The Low Road

Urban cycling 5


Part V: Fighting for Rights

Not all attempts to enlighten police departments have proven so fruitful. Cyclists for years have been badgering the Madison, Conn., police department to change its official policy on cycling, which they say is at odds with state law.

The town’s Web site states: “The travel portions of the town and state roads and highways are intended for the use of motor vehicle traffic. Pedestrians and bicycles do not have the right of way in these areas.” It urges cyclists to remain on the side of the road.

The town’s Web site references state statutes, but cyclists say those citations were taken out of context and actually were aimed at pedestrians. This has been a longstanding matter of discussion on the ECC Web site.

Cyclists, for thair part, maintain that the relevant state statute is Sec. 14-286a. It reads:

“Every person riding a bicycle shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of any vehicle subject to the requirements of the statute relating to motor vehicles.”

In other words, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the roadway as your average SUV driver, with a few exceptions (for example, they’re specifically banned from riding on the highway, for obvious reasons).

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