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Chicago bans texting while bicycling

Luckily a ticket for violating the new law won't affect your car insurance rates.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 5, 2011 4:46PM

This post comes from Des Toups at partner site CarInsurance.com.

 

CarInsurance.com on MSN MoneyHang up and pedal, Chicago.

 

The City Council has extended its ban on texting to bicyclists, and it wants them to use hands-free devices as well. The law, adopted today, goes into effect next month.

 

Alderman Margaret Laurino sponsored the ban and says it "levels the playing field between motorists and bicyclists."

 

Proposed fines would start as low as $20 and increase for subsequent tickets. If the rider is involved in an accident, the fine could reach $500. The city said bicyclists were involved in more than 1,600 crashes in 2010, and five were killed. The city issued 19,701 citations to drivers for cellphone violations.

 

The Chicago law is the first we've seen that specifically addresses the use of cellphones by bicyclists, though California Gov. Jerry Brown last month vetoed a similar measure.

 

Several states do extend many motor vehicle laws to bicycles. In some cities, it's not uncommon for bicyclists to be ticketed for failure to obey a stop sign, for riding while intoxicated, even for speeding.

 

While the temptation for most riders would be to frame the citation (we've seen tickets for an impressive 60 mph in a 40 mph zone), it's wiser to pay it. The fines are real, and so are the penalties for nonpayment. Post continues after video.

What the tickets won't do, generally, is affect your car insurance rates.

 

In most states, tickets that you accrue while riding a bicycle would not be reflected on your state motor vehicle record (though you should check closely to make sure that the ticket acknowledges that you were on a bike, not driving a car). Even if they did appear, few insurers are penalizing drivers for cellphone tickets. Yet. (See "The mixed message on cellphone use.")

 

Nine states and Washington, D.C., ban use of handheld cellphones by automobile drivers, and 34 states and D.C. currently ban texting from the wheel. Texting tickets for drivers typically start at $100 for a first offense.

 

More on CarInsurance.com and MSN Money:

6Comments
Oct 5, 2011 8:36PM
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If someone is good enough to ride a bike and text at the same time, wow thats talent.. they should be allowed to
Oct 5, 2011 8:47PM
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In Florida you can drive a car and use your cellphone (texting im sure a lot of people do)..  bicyclists are not gonna crash into your car and kill your whole family. Although they might injure/kill themselves on their bikes..

Oct 5, 2011 8:48PM
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kinda like smoking a cig and riding your bike (doesnt make sense)
Oct 5, 2011 8:38PM
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I get tired of bicyclists demanding respect on the road, demanding bike lanes be built at taxpayer expense, demanding that cars grant them right of way no matter what... yet despite a bike lane being present, they ride two or three wide and out into traffic lanes when they feel like it; they run stop signs when they feel like it; and they hold up traffic by insisting on using turn lanes instead of using crosswalks like they are supposed to...  It's time for adult bicyclists to be licensed, to pay registration fees and road taxes, and be required to follow the rules of the road - which they currently only follow when it suits them to.  This law Chicago is putting in place is a great start, not only to controlling their behavior, but in removing the arrogance so many bicyclists wear like a badge. 
Oct 5, 2011 8:28PM
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It bloody ought to increase your car insurance!  And risk the texter losing the bicycle license that (non-child) riders should be required to have. 

Texting while operating any vehicle is evolution (if you're stupid enough to text while riding a bike, you are too stupid to contribute to the gene pool, so get out), and while I see no need to protect texters from themselves, we do need to protect innocent bystanders.

Texting while riding, driving or any other activity which carries risk is laughable and foolish.

Oct 5, 2011 7:58PM
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About dam time. Bicycle riders should also be forced to carry insurance to ride on public roads. Along with registration and tags along with everyone else. 
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