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Harsher Driver Penalties Sought to Help Bicyclists

Advocates say drivers aren't often punished if they hurt a bicyclist or pedestrian.

Legislation has been proposed with hopes to make the roads safer for pedestrians and bicyclists by penalizing drivers that injure or kill other people using the roads.

According to the Hartford Courant, the legislation is backed by “environmental groups and transit advocates” who tried – but failed – to get the laws passed in 2010. The legislation is being considered by the transportation committee of the General Assembly.

The proposed laws would, according to the Courant, punish dangerous drivers with retraining, mandatory community service and fines totaling up to $5,000.

Richard Hooker February 27, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Sorry, but these bicyclist ride their bikes practically in the middle of the road on Glen Road all the time, and they wonder why they get run over!
Barbara Yarbrough February 27, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Just remember: pedestrians and bicyclists have the RIGHT to use the roads, drivers have the PRIVLEDGE to use the roads as granted by their driver's license. If you don't know the difference perhaps you need some more training - and don't speed. If you obey the speed limits on the back roads the pedestrians and cyclists might have a chance to ease over a bit as long as the shoulder is safe to travel over. (Also - While driving you are sitting on your a** -what's your hurry?)
Claudia Cooper February 27, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Being a casual bicyclist myself, I cam certainly sympathize with bicyclists, although there have been any number of times bikers refuse to move into a single file column when a car's trying to pass. Riding two abreast is a dumb idea. But one thing i've always wondered about is why bicyclists insist on riding on the busiest commuter roads? Why couldn't they map out a safer route on some of the back roads that commuters don't typically take? Just wondering.
Randy February 27, 2012 at 01:18 PM
"Ride on the, right, with the traffic, in single file. Obey stop signs and traffic lights. Never cross a street without looking for cars. Even if you've stopped, a car driver might not, see you starting across in front of them. When in doubt, let the car go first. " Right from the Bike laws in CT and how often do you see this happen with bikes on the road.
sheila gabrielli February 27, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Sheila Gabrielli I agree with Claudia and Randy. Bicyclists need to ride responsibly following the traffic laws. Most of these folks are not children, and I think they are less reckless when behind the wheel of their own car.
Mark Lurie February 27, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Bicyclists have every right to the road as drivers in cars. If they are going down Glen Road, chances are they are going the speed limit, so what's your problem? You have a horn, give them a gentle toot to let them know you are there and when it's safe to over take them, do so by giving them 3 feet clearance. If they are riding 3 or 4 abreast and won't single up when you have alerted them, then you have a valid point. If you lay on the horn, don't be surprised if you get a one fingered salute.
Mark Lurie February 27, 2012 at 01:51 PM
I am a bike commuter and for the most part drivers are pretty courteous and give plenty of clearance (min 3') when passing, in the mornings and afternoons when I am commuting to work, however, it's the folks yaking on the cell phone that scare me the most. While I stick to back roads as much as possible, even on those roads the chances of getting clipped by a distracted driver is just as possible as a main road. I have had one close call. Keep in mind, cyclists have just as every right to the road as drivers of cars.
onceuponanewtown February 27, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Saw it just the other day: an adult cyclist riding on a state (busy) road cut from the far right lane, across traffic, to the left lane, on a corner without using any hand signal. From my position I could see a car driving mid-corner toward him and just said a prayer for the guy! Perhaps cyclists should be required to take a riding safety course, get licensed, register, pay tax on those vehicles and be eligible to receive traffic violations if they want to "own" the road.
Alex Tytler February 27, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I used to do a lot of cycling. Cyclists are assuming a real risk by riding on public roads. Choosing the right roads and staying off the wrong ones helps, but in the end you have your back to traffic with no protection from a 5,000 pound car. It is simple physics.
Claudia Cooper February 29, 2012 at 01:10 AM
onceuponanewtown, that's not a bad idea. Not that i would advocate any new taxes on anyone, but a basic driver safety course might be a good reminder for bicyclists that sharing the road doesn't mean ignoring motor vehicle drivers. And for the record, I don't own a cell phone so no, i don't talk while driving. i must be the only person left in the state of CT without a cell phone but i enjoy a little quiet time now and then.

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