A Capital Bikeshare rider in Washington last month. It is against the law in the District and Maryland to open a car door into the path of a cyclist — “dooring” them — but not in Virginia. (Andrew Harrer/BLOOMBERG)

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.”