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New Laws to Make Cycling Safer in Connecticut

cycling_accident_lawyersRisCassi & Davis is home to passionate cyclists. We not only ride – but we support cycling events and organizations like the Jim Calhoun Ride for Lifesaving Research and Care and Bike Walk Connecticut.

Connecticut has long been known as a state that is somewhat unfriendly to cyclists, in large part due to arcane, car-centric state traffic laws .

Hopefully that is all about to change.

Reform legislation has just passed both chambers of the Connecticut General Assembly and is on its way to Governor Malloy’s desk for his signature. The new statute will remove restrictions to things like two-way bike tracks or lanes and give bicyclists more leeway to shift out into traffic lanes for safety reasons.

How will it work?

The new legislation requires state transportation planners to use updated, nationally recognized design standards for bike-friendly roadways, allowing for two-way bike lanes, buffered bike lanes and cycling tracks.

Not sure about the new jargon? Here is what it all means.

  • A two way bike lane is a lane that is really two lanes – allowing for bike traffic in both directions.
  • Buffered bike lane is a special lane that is separated from the roadway by extra space.
  • A cycling track is a specially designed lane that runs parallel to the roadway but is separated from it by fences or earthworks of some kind.

Advocates for the law claim that it will open up new funding sources from the federal DOT for new road construction in Connecticut.

Are the current laws really that bad?

Well – while there are provisions in state law that give cyclists a legal buffer zone (“… safe distance means (giving a cyclist) not less than three feet when the driver of a vehicle overtakes and passes a person riding a bicycle.” Enacted 2008), other provisions of law have made life difficult. As an example – current Connecticut law allows bicyclists to ride out into roadway travel lanes for a limited number of specific circumstances, and requires them to stay as far to the right side of the road as “practicable,” a provision that is up to broad interpretation. The new law seeks to clear up these ambiguities while making it more likely that future road designs will make cycling safer for all.

If you’re ever injured in a cycling accident, know that the Connecticut cycling accident lawyers at RisCassi & Davis have been assisting riders injured in accidents for 60 years. And we have received both state and national recognition for our work in this area. If you are ever in a cycling accident of any kind and would like a free consultation with one of our Connecticut injury lawyers, please contact usThere is no obligation.  

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