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Connecticut’s Pedestrian Laws

March 6 2024 | Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrians are known as the most vulnerable road users because they are at the highest risk of suffering severe and fatal injuries in traffic accidents. According to Connecticut crash data, 1,348 collisions involved pedestrians in 2022. Connecticut recently passed new laws in an effort to better protect pedestrians from motor vehicle collisions.

New Pedestrian Law Passed in 2021

A new pedestrian law, State of Connecticut Public Act No. 21-28 went into effect on October 1, 2021, with the passing of House Bill 5429. This law replaced the previous text of subsection (c) of section 14-300 of the general statutes – the state’s law regarding crosswalks – to add additional requirements for when drivers must stop and yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. A violation of this new law can result in a $500 fine.

Under the law, which was passed to improve communication between drivers and pedestrians, a driver must slow or stop to yield to a pedestrian in any of the following circumstances:

  • When a pedestrian is within any portion of a crosswalk.
  • When a pedestrian steps to the curb at a crosswalk’s entrance and raises his or her hand and arm toward oncoming traffic to indicate the intent to cross the road.
  • When a pedestrian indicates an intent to cross by placing any body part or extension of a body part into the crosswalk’s entrance, including a wheelchair, crutch, walking stick or cane, a leashed or harnessed dog, a stroller, cart, bicycle, or scooter.

In addition to the responsibility to grant the right-of-way to any pedestrian crossing the road within a crosswalk, drivers must yield to pedestrians who show their intent to cross the street by showing a signal. Drivers in Connecticut have a duty to watch for the pedestrian wave at crosswalks. When they see the wave, they must come to a complete stop and yield to the pedestrian.

Dooring Laws

Dooring refers to opening a car door directly into the path of an oncoming pedestrian or bicyclist, causing physical contact between the vehicle door and a victim. Dooring accidents can inflict serious injuries on pedestrians, such as cuts, scrapes, lacerations and broken bones. In Connecticut, the new pedestrian laws passed under HB 5429 include a section on dooring.

The new law states: “No person shall open the door of a motor vehicle in such a manner

as to cause physical contact with moving traffic with such door, provided moving traffic is traveling at a reasonable rate of speed and with due regard for the safety of all persons and property.” In addition, no person can leave the door of a motor vehicle open for an unnecessarily long period of time in a manner that could cause physical contact with moving traffic.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

Before you walk, jog or run in Connecticut, be sure to understand the traffic laws that pertain to you. This can keep you from entering a roadway when you do not have the right-of-way. At any crosswalk, drivers must yield to you. The same is true when you cross the road at an unmarked intersection. If the intersection is marked with a traffic signal, however, you must obey the signal or a traffic officer.

Pedestrians are prohibited from crossing the road at any place other than a crosswalk between two adjacent intersections if done in a manner that disrupts traffic. This is known as jaywalking. If sidewalks are provided, you must use them. If there is no sidewalk, you should walk on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic. Avoid walking while using a cell phone or engaging in other distractions, as this can increase the risk of a pedestrian accident. Pay attention to your surroundings at all times.

If you get injured in a pedestrian accident in Connecticut, contact the New Haven pedestrian accident attorneys at Jacobs & Jacobs for a free legal consultation. Call (203) 777-2300.

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