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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT

Cyclists, Drivers Share The Road In Greenwich

GREENWICH, Conn. - A bevy of laws pertain to bicycling in Connecticut, but the question in Greenwich is whether riders, drivers and even police departments are aware of the rules.

And how often are the laws followed?

"A majority of (bicyclists) do, but a lot don't understand the laws," said Frank Delio, store manager at Cycle Dynamics in Greenwich. "Club riders try to follow the rules, some individuals don't. They have to follow the same laws as motorists."

Accidents have occurred this summer in Fairfield County. A bicyclist was hospitalized after an incident on July 7 in Redding. Police said a driver did not give the rider enough room. The law says safe-passing distance is at least three feet.

Bicycles are considered vehicles, which means riders cannot go through red lights, turn right on prohibited intersections or travel at fast speeds on roads with lower speed limits.

Among the laws that pertain specifically to bicyclists are that "persons shall not ride more than two abreast." At night, bicyclists must use a front light and rear reflector.

"Most of the laws are based on common sense, but most people don't use common sense when they're riding bicycles," said John Troxell, chief of the Weston police. "We have pulled bicyclists over for cutting in traffic and running lights."

Redding Police Chief Douglas Fuchs said, "We have ticketed bikes in the past when large races come to town and there are too many bikes abreast so they're obstructing traffic."

A new law that may have a great impact on bicycling in Connecticut is the Complete Streets Law, which was passed in 2009 and took effect late in 2010. The law mandates that at least 1 percent of transportation funding goes to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

Kelly Kennedy, executive director of Bike Walk Connecticut, believes the new law will bring Connecticut towns up to date with larger cities that are bike friendly. "Other towns are striping lanes for bikes or painting sharrows (shared lane street markings) and we want to move Connecticut in that direction," she said.

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