NPR reports that California is considering extending the ban on texting while driving to including texting while biking. California is one of 23 states to ban texting while driving, a law that should be federal since it is dangerous everywhere.
Clearly the distracted driver of a multi-ton vehicle can do more damage to another person than a cyclist, as shown by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The FMCSA points out that “Drivers who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers.”
Stop, Read, and Respond
I’m not sure if that same rate applies to cyclists, but frankly I just can’t understand why anyone would feel the need to send a text while riding a bicycle in a city. Bikers are already vulnerable enough and if you need to brake suddenly to avoid an absent-minded pedestrian, driver, or another cyclist, you’ve lost that ability.
If an urgent text is received and must immediately be replied to, it is so easy, friends, it is so so so easy to pull off the road, out of the lane, and Stop, Read, and Respond. Think of the adage that explains what to do if you are on FIRE: Stop, Drop, and Roll. If you are facing a life and death situation, you should stop and deal with it. Otherwise, don’t make an already precarious situation worse by becoming a distracted biker.
If your life is so important that you have to keep up with every minute detail and constantly be in touch, isn’t it important enough to make sure you don’t lose it?
Watch out for yourself, watch out for your neighbors and everyone else and put down that ridiculous phone until you get off your bicycle or out of your car.