Distracted Driving – Vehicles & Bikes

Originally written and posted in Aug/Sept 2013
Updated and re-posted Nov 2018

This morning is a great morning to be out !!   It’s the last day of August, high wispy clouds, dry roads, and warm temperatures.  A perfect day for a ride, be it a local ride, a training ride, or a trek type outing.

I am on my way to Vancouver Island to visit family. No, I am not riding, I am driving.

As I was headed out to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal I did pass a number of riders out on this glorious BC morning.  None of them had lights (not required during day light hours, just a good idea) on their bikes, which I saw.  Only a couple had reflective vests, or anything reflective worn.           I will pull out the silver lining, that being, that all were wearing helmets.

If you have followed this blog you will know that helmets, reflective vests and lights are a common theme of mine;

                 Safety First, Safety Last, Safety Always.

The radio warned about accidents on this long weekend, saying there will be about 2200 in total, and I am regretfully certain some of those will be fatal in nature and some will involve cyclists.                                                        I am truly sorry for the families that lose a loved one, especially if it didn’t have to happen.

  That brings me to the point of this entry- Distracted Driving.

They said distracted driving is now the single biggest cause of accidents, passing impaired driving.

I spoke with an RCMP traffic officer buddy on mine the other day and he said one in three accidents are from distracted driving.

  Cell phones and electronic devises are the core of this epidemic.

I must admit that I have looked down at my phone, and I have answered my phone while driving.                                                                                              I am now putting my phone aside and leaving it until it is safe to answer. We also have ‘hands free’ in the vehicle.

 If the Prime Minster of CANADA wants to call me, I am sure he’ll understand if I don’t call be directly. I will make contact via hands free for both sides.

 Distracted driving either in a vehicle or on a bike can take many forms. I have spoken about vehicles, so let’s refocus back on cyclists in particular.

Yes we have all seen cyclists riding with one hand on the handle bars (usually their left hands) and the other holding a cell phone to their head. 
Riding is an endeavor that takes full concentration at all times, in my opinion that goes without saying.                                                                                                                                        

   The four core concepts of CAN- BIKE                                                    Manoeuvrability   Visibility  Predictability Communication

   Also referred to  as

SEE,   BE SEEN,  BE HEARD,  BE PREDICTABLE                                                                      – and the fifth unofficial – BE PARANOID

Drivers that use their cell phones and electronic devises are a danger on the road and not watching for or being cognizant of other road users in general, but cyclists in particular.

Cyclists that, God forbid, use electronic devises while riding, are as big a danger and hazard as the car drivers. 
 Cyclists that use and listen to ear buds in both ears are just as big a danger, and just as distracted. In fact I believe even more of a danger/hazard because they can’t hear the vehicle coming up to them, from any direction !!

 Bottom line distracted driving and distracted riding can be the cause of accidents, distracted driving is becoming the cause of more accidents for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists from minor to fatal.

Take the time to enjoy your surroundings when you ride, but also be aware of your surroundings when you ride , drive or walk.

Updated Nov 2018 –

Since this entry was first written the furtherance of distracted driving has continued cascading forward.  Distracted driving and now a parallel problem – distracted walking has become a bigger problem.                              

  I mentioned distracted walking.  This is becoming a problem, just as big, since most, not all, but a larger portion than should be, walkers are looking down at their phones with no real idea of what is happening around them, where they are or for that matter the world outside the mobile device they are engrossed in.

  I’m not here to blame drivers, or riders, or pedestrians, but all sides have to wear some of the blame for the injuries caused by one side on the others.  It really is a three way street.

  Whether you are walking, riding or driving, PLEASE put your phone/ mobile device down and know what is happening and who is around you.  Lives can depend on it.

Listening to tunes is great and has a time and place, but that place isn’t while cycling.

Thanks for stopping by,                                                                                                      Safe ride home.                                                                                                                      Chuck

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