FAIRFAX, Va. (WDVM) — If you’re passing a cyclist or a group of riders in a vehicle, you’ll soon have to change lanes more frequently.

Sgt. Tara Gerhard with Fairfax County Police said, “Fairfax County has unfortunately had 7 pedestrian fatalities and 2 cyclist fatalities so far in 2021.”

This law will require drivers to switch lanes if they can’t maintain three feet of distance when passing cyclists. According to Gerhard, cyclists will also now be allowed to ride abreast in a lane of travel.

Due to the fatalities, pedestrian and bicycle safety remains a big concern within the county. The Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling said in a statement, “I think it’s going to be huge in the long run. This will also require some education.”

“To educate our community about the changes in the law, we [began] posting information on our social media platforms to help us spread the word about these changes. We plan on continuing to share this information throughout the summer,” said Gerhard.

In February, the state law was adopted after General Assembly Legislators removed a provision that would allow cyclists to treat stop signs like a yield sign.

The current law already allows drivers to cross double yellow lines when passing others, including cyclists, skateboarders, and scooters. Another provision involves giving enough distance to mopeds, animal-drawn vehicles, and more when drivers pass them.

“We hope everyone will join us in helping keep our roads in Fairfax county safe for all road users,” said Gerhard.