Texting While Biking: Darwin Would Not Approve
We are well aware of the dan- gers of distracted driving, the consequences of which are
often tragic. Emerging laws and regulations reflect the uptick in crash severity
and claims activity, in addition to the
perils posed to drivers and pedestrians
alike. Currently 11 states have officially
banned talking on a hand-held device
while driving. Many more—41 states
in total, plus the District of Columbia
last time I checked—have gone a step
further, banning texting while driving
Meanwhile, companies across the
board, from insurers to automakers such
as Volkswagen and Audi, to cell-phone
providers—including AT&T, which recently created the #ItCan Wait distracted
driving campaign—are trumpeting safe
driving practices via public awareness
After five years of stalled progress,
Florida became the latest (41st) state to
hop on the anti-TWD bandwagon last
month. Gov. Rick Scott signed into law
SB-52, which prohibits manual texting
only while driving, thereby granting driv-
ers stuck in traffic congestion or idling at
a stoplight to, well, type away.
TEXTING BANS ACROSS THE U.S. TEXTING BANS ACROSS THE U.S.
© Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
ing about other distracted behaviors,
such as texting while operating a bicycle.
The first incident happened over Memo-
rial Day weekend when I threw caution
(and Claritin-D) to the wind to venture
out to a local five-mile trail. You see, I
have a complicated relationship with na-
ture, having been declared by my doctor
as “a very allergic person.”
In any case, after swallowing approxi-
mately 15 gnats, around mile two, I felt
alive. Free. Wind blowing in my face, my
euphoria was short-lived, first inter-
rupted by a runny nose and sore throat.
Then by a teenager who, oblivious to my
presence on the trail, furiously texted
while awkwardly (slowly) peddling his
bicycle. My shriek proved futile, and
in order to avoid a low-speed, head-on
collision, I veered off the trail and into
a bed of allergens, err, grass. Alas, he
didn’t seem to notice.
On my way home, a teen swerved in
front of my car, forcing an abrupt stop
to avoid what I feared would have been
a far more serious accident. This kid
was also distracted; it became apparent
he was not only texting while riding
his bicycle but also listening to music
via clunky headphones, perhaps of the
noise-cancelling or base-heavy variety.
Really? I mean, really? Was this some
sort of cosmic coincidence, or a sign that
I’m morphing into a female version of
Well, we may never know. One thing
I do know, however, is that Gov. Scott’s
decision to sign the new bill into law
at a Miami high school auditorium full
of teens is a step in the right direction.
That, and we’re all in for a bumpy ride in
the days and months to come.
“The 100 days between Memorial Day
and Labor Day are known as the deadliest days on the road for teenagers,” Gov.
Scott said. “We must do everything we
can at the state level to keep our teenagers and everyone on our roads safe.”