Connecticut's "Share the Road" Campaign Promotes Rider and Walker Safety

Last August, the Connecticut Department of Transportation launched the "Share the Road" campaign to promote awareness of cyclists and pedestrians on public road ways. The campaign also highlights the 3-feet law, enacted in October of 2008, that requires motorists provide at least three feet of space when passing a bicyclist.

"Our goal with this campaign is to remind residents that whether you are driving your car, truck, SUV, riding your bike, or merely walking, your safety depends on sharing the road safely with others," stated David M. Head, Transportation Supervising Planner at CDOT.

A Focus on the Safety of Cyclists and Pedestrians in Connecticut

Because of their size, pedestrians and cyclists may not only be difficult for drivers to see, they are also at an increased risk of suffering severe injuries or death when involved in accidents with motor vehicles. "In Connecticut alone we see an average of five bicyclist and 38 pedestrian fatalities each year," said Head.

People and bicycles don't have the protection that drivers do; there is relatively little separating a walker or biker from injury during an accident. From 2005 to 2007, over 10 percent of traffic fatalities were pedestrians. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that, in both 2008 and 2009, bicyclist fatalities accounted for two percent of all traffic fatalities in Connecticut.

Connecticut's 3-feet law is intended to cut down on accidents involving cyclists by requiring a specific separation distance for cars passing bicycles on the road. Three feet was determined to be a "safe" distance according to the Connecticut legislature. Failure to adhere to the rule can result in a fine.

Along with Connecticut, other states have adopted the 3-feet law: New Hampshire, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Florida, Colorado, Wisconsin, Utah, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Illinois, Florida, Arkansas and Arizona.

Safety Suggestions for Walkers, Riders and Drivers

It is everyone's responsibility to be aware while on the roadways, including drivers, walkers, cyclists, skateboarders, rollerbladers, etc. With combined vigilance, each person can prevent bike and pedestrian accidents from happening. Pedestrians should walk on sidewalks when available, wear reflective clothing after dusk and be cautious when crossing streets or entering intersections. Cyclists should obey traffic laws, ride with traffic and wear a helmet.

Drivers, in addition to adhering to the 3-feet rule, should use caution particularly around children, slowing down when passing a cyclist and yield to bicycles as appropriate. Sharing the road promotes safety for all who use Connecticut's roadways; when injuries do happen, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you assert your rights to compensation for your losses.