OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 502 (as amended by Senate "A")*



This bill makes several changes in laws pertaining to bicycle operation and bikeways. It expands the circumstances when a bicyclist is not required to ride as close to the right side of the road as practical.

The bill allows motorists to overtake and pass, including in a marked no-passing zone, pedestrians, parked or standing vehicles, animals, bicyclists, mopeds, scooters, vehicles moving slowly, or obstructions on the right side of the road. They may pass only if they can do so safely, with adequate sight distance, and without interfering with oncoming traffic or endangering other vehicles, pedestrians, or other conveyances.

Under current law, motorists parking on curbed highways must park their vehicles so that their right-hand wheels are 12 inches or less from the curb. On highways with a bikeway or a buffer area for a bikeway, as described in federal standards, between the parking lane and the curb, the bill requires a motorist to park so that the vehicle's right-hand wheels are within 12 inches from the edge of the bikeway or buffer area.

Finally, the bill requires the Department of Transportation (DOT), when updating design standards for roads in the state, to include, where appropriate, standards from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Bikeway and Urban Street design guides. It also requires DOT to consider implementing the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officers (AASHTO) minimum standard lane width if it would allow the addition of a bicycle lane that conforms to AASHTO or NACTO standards. In doing so, DOT must consult with municipal officials and consider any municipally approved transportation plans.

*Senate Amendment “A” (1) eliminates a provision allowing motorist to cross a road's centerline to pass a bicyclist or other vehicles and objects; (2) adds a number of vehicles and obstructions that motorists may pass in a no passing zone; (3) requires motorists to park within 12 inches of, rather that at least 12 inches from, a bikeway; and (4) requires DOT to consider implementing AASHTO's minimum standard lane width to accommodate bikeways.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015


Under current law, bicyclists must ride as close to the right side of the road as practical, except when turning left; avoiding areas closed to traffic; or overtaking or passing moving or parked vehicles, pedestrians, animals, or obstructions on the right side of the highway.

The bill instead requires a bicyclist traveling slower than traffic to ride as close to the right side as he or she determines to be safe, except when:

1. overtaking or passing a vehicle traveling in the same direction;

2. preparing for a left turn;

3. reasonably necessary to avoid conditions, including fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or lanes too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side;

4. approaching an intersection with a dedicated right turn lane, in which case a bicyclist may ride on the left side of the dedicated lane, even if not intending to turn right;

5. riding on a one-way road, in which case a bicyclist may ride as close to the left side of the road as he or she determines to be safe; or

6. riding on parts of roadways dedicated exclusively for bicycle use.


Transportation Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute