Va. cyclists hoping for a 3-foot law

WASHINGTON — Maryland has one. So does the District of Columbia. And now Virginia cyclists hope to get one: A “3-foot law.”

A bill that would require drivers to give cyclists 3 feet while passing or following cyclists has passed the Virginia Senate and cyclists hope it’s a signal of a more bike-friendly future. Currently, the law requires drivers to give cyclists 2 feet of space on the road. Opponents of the bill have argued it’s hard for drivers to judge the difference from 2 to 3 feet.

In Maryland, cyclists succeeded in getting the 3-foot variance on the roads, but advocates there want to tweak the law so that drivers could give bikes more space without breaking the law when in a no-passing zone. The Maryland law would allow drivers to overtake cyclists with 3 feet to spare only when safe to do so.

Virginia’s 3-foot law wouldn’t just apply to the space that should be given to cyclists. The bill also singles out users of mobility assistance devices like scooters and wheelchairs as well as “animal-drawn vehicles” as vehicles that should be given the added space on the road.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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