Read below for important information on sharing the road as a motorist


On the Road
Cyclists can ride bikes on roads, and motorists must share the road with them, whether bike lanes are provided or not. Cyclists may use the full right traffic lane for safety.

Bike Lanes

Bike lanes are to separate bikes, e-bikes, motorized skateboards, and scooters from other traffic. Bike lanes may be marked by signs, as well as white lines or colored pavement, and symbols applied to the pavement. Parking is not allowed in bike lanes. Often cyclists need to ride outside a bike lane when it is too narrow, or hazards are present.

Motorists will not drive in a bike lane except in some cases when making a right turn. Motorists are only allowed to cross into a bike lane when turning right. Before crossing a bike lane to turn, drivers must scan for cyclists to the right, rear, and forward, use their turn signal, scan again and then merge into the bike lane for the turn.

Motorists: STOP

Motorists must come to a complete stop at red traffic signals and STOP signs. Before turning right on red, they must STOP, look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT-STRAIGHT, then proceed. The most dangerous situation for cyclists and pedestrians is at intersections where motorists fail to come to a stop.


Shared Lane Markings (Sharrows) help motorists stay aware that cyclists may be using the road. Sharrows are an indicator to drivers that bicyclists may take the lane, and there is not enough room to share the lane.

Sharrows help cyclists ride safely:

  • next to parked cars to avoid crashing into car doors that are suddenly opened.
  • in lanes that are too narrow for cars and bicycles to comfortably travel side by side.
  • on steep downhill slopes to allow them more maneuvering space to react when traveling at a high speed.



Motorist Right Turn


Drive cautiously when turning and watch for others waiting at stop signs or lights. They may be preparing to move. Look out for those who may not see your vehicle as you are turning, and make eye contact around you.

Right Turns

Come to a complete stop before turning right on red. When making a right turn, slow down and check for cyclists and pedestrians. Check behind you to ensure you do not turn into a cyclist’s path as you cross the rightmost parts of the travel or bike lanes. Look ahead of you into the crosswalk and on the adjacent street corners to make sure people walking and cycling are not entering the crosswalk. Avoid a common collision by looking right before making a right turn on red or from a driveway.



Turning Graphic

Turning Left

One of the most common types of collisions occurs when motorists turn left. Slow down and watch the crosswalk before you begin your turn. Pedestrians and cyclists may have the same “go” signal that you have and can cross in front of your vehicle as you turn.

Always be prepared to STOP suddenly or take other evasive action if a cyclist or pedestrian makes an unexpected move.


Intersections and Crosswalks
What is a crosswalk? Crosswalks might not be marked or painted on the highway. Wherever sidewalks meet the street and where streets intersect, a crosswalk exists, whether painted on the road or not. –Code of Virginia § 46.2-924
Marked Crosswalks
Mid-block Crosswalk
Unmarked Crosswalk
Crosswalk Graphic

Motorists and cyclists: Yield to pedestrians

Motorists and bicyclists must yield and stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, both marked and unmarked.

Don’t block the crosswalk and Intersections

Motorists should not pass the white stop bar and encroach on the crosswalk while waiting for the signal to change. Doing so prevents people walking and cycling from safely using the crosswalk in front of the car.

Similarly, motorists should not enter an intersection until there is enough space to clear the intersection on the other side. Otherwise, they will end up blocking the crosswalk on the far side.


Be Aware
Many collisions occur when people walking or on bikes cross the road, either mid-block or at intersections.

Drivers: look left-right-left-straight

In addition to looking for other vehicles, motorists should look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT-STRAIGHT for cyclists and pedestrians, particularly at heavily used traffic or trail intersections.

Trail and road intersections

Motorists should consider trail intersections as they would other intersections even if crosswalks are not marked.

Motorists: Slow down

Speed kills. Speeding was the factor in 42 percent of the 4,097 traffic deaths and 20 percent of the 317,497 injuries from 2016 and 2020. Speeding is particularly dangerous to vulnerable road users such as pedestrians. Between 2016-2020, people walking represented 14 percent of all traffic deaths. Vehicles traveling at relatively low speeds can cause serious injury and fatalities.

“A person who operates a motor vehicle in a careless or distracted manner and is the proximate cause of serious physical injury to a vulnerable road user is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor leading to jail or a fine up to $2500.” Code of Virginia §46.2-816.1″

Hits at MPH


Don't Pose A Double Threat

Passing at crosswalks and intersections is illegal. Drivers often do not see people crossing the road in front of slowed or stopped vehicles.

When crossing more than one lane of traffic, watch for double threats with oncoming cars where one vehicle stops, yet others pass around, or do not stop for bicyclists and pedestrians trying to cross.

Reduce this risk by waiting for better visibility across lanes of traffic.

double threat to pedestrian


Slow down to get around: tips on how to pass other vehicles and travellers on the road
car passing a truck

Slow Down to Get Around: Passing emergency and stopped vehicles (mail, delivery, tow, construction, road repair and trash trucks) requires extra care as there are often drivers and workers on or near the road.

Waste collection workers are frequently at risk, as they are in our neighborhoods on a regular basis. 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 three-foot cushion between their vehicle and the collection vehicle. Violations are punishable by fines. –Code of Virginia § 46.2-921.1

Photo speed enforcement may be located near school and construction zones.
Encountering bicyclists and pedestrians – Code of Virginia §46.2-882

Boarding bus

Transit and rideshare: Watch for people exiting and boarding While passing stopped vehicles

Slowed or stopped traffic could indicate people are crossing the street. Watch before passing to reduce the risk of hitting a pedestrian or cyclist crossing in front of a stopped vehicle.

Driving with Cyclists

Safe passing with cyclists on the road

The law requires that motorists stay at least three feet away from cyclists as they pass them. Drivers may legally cross the yellow line in order to safely pass a cyclist, if the oncoming lane is clear.

Drivers must stay out of the bike lanes unless turning. Use caution when turning, in case cyclists are in your blind spot. When turning, watch for cyclists and pedestrians crossing in front.

Driving in a bike lane to pass a vehicle, except when directed by emergency responders, is prohibited.

Dutch Reach

Dutch reach

The Dutch Reach, a safe method of opening the driver’s side door, is used in Holland where there are many cyclists on the road. Here’s how:

  • Seated behind the wheel, use your right hand to reach in front of you toward the door, pivot your body to the left to look back to see if any cyclists or traffic are approaching. Also check the side mirror.
  • Then open the door, still with caution, with your right hand. This helps minimize the chance of “dooring” (hitting with a car door) a cyclist or being hit by oncoming traffic.
driving in inclement weather

Rainy/Snowy Conditions

Drivers should always use headlights in poor weather conditions. If you are unsure of your ability to drive safely, do not drive. Take extra care to look out for pedestrians, cyclists and those taking transit in dim light or rainy weather.

Encountering Pedestrians

Encountering cyclists and pedestrians

When there is no sidewalk or shoulder, motorists need to look for people who are walking or riding bikes along the edge of the road. Pedestrians are safest if they walk facing traffic. Cyclists should ride with traffic on the right side of a two-way road.

Stop for school buses

All stop for school buses

All oncoming and following traffic must stop for stopped buses with red flashing lights and a stop sign extended. The only time people driving do not need to stop is when the school bus is traveling in the opposite direction on a divided roadway with a median or barrier. (§ 46.2-859)

bicyclist in bike lane

Check before opening car doors

Be mindful of your surroundings whenever you open the driver’s door on the side of passing traffic. It is your responsibility to ensure your car door will not obstruct the path of a passing cyclist.

If you or your passenger hit a cyclist with a car door, your vehicle is at fault. Virginia law 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.” – Code of Virginia § 46.2-818.1.

girl on a bike with a helmet

Backing Out

Before backing out of a parking space or driveway, drivers should look behind, left, and right to check for pedestrians, cyclists and other cars before proceeding.

commuting busy highway


Consider driving at non-peak travel times to avoid stress and traffic congestion.

Leave a safe distance between your vehicle and buses as they may stop frequently. Pass a stopped bus only with extreme care, as people exiting the bus may cross in front of it.

Look for pedestrians and cyclists when entering and exiting driveways and parking garages. Look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT-STRAIGHT.


Part 2
Account for your car’s blind spots, especially when driving an SUV or truck, by checking side mirrors, the rear-view mirror and turning your head if safely possible.


Don’t cut or turn into oncoming travel lanes to beat traffic. Check all lanes to be sure there is no oncoming traffic hidden behind turning vehicles.


Check for any pedestrians or cyclists who may be approaching from behind on the right.

Drivers should watch for pedestrians, especially:

  • At stop signs and when pulling out of or into driveways and parking spots.
  • When preparing to turn.
  • When turning left with oncoming traffic.
  • Drivers should always be prepared to stop suddenly or take other evasive action to avoid a collision with another vehicle, a cyclist or pedestrian.

Crash Facts

In 2020, even with the fewer cars traveling during the pandemic, there were 1,242 motor vehicle crashes involved pedestrians. 1,186 people were injured, and 114 people were killed. 48% of crashes cited alcohol and 32% cited speed as a factor in pedestrian fatalities.

crash facts injuries
Injuring 1,312 People
Crash Fatalities
Killing 111 people
Alcohol related accidents
Alcohol was a factor in 47% of fatal crashes involving pedestrians.
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