Connecticut laws/regulations;

OLR Research Report

Connecticut General Assembly


January 7, 1998 98-R-0056


FROM: Kevin E. McCarthy, Principal Analyst

RE: Bicycle Light Laws

You wanted to know whether Connecticut law requires bicycles to have lights when ridden by children at night. You also wanted to know whether other states have such laws.

CGS 14-288(a) requires that any bicycle operated at night (one half hour after sundown to one half hour before sunrise) use a white headlight that can be seen 500 feet and a red rear reflector that can be seen 600 feet. These requirements also apply at any other time when visibility is less than 500 feet or when it is precipitating. Violation of this provision is an infraction.

At least 24 states have similar laws (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Utah, and Wisconsin). In all of these states the requirement applies regardless of the age of the bicyclist, although in Massachusetts a police officer can issue a ticket to the parent of a child under age 16 who violates any bicycle law. Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio require a rear light rather than allowing a reflector. New York also requires that at least one of the lights be visible 200 feet to the side. In addition to these state provisions, federal law (49 CFR 1512.16) requires bicycles to be manufactured with front, rear, and pedal reflectors.