Update: On February 15, the Criminal Laws Subcommittee of the House Court of Justice Committee tabled (killed) SB 1339 on an unrecorded party-line vote, while on February 13 Subcommittee #1 of the House Transportation Committee killed SB 1338 on a 3-4 vote. Thus, both bills are now dead for 2017. Delegate Rich Anderson (R, HD-51) helped kill SB 1338, while Delegate Jackson Miller (R, HD-50) helped kill SB 1339. Ask Delegates Anderson and Miller to support future legislation to better protect pedestrians and bicyclists from irresponsible motorists.
Two bicycling-friendly bills, filed for the 2017 Virginia General Assembly by Senator Scott Surovell (D, Senate District 36, which includes part of Prince William County), were approved by the Virginia Senate and are now before the Virginia House of Delegates.
SB 1338 would establish a traffic infraction when a motorist drives in a bicycle lane to pass or attempt to pass another vehicle. (This bill also generally prohibits travel in a bicycle lane via motor vehicle or moped for the first time.) The Virginia Senate passed SB 1338 on a 23-17 vote, with only four Republicans voting in favor.
SB 1339 would establish a traffic infraction when a careless or distracted motorist is the proximate cause of serious physical injury to a pedestrian, bicyclist, or other “vulnerable road user”, as defined in this bill. The Virginia Senate passed SB 1339 on a 21-19 vote, with only two Republicans voting in favor.
On February 13, both SB 1338 and SB 1339 were heard by the seven-member Subcommittee #1 of the House Transportation Committee. Delegate Rich Anderson, a Republican who represents House District 51 through a wide swath of Prince William County, is the only local member of this subcommittee.
As recorded here, Subcommittee #1 failed to report SB 1338 to the full House Transportation Committee on a 3-4 vote. Thus, unless someone (such as Del. Anderson) who voted against reporting SB 1338 changes his mind and asks that SB 1338 be reconsidered in the full Transportation Committee, SB 1338 is now dead. If SB 1338 is miraculously resurrected I will update this post.
Subcommittee #1 recommended that SB 1339 be referred to the House Courts of Justice Committee, so SB 1339 is still alive. The Courts of Justice Committee meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons, so SB 1339 may go before that committee in a few days.
Delegate Jackson Miller (R, HD-50) is the only member of the House Courts of Justice Committee from Prince William County. Please call or email Delegate Miller as soon as possible to ask him to support SB 1339.
Del. Jackson Miller, R, HD-50 (Manassas), 804-698-1050, DelJMiller@house.virginia.gov
A short and simple request to support SB 1339 should suffice. Please include your home address and contact information, so Delegate Miller knows you are a constituent or live near his district. Here’s a sample message:
Subject: Support SB 1339
Dear Delegate Miller,
Please vote for SB 1339, which is now before the House Courts of Justice Committee. SB 1339 would hold a careless or distracted motorist accountable when his or her negligence causes serious injury to a pedestrian, bicyclist, or other “vulnerable road user”.
As a Prince William County [or Manassas] resident, I would greatly appreciate your votes for this simple and straightforward traffic-law improvement, to help make me and my family safer when we travel by foot or bicycle. Thank you for your consideration.
Your Street Address
Your City, VA Zipcode
Map of Del. Rich Anderson’s House District 51
Map of Del. Jackson Miller’s House District 50