Virginia Senate panel backs car door opening bill

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Local,Virginia,Transportation,Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A Senate panel has endorsed legislation aimed at preventing people from opening car doors into the path of passing bicyclists.

The Transportation Committee voted 7-6 Wednesday to send Sen. Chap Petersen's bill to the Senate floor.

The bill would require drivers and passengers to make sure it's safe before opening vehicle doors on the side adjacent to moving traffic. Violators could be fined up to $100. Petersen, a Democrat from Fairfax, said bicyclists cite what they call "dooring" as the leading preventable cause of biking injuries.

Sen. Frank Wagner of Virginia Beach spoke against the bill. He said he owns a house in Richmond near Virginia Commonwealth University, where young cyclists and skateboarders recklessly whiz past cars parked on the street.

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