Riding while on your cell phone

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orionz06
Participant
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At what point does one consider riding along Babcock Blvd, rounding a bend, while fiddling with a cell phone, safe?


rsprake
Participant
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I would say right up to the point where you fumble it and veer into traffic?


stefb
Participant
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Ugh. People are amazing. I do sometimes use my phone while on my bike, but only in a bike lane or on the trails. Probably not a good idea, but I feel like I have enough control at this point in my life.


orionz06
Participant
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The rider had the appearance of a seasoned commuter, rack, I thought a light, helmet, etc. They appeared to be texting involved in something more than a glance while going around a bend. In their defense, they had lots of room on the berm, but cars and busss, in that area, will cut it much closer than they should. I have been rather close to mirrors plenty of times.

That being said, when there are no vehicles around, I will take a look at the phone too.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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i saw a bike cop doing this downtown the other day…


helen s
Participant
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“Probably not a good idea, but I feel like I have enough control at this point in my life.”

Or does your phone have control of your life?


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Might well have been me. I do text while in motion from time to time. If things get even the slightest bit busy, I pull over or maybe stick it in my mouth if there isn’t time. In most cases I pull over first. Just not always.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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or maybe stick it in my mouth if there isn’t time

calling stefb….


ieverhart
Participant
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I thought someone was calling me out. I got distracted on my phone while returning with the Batcycle crew on the Jail Trail, and while maybe the cyclist coming the other direction had everything under control, I felt like I almost caused a really bad collision, not paying attention while in the left half of the lane.

Sorry everybody.

That said, the middle of a long, slow uphill is the place I feel safest checking a phone or similar device.


salty
Participant
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so, the prevailing wisdom on this appears to be “it’s perfectly safe when i do it, but everyone else is a dangerous idiot”?


cburch
Participant
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sounds like the thinking most drivers have about the same thing. personally, i get off and walk my bike if i need to use the phone.


Jason
Participant
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The one time I tried this I almost died.

I decided to answer a call while riding. I slowed down and was holding the phone with my left hand. My right hand was covering the rear brake. A bus passes me and pulls over ahead of me to drop someone off. As I approach the bus I start to apply my rear brake and the was nothing! Lever went straight to the bar. I swerve around the bus at the last minute, almost get hit by oncoming traffic. I pull over and finish my call. I finish my commute with just a front brake. When I finally get to work I discover that the disc brake pad backing plate had started to rust and the pad material broke off. Of course that happened at the one moment I had only one had on the bars. I replaced all the pads and started doing them on a yearly basis even though there was usually tons of life left in them.

Now I have a phone holster for my handlebars and I can text while riding. I only do this on empty rail trails.


Kayla
Participant
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I will do this on the trail, or at a red light that I know well enough to know that I will have ample time.


stefb
Participant
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Well I wouldn’t grab my water bottle and drink it while going around a turn either, but I will on a straight away, just like the phone. I would rather have both of my hands on the bike in heavy traffic and around turns.


brian j
Participant
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Hmm, I don’t think the water bottle analogy works for me. Taking a drink is a whole different animal than interacting with an electronic device (I would think this goes with fiddling with doo-dads on your handlebars). Most riders can quickly learn how to manage a bottle without taking their eyes off the road. Can’t say the same thing about using a phone.

I look at it this way: I’d be pretty comfortable riding in a 30 rider pack in a race situation with riders drinking from their bottles. I’d be much more uncomfortable if one of those riders whipped out his phone and started texting.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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on a trail, where the greatest dangers are only likely to cause minor injury, it probably isn’t a big deal to use your phone if you have the motor coordination.

on the road, however, phones make it exceptionally difficult for you to notice the sorts of unexpected events that can lead to dangerous crashes, whereas you might have noticed such things early enough to react and evade had you not been on the phone.


rsprake
Participant
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On a “safe” trail another rider could come up behind or maybe you didn’t notice someone in front of you when you started texting. Maybe someone is fixing a flat off to the side. It’s still dangerous.


edmonds59
Participant
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To be honest, I have answered calls while riding, but I would not dial out or, text. Just stop for that. On my personal scale of dangerosity, answering a call is close enough to taking a drink.


Swalfoort
Participant
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@HV – You wrote “on a trail, where the greatest dangers are only likely to cause minor injury, it probably isn’t a big deal to use your phone if you have the motor coordination.” Please don’t make such presumptions. A year ago my sister had a bike on bike accident on a trail (bikes in opposing directions coming around a more ore less blind curve…) She’s had three surgeries to repair the arm/wrist that she broke after going over the handlebars. Not life threatening perhaps, but not a minor injury either. I’ve been “spooked” on trails by groundhogs, rabbits, snakes and people while riding along what I thought was an empty stretch of trail (person was a fisherman who had been relieving himself in trailside bushes). We should all just be careful and alert wherever we are riding.


helen s
Participant
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I was convinced to start wearing a helmet many years ago after reading a letter from a cyclist who was just learning to ride again two years after falling on a straight clear rode by himself.

I would not want to use a phone while moving any more than I want drivers around me doing so.

I don’t mind them sippin’ their non-alcoholic beverage if they are careful.


cburch
Participant
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if you are emailing/surfing/texting and moving you are dangerous to yourself and others. on foot less so, but on any wheels its beyond stupid, not to mention selfish and irresponsible.


cburch
Participant
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and stef, i am going to steal your phone and keep it at my office. this is just like when we started dating and you would text and drive with your knee. i dont need a dead wife.


Nate
Participant
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My thinking about talking on a phone while cycling involved the idea that I was always prepared to immediately put my hand back to the handlebars, to the brake, let go of the phone in mid-word, let it fly into the gutter without a second thought. Unfortunately I’ve recently upgraded to a modern phone that I like a lot. I don’t think I can throw the phone away without hesitation. So I won’t be talking and riding anymore.

Still there are lots of things people do while on a bicycle that take their attention away from the road: drinking water, eating a banana, reading a cue sheet, adjusting toe straps or shorts or jacket, putting on or taking off sunglasses, looking over the bicycle trying to figure out where some clicking noise is coming from. Daydreaming. Any of these *could* be a problem.


cdavey
Participant
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@swalfoort – “We should all just be careful and alert wherever we are riding.”

Yep. That’s it in a nutshell. Which gets me to:

@cburch – “if you are emailing/surfing/texting and moving you are dangerous to yourself and others. on foot less so, but on any wheels its beyond stupid, not to mention selfish and irresponsible.”

and:

“i dont need a dead wife.”

Absolutely and positively 100% right. Thanks for putting it so succinctly and well. And the reason it’s beyond stupid, selfish and irresponsible is that none of us is an island entire of ourselves. We are all connected to someone else — family, friends, co-workers, and the strangers who are on the roads and trails with us. If we hurt, maim or kill ourselves we have affected someone in those groups forever. All so we could gratify ourselves right now because that call/text was just SO important we couldn’t wait to stop to deal with it.

@helen s — “I was convinced to start wearing a helmet many years ago after reading a letter from a cyclist who was just learning to ride again two years after falling on a straight clear rode by himself.”

I am wondering if we would be having this intense a discussion if it were about whether we should wear a helmet while riding.


burgoofj
Participant
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Don’t do it man!


ejwme
Participant
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cdavey – helmets typically garner more vehement responses than cell phones.

I hate talking on the cell phone while driving, so I ignore it or pull over. While driving, I’m not also trying to balance while propelling myself and avoiding traffic, dogs, parked cars, pedestrians, AND obeying traffic laws. Texting? Not a chance.

While biking? I usually can’t manage to get to the side of the road, stop, dig out my phone, and answer it before it rolls to voicemail. I still do it because half the time it’s hubby calling to ask to meet me somewhere that will not work if I don’t change plans, but he’s learning that it’s not so easy to redirect me.

I’m just not coordinated enough. Maybe if I could figure out a handless doodad it’d be easier and I’d be more comfortable with it. But I can’t get over how crazy people on handsfree devices look. I don’t care how sharp they’re dressed or confident they look, they look totally insane babbling on like that.


Mick
Participant
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Some fraction of folks I have seen riding while talking on a cell phone have been obvious, visible hazards. Someone can be a hazard with out being obvious and visible about it.


cdavey
Participant
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@ejwme — Actually I was thinking that there would be more agreement as to need to wear one.

I am probably hopelessly convinced of helmet need from personal experience. Years ago in the spring I was out and made a left turn from one street to another. As I went through the turn I realized I had misjudged the arc and leaned the bike a little to adjust. Unfortunately I was in gravel that the city streeet crews had not swept up and the bike went out from under me. I hit on the side of my head. I truly believe that had I not had a helmet on I would have been killed or left permanently brain injured. As it was I got up and rode home with only a jammed neck and a badly bruised thigh.

And if I’ve hijacked the thread, I apologize. I didn’t mean to wander OT.


ejwme
Participant
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cdavey, the Helmet Debate will never be solved. There’s stories like yours in the pro column, there’s statistical analysis in the anti column (actually in both columns, I’ve never looked into either so I can’t personally say which side Math is on), and there’s everything in between (my favorite are “so I don’t get asked why I’m not wearing one” and “to hold more blinkies”)

and if a thread doesn’t get hijacked, we’re doing it all wrong ;)


edmonds59
Participant
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ej – ha!

This thread didn’t seem that intense. It has been kind of like a Greek cruise ship sailing placidly along the coast of Somalia.


salty
Participant
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My phone exists for my own convenience. It is not so that friends, family, etc. can interrupt me at will. If they don’t like it, that’s their idiotic problem, not mine.

The whole idea of someone answering a phone at dinner, much less when riding a bike, makes absolutely no sense to me. Or, rather, I do understand it, and get the f*** over your inflated sense of self-importance. That’s the real root of the problem, whether you’re on a bike, in a car, in the middle of a restaurant or theater, etc.


reddan
Keymaster
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@salty: Are you trying to imply that the world does not revolve around me and my desires? Pfff.


ejwme
Participant
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salty, I get so much grief for just such a stance. My husband shakes his head when I refuse to take it with me when we leave to go somewhere and I respond “but I’ll be WITH you and I don’t want to talk to anybody else and you have yours. Why should I take mine?” I can’t lose it if it stays home, the only argument he accepts.

reddan, of course the world revolves around you. the equations describing the orbits are just so complicated that nobody understands them.


Greasefoot
Participant
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reddan, I’m curious what do you use for a GPS?


reddan
Keymaster
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@Greasefoot: I don’t use anything, generally speaking.

1) I’m a mild technophobe (and yes, I write software…yinz got a problem with inconsistency?)

2) Since the world revolves around me anyway, a GPS does no good. I might as well carry an Etch-A-Sketch that says “you are here.”


cdavey
Participant
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@salty — I was thinking the same thing about self-importance when I wrote that first post, but I couldn’t find a way to work it in to what I had already written. But I think you are absolutely right about it.

@ejwme — I am sorry that you get grief on this point when I think you are actually right. However, you have to live with your spouse and if he’ll accept the other answer then it probably isn’t worth expending the relationship capital over this as you have apparently concluded. :-)

“reddan, of course the world revolves around you. the equations describing the orbits are just so complicated that nobody understands them.” Except, of course, reddan. :-)

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