The House voted 144-1 Thursday to hike the penalty for motorists who fail to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists to $500.
The bill, HB 5403, now moves to the Senate for a vote.
The bill increases the current $181 fine to $500.
The House vote came after members shared stories of losing loved ones in car crashes.
Rep. Cecilia Buck-Taylor, R-New Milford, told her fellow legislators: “This bill is very personal to me. My mother was killed walking in a crosswalk.’’
And Rep. Angel Arce, D-Hartford, recounted the death of his father, who was killed “while walking’’ on a street by a passing car. “We need to start holding people accountable out there who are driving crazy,’’ Arce said.
During a Transportation Committee public hearing on the legislation, Julia Evans Starr, executive director of the Commission on Aging, testified that statistics show that an increasing number of citizens are now using alternative methods of transportation like walking and biking.
“This increase number of cyclists and pedestrians are increasingly becoming involved in accidents involving motor vehicles at pedestrian crosswalks and bike lanes,” Starr said.
Also supporting the bill at the public hearing was Bike Walk Connecticut, which issued a written statement, saying: “The rules for yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks is unheeded. The absence of legal or financial consequences to ignoring “share the road” rules simply reinforce the undesirable behavior that so often has truly tragic consequences.’’
“This legislation, I hope, will drive home the message that ignoring basic safety laws will not be tolerated,” Rep. William Tong, D-Stamford, said.