Despite the cancellation of the 2020 National Bike Summit this week, Bike Walk Connecticut still met with staff on Capitol Hill via conference call on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 to ask for support on various bike/ped legislative proposals. We organized these meetings as part of the National Bike Summit’s Lobby Day. Click here to download fact sheets provided by the League of American Bicyclists related to each of the 'asks' below.
Our requests to Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal included these three ‘asks’:
We proposed the following requests to Connecticut Representatives Joe Courtney, John Larson, Jim Himes, and Rosa DeLauro (we hope to meet with Rep. Hayes soon):
All Connecticut Legislator offices indicated interest in our requests, and we now await their response. We appreciated the time that office staff generously provided us to discuss these bike/ped proposals. Connecticut’s Senate and House offices also received fact sheets regarding these issues.
A special thank you from Bike Walk Connecticut to Bruce Donald from East Coast Greenway and Laura Baum for participating in these discussions.
A public hearing has been scheduled for March 2, 2020 on Raised Bill No.5324, which covers multiple bicycle and pedestrian topics (see details below).
Transportation Committee Public Hearing
Monday, March 2, 2020 - 11:00 AM
CT Legislative Office Building (LOB), Room 1E
210 Capitol Ave, Hartford, CT
Raised Bill No.5324 "An act concerning pedestrian safety at crosswalks, speed limits in municipalities, fines and charges for certain violations, and the greenways commemorative account."
To (1) require motorists to grant the right-of-way to pedestrians who affirmatively indicate their intention to cross the road in a crosswalk;
(2) allow local traffic authorities to establish lower speed limits on streets under their jurisdiction by holding a public hearing regarding such speed limits and providing notification of such speed limits to the Office of the State Traffic Administration;
(3) increase the fine for operating a motor vehicle while using a hand-held mobile telephone or electronic device;
(4) increase the additional fee provided to municipalities for certain traffic violations;
(5) establish a fine for opening the door of a motor vehicle in a way that impedes the travel of a pedestrian or a person riding a bicycle; and (6) establish the greenways commemorative account.
Thursday, January 30, 2020
Old Judiciary Room, Connecticut State Capitol
Hosted by Bike Walk CT
It was standing room only, and we successfully indicated to CT's Legislators that improved bicycling and walking have widespread public support in reference to:
- Proposed 2020 State Legislation
- CT2030 Transportation Plan
- Complete Streets
Big thanks to our excellent speakers: Rep. Roland Lemar, Co-Chair Transportation Committee, Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey, Tom Maziarz, CT DOT, Mike Morehouse, Fitzgerald & Halliday and a special thank you to Rep. Roland Lemar for sponsoring this event.
Good news: the Judiciary Committee recently voted unanimously to move HB 5403 out of its comittee, a step toward getting it voted on. HB 5403 would increase penalties for drivers that don't yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or don't use due care to avoid hitting a pedestrian or cyclist. The bill is now being reviewed by the Legislative Commissioner's Office. Next, we'll want the House to bring the bill up for a vote. Stay tuned for the possibility of more action alerts.
In addition to thanking the full Judiciary Committee for its for backing this bill, we say thank you to Stamford Rep. Terry Adams, the original proponent of the concepts behind this bill, and to cosponsors Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey, 133rd Dist.; Sen. Beth Bye, 5th Dist.; Rep. Steven Stafstrom, 129th Dist.; and Rep. Mitch Bolinsky, 106th Dist.
Minnesota laws get it right. That's why it's been the least dangerous place for pedestrians. See http://www.autoinsurancecenter.com/the-worst-places-to-be-a-pedestrian.htm .
March 1, 2016
Re: SUPPORT for HB 5403, An Act Increasing Penalties For Failure To Yield To Pedestrians In Crosswalks And Failure To Exercise Due Care To Avoid Hitting A Pedestrian Or Cyclist
Dear Representative Tong, Senator Coleman, and Members of the Judiciary Committee:
Bike Walk Connecticut and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign write jointly to thank you for raising HB 5403, an important measure to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists to use the roads. We support the bill and urge the legislature to pass it in 2016 before there’s one more pedestrian or cyclist tragedy.
News Accounts Show Connecticut Not Hospitable to Pedestrians and Cyclists
Recent news accounts from across the state, along with the just-released 2016 Auto Insurance Center report on pedestrian fatalities and injuries, underscore the need for people all across Connecticut to know and follow the rules for safely sharing the road. This is not a new phenomenon: our 2014 research for the Vulnerable User law found that 10,793 pedestrians and cyclists were injured or killed on Connecticut roads from 2006 through 2012, according to state and federal statistics.
Connecticut Needs a Share the Road Campaign for Drivers, Pedestrians and Cyclists
Everybody should feel safe using Connecticut’s roads. Our roads are traveled by people of all ages and abilities who walk, run and cycle for transportation, fitness, recreation, and tourism. Those people must be welcome and expected on our roads.
Legal, Financial Consequences Would Change Behavior
Not only does Connecticut need to re-learn and recommit to the following the rules of the road, we need to step up enforcement of those rules. To the best of our knowledge, the Vulnerable User law enacted in 2014 has never been enforced. The 3-foot safe passing rule isn’t widely observed or easily enforced. And clearly, the rules for yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks go unheeded. The absence of legal or financial consequences to ignoring “share the road” rules simply reinforces the undesirable behavior that so often has truly tragic consequences.
Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-300(c) Should be Corrected Too
In addition to strengthening penalties as this bill provides, please consider correcting a little known 2007 amendment to Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-300(c). Public Act 07-167 amended subsection (c) by replacing “steps to the curb” with “steps off the curb or into the crosswalk” and specifying a fine of $90, effective July 1, 2007. Prioritizing drivers over non-motorized road users, as that amendment did, is simply poor, short-sighted public policy that has no place in a world of climate change, massive traffic congestion problems, and an obesity epidemic.
Minnesota and Other Model Laws
We wish to call your attention to a few pro-pedestrian, pro-cyclist laws in other states that could serve as worthy models for Connecticut:
With four out of five Connecticut workers driving to work alone by car, it’s no wonder that our roads are congested, costing us some $1.3 billion annually in lost time and wasted fuel, according to DOT. Nor should we overlook the fact that transportation is the single biggest source of Connecticut’s greenhouse gas pollution. According to DEEP, that’s mostly from passenger cars.
Accordingly, Connecticut must go beyond accommodating cyclist and pedestrian travel to actually promoting it, so that we can simultaneously relieve congestion, address climate change, improve public health, and attract and retain the millennials and knowledge workers that will give Connecticut's innovation economy a true competitive advantage.
Many of our members have been sharing their personal experiences with you about their adventures, and misadventures, as a pedestrian or cyclist trying to navigate Connecticut’s roads. We urge you to read their remarks and take them to heart.
Thank you for considering our views. We look forward to helping to see that HB 5403 passes this session.
Kelly Kennedy, Executive Director, Bike Walk Connecticut
Joseph Cutrufo, Connecticut Policy Director, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
Calling all bike ped enthusiasts! Please let the Judiciary Committee and your legislators know you support HB 5403, An Act Increasing Penalties For Failure To Yield To Pedestrians In Crosswalks And Failure To Exercise Due Care To Avoid Hitting A Pedestrian Or Cyclist.
Please Submit Your Testimony in Support of HB 5403
Please thank the Judiciary Committee for raising HB 5403 and let them know you would like it to be passed this year. If you've been hit or frequently encounter unsafe drivers when you're out following the rules of the road, please share your experience to make clear how much work CT has to do to be a better place to bike and walk. Include your name and town of residence at the end. Please be aware that all submitted testimony is public record and will be linked on the Connecticut General Assembly website. Please copy your own legislators (find them here) and email@example.com. Send your testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here's a sample message to personalize.
Can You Attend the March 2 Hearing?
A public hearing on HB 5403 will take place on Wednesday, March 2 at 1 pm in at the Gen Re Auditorium at UConn's Stamford campus. We encourage as many bike ped supporters as possible to attend the hearing. A strong showing would make a forceful statement. Please consider testifying too (you usually get 3 minutes max to talk). Map.
HB 5403 would increase fines from $90 to a maximum of $500 for drivers who don’t yield to pedestrians. Drivers who don’t use care to avoid colliding with a bicyclist or pedestrian can also be fined up to $500. The bill was proposed by the Judiciary Committee.
Tonight in Stamford -- Gov. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Wyman to Hold First in New Series of Town Hall Forums
Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman today announced that they will hold a town hall forum in Stamford on the evening of Thursday, February 11, 2016, to discuss his budget principles, his proposals for adapting state government to a changing economy, and other issues concerning the future of the state.
The forum will be held from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the UConn Stamford Campus in the Gen Re Auditorium (1 University Place, Stamford). Residents who would like an opportunity to ask the Governor a question should arrive about 30 minutes prior to the start of the event to submit their name on a sign-up sheet. The forum is open to the public.
If you're in the area, please consider going to voice your support for making active transportation a prominent part of our transportation and climate plans.
The Stamford event will be the first stop in a series of town hall forums that the Governor and Lt. Governor will be holding throughout the 2016 legislative session. The event will be similar to those they have held in previous years, where they answered hundreds of questions on a range of state issues at numerous forums.
Dates and locations for additional town hall forums in the series will be announced during the coming weeks.
We are very excited and grateful to the Governor for putting $7 million for the CT DEEP Recreational Trails Program on the bond commission's Jan 29 agenda. (See our Jan. 15 letter to the Governor, below.)
The funding isn't a done deal yet, since it's always possible that the meeting could be cancelled and the bonding wouldn't go forward. But it's very gratifying to see our state government taking significant measures to make Connecticut a better place to bike and walk. Our advocacy is making a difference.
Here's what the Jan. 29 agenda includes at page 79:
ITEM NO. 65 CONNECTICUT BIKEWAY, PEDESTRIAN WALKWAY, RECREATIONAL TRAIL AND GREENWAY GRANT PROGRAM
REASON FOR REQUEST: These funds are requested to finance grants-in-aid for planning, design, land acquisition, construction, construction administration, equipment, trail amenities, trail facilities, parking lots, toilet buildings, signs, benches and publications for bikeways, pedestrian walkways, greenways and multiuse trails, and for development and maintenance of recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both motorized and non-motorized uses. The release of these funds will be controlled through the allotment process pending project selections.
Grants-in-aid to Eligible Recipients $4,915,000
DEEP State Park Trail Projects 1,785,000
DEEP Administrative Costs 300,000
Total, This Request $7,000,000
Bike Walk Connecticut’s mission is to “change the culture of transportation, through education and advocacy, to make bicycling and walking safe, feasible and attractive.” We know that’s why our members invest in us.
So in the next year or two, how exactly will we “move the needle” so that biking and walking in Connecticut is safe, feasible and attractive?
Collaborating with DOT and others on the following advocacy priorities will help us move the needle in ways that will make a real difference for active transportation and truly make Connecticut a better place to bike and walk. These advocacy priorities are based largely on recommendations from the League of American Bicyclists in Connecticut’s Bike Friendly Report Card, where Connecticut ranked 22nd in 2015.
Bike Walk Connecticut
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