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Bicyclists and distracted riding: a legislative focus

Bicyclists and distracted riding: a legislative focus

Bicyclists in California and nationally obviously need to be protected while out on the road.

Do they need to be protected from themselves, though?

That is one material tangent focused upon in a recent media look spotlighting distracted bicycling across the country.

Perhaps some of our readers have seen a bicyclist in or around Sacramento with one hand on the handlebars and the other firmly wrapped around a smartphone. Indeed, it wouldn't be a statistical long shot to assume that some people reading this post have engaged in that precise behavior or something similar (read texting while riding).

We're all human, and there's clearly no question that millions of us don't seem to function optimally without our mobile devices and related applications being always and instantly available.

For some people, that literally means being in hand while on a bicycle and negotiating surrounding traffic.

Should the state officially respond to such behavior with edicts against it?

As noted in the above-cited article, opinion is split on the matter Safety concerns can most assuredly be advanced with due legitimacy, but so too can arguments against legislation based on state interference and overreaction.

In fact, California legislators have not been silent on the matter of distracted bicycling laws targeting riders in the state. An enactment addressing headsets and earplugs bans riders from using products that cover both ears. Notably, a similar prohibition exists in only a few other states.

As for texting and riding, though, some readers might be surprised to hear that there is currently no ban against such activity in California. Lawmakers addressed the mater in a bill passed back in 2011, but it ended up being vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

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