So this morning I was tooling my way to work from West Hartford when a guy started saying something to me as he drove by. I didn't hear him but his tone didn't sound aggressive, so when he stopped at a light and I caught up to him, I stopped and asked what was up. Here's the conversation:
Me: What's up?
Connecticut license plate 316 TEC: You're not allowed to ride in the street.
Me: Whaddya mean? Where am I supposed to ride?
CLP316TEC: On the sidewalk.
Me: Actually, the law says I am allowed to ride on the street, I promise you.
CLP316TEC: [drives off and turns onto the I-84 on-ramp]
Now, as a lawyer, I know better than to go around giving out legal advice to strangers. It's gauche and it's annoying. I also know better than to give out bad legal advice. So this guy's theory that I'm not allowed to ride on the street really irks me. Maybe he meant that I'm not allowed by him, in the same way that I don't allow most baseball teams to beat the Mets (and they frustratingly don't listen). But just in case he really thinks the law is on his side, or in case any of you other herbs out there think so, let me break it down for you:
Connecticut General Statutes Section 14-286a: Rights, duties and regulation of cyclists.
(a) Every person riding a bicycle, as defined by section 14-286, upon the traveled portion of a highway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of any vehicle subject to the requirements of the statutes relating to motor vehicles, except as to those provisions which by their nature can have no application and except that each town, city or borough and the State Traffic Commission within its jurisdiction as provided in section 14-298 shall have authority to regulate bicycles as provided in section 14-289 and said section 14-298, and except as provided by section 14-286c. No parent of any child and no guardian of any ward shall authorize or knowingly permit any such child or ward to violate any provision of the general statutes or ordinances enacted under section 14-289 relating to bicycles.
Got that, 316 TEC? Well, there's more. West Hartford, which is where you were when you tried to drop knowledge on me, actually forbids bicycle riding on many of its sidewalks but places no restriction on riding on any of its streets. (Don't believe me? Check here.) So thanks for the tip and everything, and thanks for being so polite about it (except for the driving-away-abruptly part), but shut the hell up.