New law in Chicago: Texting while cycling = Ticket

A couple of weeks ago, the Chicago city council began discussion on a proposal that bans texting while bicycling.

“This ordinance basically levels the playing field between motorists and bicyclists,” said Ald. Margaret Laurino, 39th, chairman of the committee and sponsor of the measure. “Like drivers, bicyclists will not be able to text while moving. Nor will bicyclists be able to use their cell phones unless they utilize a hands-free device.”

To me this makes a lot of sense, I don’t see how being in charge of a bicycle is different to being in charge of a car.  The cycling people in Chicago have a great discussion on this topic going on via the Chainlink – an online bicycling community for Chicago cyclists.  Some of the comments are thoughts I’ve had myself:

“I would have hoped that it would have just occurred to people that this is a really bad idea, and refrained from doing it.”

“Too bad on a bike you’re much more visible than when your in a vehicle.”

“Bikes might be more visible than motorists.
Do they ever ticket texting motorists?
On Saturday I saw a cop texting while driving his SUV police “car”.”

Does common sense need to legislated?  Will this legislation end up targeting cyclists more than other drivers?  Will the laws against texting and driving AND against talking on a cell phone be enforced more for motorists now?

Chicago really is on the forefront of paving the way (literally) for better cycling conditions in Chicago, including 100-miles of protected bike lanes in the next four years.

A journalism instructor at DePaul University and his class recently posted about the proposed Chicago cell phone ban for cyclists to The Red Line Project, a student-run online site. Please cast your vote on their Poll on Cell Phone Ban for Cyclists.

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