Safer Roads Expected for CT Pedestrians & Cyclists
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.
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,” he 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.