It seems to have sunk into general consciousness that texting while driving is a huge, and hugely dangerous distraction. Most states have some type of texting while driving ban or legislation on the books (though these are difficult to enforce), because the data has clearly shown that texting and driving is clearly one of the top distractions that can lead to an accident. In 2011, for example, 1.3 million crashes involved cell phones.
But what about texting while cycling? A 2010 Dutch study found that cyclists were texting a lot less than car drivers. Clearly, in the four years since that study texting has undergone such a huge increase it's time for some new data. In Montreal, police recently began targeting people, both cycling and walking, who were texting. There's currently no law against texting while doing either one of these things in Montreal.
But should there be?
Zvi Leve of the Montreal Bike Coalition said in a recent radio interview he can't really imagine texting while in motion on a bicycle. Leve implies that it is so obvious that texting while biking isn't 'safe behavior' and that common sense should kick in. In other words, people should stop what they are doing - pull over and come to a standstill - when they need to read or compose a text.
Since it isn't possible to 'legislate common sense', wouldn't a no-texting-while-biking law would just add to the already over-legislated world we live in?
Texting while biking is banned in Chicago, and probably will be elsewhere in due time.
Is there a better way? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.