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Bicycle Safety Laws in Connecticut

March 29, 2024Articles

In Connecticut, the law defines bicyclists as vulnerable road users but also expounds that bicycles are vehicles with the same rights, responsibilities, and restrictions that the law applies to motorists. Like most laws, Connecticut’s bicycle safety laws center around promoting safety for cyclists and others on the roads and sidewalks.

Bicycling is a health-conscious and eco-friendly option for transportation and it’s also a fun family activity in the outdoors, but the same open-air design that makes a bicycle ride an exhilarating outdoor experience also leaves cyclists vulnerable to grave injuries in an accident, especially in a collision with an average 4,000-pound vehicle. Nothing prevents all accidents but when cyclists and motorists familiarize themselves with bicycle safety laws in Connecticut, it helps to decrease the number of bike accidents, injuries, and deaths on Connecticut’s roadways.

Can Cyclists Ride on Sidewalks in Connecticut?

Like most states, Connecticut has laws determining whether or not cyclists may ride on sidewalks. Some states only allow children to use sidewalks for cycling, but in Connecticut, bicyclists may use city sidewalks with the same rights and responsibilities as pedestrians in most areas unless prohibited by specific city ordinances. However, when riding bikes on sidewalks in Connecticut, cyclists must yield the right of way to pedestrians. A cyclist should also warn pedestrians of their approach either verbally or by using a bike horn or bell.

What Laws Apply to Cyclists Sharing the Road in Connecticut?

Connecticut law considers bicycles as vehicles on the road, subject to the same rights and laws as motor vehicles. This includes the following:


  • Cyclists may use bicycle lanes but the law doesn’t require them to use bike lanes except where provided on parkways. Otherwise, cyclists may not travel on parkways or limited access roads
  • Cyclists must stop at stop signs and red lights
  • Cyclists must signal turns at intersections by using hand signals or mechanical signaling devices
  • Cyclists must stay in the right lane and as far to the right as possible unless preparing for a left turn, passing another cyclist, avoiding a road hazard, or when traveling in a lane that’s too narrow to share without endangering their safety
  • Cyclists may ride two abreast in a lane but not more than two
  • Motorists may pass cyclists on the roadway but must allow a distance of at least 3 feet

Variations to Connecticut’s bicycle laws may apply in some local ordinances, so it’s important to check the laws specific to the area before you ride.

Cyclists in Connecticut may not cling onto motor vehicles, must have at least one hand on the handlebars at all times, and may not ride with more people on a bicycle than seats accommodate. DUI laws in Connecticut apply to cyclists on the road just as they do to motorists.

Bicycle Helmet Laws in Connecticut

Bicycle helmet studies find that helmets reduce serious head injuries in a crash by 60 percent and reduce deaths by about 34 percent. However, Connecticut’s bicycle laws do not mandate helmets for cyclists over the age of 16. All children under 16 years old must wear helmets while riding at all times.

What Equipment Does Connecticut Require for Cyclists?

Bicycles should have fully functional brakes. When riding at night, early morning, or in any low light condition, a bicycle must have lights and reflectors, including a white front headlight with a 500-foot visibility range, a red rear light or reflector, and side reflectors.