Lawmakers Approve Heavy Fines for Drivers Injuring Cyclists, Pedestrians

by Categorized: Uncategorized Tagged: , , Date:

After three years of pressure from bicycling and pedestrian activists, the General Assembly gave final approval Thursday to a bill increasing fines for drivers who seriously injure or kill “vulnerable users” of our roads.

The legislation will impose additional fines of up to $1,000 on any drivers convicted of failing to use “reasonable care” and have a serious accident involving people walking, cycling, in wheelchairs, riding horses, driving tractors, skaters, skateboarders, roller skaters and and those working on the highway.

House lawmakers voted 136-3 in favor of the bill, which passed the Senate unanimously. The measure now goes to the governror.

“For too long, pedestrians and cyclists felt they were second-class citizens,” said Rep. Roland Lemar, D-New Haven.

Rep. Gail Lavielle, R-Wilton, said the roads in her part of the state are often curving and wooded. “It’s very difficult when you’re trying to ride a bicycle or walk on these roads,” she said.

“There have been too many deaths, too many injuries,” Rep. Richard Smith, R-New Fairfield.

Motorists who cause serious injury or death as a result of driving recklessly can already be charged under a variety of state laws ranging from negligent homicide to misconduct with a motor vehicle.

The Courant is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.