Safer cycling in Virginia

When I was a lad, back in Warwickshire, England, my parents enrolled me on a cycling proficiency course.  After a few enjoyable evenings, spread over a few weeks, I took the cycling proficiency test and passed.  Later, in my teens, I became involved as an instructor and taught other children how to ride safely on the roads.  The upshot of this is that I do “think bike” when I’m driving, and I also get fuming mad when I see idiotic cyclists behaving in a manner that gives all other cyclists a bad name.

On the last 200yards of the drive into my office today I had to drive along a 4 lane divided road (2 lanes in each direction divided by a kerbed grass median) through two four way stops (vehicle must stop even if junction is empty, move on rotating in order of arrival).

As I turned onto the divided road I was shocked to see a cyclist pedaling towards me at full tilt down the center of the right lane, straight at my car.  I had my headlights on, sounded my horn, and slowed.  I eventually had to move into the left lane to allow him to pass since he did not slow or deviate his course.

Then I caught up with a cyclist travelling in the correct direction, but she seemed oblivious to stop signs, and rode at full speed through the first one which was fortunately clear.  I stopped, checked the way was clear and carried on, catching up with her again in time to watch her blast through the second stop sign!

So as a public service, and in the vain hope of preventing these two idiots from killing themselves and endangering other road users, here are the rules and regulations for bicycling in Virginia as laid out by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

with special attention drawn to:

Bicyclists must obey all traffic signs, signals, lights, and markings.

Reference:   §46.2-830

and

Where to Ride

  • Bicyclists must ride with the flow of traffic on the right side of the highway.
  • Bicyclists operating a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place under conditions then existing shall ride as close as safely practicable to the right curb or edge of roadway. Exceptions to this are when bicyclists are overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, preparing for a left turn, avoiding unsafe conditions, avoiding riding in a lane that turns or diverges to the right, riding on a one way street where bicyclists may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of roadway, or when the lane width is too narrow to share with a motor vehicle. Additionally, bicycles are not excluded from riding on the highway shoulder.

Reference:   §§46.2-802,46.2-808

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