Stay to the right? Not so much anymore.

Remember when cyclists in Connecticut had to stick as close to the right side of the road as possible? Not anymore, since new legislation that was signed into law June 1, and went into effect July 1, 2016. The new rules are intended to increase biker safety and allow more flexibility for bikers to make their own judgment calls according to street conditions.

Under the old rules, cyclists had to hug the right side of the road no matter what, putting them at risk for getting doored by parked cars, and leaving little recourse for independent decision-making in the face of a number of potential hazards. Under the new law, cyclists are still required to stay as close as possible to the right side of the road, with the caveat that cyclists can now exercise their own judgment and move away from the right-hand side in the interest of safety.

Specifically, cyclists no longer have to stick to the right side of the road in the following circumstances:

  • When preparing for a left-hand turn
  • When riding on a one-way street
  • When approaching an intersection in a dedicated right-hand lane
  • When approaching obstacles
  • When passing other vehicles that are moving in the same direction

The new rules follow more common-sense practices by allowing cyclists increased discretion when evaluating their own safety. Whether cars will adjust to watching for bikes in places other than the far right side of the road remains to be seen. Do you think the new rules will increase biker safety?