Cyclists’ Voice Heard In Hartford

The state Senate Thursday passed a bill that would fine reckless motorists who injure or kill cyclists or pedestrians.

The two senators from New Haven—with its visible intertwined safe-streets and cycling communities—supported the bill, which now heads to the state House of Representatives.

The bill protects “vulnerable users” of roads: not just cyclists and pedestrians, but highway workers, animal riders, blind people, blind people’s service dogs, and skateboarders and roller-skaters.

New Haven state Sen. Martin Looney released this statement after the vote: ““Our roads should be safe for all users, whether they are driving a car, riding a bike or walking. In New Haven and communities across the country a growing number of people are opting to walk, bike and take public
transportation to get around.  One way to help protect vulnerable users from 4,000 pounds of steel is to increase the penalties for dangerous drivers.”

And New Haven state Sen. Gary Holder-Winfield released this statement: “New Haven is the second largest city in Connecticut and home to several large colleges and universities,” said Sen. Holder-Winfield. “It is only right that we protect those who use the state’s public way to move freely around the city. This is a much needed step towards increased driver accountability.”

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posted by: robn on April 25, 2014  8:35am

The single most significant legal item preventing New Haven from having safe streets is CT prohibiting cities from keeping moving violations revenue. Until that changes, there will be no enforcement and there will be no safe streets.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on April 25, 2014  8:36am

Give me a break.How about the reckless cyclists who run lights,cut in front of cars.How about the jay walkers and those talking on cell phones and crossing the streets.Are you going to pass a law on them.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on April 25, 2014  8:43am

My bad.How about a bill like this.

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

posted by: Lars3 on April 25, 2014  9:32am

3/5ths, there already are laws against jay walking and running red lights on bicycles. The difference is a jaywalker or a cyclist rolling through a stop sign have never crushed someone to death by being distracted. Your annoyance with sharing the road is in no way equal to the threat of being crushed, smashed, run over and mangled by a car.

posted by: William Kurtz on April 25, 2014  10:52am

This is a great progressive move by the state Senate, and I can only hope the House approves this bill as well.

On a related note, I agree with robn that financial incentives for municipalities to enforce moving violations would go a long way in making our streets safer, as long as enforcement wasn’t aimed only at the relatively harmless low-hanging fruit of jaywalkers and errant bicycle riders.

posted by: cunningham on April 25, 2014  12:16pm

As Lars points out, the dangers of a reckless cyclist or pedestrian are less by several numbers of magnitude than those of a reckless motorist.

Besides, who are we talking about when we bring up cyclists “blowing red lights”? Is it people cruising through intersections against the light, without slowing down or looking at all?
Or, are we talking about someone turning left onto a one-way street, after coming to a full stop and waiting for traffic to pass, to get a head start and avoid making the turn with several cars beside them?
The former seems to be the phantom evoked, but I could count the number of times I’ve seen that happen on one hand, and I’ve lived off of Whalley for six+ years.
The latter describes more of what I see, and myself, often. One is different than the other. Let’s stop entertaining the notion that angry, careless cyclists are some public scourge.

posted by: TheMadcap on April 25, 2014  12:57pm

If someone is legit blowing through a red light on a bicycle as in going top speed and not even bothering to slow down and look, aside from the fact it’s already illegal, that person is soon enough going to probably die anyways. However, given most people pedal around the city at 8-14mph, it’s kind of hard to “blow” through a red light to begin with. It’s like saying someone who comes to a rolling stop at a stop sign where it’s obvious it’s clear is blowing through a stop sign.

posted by: cunningham on April 25, 2014  2:08pm

Well yeah, that’s the point I was trying to make.

posted by: robn on April 25, 2014  2:18pm

If NH could keep income from ticketing motorists, cyclists and pedestrians who violated the law, I’d be all for uniform application of fines. Sure an irresponsibly operated motor vehicle can do much more damage to a cyclist or pedestrian than the opposite however, an irresponsibly operated bike or a jaywalker can get themselves killed and in the process, ruin the life (legally and emotionally) of the motorist they put themselves in front of. Safe streets starts with civil streets and everyone needs to recognize the presence of others.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on April 25, 2014  2:50pm

posted by: Lars3 on April 25, 2014 9:32am

3/5ths, there already are laws against jay walking and running red lights on bicycles. The difference is a jaywalker or a cyclist rolling through a stop sign have never crushed someone to death by being distracted. Your annoyance with sharing the road is in no way equal to the threat of being crushed, smashed, run over and mangled by a car.

The law is not being enforce.Go downtown.I seen bikers riding on sidewalks,Running lights,no helmets,running stop signs.I had a biker hit my car and damage my door.I seen people jay walk every day in front of the police.My point anyone who break the law should be fine.Not just one group.

my bad Did you know that more bikers run lights then cars.

More than 11,000 cyclists caught running through red lights and riding on pavements in just one year.

posted by: Bradley on April 27, 2014  6:43am

Hi Robn!

Municipalities do get part of the revenue from tickets for speeding and other common traffic offenses. The remainder forms a substantial part of the fund that pay for state highways and mass transit (CT Transit, MetroNorth, and Shoreline East).  Giving municipalities a larger share of ticket revenue would harm this fund, which already is projected to be in the red in a couple of years. Naturally, the state could increase the fines and give municipalities the increase. But this would increase the proportion of drivers who contest their tickets and further clog the court system.

posted by: robn on April 27, 2014  2:56pm


Laws against civil offense are supposed to dissuade uncivil behavior, not create a back door taxation slush fund for the legislature to plunder. When the legislature renders an offense unpunishable (as it does by making it uneconomical for police capacity to be used to enforce traffic laws) it does great harm to citizens that the law was meant to protect. Harm to transit funding is irrelevant.