 16th, 2011 9:09 am ET

Sen. Ryan T. McDougle of the Virginia General Assembly isn’t known for his progressive legislation, but the recent bill he sponsored in the Senate involving the minimum passing distance of cars going around bicycles is pretty darn close.

The bill recently passed in the Senate with a 40-0 vote. It would in effect increase the minimum passing distance mandatory for cars passing bicycles from two feet to three feet.

Sounds like a pretty noncontroversial issue, doesn’t it?

Well, it would be but one of our old friends in the House, Del. John A. Cox (R-Hanover), thinks that two feet is just fine as a safe passing distance. Thus, the bill might not stand such a good chance of passing if the House transportation subcommittee has there say.

The issue has become a partisan battle between cyclist-rights advocates and those who, well, don’t cycle.

Hanover County in particular has two long-distance bicycling routes that pass through it, one from Virginia to Oregon and the other from Maine to Florida.

Personally, I ride my bike a lot of places so I’m in favor of extending legislation favoring cyclists. There does need to be a greater understanding of the rights that cyclists have, however, and the rules that cyclists need to obey.

But to call for a ban on the rights of cyclists? That’s absurd. Cyclists share the road, why can’t drivers?