Contact: Lawrence Cook
May 2, 2012
A bill sponsored by state Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford) that would penalize people who strike bicyclists, those in wheelchairs, highway workers and others while operating a motor vehicle in a reckless fashion was approved today on a unanimous and bipartisan vote by the state Senate.
Senate Bill 111 establishes a penalty for a motorist who, failing to exercise reasonable care, seriously injures or causes the death of a vulnerable user on a public road. A driver who causes such injury or death may be fined up to $1,000.
Vulnerable users include: pedestrians, bicyclists, highway workers, people in wheelchairs, riders on horseback, operators or passengers on a farm tractor, and others.
“This is an important day for Connecticut bicyclists, people in wheelchairs and other such users of our roadways,” said Sen. Bye, who often bikes to work or around her hometown. “Our roads aren’t just for cars—that’s the message today.”
The need for the bill was brought to Sen. Bye’s attention late last year by some Farmington constituents who were concerned about the lack of sidewalks in certain sections of town and the ensuing vulnerability of pedestrians, bicyclists, those using wheelchairs and others.
“This bill is an important step forward, especially since our sidewalks are often in such a state of disrepair that people who use wheelchairs are forced to use the roadway,” said Ruth Grobe of Farmington, who is a member of Farmington’s Human Relations Commission as well as the grassroots group Citizens’ Coalition For Equal Access. “This bill provides additional protections for such people.”
The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Vice Chair: Education
Legislative Office Building
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
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