Public Input Sought on New VDOT Bicycle Plan

August 17, 2010

Bike Charlottesville, a local bicycle advocacy coalition, is encouraging all central Virginians to review and comment on the new draft State Bicycle Plan that has just been unveiled for public input by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

VDOT officials say the State Bicycle Policy Plan was developed to ensure bicyclists are an integral component of Virginia’s transportation system. The plan aims to provide bicycle policy recommendations that will guide the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of bicycle accommodations.

The draft plan is available online and public comment on the plan will be accepted through September 17.

“This is an important opportunity and a critical time period for all who are interested in bicycling as transportation, recreation, or sport,” says Heather Higgins, spokeswoman for Bike Charlottesville. “Once adopted, VDOT’s State Bicycle Plan will direct the future course of bicycling in Virginia for years to come. It is crucial that the public weigh in now with their suggestions for integrating cyclists into Virginia’s transportation system so that bicycling is safer and more enjoyable throughout the entire Commonwealth.”

Earlier this month, Bike Charlottesville released the results of a community survey, “Bike Ballot,” on bicycling conditions and needs in Central Virginia.

Notable priority requests from the greater Charlottesville area public include:

- Expanding bike facilities (bike lanes, bike corridors through high traffic areas, rail trails and other forms of bike trails) to support cycling for transportation and recreation,

- Motorist education regarding safely sharing the roads and cyclists’ and drivers’ rights and responsibilities, offered in the form of expanded curriculum for driver’s education classes, DMV driver’s manual, and the DMV driver’s license tests,

- Education of law enforcement officers regarding motorists’ and cyclists’ rights and responsibilities and proper incident reporting techniques for traffic accidents involving cyclists,

- State-wide, interactive, online, GPS map resource for reporting and sharing bike commuter / transportation routes, areas not safe for cycling, and bike accident incidents, and last but not least

- Legislative reform, specifically adoption of the yield and stop sign treatments championed by the State of Idaho, a 3 foot passing zone, and the creation of a careless driving law.

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