Bicycling Action Day (01-29)

Update: 2013-21-01, includes talking points provided by Tom Bowden (VBF, BikeVirginia)
Update: 2013-28-01, included any changes to bill status (e.g. killed, tabled, struck from docket)
Update: 2013-02-24, bill statuses updated

BicycleActionDay (2013-01-06)

Current legislation we support:

  • SB736, Patroned by Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax)
    • This bill intends to prevent collisions when a car door is swung into the path of a traveling vehicle.
    • This bill was killed in House Transportation Committee.
  •  SB1060, Patroned by Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania)
    • This bill intends to prevent collisions from a motor vehicle following a cyclist more closely than reasonable.
    • This bill intends to make the minimum passing distance when overtaking a cyclist three feet.
    • This bill was amended in House Transportation Sub-committee #2.
    • This bill was killed on the House floor.
  • HB1810, Patroned by Del. Delores McQuinn (D-Richmond)
    • This bill intends to prevent repercussions to individuals who wear cold weather gear that partially covers the face.
    • This bill was killed in House Transportation Committee.
  • HB1950, Patroned by Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington)
    • This bill intends to prevent collisions from a motor vehicle following a cyclist more closely than reasonable.
    • This bill was killed on the House floor.
  • HB2041, Patroned by Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax)
    • This bill intends to provide flexibility for the creation of bikeways to public recreation areas and historical sites.
    • This bill has been forwarded to the Governor’s desk.
  • HB2124, Patronded by Del. Mark Keam (D-Vienna)
    • This bill intends to prevent collisions from a motor vehicle following a cyclist more closely than reasonable.
    • This bill was struck from the docket, very similar to HB1950.

Talking points (shout-out Tom Bowden for providing these):

1. Roads are for people, not just people in cars. The streetplan of Richmond (and Virginia) was well established long before the first automobile appeared here. Most local roads in Richmond predate the arrival of automobiles.

2. Virginia law gives cyclists all the rights of operators of motor vehicles, except on limited access highways. Virginia Code Section 46.2-800 et seq.

3. Cyclists pay more than their share for roads, because virtually all cyclists also own cars and pay gas tax, and also pay general taxes. Contrary to what many seem to assume, our local roads are not fully paid for, (if at all), by car taxes or gasoline taxes. Given the vanishingly small impact of cyclists on road maintenance, one can easily argue that cyclists who ride their bikes instead of driving their cars are subsidizing those who choose only to drive. It’s historical fact that the “Good Roads Movement” which led to widespread paving of roads, was started by cyclists.

4. Cycling represents $133 billion of our annual gross domestic product (GDP) of roughly $15 trillion. That’s a little less than 1 percent — but that also means that if every cyclist could get just one friend to start riding with them in the next 12 months, we could (in theory) instantly add a almost a full percentage point to our GDP growth. Given the relatively low participation rate for cycling, that seems very doable — much more likely than getting the same effect in other sectors where participation rates are already very high.

5. Properties located near bike paths are valued up to 14 percent more than similar properties without such facilities. Wouldn’t it be great to boost home values instead of bailing out banks?

6. The bicycle industry supports 1.1 million jobs and generates $17.7 billion in tax revenues each year, and there is lots of room for growth. Double cycling and create a million jobs? That sounds better to me than some tax and spend stimulus plan.

7. Studies show that expenditures on bike/ped infrastructure create more jobs per dollar than highway projects. Studies also show that real estate values are higher for properties located near bike trails and other bike friendly facilities. 

8. Cycling reduces heart disease and other costly health problems – blunting the need for expensive health care – regardless of who pays for it. That’s what is known as “bending the cost curve downward.” Some estimate the cost of physical inactivity at $76 billion a year in health care costs alone. Bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure can help reduce this. Consider the fact that the #1 reason Army recruits are rejected is due to obesity. 

9. Most cyclists need no financial incentive to ride, but even if every existing bicycle commuter received the commuter tax credit the total annual cost to the treasury would be only about $175 million. In contrast, direct subsidies alone to drivers and passengers in automobiles total roughly $84.4 billion (at 2 cents per passenger mile). 

10. Each year, we incur an estimated $166 billion on health care costs associated with traffic injuries and deaths caused by cars. Here again, we can bend the healthcare cost curve downward, with or without healthcare reform. 
11. Fewer short trips by vehicles, and healthier lifestyles including “utility cycling” can cut into the $56 billion per year in health care costs associated with asthma alone. And you don’t have to race to reap the fitness benefits of cycling. A few miles a day can take you a long way. 

12. Cycling can make a serious dent in our dependence on foreign oil. A huge portion of all petroleum fuels go to automobile transportation. Only 15 percent is related to getting to work, while 90 percent of all trips are less than two miles. Enabling just 10 percent of even those short trips to be on a bike or on foot can make a real reduction in demand for oil imports.

13. Cycling is growing in popularity among the very same demographic groups we want to attract to Richmond. So much so that companies looking for places to locate new facilities take the bike friendliness of the community into account when making their decision. Richmond recently lost out to Asheville NC for a $150 Million investment by Fat Tire Brewing – a bike friendly business looking for a bike friendly home for its new plant. How many more of those contests do we want to lose?

14. The 2015 UCI World Road Championship is in Richmond. Rest assured that that event will be funded overwhelmingly by corporate donations, and the lasting impact will benefit the entire region, with tax revenue going to both the locality and the Commonwealth.

15 More bikes on the road will DECREASE not increase congestion – every car takes up the space of up to ten bikes, not to mention all the space we devote to parking cars which sit idle 90+% of the time. Encouraging people to ride their bikes for the short trips can drastically reduce traffic on local roads.

16. Consider that for the cost of the new interstate overpass in Short Pump, the Richmond region could have funded two decades worth of world class bike/ped infrastructure – instead, we spent it to help people from other cites bypass our city. 

17. Finally, for me, making Richmond bike friendly is about FREEDOM. As long as people want to use their bikes and their own power to get around, and as long as the Virginia Code says it’s legal, they have the right to do it safely. We cyclists don’t say drivers should give up their cars – you have the right and the freedom to drive and we support that. All we want is a little consideration for our rights, and our safety too.
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9 Responses to Bicycling Action Day (01-29)

  1. Pingback: Making the Case for Bicycle Infrastructure « Bikeable Richmond

  2. Pingback: New 'dooring' bill meant to protect cyclists - RVANews

  3. Keith says:

    The VCU campus is rather large. Is there a specific building or location for everyone to congregate?

    • Michael says:

      Hi Keith,

      We’ll be meeting at the VCU compass, which is between the library, dining hall, and Hibbs building. Look forward to seeing you there!


  4. Pingback: Join Bicycling Action Day in Richmond on Jan 29! | VéloCity Bicycle Cooperative

  5. Pingback: Lots of Legislation « Bikeable Richmond

  6. Matt says:

    Any information for supporting this for those who have to work next tuesday. I cant make the event but I strongly support these initiatives.

    • Michael says:

      Hi Matt,

      Thanks very much for the note. We have had a small delay in posting the Facebook event. The best way to support is to contact your representative and spell out your support for these. Many of these are applicable to all vehicles, not simply cyclists, which means increased vehicular safety benefits all users. You can look your rep up here.

      If you’d like some ideas for sample emails to send, please feel free to reach out:


  7. Pingback: Legislation Articles Recap (2013 GA Session) | Virginia Bicycling Federation

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