Cyclists Get Three Feet. That’s the Law.


As the weather warms – cyclists are taking to Connecticut roadways in growing numbers.

Did you know that in this state, car and truck drivers must stay a safe distance from all cyclists they meet on the road?  This law, enacted in 2008, states: “safe distance means not less than three feet when the driver of a vehicle overtakes and passes a person riding a bicycle.”   Failure to do so can lead to fines.  Connecticut is currently one of twenty-two states with this requirement.

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Airbags on the Outside of Cars??

Airbags, safety belts, traction control, anti-lock brakes, back-up cameras, traffic sensors… It seems with each new car model year there are new safety features to protect the driver and the passengers of cars and trucks.  What if vehicles could also be built with protection for pedestrians in mind?

More than 4,000 pedestrians are killed and over 70,000 injured each year from being hit by cars or trucks.

But there is a bit of good news… a few car companies are beginning to factor pedestrian safety into vehicle design.

When a pedestrian is hit by a car, they are often thrown onto the hood of the car and into the windshield wipers and the windshield – resulting in serious injury or death.   Federal regulators are considering creating incentives to encourage car makers to build pedestrian safety measures into their cars.  To date – both Honda and Volvo have begun to make progress in this area voluntarily.

Both car companies are beginning to build cars with breakaway wiper systems (wiper blades have been known to literally impale pedestrians), space between the hood and the engine to absorb impacts better, and even exterior air bags to keep heads from striking the windshield from the outside.

Some auto trade groups are fighting the changes, saying that consumers are reluctant to pay for safety features that protect them inside the car – let alone pedestrians on the outside.   U.S. car makers have tended to focus more on technology that would prevent pedestrian – car collisions in the first place – using motion and infra-red sensor technology to warn drivers of the presence of pedestrians.

Earlier this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission proposed a rule requiring electric and hybrid-electric cars to emit sounds to warn and protect bicyclists and pedestrians, particularly the visually impaired.  The NHTSA is also considering adding pedestrian safety features to its five-star safety rating system in the hope that car makers will find that an incentive to build in these pedestrian safety features. As similar tactic was employed with some success to get car makers to begin installing back-up cameras on their vehicles.

If you or a loved one are ever struck by a careless driver in Connecticut while walking or riding your bike, it is important to gather all the information you can and then call a qualified Connecticut personal injury lawyer.  A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help to ensure that your rights are protected.

RisCassi & Davis has handled thousands of injury cases in Connecticut over our more than 55 years serving the people of this state.  Our Connecticut personal injury lawyers have received significant local and national recognition for our handling of injury cases including:

  • Top listing in “The Best Lawyers in America” and “Best Law Firms” and much more (for more on our honors and awards, click here).

If you would like a free consultation with one of our accident lawyers, contact us today.  There is no obligation of any kind.


Steps You Can Take To Avoid Endangering Cyclists On The Road

RisCassi & Davis has been a long-term major sponsor of charitableSteps_you_can_take_to_keep_cyclists_safe_on_the_road. cycling events organized by Coach Jim Calhoun of the University of Connecticut.  With this year’s event approaching, let’s examine steps you can take to avoid endangering cyclists on the road.

Here are a few important things to consider:

  • Be alert for cyclists at all times.  Slow down when you see one and always maintain at least 4 feet of space between your vehicle and any cyclists.  Also be aware of hazards on the road that a cyclist may need to avoid – anticipate their troubles and give them extra room.

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Pedestrian Injuries On the Rise – Is There Technology That Can Help?

The most recent U.S. traffic data shows pedestrian fatalities due toPedestrian_injuries_are_on_the_rise. motor vehicle crashes rose 4.2%.   In addition, pedestrian injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes increased by 19% from the previous year – all this according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Sadly – U.S. roads were designed with cars in mind – not pedestrians.

So how can we significantly reduce the incidence of pedestrian injuries?  Perhaps emerging technology offers part of the answer.

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Protect Yourself From An Accident On Connecticut Roads This Summer

As spring and summer return to Connecticut, we all feel the need to beProtect yourself from an accident on Connecticut's roads this summeroutside enjoying the change of seasons.  With gas prices being what they are, we all have additional incentives to walk, run or ride our bikes to our next destination.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign recently released a list of the most dangerous roads for these activities in Connecticut.  Two roads on which to use extreme care are the Boston Post Road (Rt. 1) and Route 5.  These highways have seen the greatest number of pedestrian/car accidents in the entire State.

On a county by county basis – Hartford County and New Haven County lead the state in these types of accidents.

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How To Avoid A Bike Accident on Connecticut’s Busy Roads

Few things are as much fun or as good for you as riding a bike.  The greatHow to avoid a bike accident on Connecticut's busy roads challenge isstaying safe and avoiding bike accidents on our busy roads.   Each year some 500,000 people are treated in Emergency Rooms in the U.S. for bike related injuries.

There are certain things you can do to keep yourself safe while riding.

How To Stay Safe While Cycling:

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