Don’t bike and text at the same time. Seems pretty obvious, right? Apparently not to everyone.
Councilman Mark Treyger recently discovered that there is no actual law in New York City preventing people from biking and texting, after witnessing an near-crash on Stillwell Avenue. A biker was fiddling with his cellphone, when he suddenly veered into oncoming traffic causing several cars to screech to a halt.
After doing some research, Treyger found that not only doesn’t New York have a law preventing biking and texting, but the city doesn’t even offer bike safety classes.
“I think it’s great that more New Yorkers are biking, but we all play a role [in bike safety],” Treyger tells us. “There is no question that motorists play a role, but what I witnessed on Stillwell Avenue could have led to a very serious incident that could have included fatality.”
Today, Treyger will propose bike safety legislation that would make it illegal to ride a bike while operating a handheld device, following cities like Chicago, as was first reported by DNAinfo. If caught using a cellphone, bikers could expect to be fined $50. However, if the incident doesn’t cause injury of property damage, then the cyclist can take a bike safety class instead.
“The measures that I have recommended are the least punitive in the country,” Treyger says. “We want to promote education, responsibility, and safe bicycling.”
This legislation has the support of Bike New York, a bikers advocacy organization, as well as the chairman of the Council’s Transportation Committee.