New law to protect cyclists, pedestrians

One of the designated bike routes in New Haven. (WTNH / Jeff Bailey)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A new law is cracking down on reckless drivers. The Vulnerable User Law holds careless drivers accountable who injure or kill pedestrians and cyclists.

Those who get around on foot and by bicycle have an opinion. Charles Hernandez of New Haven says, “If you are going to hit somebody you need to take responsibility for it.”

“I think it is great,” Maureen Furtak of New Haven said. “This is a really dangerous intersection and people are continuously going through the intersection.”

Joan Emmet, who walks to work in New Haven says, “That’s an excellent idea. There are a lot of reckless drivers in Connecticut, in New Haven, and as a walker and a cyclist I would like to see that they obey the laws. I would also like to see that the pedestrians and cyclist obey the law as well.”

LINK: Read the Law (.pdf)

According to federal and state crash data from 2006 to 2012, 10,000 pedestrians and cyclists were killed or injured while using Connecticut roads. Pedestrians and cyclists are well aware of the dangers on the roadway they tell us they look twice before crossing the street.”

“I work at the law school so I’ve got to park about a half mile away and so crossing the roads you have to pay attention to where you are going,” Kathy Flynn of New Haven said.

The law requires a fine to be imposed on reckless drivers who cause death or serious injury and they will be slapped with up to $1,000 fine. Pedestrians who also get behind the wheel say those on foot need to pay attention.

“I find that pedestrians will not pay attention at all as to what cars are coming or where they are walking out,” says Hernandez. “They walk out between the cars or they will walk without looking.”

Those who use their two feet to get around have some advice. “You have to really watch the traffic,” Furtak said.

“The cars have to pay attention to the traffic signals and we as pedestrians have to pay attention to when we can cross,” said Flynn.

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