- FABB is asking area riders to contact their delegates and senators to support two pieces of proposed legislation, now in committee, that will significantly improve riding safety.
The Virginia Bicycle Federation reports that the SB 1293/HB 1773 Safety Stop proposal, if passed, would allow a person, 15 years of age or older, while operating a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, motorized skateboard, or scooter (but not motorcyclists or moped riders) yield at stop signs for safety benefits and to encourage bicycling as a convenient and accessible mode of transportation.
The Safety Stop legislation seeks to reduce bicyclist-involved crashes by implementing a proven safety practice that allows bicyclists to yield instead of stop at certain stop sign-controlled intersections. Bicyclists would still be required to stop at a red traffic light.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has concluded that the Safety Stop, a.k.a. Stop-as-Yield, provides additional safety benefits for cyclists. As of May, 2022, bicyclist “Stop-As-Yield” laws have been adopted by eight states in the years since Idaho passed its titular stop law in 1982.
FABB strongly supports the Safety Stop because it is a proven method to increase rider safety intersections, makes biking easier, more comfortable, and convenient by allowing riders to maintain momentum at empty intersections, and by encouraging bicycling, helps to reduce transportation-generated greenhouse gasses.
Unnecessarily coming to a complete stop when no other vehicles or pedestrians are present at a stop-sign controlled intersection interrupts a rider’s momentum, a key element of biking’s efficiency. The bicyclist is then at higher risk crossing an intersection when starting from a complete stop. Treating the stop sign as a yield sign, requires the bicyclist to slow, yield to others, and, when clear, continue more safety through the intersection. The Safety Stop also promotes bicycling on safer, low-traffic, low-speed local streets as opposed to busier and faster parallel arterial routes.
This YouTube video explains how a “Safety Stop” improves safety: Idaho “Rolling” Stops for Bicycles in Oregon.
As a result of the Virginia State Police 2021 study of the Safety Stop and subsequent engagement with the Virginia Department of Transportation and AAA, the draft bill includes provisions that limit the Safety Stop to intersections where no approaching roadway has more than three travel lanes, direct riders under 15 years old to stop rather than yield, and allow VDOT to mark selected stop signs as requiring a full stop by everyone.
Another piece of proposed legislation, SB 847/HB 1589, would allow bicyclists to proceed on walk signals not just from the sidewalk and using the crosswalk as is currently legal, but from the bike lane or travel lane. This will provide safety benefits at intersections where Leading Pedestrian Intervals give pedestrians (and in this case, bike riders) a few seconds’ head start.
Leading Pedestrian Intervals have shown up to 60% safety improvement for pedestrians, and they are increasingly installed by VDOT and multiple Virginia localities.
FABB supports the proposal because, if passed, it would decrease conflict between bicyclists and pedestrians by encouraging riders to use bike and travel lanes rather than the sidewalk. Proceeding on walk signals also increases safety for bicyclists by giving them head start before drivers proceed through or turn from the intersection. This option also clarifies, simplifies, and legalizes riding in two-way bike lanes that only have pedestrian signalization.
FABB is asking area riders to contact their delegates and senators to support two pieces of proposed legislation, now in committee, that will significantly improve riding safety.
Please take a few minutes to contact your elected state officials and let them know that you support the SB 1293/HB 1773 and SB 847/HB 1589 legislation to make our streets and roads safer for everyone.
Find out who your legislators are and their contact information here: https://virginiageneralassembly.gov/membersAndSession.php?secid=1&activesec=0#!hb=1&mainContentTabs=0