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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Where they take cycling seriously: The Dutch parliament will soon debate a bill prohibiting texting while riding a bicycle. This includes texting on a phone attached to the bars. The bill was drafted in response to a rise in serious and fatal injuries in particular suffered by teenagers 12-19 years old, who on the average ride for transport 2,000 km (1,200 miles) a year and supposedly text a lot while riding.

In 2015, Holland had 621 traffic deaths, with 185 of those being cyclists. About 17 million people live in Holland.
 

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Interesting. I read somewhere that New Jersey was considering a very tough distracted driving statute. What I read was the law was worded so strongly that you could not drink coffee while operating a vehicle. Maybe someone from New Jersey can comment.

Distracted biking, is it next?
 

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Interesting. I read somewhere that New Jersey was considering a very tough distracted driving statute. What I read was the law was worded so strongly that you could not drink coffee while operating a vehicle. Maybe someone from New Jersey can comment.

Distracted biking, is it next?
I'm from NJ, had not heard that so I looked it up. The proposed bill would outlaw “any activity, not related to the operation of the vehicle, in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of the vehicle.”

That language seems so loose that it's doomed to fail
 

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I like the idea of no texting while moving on the bike. However, texting should be allowed if the bike is stopped. (The cyclist shouldn't need to get off the bike and completely unclip though).
 

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I love laws against distracted driving, but I'm dismayed at the meager consequences and terrible enforcement. Depending on the study you cite, you are 2-8 times as likely to crash while texting than you are while drunk, yet the penalties for texting pale in comparison. Even in NY where we have higher than average penalties, it's still just a $200 fine and five points on your license for a first offense. On top of that, there aren't large scale initiatives to deter distracted driving, whereas there are for drunk driving thanks to groups like MADD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
However, texting should be allowed if the bike is stopped. (The cyclist shouldn't need to get off the bike and completely unclip though).
Good thought. I don't know the details, though.

"Unclipping" will not be addressed in the Dutch law since about 99 percent of all Dutch cyclists use rubber block platform pedals. Keep in mind that cycling trips for transportation vastly outnumber recreational and racing cyclists' rides in Holland.
 

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I love laws against distracted driving, but I'm dismayed at the meager consequences and terrible enforcement. Depending on the study you cite, you are 2-8 times as likely to crash while texting than you are while drunk, yet the penalties for texting pale in comparison. Even in NY where we have higher than average penalties, it's still just a $200 fine and five points on your license for a first offense. On top of that, there aren't large scale initiatives to deter distracted driving, whereas there are for drunk driving thanks to groups like MADD.
Agree with your post. So why isn't there outrage over distracted driving in the same way there is with drunk driving?
 

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Agree with your post. So why isn't there outrage over distracted driving in the same way there is with drunk driving?
It took literally 8 decades for there to be outrage over drunk driving. It took organizations like MADD to publicize the issue and pressure lawmakers. Same will probably need to happen with phone use while driving. Drunk driving was "OK" because "everybody does it." Distracted driving is exactly the same.
 

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It took literally 8 decades for there to be outrage over drunk driving. It took organizations like MADD to publicize the issue and pressure lawmakers. Same will probably need to happen with phone use while driving. Drunk driving was "OK" because "everybody does it." Distracted driving is exactly the same.
One thing that drunk driving has going for it is that its pretty easy to determine quickly at the scene of an accident is drinking was involved. I presume with phone distractions, the police need to subpoena phone records and that prove that it correlates to the time of the accident. I think we need some sort of technology to help prove that distracted driving was involved. Maybe recording use data surrounding rapid acceleration or deceleration of the phone. Obviously, phone manufacturers and carriers are not all that motivated to hurt their business
 

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I presume with phone distractions, the police need to subpoena phone records and that prove that it correlates to the time of the accident. I think we need some sort of technology to help prove that distracted driving was involved.
My helmet-mounted camera quite easily catches motorists using their cell phones. Alternatively, we could push for insurance companies to offer incentives for installing rear-facing cameras in one's vehicle. Right now these are primarily used on teenagers, but adults having their premiums hiked because they were caught using their phones will change their behavior pretty quickly.
 

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Where I'm at, there's a huge push to enforce the distracted driving laws here. The police have been ticketing people for texting. They usually hide around the major traffic lights and catch people as they are either texting or talking on the phone while stopped at a light. I don't think it's that much of a danger to check your phone on a complete stop while waiting for a traffic light. However, if it changes the culture of people using their phone all together while in a car, it may still be an overall benefit to society.

Reality is, if people just exercised common sense, they wouldn't need legislation to keep people in check.
 

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When my town enacted a cell phone ban while driving it also banned using a cell phone while riding a bike. It goes largely unenforced.
 

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I think we have a problem with insufficient jail space. Fines will not be as effective as mandatory jail time since parents will too often pay.


This problem is especially significant for cyclists since texters often wander over the fog lines.
Agree with your post. So why isn't there outrage over distracted driving in the same way there is with drunk driving?
 

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I think we have a problem with insufficient jail space. Fines will not be as effective as mandatory jail time since parents will too often pay.


This problem is especially significant for cyclists since texters often wonder over the fog lines.
So we just lock them up? Not sure where you live but first time DUI offenders rarely go to jail in my neck of the woods. They lose there license, get hit with heavy fines, and get spanked with insurance surcharges. That has generally seemed to work. I think we need to start with some larger fines and actual enforcement before we start just locking folks up
 

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I love laws against distracted driving, but I'm dismayed at the meager consequences and terrible enforcement. Depending on the study you cite, you are 2-8 times as likely to crash while texting than you are while drunk, yet the penalties for texting pale in comparison. Even in NY where we have higher than average penalties, it's still just a $200 fine and five points on your license for a first offense. On top of that, there aren't large scale initiatives to deter distracted driving, whereas there are for drunk driving thanks to groups like MADD.
I was just looking for data I saw a year or more ago that drunk driving accidents are way, way down but distracted driving accidents are so much more common that the result is more accidents than before distracted driving. I couldn't find the article, but I have no problem believing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Great idea, I am sure it will help lower their traffic death stats.
Well, no one is 100% sure about that, so there will be a spirited debate. But if you've been to Holland, you understand how texting while cycling can be dangerous. It's not just because of the car-bicycle interaction, but also because of the sheer number of cyclists interacting.
 

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For a lot of folks, their first DUI or driving while distracted comes with the death of other people. A couple of nights in jail is a very small price to pay for putting other peoples lives at risk.

Getting a course of action/punishment to work sometimes is not the objective. In the case of teens, mommy will often pay the fine and increased insurance premiums. Losing their license has little to do with whether they continue to drive.

This is not stealing a pack of gum from the 7/11. It's doubtful that anyone is oblivious to the risk of texting while driving. Doing so is deciding to trivialize other people's lives.
So we just lock them up? Not sure where you live but first time DUI offenders rarely go to jail in my neck of the woods. They lose there license, get hit with heavy fines, and get spanked with insurance surcharges. That has generally seemed to work. I think we need to start with some larger fines and actual enforcement before we start just locking folks up
 

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I like the idea of no texting while moving on the bike. However, texting should be allowed if the bike is stopped. (The cyclist shouldn't need to get off the bike and completely unclip though).
Using that logic, you could text while driving if you're stopped at a stop sign or traffic light. Ever been behind someone that's "late off the line" or doesn't move at all when the light changes because their face is buried in their phone?!
 

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Enforcement has not caught up with the the technology. Not all states have anti-texting laws. The laws in many states or cities are inadequate. For example, they prohibit texting, but not looking at a phone or calling or using GPS, whatever. The only time law enforcement is actually going to subpoena one's phone is when serious harm or death is involved. A cop can't just seize your phone. Eventually all will be worked out, but it will take time.
 
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