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STOP For Pedestrians, and Other New Virginia Traffic Laws

Blaszkow Legal, PLLC July 6, 2020

Virginia has implemented some new laws that directly impact traffic safety, and the way we drive. The legislature has created a new class, “vulnerable road users,” such as bicyclists and animal-driven vehicle operators. Additionally, the laws relating to how a motorist stops for a pedestrian has changed.

It is very important to heed these laws, and drive safely and responsible. If you have been injured as the result of the negligence, carelessness, or recklessness of another person/motorist, call the Alexandria Injury Attorney today.

New Virginia Traffic Laws

  1. Newly enacted VA. Code § 46.2-816.1. implemented to protect “vulnerable road users.”Provides that 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, defined in the bill as a pedestrian; the operator of or passenger on a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, wheel chair or wheel chair conveyance, skateboard, roller skates, motorized skateboard or scooter, or animal-drawn vehicle or any attached device; or any person riding an animal, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The law also prohibits the driver of a motor vehicle from crossing into a bicycle lane to pass or attempt to pass another vehicle, except in certain circumstances.

  2. Be sure to STOP for pedestrians in Virginia.In an effort to protect pedestrians, VA. Code § 46.2-924 was amended and now requires drivers to stop and not just yield for pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections. Drivers must stop and remain stopped until such pedestrian has passed the lane in which the vehicle is stopped.The amendment also prohibits the driver of another vehicle approaching such stopped vehicle from an adjacent lane or from behind from overtaking and passing the stopped vehicle.Pedestrians are still responsible for paying attention at crosswalks and cannot enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic, as well as obeying the “Walk” and “Don’t Walk” warnings when there are signals.In addition, you should always be on the lookout for vehicles and never assume you have been seen. Make sure to follow the rules and use sidewalks and crosswalks where they are available.

  3. Reckless DrivingNew amendments to VA. Code § 46.2-862, raises the threshold for per se reckless driving for speeding from driving in excess of 80 miles per hour to driving in excess of 85 miles per hour. The threshold for per se reckless driving for speeding for driving at or more than 20 miles per hour in excess of the speed limit remains unchanged.Also, any person who drives a motor vehicle at a speed in excess of 80 miles per hour but below 86 miles per hour on any highway in the Commonwealth having a maximum speed limit of 65 miles per hour shall be subject to an additional fine of $100.