In a stated effort to protect the safety of motorists and pedestrians from personal injury, Virginia Beach no longer allows panhandling and other similar activities on concrete medians and dividers within the city limits. Persons and vehicles among the general public must avoid occupying a roadway median under the newly passed ordinance.
In other words, standing or driving on medians is against the law in Virginia Beach.
The City Council apparently concluded that the measure was necessary to reduce the possibility of car accidents or even pedestrians being run over in these areas.
According to the Virginia Pilot, the concrete median dividing traffic lanes on certain highly trafficked city roads became a “prime fundraising spot” for football teams, youth groups, and the homeless.
The Pilot reporting suggests that the new rule is a response to complaints from concerned drivers.
“Citizens were just concerned that somebody was going to get hit, whether it be somebody running out to do the fundraising or a driver being hurt because they’ve swerved to keep from hitting somebody,” said a spokeswoman for the city. “So it was truly a public safety concern.”
Section 21-600 of the Virginia Beach code, adopted on August 11, defines “median” as the dividing area–either paved or grassed–between opposing lanes. And “highway” includes all city streets and roadways. The new ordinance does however contain certain exceptions for pedestrians crossing a street, city workers or utility workers and their vehicles on official business, and mechanical breakdowns or other emergencies.
“Any activity going on in the median poses a threat to the public safety,” Officer Margie Long, a police spokeswoman, commented. “It’s just happening more and more.”
The ordinance goes into effect immediately. Violators can be charged with a Class II misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,500, up to six months in jail, or both.
If you have been involved in a Virginia car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accident, you need to know your legal rights. Do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at The Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, P.C. for a free consultation, Toll Free 877-544-5323.