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The Dangers of Distracted Biking

DISTRACTIONS AND MOBILITY DO NOT MIX

Your Atlanta personal injury attorney has previously discussed the risks associated with distracted driving. Currently, forty-four states recognize that taking your eyes off the road and concentrating instead 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 previous 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 its cousins driving and walking; the only surprise may be that people do it at all.

WHERE THE LAW STANDS

While forty-four states ban texting while driving, only two cities currently ban texting while biking: Chicago 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.

Georgia does not ban texting while biking per se, but because in Georgia bikes are legally defined as vehicles, bikes have the same rights and duties as 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

Your Georgia personal injury attorney knows that bicycling has become a popular and eco-friendly method of transportation in the Atlanta 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 (such as the "safe distance" law). 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 only, and not texting while driving or biking.

CONCENTRATION IS THE 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 whole 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 Dave Thomas at The Thomas Law Firm to discuss your legal rights.

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Thomas Law Firm
Located at 945 East Paces Ferry Road, Resurgens Plaza, GA 30326.

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