New Virginia laws aimed at boosting safety for cyclists start July 1

File photo of a cyclist riding a bicycle in a dedicated bike lane. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/DZarzycka)

Bicycle safety is a constant concern across the D.C. area, and two new Virginia laws going into effect on July 1 aim to address it.

One of the laws will require drivers across the state to switch lanes if they can’t maintain at least three feet of distance when passing cyclists — even if that means moving their vehicle over double-yellow lines.

The other measure will allow bicyclists to ride side-by-side in pairs along a single lane.

Fairfax County police shared a number of general safety tips for keeping roads safe for bicyclists ahead of July 1.

They include:

  • Avoid distractions while driving.
  • Stop and look in both directions before turning right at a red light.
  • Pay close attention to your surroundings and look for anyone who may be crossing the street when approaching an intersection.
  • Use caution and double-check mirrors before making a right-hand turn.
  • Don’t park or drive in bike lanes if they are present.
  • Check your side and rearview mirrors for bicyclists before opening your door if you’re parking on a roadway.

The pair of new laws were passed by the Virginia General Assembly earlier this year.

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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