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Witkos Gains State's Attorney's Support for Amended Single File Riding Bill

Amended bill hones in on when cyclists riding two abreast should yield to motor vehicles

On the heels of a proposed single file bicycle riding bill that stirred up a public debate over safety on the roads, an amended bill has gained support from the Connecticut State's Attorney's office.

At the start of the legislative session this year, state Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-8th District) proposed a seemingly simple bill that quickly sparked a local debate over whether cyclists should have the legal right to ride two abreast on roadways.

The original Senate Bill 103 proposed an amendment to section 14-286b of the state general statutes "to require persons riding bicycles on a roadway to ride single file, rather than two abreast as currently allowed, in order to permit motorists to safely pass and yield three feet to the bicyclists as required by law."

When Simsbury Patch first published an article about the proposed bill it generated over 180 reader comments both in favor and in opposition to its contents.

Witkos said he has received many suggestions about how to approach the safety issue with two abreast riding since he proposed the bill.

In a later article, Witkos told Patch that the dialogue surrounding the bill was what he hoped for and planned to continue to pursue a reasonable solution that would promote a safer situation for both motorists and cyclists. Witkos also told Patch that he requested clarification from the State Attorney's office on the existing law which states that cyclists can ride two abreast as long as they do not "impede" traffic.

"I was told that it depended on who the State's Attorney was that handled the case as to how the law would be interpreted," Witkos said in a recent e-mail. "Basically, not very clear. This was my concern."

In order to address the lack of clarity within the existing state law, Witkos requested support from the State Attorney's office for an amended senate bill.

The wording of the amended S.B. 103 is as follows, according to Witkos:

"Persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on in-line skates upon a roadway shall ride, skate, or glide single file when being overtaken by a vehicle."

The proposed amendment is modeled after a New York State statute that addresses the same issue.

"I was informed that they would definitely support the change and would in fact come and testify in support of the bill," Witkos said.

More on this topic:

Paul Bahre January 27, 2013 at 02:07 PM
OK we are supposed to give these spandex riding fools 3 feet when passing them in or on our motor vehicles since 2008. Now if these clowns are riding 2 or more abreast that does not give a car any room to pass especially on a double lined road. I live on meadowbrook road and I see them on my streeet and on Wells Rd and around town and they are 4 abreast. Since I usually ride a motorcycle I come up along side of them and tell them the road is narrow and people like to zip up wells road at 50 and they are just looking to become road kill unless they get their fool asses into a single file formation. These people love to come to the Farmington Valley and ride their bikes because we do have scenery in spades but on the other hand if they don't stick to single file formations they really do become a road hazard. Also you know if you are riding single file in a group of bicycles you it becomes easier to peddle because you can draft each other and save energy.
Happy Percy January 27, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Very true the old Cow Paths of New England do not lend to any ahything else but single file bike riding. Most roads in CT do not have a shoulder, and therefore it is very dnagerous to ride any othe way. Also if the intent is to put cross walks everywhere, then porper lighting shoudl be there to suppport this. Too many people wear dark clothes at night and can not be seen!
Granbyite January 28, 2013 at 04:21 AM
Know what's really annoying? When Harley riders remove the baffles or change their exhaust so it is loud enough that you can hear it from three streets away. Some fool asses even lay on the throttle early in the morning, ruining that Farmington Valley scenery. Someone should slow them down and tell them that they should be careful or they might end up roadkill in a snowbank when someone pulls out of their driveway in front of them.

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