A 'dangerous precedent' looks to be set with the an update to the law in California regarding cellphone usage whilst on the move. Get caught talking on the phone (or texting) and you could get a $20 fine.

Personally I put in a fair few calls on the move, I take a few calls too, I also reply to 'where are you?' texts. Naturally this is 'perfectly safe' to do, but, if I had to look out for Police mid-text then I could come a cropper. A $20 fine would not be a deterrent and 'on the phone whilst cycling' on my otherwise squeaky clean criminal record would be a 'badge of honour'. Hence, for me, I don't think that banning cell-phone use when cycling is a good idea, more of a 'gross infringement of my human rights...'.

Furthermore, if law makers really thought about it they would ban MP3 players and hands-free phones because those can be dangerous when cycling. From that perspective this legislation is on the 'slippery slope'. As it is, if you did cause a multi-car pile-up with scores of innocent car drivers maimed or killed (just because you were on the phone to your mum) the Police could check your mobile phone records and get the proof required to do you for 'reckless riding'.

Although I see such legislation as stinking of 'nanny state' I don't see how best to oppose a ban on cyclists using phones on the move.

Note that this is a subjective question, however, we have had Is listening to music dangerous while cycling? and I would like a few quality thoughts on how best this type of legislation can be nipped in the bud.

  • 1
    I disagree that "Naturally this is perfectly safe to do". If anything it'd be much more dangerous on a bike than a car. On a bike the combination of having one hand off the bars and being distracted sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
    – Mac
    Aug 26 '11 at 23:46
  • Closed, as this question is asking for an opinion. Aug 27 '11 at 0:01

In most states people are prohibited from texting or using hand-held cellphones while driving. I see no reason why the same prohibitions shouldn't apply to cyclists. I'd consider it the height of folly to text while cycling, and, while I can sort of conceive of using a cellphone while cycling (though I'd never do so myself), I see no reason why cyclists should be accorded privileges that are denied motorists.

(I also consider it unwise to use any sort of in-the-ear music player while cycling, since cyclists depend so much on their sense of hearing to keep them aware of traffic. The in-your-helmet or on-your-shoulders types are probably OK, though.)

If we want to be treated like "vehicles" we need to behave like vehicles.

  • In Germany, holding/handling a mobile phone while cycling is illegal and you can get a fine of €25 (but, unlike drivers, no penalty points on the license). You can attach it to the handlebar though and use it for navigation, or phone with a hands-free device, but not touch it. For comparison, jumping a red light costs €60-€100), not stopping for pedestrians at a zebra crossing is €40, so the mobile phone is one of the cheaper offences. (strassenverkehrsamt.de/artikel/… and adfc.de/bussgeldkatalog) Dec 5 '15 at 20:07
  • Last line "If we want to be perceived and treated as the road vehicles we already are...."
    – Criggie
    Jul 4 '16 at 6:53

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.