Bill Would Ban Texting on a Bike

Proposed law extends hand-free rule to bicyclists

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    NEWSLETTERS

    "No one calls anymore."

    Wait long enough and you'll see someone talking on the phone or texting while riding their bike here in San Diego.

    State Senator Joe Simitian, who represents the San Mateo and Santa Cruz areas, thinks it's such a growing problem that he introduced a bill to make texting illegal for bicyclists.

    If passed SB 1475 would prohibit someone riding a bike from using "an electronic wireless communications device to write, send or read a text-based communication."

    "That's absolutely absurd," bicyclist Wilbur Harvey said,  "If a bicyclist wants to text while riding, the only person that's going to get hurt is the bicyclist."

    A different opinion from Doug Vealey who rides his bike to work.  "I don't think it's a good idea for you to be riding your bike, not paying attention to where you're going," said Vealey.

    However, both bike riders agree that the 2006 law requiring drivers use a hands-free device behind the wheel and the 2009 ban on texting while driving is a good idea.

    Simitian said a 20 percent drop in traffic fatalities in the first six months of the hands-free law for vehicle drivers shows the law is working.

    Now, Simitian would like for it to work even better, by costing law-breakers a little more. Simitian proposes raising the fine for breaking the hands-free law from $20 to $50, and raising the fine for texting and driving from $20 to $100. The same fines would apply to violators on bikes, if the law passes.

    The bill, introduced in February has been approved in subcommittees twice with the most recent revision recorded April 26.