Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Commuting stories #2

This one is more than a couple of lines.  In Cambridge yesterday on my way home I was passed by a car weaving on Birch Street.  I caught up to the car at the light at Mass Ave and observed the driver and her son furiously texting. I took the corner first and again was passed by the same car and this time I could see that the driver was indeed texting with her left hand on the wheel with her phone propped up on the steering wheel so she could sort of look forward as she texted and drove.  Thanks for being so careful.  I pulled up to the car at the next light and said, through the closed window that texting while driving is illegal.  They didn't roll down their window and feigned not understanding me in any case and that was all I could do.  The car is a newer black full size Mercedes with tinted windows.  Watch yourself around this car.

I saw multiple other cars weaving while the drivers were texting.  I really think all cities and towns should have undercover police on bicycles enforcing the no texting law.  People haven't got the message and current strategies of catching active texters involve stationary police officers at red lights.  What we really need, however, is a no phone use law and a distracted driving law, all three (including texting) with enforcement and significant fines that will discourage doing dumb things in cars.

After I wrote my first commuting story last week, there were some comments in related tweets about how drivers were texting, particularly at red lights.  One of the noticeable results of this activity is the heavy traffic due to less throughput at lights, as people aren't aware of the light changing and other cars around them.  They continue texting until another driver, frustrated by the wait beeps their horn.  I have been watching since I read those texts and, indeed, it seems like texting, or other phone use, is a significant part of our traffic problems.  Car traffic was awful this week and I'm thankful that I was able to ride each day.  And I can't help but wonder how much of that traffic was caused by people who just couldn't wait to check their messages/Twitter/Facebook/email or whatever.

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