Denver personal injury attorney Jordan Levine has previously discussed the risks associated with distracted driving. Currently, 44 states recognize that taking your eyes off the road and concentrating on your hand-held cell phone to text, email or perform other similar functions greatly increases your chances of getting into an accident.
Similarly, a prior blog highlighted the accidents which have occurred from pedestrians texting while walking near and through intersections, showing that distracted walking is just as dangerous as distracted driving. It should be no surprise, then, that distracted biking is causing the same problems as driving and walking; the only surprise may be that people do it at all.
Where Does the Law Stand?
While 44 states ban texting while driving, only two cities currently ban texting while biking: Chicago, Illinois and Flagstaff, Arizona. However, New York City is considering a bill that proposes a ban on texting while biking. Violators would be fined if they injure someone or damage/destroy property; otherwise, they would be required to take a bike safety course. New York City Mayor DeBlasio indicated his support for the bill, saying he would be in favor of a law that encouraged people to keep their attention on the road.
Colorado does not ban texting while biking per se; however, in Colorado, bikes are legally defined as vehicles and have the same rights and duties as motor vehicles. The argument can be made, then, that the ban against texting while driving would apply to texting while biking. Such a common-sense extension of the law fits with the evidence of injuries and accidents from use of cell phones while engaged in other methods of transportation.
The Fairness Argument
Just about any personal injury attorney knows that bicycling has become a popular and eco-friendly method of transportation in the Denver metro area. Bicycling advocates have demanded that bikes be taken as seriously as motor vehicles, working for and achieving dedicated bike lanes and protective legislation. As mentioned above, bikes are legally defined as vehicles. Since bicyclists want to be equal members of the road, they must share in all the regulations of the road–obeying traffic signals, using turn signals (hand signals for bikers), staying in lanes, turning from the correct lane and not texting while driving or biking.
Concentration is Key
Some argue that wearables–the next phase of technology, so named because it can be worn and thus free up the user’s hands–would eliminate the texting while driving-walking-biking danger. But that ignores the “distracted” part of the issue and is the reason that “distracted texting,” “distracted walking” and “distracted biking” are more precise terms. Taking one’s eyes off the road is not the only danger; taking one’s mind off the road and onto discussing the latest project at work or streaming the latest music can be equally hazardous.
If you have been involved in an accident with someone who was texting while driving, walking or biking, or who was distracted by use of their cell phone while engaged in transportation, contact Jordan Levine at the Levine Law Firm to discuss your rights under the law.