What most people don't know about bicycling in Connecticut is that bicyclists are considered vehicles when they are in the roadway. The law states that bicyclists driving in the roadway shall be granted all the rights, and shall be subject to all the duties applicable to any driver of a vehicle. What this means is that if you are driving your bicycle on any road, you must obey all the laws that a car must obey. Bicyclists must ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. They must signal their turns, obey all traffic signs / signals, and yes, obey the speed limit. One of the reasons for this law is that it gives bicyclists the right to drive on the roadway and defines who has the right of way at intersections. Bicyclists must drive as far to the right as practicable.
The law also defines rights and duties when riding on a sidewalk. A bicyclist is considered a pedestrian when riding on a sidewalk, however, the bicyclist must give the right of way to a person walking on the sidewalk.
Connecticut's helmet law requires children under the age of sixteen to wear bicycle helmets. According to CONNECTICUT SAFE KIDS, Bicycles are associated with more childhood injuries than any other consumer product except the automobile. Head injury is the leading cause of death in bicycle crashes.
- National estimates report that children bicycle helmet use is 15-25%.
- Helmet usage is lowest among children ages 11-14.
- Children 14 and under are five times more likely to be injured in a bicycle related crash.
- In 1995 more than 250 children ages 14 and under died in bicycle related crashes.
- In 1996 more than 350,000 children ages 14 and under were treated in hospitals and emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries.
- It is estimated that collisions with motor vehicles account for 90% of all bicycle related deaths.
- Riding without a bicycle helmet increases the risk of sustaining a head injury in the event of a crash. Non-helmeted riders are 14 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than those wearing a helmet.
- Wear a bicycle helmet correctly. It should be comfortable and fit snugly, but not too tight. It should not slide forward and back or side to side. Straps should always be buckled.
- All helmets should meet or exceed the safety standards developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the Snell Memorial Foundation and/or the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
Wethersfield Police Bike Patrol
Anyone with questions regarding bicycle safety or laws concerning bicyclists can call Lt. Andrew Power, Sgt. Thomas Regan, or Sgt. Michael Fisher at the Wethersfield Police Department, (860) 721-2900.
The Wethersfield Police Bicycle Patrol was started in 1997. The unit currently consists of eight officers, all of whom are specially trained in various areas of bicycle safety and enforcement of laws while riding the bicycle.
The unit was started as the Wethersfield Police Department began to develop a Community Policing philosophy. Some of the first assignments were for the bicycle officer to maintain a highly visible presence to deter crime in areas where regular patrol cars could not. Some of these areas included town parks and the meadows. As the value of bicycle officers grew, officers became assigned to the various shopping centers and specific areas in town that needed a higher *visible* presence of Police Officers. Officers normally ride in a Police Bicycle Officer uniform, however, in certain situations officers can work "undercover" as part of their crime prevention duties.
Officers assigned to the unit assist with Community Policing activities, run an aggressive Preventive Patrol, enforce both criminal and motor vehicle law, and respond to various service calls such as sick calls, lockouts, and assisting other officers as back-ups to alarms.
Other duties of the Bicycle Patrol include running Bicycle Rodeos and assisting various citizen groups with bicycle safety classes. In the year 2000, the unit began teaching bicycle safety in the school system, and that education process will continue to grow.
Routine Calls: (860) 721-2900
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