Distracted-Riding Legislation?

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There’s an interesting dialogue going on re whether cyclists should be included in “distracted driving” legislation. Right now the issue centers on proposed legislation in California, but it could apply anywhere for that matter.

This is a tough call. I’ve answered the phone while riding myself. You think: Just a coupla secs, where’s the harm?

But come on. It’s seriously not a good idea. Cyclists jabbering on their cell phones while riding one-handed down busy city streets and highways certainly are putting not only their own lives at stake but those of others around them. A distracted rider could easily swerve or lose control or run a light or do any of the things drivers (and pedestrians for that matter) do while using a phone, causing a chain reaction of traffic leading to a catastrophe.

Moreover, cyclists campaign ceaselessly for equal access to streets and highways. That implies equal levels of responsibility.

Our take: Apply the law to cyclists. We can quibble over whether penalties should be lighter for cyclists because they pose less threat to others than a two-ton steel behemoth. But that’s petty and sidetracks the real issue, which is distracted driving (or pedaling or walking) as a threat to all transportation users. This is one issue not worth marginalizing cyclist’s influence and playing to the kook factor over.

In Washington State they can’t even get texting (by adults anyway) completely banned — you have to be doing something else wrong as well to be pulled over. Interesting that the law was framed to The Seattle Times as anti-business by — I’ll let you guess — a Republican!

Could it be to protect all the Microsofties on their torturous daily commutes to and from Redmond? D’ya think?


News Cycle: Heading into the weekend…

Seattle Bike Expo: Ready to rock!


2 thoughts on “Distracted-Riding Legislation?”

  1. I wouldn’t even think about answering my phone on a bike, let alone try to text. Tempting the gods to strike me down. It takes something very important for me to answer my phone in the car and that’s with a voice activated hands free device.

    If it’s good enough for cars, it’s good enough for bikes. Ban should apply to cycles.

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