Connecticut Advocates Push for Vulnerable Users Bill

A Bridgeport cyclist—legislation under debate in Connecticut would hold careless drivers responsible for harming pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable users | Photo: Ned Gerard, CT Post

Today, Tri-State and other advocacy organizations—including the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters and the Connecticut Citizens Transportation Lobby—are testifying in favor of a Connecticut bill that would penalize motorists whose careless driving harms pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable road users.

135 pedestrians and cyclists were killed on Connecticut’s roads from 2008-2010, and an average of 1,500 vulnerable users are injured there annually. The state rarely holds drivers accountable for these tragedies, unless they are under the influence or flee from the scene.

This bill would change that. Those who hurt pedestrians, highway workers, cyclists, skateboarders, inline skaters, tractor drivers, or wheelchair users would have to undergo driver retraining, perform community service, and pay a fine of up to $5,000.

The legislation is currently under discussion in the Connecticut General Assembly’s Joint Transportation Committee. In testimony, Tri-State urged legislators to move the bill forward and also asked them to add first responders to the list of vulnerable users. At least three Connecticut first responders have been injured by motorists in the past nine months.

Support for the bill is strong: a group of over 20 organizations, whose combined membership numbers in the thousands, has put out a fact sheet in support of the bill.

2 Comments on "Connecticut Advocates Push for Vulnerable Users Bill"

  1. Clark Morris | February 22, 2012 at 6:59 pm |

    Given some of the built environment, I would want to be sure that the driver involved would have had to time to see the vulnerable party, time to react and an alternative. Someone who darts out into traffic, rides a bicycle between two traffic lanes or otherwise engages in dangerous action can put everyone at risk. Is the state also going to put adequate crosswalks at bus stops, adequate shoulders to pull over on and take other measures to give everyone a chance at doing the safe thing? Is the state going to make sure that work zones actually have someone working so that they aren’t false alarms? Is the state going to penalize those who are so busy, texting, listening to their Ipod or on their phone that they walk, bicycle or otherwise enter traffic without looking? Yes, go after the careless driver but don’t have the presumption that it is the driver at fault.

  2. Glad to see CT is making progress on this issue. Rhode Island also has a “vulnerable road user bill” (S2214, H7463) pending in its General Assembly which has language penalizing a driver who “fails to exercise due care to avoid colliding” with vulnerable road users and so causes physical injury or death. Our current standard is those who “drive with reckless disregard for the safety of others” which is apparently too high to prosecute almost all of the time. The bills have been endorsed by the RI Bicycle Coalition and the broad-based RI Coalition for Transportation Choices. Perhaps RI and CT can help each other. More info on

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