New rules aimed at better protecting pedestrians will soon go into effect in Connecticut, and the state Department of Transportation is making the public aware of those rules through its “The Pedestrian Rules” campaign.
One law, which goes into effect Oct. 1, expands the circumstances under which drivers will have to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at both marked and unmarked crosswalks that are not controlled by traffic signals or police officers.
According to the law, a driver must yield if the pedestrian: is within any portion of the crosswalk; steps to the curb at a crosswalk’s entrance and indicates intent to cross the road by raising his or her hand and arm toward oncoming traffic; or indicates intent to cross the road by moving into the crosswalk’s entrance any body part or any extension of a body part, including a wheelchair, cane, walking stick, crutch, bicycle, electric bicycle, stroller, carriage, cart, or leashed or harnessed dog.
Drivers who fail to yield at a crosswalk when required are subject to a $500 fine.
In addition, drivers have to adhere to a new “dooring” rule. Drivers can not open a vehicle door if it hits or gets in the way of a pedestrian or bicyclist. This rule will also go into effect Oct. 1.
Legislators and other state officials want to further improve pedestrian safety. According to the DOT, there was a 55% increase in pedestrian deaths between 2009 and 2018. Each year, about 1,500 pedestrians and 550 bicyclists are struck by cars on Connecticut roadways, the DOT said.
To learn more about the new pedestrian laws, please visit watchformect.org/the-pedestrian-rules/.