Passing vehicles; any vehicle passing a bicycle, etc., shall pass at least three feet to left. (SB566)

Introduced By

Sen. Patsy Ticer (D-Alexandria) with support from co-patrons Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Charlottesville), Sen. Dave Marsden (D-Burke), Sen. John Miller (D-Newport News), Sen. Phil Puckett (D-Tazewell), and Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (D-Arlington)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Careless driving; following too closely; passing other vehicles.  Creates the offense of careless driving as a Class 3 misdemeanor. The bill also adds bicycles, electric personal assistive mobility devices, electric power-assisted bicycles, and mopeds to the list of vehicles that the driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow more closely than is reasonable. Also increases passing distance from two to three feet. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/13/2010Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/13/10 10103506D
01/13/2010Referred to Committee on Transportation
01/26/2010Impact statement from DPB (SB566)
01/28/2010Reported from Transportation with substitute (15-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/28/2010Committee substitute printed 10104804D-S1
02/01/2010Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/02/2010Read second time
02/02/2010Reading of substitute waived
02/02/2010Committee substitute agreed to 10104804D-S1
02/02/2010Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute SB566S1
02/02/2010Impact statement from DPB (SB566S1)
02/03/2010Read third time and passed Senate (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/08/2010Placed on Calendar
02/08/2010Read first time
02/08/2010Referred to Committee on Transportation
02/16/2010Assigned Transportation sub: #2
02/17/2010Subcommittee recommends laying on the table
03/14/2010Left in Transportation


Russell Fleming writes:

not follow more closely than is reasonable... that can not be left open for police or the public to decide. There must be a distance if this is to be law.

Allen Muchnick writes:

The long-standing test for following too closely is crashing into the vehicle ahead. Prescribing a set distance is not practical because a minimum safe distance depends upon the speed of the vehicle ahead and various other conditions.

Pete Beers writes:

Increasing passing distance from 2 to 3 feet is a step in the right direction. Getting ruling on the books regarding not following closely in regards to bicycles is a step in the right direction. I like the idea of the Class 3 Misdemeanor for careless driving. Might have been nice to have the 2 people that hit me last year charged with that. It is better than having them charged with NOTHING for their careless and aggressive driving.

Jonathan Krall writes:

This law, particularly the increase in the specified safe passing distance to 3 feet, would be a positive step for traffic safety.

Quinn Hershberger writes:

Please pass this bill giving us 3'. I had an elderly lady on Saturday try to pass me as 2 lanes were coming into one. She saw she couldnt do it in time and I heard squealing tires beside me. Several cars almost rammed into her nearly hitting the cyclists behind me. She then passed me after we got through that and cut in front of me, stopped and turned right. Please give us as much protection as possible. I am a small business owner and pay a lot of tax money each year and ask that we be given respect and courtesy on the road. Thanks! Quinn

Reb writes:

Thanks for considering this bill/law. As a long time cyclist and runner this should have been addressed decades ago. It is the law to give room to police officers on the side of the road why not cyclists? We don't ask for much, just give us a little room. We have families that would like to see us come on in one piece.