Lynchburg community members share thoughts on new Virginia bike laws going into effect this week

Virginia News

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — A new law involving the way gas and electric-powered vehicle drivers interact with cyclists on the road goes into effect on Thursday, allowing cyclists a little more freedom on the road and requiring drivers to be more cautious of them.

Some folks in Lynchburg say they’re generally okay with sharing the road.

According to the owner of Bikes Unlimited, John Seinar, “In our community, we don’t have the infrastructure allotted to make cycling-friendly here, which is why motorists get frustrated.”

The new Virginia Bicycling Safety Act lists three key changes:

  • Requiring motorists to change lanes while passing cyclists if a lane isn’t wide enough (less than 3 feet)
  • Allowing cyclists to ride side by side at all times
  • A workgroup will review issues related to allowing bicyclists to treat roadways as stop signs and other roadway safety issues

“I find that most bicyclists are very courteous and considerate and they are committed to sharing the road instead of owning it,” said motorist Eric Loy. “I’m not so sure all car drivers are like that.”

Seinar says that with a growing downtown Lynchburg, he sees more people pedaling around.

“The cycling industry this year has blown up. There are a lot more cyclists out there,” said Seinar. “It’s not only cyclists, it’s people who don’t have the means to own a vehicle that also ride a bike. We forget about them a lot, too.”

Gov. Ralph Northam signed the act into law in March. The intention is to provide a safe space for everyone on the road.

“I don’t think its that big of an inconvenience to share the road,” Loy added.

Seinar says that if you’d like more information on bike safety, Bikes Unlimited would be glad to answer any questions.

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