In recent months, cycling advocate groups have been vocal in their attempts to persuade lawmakers to consider harsher penalties for drivers who fail to yield to bicyclists and pedestrians. They propose that increasing the fines that are imposed upon drivers will decrease the number of accidents involving bicyclists, and the injuries they will potentially suffer in those accidents. If passed, will it actually make a difference?
House Bill 5403
Contained in House Bill 5403 are the details of the fine. According to an article in the Hartford Courant, the penalty would be increased from a current amount of $90 for failing to “exercise due care” when driving in the vicinity of a pedestrian or bicyclist to $500. This is a substantial increase that could actually cause drivers to take notice. The penalties would hopefully make drivers more aware of their surroundings and whether or not they are driving in a manner that would place pedestrians and bicyclists at risk.
While some lawmakers are still skeptical about whether or not drivers will care about the fines, it is a step in the right direction for bikers’ rights and keeping everyone safe on the roads.
Accidents Will Still Happen
There are be numerous laws passed and regulations imposed, but bicycle accidents will still happen. Situations arise where collisions cannot be avoided. House Bill 5403 is not theorizing that that all accidents and injuries will cease with larger fines, but potentially lessen to a more reasonable degree. What can be prevented should be prevented at all costs.
If you have been injured in an accident as the result of a careless driver, you may have grounds upon which to take action against him or her. They may also be facing the current criminal penalty of $90 if they are found negligent. To learn more about your options and the current laws that apply to both bicyclists and drivers, talk to a knowledgeable attorney.