The passage of the Vulnerable User bill continues to get press coverage since the law took effect on October 1, 2014. Bike Walk CT and its members endorsed the VU bill far more assertively this year to ensure its passage after being raised for the previous four years. Thank you to all those media outlets that have been bringing the new law to the attention of the public.
Hartford Courant Editorial, 10/15/14:
Connecticut's "vulnerable user" law, which took effect this month, most likely won't solve all the problems associated with the various uses of public streets and highways. But it's a good start, especially if it opens the door to a discussion of how we can be more respectful of one another's presence on the roads.
The law imposes a $1,000 fine on motorists who, in failing to "exercise reasonable care," injure or kill a so-called "vulnerable user of a public way." Those users include pedestrians, bicyclists, highway workers, people on horseback, those in wheelchairs, skateboarders, roller skaters and the drivers of farm tractors.
Read the full editorial at http://www.courant.com/opinion/editorials/hc-ed-vulnerable-users-law-respects-all-who-use-ro-20141014-story.html
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.
May 5, 2014 HARTFORD, Conn. – It took five years of trying, but a bill is now finally headed for the governor's signature that proponents say will protect pedestrians, cyclists and others who share the roads with motor vehicles.
Kelly Kennedy, executive director of Bike Walk Connecticut, says the measure cleared its final legislative hurdle in the House last week and should provide a big dose of accident prevention for hundreds of thousands of pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users all across state.
"It's a deterrent and it raises awareness, of drivers, that the roads aren't just for cars,” she says, “that people may bike and they may walk along the roadways as well."
The next step is for Gov. Dannel Malloy to sign the measure (SB 336) into law.
Nearly 11 thousand cyclists and pedestrians have been injured or killed on Connecticut roadways since 2006 but advocates say a new measure headed to Governor Dannel Malloy will provide a deterrent and raise awareness for local drivers to safely share the road. Photo credit: www.pedbikeimages.org/Laura Sandt - See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org
It would take effect Oct. 1 and calls for a mandatory fine of up to $1,000 dollars for motor vehicle drivers who fail to operate with due care and cause injury or death.
Kennedy says you just need to look at recent federal and state accident data to see why the measure is needed.
"There's been almost 11,000 people who have been hit or killed,” she points out. “And these are just cyclists or pedestrians, hit or killed from 2006 to 2012 – that's a lot of people."
Kennedy stresses the new protections are not limited to pedestrians and people on bikes.
"Well it's aiming to protect people who are rightfully and legitimately using the roads, but are not encased in a car,” she explains. “So, people who are walking, people who are biking, people who might be out in the rural areas horseback riding or using a service animal – it could even include skateboarders as long as they are using the roads responsibly."
Kennedy says Route 1 in Fairfield County along the Post Road is one of the hotspots in the state for these types of accidents.
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
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