‘We see it all too often’: Cycling group nearly hit by SUV trying to pass them
HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - A group of bicyclists was nearly hit by a car trying to pass them with oncoming traffic headed their way.
It happened July 22 on Purcell Road in Henrico County, three weeks after new bicycle safety laws went into effect across Virginia.
Thankfully, no one was hurt during the incident, but the near-miss has certainly left the group of cyclists frustrated.
“The stupidity of a motorist trying to pass us while there’s oncoming traffic,” said David McMillan. That sight was caught on camera by McMillan, who has front and rear-facing cameras on his bicycle.
“Unfortunately, we see it all too often,” he said.
On that same ride, several cars were seen passing the group a little too close for comfort.
Under the new bike laws, drivers can cross a solid double-yellow line to allow for more room to get by.
“But they still have to do so in a safe manner,” said Henrico Lt. Rob Netherland. “So, in other words, you can’t just do it when there are other cars and traffic coming towards you.”
“Would you pass a car with oncoming traffic? It’s the same idea,” McMillan said.
Henrico police are looking to ramp up patrol efforts on the road over the next few months.
“Officers have to witness the traffic violations to be able to address the issue whether it’s a warning or summons,” Netherland said.
However, officers hope drivers will learn about the new bike laws, which also allows two cyclists to ride side-by-side.
“You still have to be safe when you go around them, and yes, you have to go into that other lane, but it’s a shorter distance you have to get around the cyclists,” Netherland said.
This incident happened just days before two cyclists were killed in roughly 17 hours in the metro-area.
Netherland said the cyclist who died on Chamberlayne Road disregarded the traffic signal.
“They have to obey the rules as well,” Netherland said. “They have to follow all rules of the road, so they have to stop at stop signs, stop at traffic signals, just like a motor vehicle.”
Bicyclists are also urged to ride prepared.
“If you’re out there in the evenings in the dark, dusk, have bright clothing, have lights,” McMillan said.
So far this year, Henrico County has had two deadly bicycle crashes, one in February and one on Sunday.
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Meanwhile, McMillan and others hope whether you’re a driver or cyclist, you’ll be aware of your surroundings.
“Being patient is key,” Netherland said.
“I’m a son, a husband, a father and a grandfather... what would you want people to do around your relatives,” McMillan said.
The recreational biker added he hopes the July 22 incident will be a wake-up call to others. Authorities add the safety on the roads should be the responsibility of all drivers and cyclists.
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