Let me begin by saying that I am guilty of talking on the cell phone while driving.
In all the thousands of miles I’ve put on my bicycles over the years, the only real close calls I’ve had have been due to my own stupidity. I’ve ridden against traffic, surprising drivers with my unexpected presence; I’ve ridden at night without lights; I’ve dodged in and out of traffic at my own great peril. But I’ve learned not to do those things. I’ve aged and mellowed, and now am quite a safe bicyclist. I’m glad I am still here to report this.
But I’ve had three close calls in the last two days, and I mean close calls. Each time I have been vigilant (which is why I’m here to write this) and each time I have been obeying proper biking protocol. What do these three near-misses have in common? You guessed. In each case, the driver was talking on her cell phone.
The ability to multi-task is a great one. But it’s not for driving. Driving is for paying attention to all the unexpected things that come your way, like drivers and bikers who are doing the unexpected thing. When you’re on your cell phone, your concentration is fragmented. I was almost taken out by three SUVs with phone-talking women at the wheel in the last two days, and let me tell you, that is an event to make you pee your pants.
What if I, or some other cyclist, was now in the hospital on life support because you were making your nail appointment on the run? I’m begging you not to take that chance.
When I’m in the car, my phone is off.
Please do the same.