[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Important Connecticut Bicycle Laws:
Passing laws: Connecticut requires that in the event a motor vehicle passes a bicycle it shall leave a safe distance, not less than 3 feet, when passing the bicycle. If it is not possible to allow 3 feet when passing, then the vehicle will be allowed to slow down and pass when safe.
Helmet law: In Connecticut the operator or passenger of a bicycle under 15 years of age is required to wear a helmet. However, the failure to wear a helmet shall not be considered contributory negligence and will not be admissible in a civil action.
Laws to Protect the Bicyclist: There are certain laws entitled “vulnerable user laws.” These laws, in essence, require the vehicle least at risk to yield to the vehicle most at risk. For example, a motor vehicle would have to yield to a bicycle and a bicycle would have to yield to a pedestrian. Connecticut does not have any specific vulnerable laws, but does had laws that protect a bicyclist, such as:
- It is unlawful to pass a bicycle and make a right turn unless it is safe to do so;
- There will be a 100% surcharge on any fine that regulates right of way intersections when the driver fails to yeild the right of way to a bicycle.
Distracted Driving Laws: As almost every bicyclist knows, distracted driving creates one of the most dangerous risks to a bicycle on a public road way. Every state has varying laws to attempt to reduce the amount of distracted driving that exists. Nonetheless, it still presents a serious problem.
In Connecticut there have been laws passed to attempt to reduce distracted driving by punishing violators. It is unlawful for any person driving a motor vehicle to use an electronic wireless device to write, send, or read a text based communication. In addition, the driver shall not use a wireless telephone unless the telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands free listening and talking (blue-tooth) and is used in that manner. In addition, there are specific restrictions, such as:
- A person under the age of 18 years, shall not use a wireless phone, even if is equipped to allow hands free listening and talking; and
- A school bus driver may never operate a school bus while using his/her cell phone.
Lane Position Laws for a Bicyclist: Generally speaking Connecticut law requires the bicyclist to be as close to the right hand edge of the road as possible. However there are some important exceptions that I will outline below,
- When passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
- When preparing to take a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; or
- When overtaking and passing pedestrians, parked cars or there are animals or obstructions on the right side of the road; and
- When the right side of the highway is closed to traffic or being repaired.
Sidewalk Riding: Connecticut allows bicycles to ride on the sidewalk, except under the following circumstances:
- A bicyclist must yield to a pedestrian and give an audible signal prior to passing the pedestrian.
- When is is prohibited by any city, state or local ordinance.
Mandatory Use of Separate Lanes: Connecticut does not require bicyclists to use bicycle paths when they are provided. However, cyclists cannot use state highways unless there are paths specifically provided for bicycles.
Riding a Bike under the Influence: In Connecticut , it is unlawful for a cyclist to operate a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or combination thereof. Any violations are likely to result in severe punishments.
Stop Sign Laws: In Connecticut bicycles have to follow the same rules as motor vehicles regarding the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists. Connecticut does require that traffic control signals must be installed and maintained so they detect bicycle traffic.
Important Resources and Links
- Connecticut Department of Transportation Share the Road Resources
- List of Relvant Cites for Bicycle Laws.