by Dennis Yang

Filed Under:
cellphones, safety

Yes, I Know Biking And Blackberrying Don't Mix

from the i-can-take-care-of-myself-thanks dept

We've been told that driving while on a cell phone is bad, so is blackberrying while biking worse? Given how legislators are finding it necessary to pass laws forbidding cell phone use while driving, perhaps it's only a matter of time before we start seeing anti-berrying-while-biking laws as well. But, what's wrong with just leaving it to common sense? Back in the 80s, I remember reading about the Winnebiko, a recumbent bike fitted to the gills with electronics, in Popular Science. The Winnebiko was fitted with a chord keyboard on its handlebars, so its driver could type out magazine articles while he biked across the country. He seemed to be able to do that quite safely, so thank goodness nobody tried to tell him that it was unsafe. Let's leave some safety decisions in our own hands, please. I have faith that our my self preservation instincts will stop me from riding a bike while juggling chainsaws, so there's really no need to pass a law telling me that.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2007 @ 8:46pm

    actually what annoys me is people talking on cel phones while walking across the street. The problem is people are immerse in their cel phone so they aren't paying attention to whats going on in the real world around them. People are always getting run over in NYC because they are listening to ipods and not paying attention...

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  • identicon
    Chris Maresca, 25 Sep 2007 @ 8:48pm

    I used to live in the Netherlands...

    ... and everybody bikes there. I once saw a guy on a bike in a trench coat, smoking, on the phone and holding an umbrella (open). To top it all off, he had a briefcase dangling from the handlebars. People in the Netherlands bike with umbrellas all the time, and I'm pretty sure that's more dangerous than a cell.

    The thing is, bikes don't go terribly fast, although a friend of mine is still recovering from being clocked by one at speed two months ago....

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    • identicon
      The Swiss Cheese Monster, 25 Sep 2007 @ 9:17pm

      Re: I used to live in the Netherlands...

      I think they need to pass a law against 'clocking' people with bikes.

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      • identicon
        Boost, 26 Sep 2007 @ 9:41am

        Re: Re: I used to live in the Netherlands...

        Being an avid cyclist, I think they need to pass a law that makes aggressive driving near cyclists and pedestrians offically considered aggrivated assault and start sending people to jail for it...doubt it will happen though...or maybe just make it legal for cyclists to carry firearms with them when riding so when drivers start messing with them, they can start shooting.

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  • identicon
    Betrayed Beyond Belief, 25 Sep 2007 @ 9:54pm

    Evolution at work: Let us eat Blackberries!

    Too bad we are all so fearful of injury and discomfort we must turn (or allow) our government to become our parents.

    'Course, it is much worse than that- we are quickly returning to a relative infancy, where everything but diapering is not in our parents hands, or our hands, but in the government. Then the government will (ostensibly) realize its pampered employees find diaper changing beneath them, and will convince us dirty diapers are good for the soul.

    America, we get what we deserve, and when this "en loco parentis" locomotive gets going, we are going to be paying extra for health insurance if we do not submit regular stool samples.

    Personally I am boggled it has gotten this crazy- teachers saying "We havent got money for copy paper" so naive students pass this psycho-bullshit to the parents (the "Holders of the Wallet) but in days same teachers will go on strike for an extra five days off a year paid. (oh, I have THOUSANDS more examples like this- it makes me gag.)

    As for my humble self, I am off to Mexico and points south... I grew up and left home to fight in the Marines at 17, and I am just chock full of feelgood phrases and feigned concerns for my safety. Oh, should I mention how useless the Government is in health care? No... you need your sleep, and I dont want the reality of what confronts us all you to hinder life goals and sleep.

    If you want to keep me safe, my beloved country, STOP PRETENDING YOU ARE THE SOLUTION WHEN YOU ARE THE PRIMARY PROBLEM CAUSING AMERICANS HARM by pretending parental capabilities when you are DESIGNED to get NOTHING done, so you do not destroy the country. (Jefferson, Madison, helped design the US government to be incapable, and it worked for a very long time)

    For all us civilians: GROW UP and Start Mouthing Off- when the "parent" starts to get in your face KEEP PUTTING IT IN ITS PLACE. Or just start saving your pee.

    Semper Fi.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2007 @ 10:27pm

    Laws like that piss me off. I yearn for the days where natural selection reigned or lives.

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  • identicon
    Simon, 25 Sep 2007 @ 10:39pm


    People are imbicils, how hard would it be to walk and chew gum at the same time..? about as hard as driving and talking on your phone, and just because some of us don't have the mental capacity for it, is no reason to punish everyone. A lot more people get injured from drowsey driving than from talking on their phones, so why doesn't the government make laws enforcing people to drink Coffee before going to church on sundays... I swear, at the rate the legal system's going, we'll wind up living like the people in "Demolition Man" in no time

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2007 @ 11:38pm

      Re: duh

      Yeah, i agree. I honestly have no problem talking on the phone and doing a lot of stuff while on the phone. Driving is one of them. Been doing it for a long time now and still haven't had any problems. I think we need fewer laws in general and especially fewer of these "pro-active" or "preventative" laws and just make the good laws more harsh. If you get in an accident and hurt someone(one owns self included) because of your own ignorance then you should be punished but not until then.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Boost, 26 Sep 2007 @ 9:49am

        Re: Re: duh

        I don't have a problem with driving and talking on the phone. I just rarely do it. I really have a problem with doing anything besides driving while you're behind the wheel. Stop thinking about everything else in your life, when you're driving think about driving and that's it! Do you konw how many fewer road collisions there would be if people would just concentrate on driving. The best way to make our roads safer isn't to install more airbags or to make new laws or to even have speed limits, the best way is to change people's attitudes about driving. Damnit, people, wake up and drive! Gosh, if you can't do it for your sake, do it for mine so I'm not the next person you kill!

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  • identicon
    Concerned Citizen, 25 Sep 2007 @ 11:08pm

    I am from Connersville, a small town in Indiana. Just recently a lady walking in the park was hit by a woman on a bicycle. She died from the swelling in her brain. Some wonder how someone could run someone over while riding their bike. I know how, they were either talking on their cell phone, changing songs on their IPOD, or texting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jesse McNelis, 26 Sep 2007 @ 4:21am

    Bikes don't go terribly fast and if you are busy doing something else then you definitly can't get up any speed.

    I have friends who ride home drunk all the time, If they are too drunk then they can't ride anyway and the fact that they are drunk makes it quite difficult for them to pedal and balance enough to get up to any kind of dangerous speeds.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      boost, 26 Sep 2007 @ 9:53am


      Just the other day I was cruising down a country road at 30 mph on my bicycle. Cyclists can go very fast and if they hit someone walking one or both of them will be hurt very seriously. Furthermore the next time you're driving and you see someone on a bike in traffic, don't just assume they're not going very fast. Cyclists get injured and killed alot becuase drivers don't think the cyclist is going very fast.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Marcosll, 26 Sep 2007 @ 5:07am

    Talking while performing activities

    I am from Spain. Here we have had the no-driving-while-talking-on-a-hand-held-cell law for a while.

    I want to make clear to absolutely everyone how stupid and utterly useless this law really is.

    Talking while driving is distracting. Studies have proven (It's also basic logic) that holding a conversation while performing any activity is distracting. The level of distraction is THE SAME if you're talking on the phone or if the person is right next to you.

    The law here states that it is LEGAL to drive while talking on a HANDS FREE phone but ILLEGAL to drive while talking holding a PHONE in your hand. This is where the SUPITIDY of the law comes in. Both activities are equally dangerous / safe.

    Once again, we have to look at the argument of how useful something is compared with how many lives will be saved. The safest thing would be to ban cars, that would save the most lives. Except cars are way too useful to abolish. Cell phone usage (and talking) is the same. It is extremely useful to be able to talk while driving (be it to passanger or on the phone).

    The real truth is that the goverment always needs to find ways to increase their budget. Fining driving is a great source of money. Any law that they think of that might "seem" sensible that will generate the government money and create work for the policeforce will be accepted.

    The result?

    People will just continue to talk on the phone while driving either illegaly, with hands free kits, or to the passengers in the car. Some people will be fined, the police/government will make more money and some people will end up in jail and without licesses for repeat offenses. A questionable and small number of accidents might be avoided.


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  • identicon
    Stute, 26 Sep 2007 @ 6:11am


    I don't have any problems talking on my cellphone (when I need to, which isn't often) on my bike... Cuz you see, here's what I do...

    Get on the sidewalk (if possible) or onto the grass/off the road
    Hang up
    Continue riding.

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  • identicon
    fuzzychaos, 26 Sep 2007 @ 6:17am

    The problem is...

    I don't care if some moron on a cell phone slams their car into a brick wall in the middle of nowhere, they only hurt themselves. What happens if the slam into another car? I was broadsided by a lady recently who ran a stop sign while talking on her phone. After the accident, she got out of her car frantic...about not being able to find her phone! The police officer asked her if her reason for the call and accident was an emergency and if she needed help...nope, she was just chatting to a friend. To me, it's the same as, or at least similar to, drunk driving.

    In all fairness, I've also heard of people in accidents that have been distracted by other means (children, radio, reading, intercourse, etc.)

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2007 @ 7:41am

    The real issue here is that there are LOTS of things that distract people while driving. It's silly to try and outlaw them all one by one Not to mention, all of these things can be covered under an already existing law: reckless driving.

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  • identicon
    Kristen, 26 Sep 2007 @ 2:55pm

    well, obviously, many drivers are NOT making the best decision when they are talking on the phone and cruising at 40 mph on the freeway where the minimum is 55mph/65mph. This causes back-ups as cars start to hit their breaks due to snailspeed of the cellphone talking motorist. It also contributes to increased accidents, injuring people who are not talking on the phone.

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  • icon
    John (profile), 26 Sep 2007 @ 3:46pm

    We need these laws...

    We need these laws because...

    -We need to protect the children.
    -If we don't have these laws, then the terrorists have won.
    -If we don't have these laws, then the drug problem will spread to middle america.
    -Mission accomplished!
    -[Insert government catch-phrase here]

    And, yes this is sarcasm designed to distract people. While we argue over what the phrase "the terrorists win" has to do with bicyling with Blackberrys, lawmakers are busy working on another "don't-do-this-while-doing-this" law.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Canonical Koi, 27 Sep 2007 @ 7:29am

    Living in a bike-loving area...

    and having to slam on my brakes to avoid a bicyclist who was too busy on his cell phone to obey traffic laws (you know...that funny one that says to stop at a 4-way stop?) and watching one lay his bike down to avoid hitting my (stopped) car (also on a cell phone), I'm still not in favor of more laws. Personally, people that are stupid enough to try and text/use a cell/shave/apply make-up/whathaveyou while driving or riding a bike and kill themselves probably wouldn't have been a great addition to the gene pool anyway. If we could only guarantee that they wouldn't take anybody else with them... Possibly, my plan needs work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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