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This is a pretty high bar for a member of the bar to set!

“There’s a huge difference between distracted driving that kills someone and distracted biking that doesn’t,” said Peter Wilborn, founder of Bike Law, a network of personal injury lawyers that focuses on cycling issues. “I don’t think we need laws specifically for this.”


A writer on the blog founded by the quoted attorney discusses this, but makes a Straw Man argument pitting the issue against distracted car drivers.

Personally, when I see a rider talking on their cell phone I'm amazed. 

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The cyclist is somebody! Killing or injuring yourself is still killing a person and hurts more that just yourself.


The point was the writer sets the bar at danger of death as the threshold for justifying a law against riders talking or texting on cell phones while riding. 


Danger of ones own death is danger of death.

The statement was the focus is too broad and should be narrowed to drivers only. But I disagree for many reasons. All distracted individuals need to be accountable for their actions even if the larger portion of the risk is their own is does effect the community if they are injured. Distracted is the key word however.

The "cyclists only kill themselves" argument aside, it's been illegal in Chicago for years.

There already were/are distracted cycling laws, but city council wanted vengeance.

I'm saying that risk of death is too high a bar to set for making distracted driving or riding, even, illegal. Simple dismemberment would do. ;)

That's a fair argument; I think. I must admit I am still a bit confused.

I would hope laws like these laws are in place to allow the police to give give the most flagrant offenders a reasonable reminder that they should be more concerned about the potential effects of their actions on the community.

I don't think that using a GPS mapping program with the cell phone on the handle bars counts as bad behavior or even listening to music with earbuds on. What is bad behavior (in my mind) is the focus of a cyclist or driver on things other than the task at hand even if no electronic or mechanical implement is involved:

  • eating
  • reading
  • facial adornment
  • arguing
  • swatting insects
  • dancing
  • etc.

I agree with you, except about the dancing. Dancing should be always allowed.

Personally, I would not express it as good/bad behavior, but I would say risky or less risky.

For example, dancing while riding arguably poses a smaller risk than sending a text message, but of course that depends on the type of dancing. Clearly, Bhutto dance should be illegal, whereas doing the Twist, or even the Jerk, should be legal. Pole dancing should be evaluated depending on which tube the biker is using- down or top. This is for the lawyers and choreographers to figure out together, obviously.

But my OP wasn't about the laws themselves, but about this lawyer's argument. His argument assumes that the reason this law exists is the risk of death.  

OK I get the part about the dancing; I totally agree.

The rest I'm still confused...

Are you for the laws (ordinances) against distracted driving/riding or against them irregardless (love that word) of the motivation of the laws proponents?

Are you only concerned with the motivation of the people behind these new laws and not interested in the laws themselves and are neither for or against them?

Is the lawyer's argument your argument or are you arguing with the lawyer?

Who is the straw man and would it be better if he was a snow man?

The straw man can't be a snowman, because my post would lose all meaning. ;)

I guess I was calling out the lawyer for making a false comparison- saying that since cyclists would do less damage than motorists they should not be subject to a law, and he used the risk of death to back it up. 

But, that's not only why laws against phoning while driving exists, it is also to protect people against any injury, or even just being frightened by a close call.

The lawyer, imo, was grandstanding, possibly for the purpose of doing a bit of advertising. But he was not saying something factual or well considered. 

As for my opinion on the laws, I think there should be no laws at all.

However. Due to repeated snafus, murders, cheating, and general selfishness, our species keeps on screwing things up, so we need to be controlled by laws. 

After that it's just a matter of balancing the needs of the group against those of the individual. 

OK, I agree!

My last martial arts guru described humans as "mean little monkeys". I like to describe humans as "slightly smarter monkeys" because we are simply monkeys and we just happen to be slightly smarter than all the other ones. In fact the next level down from humans are chimps and dogs are smarter than chimps IMHO. So LAWS it is!

affect has been banned, effect now is correct in all cases ;-)

OK next time I use either word (both of which are pronounced exactly the same in my accent) I will look it up in the dictionary! 

You affect an accent when you speak? ;)




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