(Chicago, IL) – November 7, 2011. State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) has introduced legislation to ban the use of handheld electronic devices–mobile phones, computers, iPads, etc–by bicyclists.
“Much like motorist, bicyclist are subject to distracted driving and therefore should adhere to the same safety precautions that drivers of motor vehicles now take,” Cassidy said.
The legislation, House Bill 3849, would prohibit anyone from typing, reading or sending messages while riding a bicycle. A hands-free device or a voice-activated feature would be exempted.
Highlighting that more than 1,600 accidents involving cyclists occurred in the last year alone, Cassidy noted that the City of Chicago recently passed an ordinance that bans biking-texting, imposing a fine on these ambidextrous bikers.
Under Cassidy’s legislation, bicyclists would be subject to the same penalties as motorists who send text messages while driving.
“Not only in the city of Chicago but across the state, thousands of cyclists travel alongside motor vehicles every day,” said Ron Burke, Executive Director of the Active Transportation Alliance.
“Extending this law to include bicycles will allow for safer travel through our communities and help prevent dangerous situations from occurring.”
Bladers, skate boarders, and buggy pushers–take note.
The legislation is currently idling in the House Rules Committee.
I hope this bill is sent to a committee…forever.Posted by A liberal libertarian? | November 7, 2011, 8:02 PM
I think legislation has value in raising public awareness in forums like this one but it will be difficult to solely legislate our way out of this issue. I just read that 72% of teens text daily – many text more 4000 times a month. New college students no longer have email addresses! They use texting and Facebook – even with their professors. Tweens (ages 9 -12) send texts to each other from their bikes. This text and drive issue is in its infancy and its not going away.
I decided to do something about distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. It also silences call ringtones while driving unless you have a bluetooth enabled. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.
Erik Wood, ownerPosted by OTTER (@OTTERapp) | November 8, 2011, 6:10 PM