New statewide pedestrian safety law takes effect on October 1, 2021.
At crosswalks, drivers must yield to pedestrians who show intent to cross by extending an arm or moving into the crosswalk.
A driver or passenger cannot open a vehicle door in a way that hits or gets in the way of a pedestrian or bicyclist.
The new pedestrian safety laws expand the circumstances under which drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks that are not controlled by traffic signals or police officers.
“Across the country, we are seeing increased pedestrian fatalities and injuries,” said Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giulietti. “Nationally, we saw an unprecedented 55 percent increase in pedestrian deaths between 2009 and 2018. And although we are seeing a small recent decrease, pedestrian fatalities recorded in 2018 and 2019 have not been this high since 1990.”
Currently, a driver must yield to a pedestrian, slowing or stopping as necessary, if the pedestrian has stepped off the curb or into the crosswalk. Under the new law, a driver must slow or stop as necessary if the pedestrian (1) is within any portion of the crosswalk; (2) steps to the curb at a crosswalk’s entrance and indicates intent to cross by raising a hand or arm to oncoming traffic; or (3) indicates intent to cross by moving any body part or extension of a body part into the crosswalk entrance, including a wheelchair, cane, walking stick, crutch, bicycle, electric bicycle, stroller, carriage, cart, or leashed or harnessed dog.
“This new pedestrian safety law is an important step to keep everyone safe, and ultimately save lives,” added Giulietti.
As under existing law, drivers who fail to yield at a crosswalk when required are subject to a $500 fine.
Also taking effect beginning October 1, the act of dooring will be illegal. This new law prohibits a person from causing physical contact between a vehicle door and moving traffic by (1) opening the door, if the moving traffic is traveling at a reasonable speed with due regard for the safety of people and property, or (2) leaving it open longer than needed to load or unload passengers.
To learn more about the new pedestrian laws, please visit www.thepedestrianrules.com.