To the editor:
On Feb. 5, 2021, the Virginia House of Delegates passed a Bicycle Safety Act that would allow bikers to yield at stop signs in lieu of coming to a full stop. Needless to say, if the State Senate concurs in the House of Delegates position, it would be a grave mistake.
First, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration considers the bicycle to be a vehicle and says that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicle drivers. Additionally, the NHTSA states that vehicle drivers must treat bicyclists the same as any other vehicle.
As an example, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation states that “Automobiles are not required to yield to bicycles being ridden across a crosswalk …. as the bicycle is treated as a vehicle. A better choice is to dismount and walk your bike across.” The NHTSA also says that bicycle accidents occur because of lack of traffic law awareness, non-compliance with traffic laws, poor visibility of the bicyclist and alcohol or other impairment.
I can attest to this, since every day I stop at the Wolfe- Union street intersection, but I cannot see oncoming traffic either to my left or right because parked cars block my view. So, I very gingerly creep across that intersection after ensuring I won’t hit a car or cyclist. For years, I have said that this corner and others like it along Union Street are danger zones waiting for an accident to happen, and believe me, it will occur. I only pray that I will not be involved.
Hopefully, the Virginia Senate will not pass this legislation.
-Townsend A. “Van” Van Fleet, Alexandria