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California cell phone prohibitions not universally applicable

| Dec 15, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents | 0 comments

Like their peers nationwide, California bicyclists continue to encourage motor vehicle operators to “see” them. To minimize risks, many adorn themselves with bright-colored clothing, oftentimes replicating the gear of professional cyclists that they idolize. Helmets are also a necessity should a distracted driver collide with them.

Many road accidents are caused by the technology of our times. Far too many car and truck drivers distract themselves by looking at their cell phones. In that brief time, tragedy can occur. State legislators in California have joined other governing bodies throughout the country in imposing strict laws that ban their use.

The Dangers of Exempting Bicyclists

According to the state’s Office of Traffic Safety, cell phones or similar devices cannot be used while held in the driver’s hand. They must use either the speakerphone option or voice commands. Those under the age of 18 cannot touch their phones for any reason.

However, the prohibition does not cover Californians who choose bicycles as their standard mode of transportation.

Bicyclists want cars to share the road with them and use caution when approaching their respective two-wheeled, non-motorized transports. However, when a cyclist uses a cell phone, one hand is usually taken off the handles that steer the bike. Even for a split second, the decision to veer away from a potential accident or drop the phone could lead to a dangerous collision.

The physics of a smart device-related accident will likely lead a bicyclist to suffer more serious injury. However, the driver of an oncoming car or truck may be forced to veer off the road, putting them at risk of serious, if not fatal, injuries.

Bicyclists want to be held to the same standard as motorized vehicle operators. That should start with equal application of cell phone laws that, when violated, put everyone on the road at risk.