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New York City Considers Texting-While-Cycling Law

The impact of driving a motor vehicle while distracted is well documented, but there is very little data about the impact of cyclists who bike-and-text. It is presently legal to text-message while riding your bike in NYC, a practice that some legislators are aiming to end.

“We have seen bicyclists texting while they’re biking heading into traffic or running into senior citizens,” said Councilman Mark Treyger.

The proposed law would either fine violators $50 for have them enroll in a safety course. In some situations the rule-breaking cyclist would choose their penalty, but not when their distracted riding caused physical injuries or property damage.

It is hard to justify cyclists’ right to text-while-riding. Even though there isn’t much data to support the notion that texting-while-biking is dangerous, it only takes common sense to understand that it puts cyclists, pedestrians and motorists at risk of injury or death. If motorists aren’t permitted to do it, why should it be okay for cyclists?

The proposed measure is the latest in a series of traffic-related changes in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio is implementing his ‘vision zero’ campaign, seeking to eliminate all traffic fatalities. The City recently lowered speed limits on many streets and has redesigned NYC’s most dangerous intersections.

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