State Senate Bill 1475 is set to amend the Vehicle Code in California – and make using a mobile phone while cycling illegal, according to this story on sf.streetsblog (via Seattle.pi).
Extending the phone ban from car drivers to include cyclists as well, opponents of the proposed ban have argued that a distracted cyclist is not as much of a danger as a distracted driver. The bill will increase fines for the illegal use of mobile phones while driving or riding a cycle.
State Senator Joe Simitian has proposed the move, and told sf.streetsblog that it is an oversight that cyclists have not already been included in the mobile phone ban. He told the blog: “Common sense tells us it’s not a safe habit, given all the risks that cyclists have to contend with.”
California Bicycle Coalition communications director Jim Brown retorted: “The consequences of a distracted driver are considerably more serious than the consequences of distracted cycling.”
He added: “In the absence of any evidence against bicyclists, this law seems premature.”
California based The Reporter added its voice to criticism of the Bill: “When drivers are distracted, they endanger the lives of those around them. A distracted bicyclist, on the other hand, mostly endangers his or her own life. Government may have a duty to protect the public, but it does not need to become a nanny for individuals who wish to behave foolishly. Unless there is compelling evidence to show that cell phone-distracted bicyclists are endangering others, they should remain exempt.”