[VIDEO] Motorists Can Cross Double Yellow Line to Pass Bicyclists

There’s been a major change in the law as it relates to motor vehicles and bicycles. Effective July 1 of 2015, when a motor vehicle is trying to pass a bicyclist or pedestrian on the roadway, motor vehicle operators are now allowed to cross the double yellow line to do that.

Video Transcription

Hello, my name is Andrew Flusche. I’m your Virginia traffic attorney. There’s been a major change in the law as it relates to motor vehicles and bicycles. Effective July 1 of 2015, when a motor vehicle is trying to pass a bicyclist or pedestrian on the roadway, motor vehicle operators are now allowed to cross the double yellow line to do that. I think it’s always been understood that if there’s no traffic oncoming and you’re trying to get around someone like that, that it’s not necessarily a problem. I’ve never seen an officer write a ticket if there’s no traffic coming.

Now the law makes it clear that it’s perfectly legal for a motorist to pass over the double yellow line in order to pass a bicyclist or pedestrian. Keep in mind that you have to make sure that it is clear that there’s nobody else coming, because then it would be unsafe and you probably would get a ticket for that. This ties into a change in the law from last year that makes it where motorists have to pass at least three feet away from a bicyclist. How far is three feet if you see a bicyclist on the road?

Three feet is going to be just a little bit beyond my arm, about four or five inches. It’s actually not that far away in the grand scheme of things but it does give quite a bit of distance between the motorist and the bicycle. On many of our roads in Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Fredericksburg, three feet away once you add in the width of the bicycle means that a vehicle cannot pass by that bicyclist without having to cross over the double yellow line or the center mark of the roadway.

That’s I think one reason the law has been changed, to make it where the motorist can give enough room but then also shouldn’t be charged with an offense for doing that assuming no traffic is coming. Keep that in mind whenever you’re out there driving or riding a bike. As a bicyclist myself, I think these are good laws to try to make sure that everyone can use the roads in harmony and not have issues, and especially not have accidents. Obviously, bicyclists need to obey the laws that apply when you’re on a bike, and motorists need to obey all the laws that apply when you’re driving a vehicle. Hopefully everybody can use the roads safely together and have a great summer.

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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