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New CT Law Clarifies How Far Right You Need to Bike

Bike riders are getting used to a new law that took effect July 1 that instructs riders to ride as far to the right as is judged safe by the cyclist. Credit: ggpht.com
Bike riders are getting used to a new law that took effect July 1 that instructs riders to ride as far to the right as is judged safe by the cyclist. Credit: ggpht.com
July 17, 2015

HARTFORD, Conn. - Summer is a peak time for bike riding, and cyclists all across the state are just now getting used to a new bike safety law that took effect this month.

The state dropped a confusing word from a bike safety law, said Kelly Kennedy, executive director of Bike Walk Connecticut. The old law instructed riders to ride as far to the right as is practicable, a term that she said left plenty of riders scratching their bike helmets.

"What that really meant was unclear," she said. "The new law says that bicyclist should ride as far to the right as is judged safe by the cyclist."

Kennedy said she thinks that change will make a major difference when it comes to bike safety -- especially since it allows cyclists to avoid things such as drainage pipes and debris that often clutter the far right edge of the roadway.

Kennedy said the new law, Public Act 15-41, took effect July 1 and is modeled on best practices from Colorado that indicate the far right is often not the safest place to ride.

"You're not as obvious, you're not as visible to drivers as you are if you are riding in the lane," she said. "So, sometimes it's just safer for cyclists to be in the lane, riding their bike as if they were driving a car, and following the same rules of the road."

Connecticut dropped from 18th to 22nd in state-by-state bike-friendly rankings. Kennedy said her group is advocating for several recommendations made by the League of American Cyclists that should help improve the state's ranking.

The text of the new law is online at cga.ct.gov.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT