PA 15-41—sSB 502

Transportation Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING BICYCLE SAFETY

SUMMARY: This act 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 as practical to the right side of the road.

The act 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 or pedestrians.

The law requires motorists, when parking on curbed highways, to park their vehicles so that their right-hand wheels are no more than 12 inches from the curb. But on highways with a bikeway or a buffer area for a bikeway between the parking lane and the curb, as described in the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control, the act 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 act requires the Department of Transportation (DOT) commissioner, when updating design standards for roads, to include, where appropriate, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Bikeway and Urban Street design guides' standards. 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.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015

OPERATING BICYCLES ON ROADWAYS

Under prior law, bicyclists were required to ride as close to the right side of the road as practical, except when (1) turning left; (2) avoiding areas closed to traffic; or (3) overtaking or passing moving or parked vehicles, pedestrians, animals, or obstructions on the right side of the highway.

The act 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 to bicycle use.

OLR Tracking: HP: DC: PF: cmg