The bill introduced by state Sen. Chap Petersen, of the ever-shifting Fairfax City and County district, to prohibit the “dooring” of cyclists passed the Virginia Senate by a 23-17 vote Tuesday. Last week the Senate Transportation Committee approved it 7-6.
The bill instructs car drivers and passengers — as laws do in at least 40 states and D.C. — not to open their doors in the path of cyclists or any oncoming traffic. With no violation currently on Virginia books, injured cyclists often are rejected for medical coverage by insurance companies because no fault was assessed.
The bill was angrily denounced as an “asinine measure” and “embarrassing” by a Norfolk columnist.
Michael Gilbert of the cycling advocacy group Ride Richmond pointed out that the bill protects moving cars and drivers, who can be forced to swerve around or hit open car doors in traffic, as well as cyclists. Petersen said on his blog that the bill passed in part because “Senate Democrats stayed in peloton formation to support me . . . It now moves on to the Pyrenees, i.e. the House Transportation Committee.”