Street Travel

Bike lanes

Bike lanes separate bicyclists from other traffic. They may be marked by signs as well as white lines and symbols applied to the pavement.

Motorists should not drive in a bike lane except when turning. Before crossing a bike lane to turn, scan for bicyclists to the right and rear. Use a turn signal, scan again for bicyclists, and then merge into the bike lane for the turn.

Bicyclists and motorists must share the road, whether or not bike lanes are provided.

Shared Lane Markings [Sharrows] are road markings used to indicate where a bicyclist should be riding in the lane. They are used next to parked cars to help a bicyclist avoid being hit suddenly by car doors being opened and on lanes that are too narrow for cars and bicycles to comfortably travel side by side in the same lane. Occasionally they are used on steep downhill slopes to allow the bicyclist more maneuvering space to react when traveling at a high speed. Sharrows on a road are an indicator that motorists should not attempt to pass the cyclist. There is not enough room for the cyclist and to fully share the lane.

Keep a Safe Distance

BikerGettingDooredMotorists must be mindful of their surroundings whenever they open their door on the side of passing traffic. It is the responsibility of the motorist to ensure that their door will not obstruct the path of a passing bicyclist.

If a motorist or rider gets out of a vehicle in line with a cyclist, hitting them with the door, the vehicle is at fault.

In March of 2016, Virginia passed a law that levies a fine on drivers who open a vehicle door on the side of passing traffic without confirming that it was “reasonably safe to do so.”


Trail and Road Intersections

Motorists should consider trail intersections as they would other intersections. Bicyclists on multi-use trails and on the road must obey the laws pertinent to the trail or road.


What is a crosswalk?

Crosswalks might not be marked or painted on the highway but occur wherever sidewalks meet the street. and where streets intersect.

Code of Virginia  § 46.2-924

Yield to pedestrians
Motorists and bicyclists must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, both marked and unmarked.

Slow Down!

Survivability credit urbanist reconnectrochesterMotorists’ speeding is a major factor in crashes with pedestrians. According to a 2011 study by the AAA Foundation, the fatality rate for pedestrians struck by vehicles traveling at 32 mph is 25%. This rate is doubled when speed is increased by 10 mph (50% fatality rate at 42 mph).

Be Aware

Many pedestrian-motorist crashes occur when the pedestrian is crossing the road, either mid-block or at intersections.

Don’t block the crosswalk

A driver should not pass the white stop bar and encroach on the crosswalk while waiting for the signal to change. This prevents walkers and bicyclists from safely using the crosswalk in front of the car.

Similarly, a driver should not enter the intersection until there is sufficient space to clear the intersection on the other side. Otherwise he will end up blocking the crosswalk on the far side.

Drivers, look left-right-left
In addition to other vehicles, motorists should look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT for bicyclists and pedestrians, particularly at heavily used intersections and trail intersections.

Your Side of the Road

Ride RIGHT MOTORISTS and BICYCLISTS use the right side of a two-way road.

Driving with bicyclists on the road It is required by law that motorists distance themselves at least three feet away from bicyclists as they pass them. It is legal for motorists to cross the double yellow line in order to safely pass a cyclist, as long as the oncoming lane is clear.

Slow Down to Get Around: Passing emergency, stopped vehicles, mail and trash trucks

Watch out for stopped emergency vehicles and trash collectors. Waste collection workers are frequently at risk, as they are in our neighborhoods on a daily basis collecting our waste and recyclables. Bicyclists and drivers need to be mindful that when they see a collection vehicle on the road, there often is a worker on the street or near the truck. The Slow Down to Get Around law requires drivers passing stopped collection vehicles to slow down to at least 10 miles per hour below the posted speed limit and provide at least a two-foot cushion between their vehicle and the collection vehicle. Violations are punishable by fines. (§ 46.2-921.1)