New Laws Protecting Connecticut’s Pedestrians Coming This October
Last weekend, it happened again in Connecticut. A 3 year old boy was struck and seriously injured by a hit and run driver near Waterbury's Bunker Hill Avenue and the Jillson Circle intersection. The child is reportedly in stable condition at Connecticut's Children Medical Center in Hartford.
According to Watchformect.org, 1,500 pedestrians and 550 bicyclists are hit by vehicles every year on Connecticut roadways. Waterbury PD is currently looking for a dark colored SUV, possibly a Toyota, with damage to the middle or right side of the vehicle.
The State of Connecticut has enacted a new law, taking effect October 1, 2021, to protect pedestrians and bicyclists on our roads.
PA 21-28 (hb5429) - An Act Concerning Pedestrian defined as Yielding to Pedestrians at Crosswalks. This new law will expand circumstances under which drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at marked or unmarked crosswalks that are not controlled by traffic signals or police officers.
Currently, the law states that a driver must yield if the pedestrian steps off the curb, or is in the crosswalk. Under the new law, drivers must yield if the pedestrian is in any portion of the crosswalk, steps to the curb and indicates their intent to cross with a wave of the arm towards oncoming traffic, or indicate intention to cross by placing any body part, or extension of a body part - including wheelchairs, canes, walking sticks, crutches, bicycle, electric bicycle, stroller, carriage, cart, or leashed or harnessed dog. Drivers who fail to yield will face a $500 fine.
The new laws also address dooring. It will prohibit a person from causing physical contact between a vehicle's door and moving traffic by opening their door, if the moving traffic is traveling at a reasonable speed with due regard for the safety of people and property, or leaving the door open longer than needed to unload property and passengers.
Violations of this provisional law are infractions, and under the act, "Moving traffic" is defined as motor vehicles, bikes, electric bikes, or electric scooters on sidewalks, shoulders, and bikeways.
I think that one enforcement of the new law, especially the $500 fine, will make someone think twice before they blow through another marked crosswalk again. I've seen so many violations at the pedestrian crossing on Rt. 25 by the 4 Corners area of Brookfield, and along main Street South in Southbury. Local officers should be able to pick off dozens of violations at each after October 1, 2021.