If California’s lawmakers pass a proposed expansion of the state’s hands-free phone law, bicyclists could join drivers in receiving tickets for talking or texting while riding on streets and highways throughout California. The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, believes very strongly that California’s hands-free bill, which took effect in 2008, should include bicyclists.
“If you’re a cyclist, you’re probably not going to do as much damage if you run into somebody as you would do if you’re 5,000 pounds of steel and glass. On other hand, if you’re distracted while on the road … and swerve into oncoming traffic, you can cause a serious accident.”
If passed, the bill would double the maximum fine to $455 including fees for drivers who violate the hands-free law and add a point to that driver’s DMV record. Critics of the proposed expansion claim that the expansion is unnecessary and talking on the phone while riding a bicycle is very different than talking on a cell phone while driving.
“You’re on the side of the road where you have your own lane. The biggest danger is you may have to drop the phone,” said one bicyclist. “I try not to let my calls go to voice mail. I lose jobs that way,” he said, adding that the proposal is a “waste of tax dollars and time.”
If the measure passes, bicyclists would pay fines of $20 for the first offense and $50 for each additional offense.
Samer Habbas and other Long Beach bicycle accident lawyers strongly support any legislation that makes streets and highways safer for bicyclists, but feel that drivers who talk on cell phones while they drive are a much greater risk to bicyclists. A bicyclist has little chance to avoid serious injury when struck by an automobile. Mr. Habbas is a Southern California bicycle accident attorney dedicated to helping victims and their families recover the compensation they deserve. Call 888.848.5084 today to schedule a free consultation with California bicycle accident lawyer Samer Habbas if you or someone you care for has been injured or lost in a bicycle accident.
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