Bike Walk CT's Testimony for Raised Bill No. 5324
March 2, 2020
The Honorable Carlo Leone
The Honorable Roland J. Lemar
Co-Chairpersons, Transportation Committee
[Download a PDF of this letter]
Bike Walk Connecticut applauds the Transportation Committee for introducing Raised Bill No.5324. It is legislation that will improve safety for all road users, especially our most vulnerable - pedestrians and cyclists. Now is a critical time to pass this legislation. Connecticut has incurred 14 pedestrian fatalities in our first 2 months this year. At this rate, we could succumb to over 80 pedestrian fatalites in 2020. In 2019, the number of pedestrian fatalities was 55. This upward trend is heart breaking and preventable. We need to focus on fixing this fatality trend, and this legislation can help address the issue.
Roads are designed to be shared, and collectively, the components of this Bill will help make Connecticut streets safer, and more bike and walk-friendly for all users.
Raised Bill No.5324 is aligned with the priorities addressed at Bike Walk Connecticut’s Legislative Reception held at the State Capitol on January 30, 2020. This Bill garners wide support from our bike/ped community.
In addition to making streets safer, Raised Bill No.5324 can actually do more, perhaps far more for Connecticut. Biking and walking are good for our state. By providing Connecticut’s citizens incentive to move around by modes other than a motor vehicle, increased biking and walking can have a substantial return on investment. Studies indicate that bike and walk-friendly communities create positive and significant improvements for the economy, environment, health, safety, equity, and transportation efficiency. A win-win for everyone.
SUPPORT for PEDESTRIAN SAFETY AT CROSSWALKS
We need to do more to protect pedestrians. We recommend amending the crosswalk law to its pre-2007 statutory language when motorists in Connecticut were required to stop for people ‘at’ crosswalks. We believe that this Bill shows advancement toward much-improved legislation wording to protect pedestrians crossing Connecticut streets.
We support the proposal of a legal indicator that allows a pedestrian to communicate crossing intention, requiring approaching traffic to stop, without forcing the pedestrian to step into harm’s way in front of traffic.
SUPPORT for SPEED LIMITS IN MUNICIPALITIES
Connecticut is among a minority of states that don’t allow local jurisdictions to set their own speed limits. Yet, a community is likely to be knowledgeable about assessing the most appropriate speed limits where they live, especially for speed limit reductions in the 20-35 mph range.
Studies indicate that small changes to the speed traveled by motor vehicle drivers can cause reductions in risk. A 5% decrease in mean speeds typically leads to decreases in injury-causing crashes by 10%, and in fatal crashes by 20%.
SUPPORT for FINES AND CHARGES FOR CERTAIN VIOLATIONS
Financial consequences change behaviors, so increasing penalities for distracted driving will help increase accountability for motorists whose carelessness, caused by moments of distraction, lead to injury or worse, fatalities, to our most vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and bicyclists.
Dooring collisions are likely one of the more common bicyclist-vehicle collision types, particularly in urban areas. Rhode Island’s law reflects a modern formulation of the Uniform Vehicle Code (UVC) provision on dooring. Forty one states have a dooring law. Connecticut is one of only nine states without one.
SUPPORT for GREENWAYS COMMEMORATIVE ACCOUNT
This bill assures that funds obtained from the sale of ‘Greenways’ motor vehicle license plates are directed, as originally intended, to be used for the development, construction and maintenance of ‘Greenways’ in Connecticut. When the public invests in a ‘Greenways’ license plate, we believe that they anticipate that their dollars invested in those plates are being utilized for that purpose, so they should be.
Bike Walk Connecticut
Bike Walk Connecticut
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