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A horrible tragedy: a bicyclist killed in collision with a motorcycle

As reported by Eyewitness News 3, a sixth-grade boy was killed while riding his bike in Enfield, Connecticut, in a collision with a motorcycle on September 2013. Although the cause of the crash was unknown, it illustrates the danger of non-motorized vehicles sharing the road with motor vehicles.

According to statics compiled by the Connecticut Department of Transportation, there were 4,276 reported bicycle injuries in the five-year period of 2005 through 2010, with 127 fatalities in the state. According to national statistics, there were 618 bicycle fatalities in 2010 alone due to vehicle-bicycle accidents and 52,000 cycling injuries in the U.S. The injury figures are likely seriously understated as researchers who have combed hospital records report that probably only 10 percent of crashes involving injuries to cyclists are ever reported to the police. It may be surprising that a very common type of vehicle-bicycle accident does not even involve a moving vehicle. It involves cyclists being “doored”-where a vehicle door is suddenly opened in the path of a bicycle.

Some of the rules of the road

Under Connecticut law, a bicycle has the same obligations and the same rights as a motor vehicle. That means a bicycle must be treated as a vehicle and given the appropriate right of way. In fact, the laws imposes a special surcharge equal to 100 percent of the fine for a violation of certain laws governing the right of way at intersections when the driver of a vehicle fails to yield to the right-of-way of a person riding a bicycle.

Connecticut law also provides that the drivers must pass another vehicle traveling in the same way on the left and must not move back to the right until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle. The law also requires that bicyclists ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable. But, a law enacted by the state legislature in 2008 now imposes what is nationally known as the “three foot rule.” The rule, which has now been enacted by a majority of states, and strongly endorsed by both the American Automobile Association and the League of American Bicyclists, defines that “safe distance” to be at least three feet of space when passing a cyclist.

These are just some of the rules that apply when it comes to bicycles on the road in Connecticut, and if you are a cyclist and are injured by the actions of a driver of a motor vehicle, immediately seek the advice of an experienced Connecticut personal injury attorney.