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 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.
Bike Walk Connecticut
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