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 2 Hearing HB 5403 on Pedestrian & Cyclist Safety, in Stamford - Attend, Testify, or Send Testimony
Attention Bike Walk CT members!
This being a budget year and a short legislative session, we expected the legislature’s focus to be on the budget and transportation lockbox. So we’re thrilled that the Judiciary Committee has raised 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. The bill would increase the fine from a maximum of $90 to a maximum of $500.
The Judiciary Committee is holding a public hearing on HB 5403 and others on March 2 at 1 pm in Stamford at the Gen Re Auditorium of the UConn Stamford Campus. (1 University Place, Stamford, CT 06901).
A massive showing of Bike Walk CT members would be quite impactful. If you’ve been hit or can otherwise testify to the need for safer behavior on the roads, please consider attending the hearing and testifying about your experience. We’ll send details shortly about message points to consider for your written testimony, which you may send by email if you can’t attend the hearing in person.
Yes, the increased dollar amount still pales in comparison to the injury that drivers so often cause when they hit pedestrians and cyclists. Nor does HB 5403 address the little known but problematic 2007 amendment to Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-300(c) that changed the requirement for drivers to yield to pedestrians in or at a crosswalk to requiring them to yield only when pedestrians have already stepped off the curb or are in a crosswalk. The new rule doesn't seem to be getting much enforcement, but neither did the old rule.
Nevertheless, HB 5403 and the March 2 hearing present a huge opportunity for Bike Walk CT members to let the legislature know just how much work remains to be done to make Connecticut a better, safer place for all the people who want to bike and walk. Safety concerns are the number one reason that keeps people (and their kids) from walking and biking as much as they’d like.
And remember - respect on the roads goes both ways. See our Give Respect, Get Respect brochure on the rules for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers to share the road. Please follow them every time.
Bike Walk Connecticut's mission is to change the culture of transportation through advocacy and education to make bicycling and walking safe, feasible, and attractive for a healthier, cleaner Connecticut.
We have a bill! LCO, the Legislative Commissioners Office, has released language for Transportation Committee Bill SB 502, An Act Concerning Bicycle Safety, also being referred to as "The Bike Bill."
As Far to the Right as Practicable (AFRAP) Provisions
Section 3 of SB 502 contains much of the language that Bike Walk CT proposed to amend the statute on "riding as far to the right as practicable." Section 3:
Safe Passing, NACTO Guidelines
SB 502 is also intended to clarify rules on when motorists may safely pass slower moving cyclists, and to encourage DOT to endorse NACTO design guidelines for bikeways and complete streets.
... And speaking of NACTO
Bike Walk CT is sponsoring the NACTO Bikeway Design Guide Workshop for engineering and planning professionals on Thursday, April 23. Urge your town to send their staff for this fantastic training opportunity! (Details here.) NACTO is the National Association of City Transportation Officials.
The long overdue passage of the Vulnerable User law and Bike Walk CT are getting press coverage. Student reporter DANIELA BRIGHENTI wrote a particularly good story for the Yale Daily News.
Hartford, Conn. (October 1,2014) - From 2006 to 2012, a total of 10,793 pedestrians and cyclists were killed or injured while using Connecticut roads, according to federal and state crash data registries. Now Connecticut has a law that helps hold accountable careless drivers who injure or kill pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorized "vulnerable users" of the state's roads.
The Vulnerable User law, Public Act 14-31, was signed into law on May 16, 2014. It takes effect today on October 1, 2014. Bike Walk Connecticut, the advocacy organization that works to make Connecticut a better place to bike and walk, pressed for the bill to be adopted this year.
The Vulnerable User law requires a fine to be imposed on reckless motor vehicle drivers who cause the death or serious injury of a pedestrian, cyclist, wheelchair user, or other vulnerable users who were using reasonable care. The fine is capped at $1000.
Bike Walk Connecticut's Executive Director, Kelly Kennedy, is quick to point out that "While the fine is in no way equivalent to the harm that reckless drivers can cause, the law is a step in the right direction. It reinforces the message that everybody needs to be vigilant, responsible and respectful of the fact that they're sharing the road with others."
Fast Facts on the Vulnerable User Law
It's official. It took five years to get it passed, but the Governor has now signed the Vulnerable User bill into law. Senate Bill 336 is now Public Act 14-31.
The vulnerable user law requires a fine to be imposed on reckless motor vehicle drivers who cause the death or serious injury of a pedestrian, cyclist, wheelchair user, or other vulnerable users who were using reasonable care. The fine is capped at $1000.
Congratulations to us. Just another reminder that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens really can make a difference.
Word is that the House just passed SB 336, the Vulnerable User Bill! More to follow.
Verify at http://1.usa.gov/1c13BXM.
We have just ONE week left in the 2014 legislative session to get our Vulnerable User bill passed. The Senate has pulled its weight, now it's time for the House to get moving.
This is the fifth year the Vulnerable User bill has been proposed. Wedon't want to hear that the House "ran out of time" yet again to vote on this important safety measure for cyclists and pedestrians. And not having a VU bill, year after year, is hurting our bike friendly state ranking.
Please email or call your State Representative and House Leadership--Reps. Brendan Sharkey and Joe Aresimowicz-- today to call the Vulnerable User bill, SB 336, for a vote.
We need safer streets this year. From 2006 to 2012, more than 10,000 pedestrians and cyclists were injured or killed on Connecticut roads.
Speaking up makes all the difference, and the more of us who do, the stronger our bike ped community is. This is no time to sit on the sidelines!
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About the VU Bill, SB 336
Great news! The Senate passed the Vulnerable User bill 33-0, with 3 absent and not voting, last evening.
Thank you Senators Beth Bye and Toni Boucher for sponsoring the bill.
Thank you Senators Don Williams and Martin Looney for bringing the bill to a vote.
Thank you to all Senators for supporting the bill.
Thank you to all of our members who contacted Senate Leadership in the last few days. They heard us!
And now, on to the House. Stay tuned for updates.
Action Alert! Bike Walk Community (That's You!) Urged to Contact Senate Leadership re Vulnerable User Bill
We have just two weeks left in the 2014 legislative session to get our Vulnerable User bill passed. That means it's time for the bike ped community (that includes you!) to turn up the volume!
This is the fifth year the Vulnerable User bill has been proposed. We don't want to hear that our legislators "ran out of time" again this year to vote on this important safety measure for cyclists and pedestrians.
Please email or call Senator Don Williams and Senator Martin Looney today to call the Vulnerable User bill, SB 336, for a vote.
Stay tuned! Effective advocacy requires tenacity and dogged persistence, so it may be necessary to keep calling and emailing every day until the bill is voted on.
Speaking up makes a difference, and the more of us who do, the better! Thank you for working with us to make Connecticut a better place to bike and walk.
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About the VU Bill, SB 336
Bike Walk Connecticut
Send us your bike walk related news and time permitting, we'll do our best to post it.