By a vote of 139 to 6, Connecticut’s House of Representatives last night approved Senate Bill 502, An Act Concerning Bicycle Safety, setting the stage for making Connecticut dramatically more bike-friendly. The State Senate approved the bill unanimously on May 7. The next step is for Governor Malloy to sign the bill into law.
Bike Walk Connecticut commends the bipartisan leadership that led to passage of SB 502. The bill’s legislative champions include State Senator Beth Bye (West Hartford) and State Representatives Roland Lemar (New Haven) and Cristin McCarthy Vahey (Fairfield), along with 29 other legislators.
Senate Bill 502 remedies Connecticut’s outdated laws that conflict with best practices for modern, safe bikeway design and active transportation. The bill lets state and municipal transportation professionals design the kinds of bikeways, including two-way bike lanes, buffered bike lanes and cycle tracks, that are used in the most dynamic, prosperous cities in the country and the world.
The bill also improves state laws on bicyclists riding “as far right as practicable” and passing slower moving cyclists and other road users. Current laws are outdated and ambiguous, leading to misunderstandings and highly variable enforcement. The bill includes model language recommended by the League of American Bicyclists and the Uniform Vehicle Code.
Bike lanes and greenways aren’t just good for our health. Since transportation is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases in Connecticut, active transportation—biking and walking—must be a key piece of our climate action plan. Bikeways are also an extremely cost-efficient way to manage traffic congestion. Bike lanes, sidewalks and greenways cost a fraction of what it costs to build and maintain roads. People tend to bike and walk more when they have the bike lanes, greenways and sidewalks.
“Being bike-friendly isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ thing anymore,” observes Kelly Kennedy, Executive Director of Bike Walk Connecticut. “Being bike-friendly is now essential to competitiveness. In fact, not being bike-friendly is a competitive disadvantage. Connecticut's car-dependent lifestyle is not the lifestyle that millennials or the creative class have in mind. A well-designed active transportation network will help bring millennials and the creative class to Connecticut and keep them here, strengthening our economy.”