ConnDOT: New Connecticut law (Public Act 08-01, effective October 1, 2008) to protect cyclists on state roads.

 
  CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

NEWS RELEASE

2800 BERLIN TURNPIKE P.O. BOX 317546
NEWINGTON CONNECTICUT, 06131-7546

FOR RELEASE:November 10 , 2008
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
   OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
   TELEPHONE: (860) 594-3062
   Fax: (860) 594-3066
   Web site:
www.ct.gov/dot

Public Act 08-01 enacted a new law in Connecticut, effective October 1, 2008, which requires motorists to allow at least three feet of separation when overtaking and passing cyclists on state roads.  Failure to do so could cause motorists to receive a fine.  Because of the large disparities in size, weight and speed between bicycles and motor vehicles, this new law strives to enhance motorist awareness of cyclists sharing the road, and make conditions safer by establishing the designated separation.

 

Governor M. Jodi Rell has stressed the need to accommodate bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists on Connecticut roadways.  Another component of the law requires the ConnDOT to initiate a “Share the Road” campaign to educate motorists and cyclists of their responsibilities and needs and to encourage the public to adopt practices which make travel safer for all roadway users.  ConnDOT has taken steps to secure initial financing to implement a pilot program, which will likely be conducted in the greater Hartford area in the spring 2009.  The hope is that the pilot program will support a more extensive follow up initiative.   Another initiative being administered by ConnDOT, which is directed to enhancing bicycle and pedestrian mobility, is the “Safe Routes to School” program.  This program provides funds to municipalities that are selected through a competitive process for projects that educate, encourage and improve safe walking and bicycling for students grades Kindergarten through 8th, along primary routes to and from schools. 

 

In response to Governor Rell’s initiative, ConnDOT is seeking ways to allow more bikes on trains on the new passenger cars that are expected to be delivered beginning in 2010. 

 

In January 2008, ConnDOT also initiated an update of the State Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and Bicycle Map.  The Plan will establish direction and guide ConnDOT in addressing bicycle and pedestrian needs along state roads.  Also expected to be included in the Plan is the awareness to consider equestrian needs in project development and design.  A draft Plan and Map is expected to be available for public comment in the spring of 2009.