On Wednesday, the full Virginia Senate will vote on Senate Bill 1293. The bill would authorize jurisdictions to allow the Safety Stop, which allows bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs and treat red lights as stop signs. The Safety Stop is a proven safety measure, recommended by the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) and adopted in ten other states, including the District of Columbia just last year.
The Safety Stop will make for better, safer bicycling in the Commonwealth but the bill faces an uncertain outcome on the Senate floor on Wednesday, February 1st. We encourage you to reach out to your State Senator before Wednesday and encourage their support for the bill.
The Safety (or Idaho Stop) is on a roll. Last year, the District of Columbia became the tenth jurisdiction to authorize the safety measure, going into effect this past January 1st. We wrote then about the safety implications here and vocally advocated for the policy change in the District. Now Virginia has the opportunity to join the fast-growing ranks of states recognizing the unique needs of bicyclists and prioritizing safety.
SB 1293 is enabling legislation that would authorize jurisdictions to allow bicyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs and/or treat red lights as stop signs. A 5-year study of the Safety Stop in Delaware was shown to contribute to a 23% reduction in bike crashes at stop-sign controlled intersections. Data like this is the reason Senator R. Creigh Deeds, who helped nix a previous Safety Stop bill for further study in 2021, is not only supporting this bill now but serving as its lead sponsor.
The Safety Stop works – encourage your Senator to vote yes TODAY. [button]]
But this isn’t the only safety-focused policy change in the works. Senate Bill 847 would allow bicyclists to proceed with the pedestrian walk signal at crosswalks. This is common sense, bipartisan legislation. Like the Safety Stop, allowing bicyclists to cross with pedestrians helps maximize their visibility to drivers and minimize exposure to vehicles in the intersection.
The Virginia Senate is expected to vote separately on SB 847 this Friday, February 3rd. Tell your State Senator that bicyclist safety at intersections is a priority for you and to vote YES on both bills this week.