Bicycle Safety and Laws

In Connecticut, the bicycle helmet law requires anyone under the age of sixteen to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle (Public Act No. 97-46). The helmet must meet the minimum specifications of the American National Standards Institute or the Snell Memorial Foundations Standard for Protective Headgear for Use in Bicycling.

Parents and other adults are encouraged to be a good role model by wearing their own helmets. For those over the age of 16 helmets can prevent head injuries, the primary cause of death and disabling injuries resulting from cycling accidents. Medical research shows that up to 85% of cyclists’ head injuries can be prevented by a bicycle helmet. Helmets, especially when white or brightly colored also increase rider visibility.

Children riding in a bicycle seat should wear a helmet too, but ensure your toddler’s neck muscles are strong enough to support both their head and the helmet before taking them out.

Teach your children the rules of the road. Also, teach them to remove their helmet before using playground equipment or climbing trees so the helmet doesn’t get caught.

Connecticut State Bicycle Laws: A Summary
• Children under the age of 16 must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
• Parents may not authorize their children to violate statutes related to bicycle
travel. In other words, by state law, children under 16 must wear a helmet when
riding a bicycle whether their parents want them to or not.
• During nighttime and times of low visibility, bicyclists must utilize a front light visible
from 500 feet, a rear red reflector or light visible from 600 feet, and reflective
material on the bike visible from 600 feet on each side.
• Bicyclists traveling on roadways have the same rights and responsibilities as
motorists.
• Bicyclists must stop at red lights.
• Bicyclists must make a full stop at stop signs.
• Bicyclists cannot ride on the right side of the road into oncoming traffic.
• Bicyclists must use hand or mechanical signals to communicate with other
travelers, but signals need not be given continuously.
• CT State law allows cyclists to ride two abreast but no more than two abreast.
• Motorists must allow a minimum of 3 feet of separation when passing a bicyclist.
• Motorists must provide a minimum of 3 feet of passing area around a cyclist
when emerging from driveways and alleys.
• Bicyclists can ride on sidewalks and in crosswalks but when doing so have the
same responsibilities and rights as pedestrians. For example, they need to wait for
the proper crosswalk signal.

Bicycle Safety and Training Websites
League of American Cyclists Safety Courses
www.bikeleague.org/programs/education
Bike and Pedestrian Education
www.bikewalkct.org/bike-education.html NHTSA Bike and Pedestrian Safety
www.nhtsa.gov/Driving%2BSafety/SRTS/srts-kit
“How to Survive Road Hazards” (pdf 26.3 kb)
www.ct.gov/dot/lib/dot/documents/dsafety/roadhazards.pdf

Sources:

http://www.norwalkct.org/DocumentCenter/View/7556
http://www.ct.gov/dot/LIB/dot/documents/dbikes/child_helmet1.pdf
http://www.ct.gov/dot/cwp/view.asp?a=2314&q=433254