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Police crackdown benefits Cyclists(4 posts)

Police crackdown benefits CyclistsJava
May 7, 2001 1:05 PM
There was a monster thread not too long ago about the dangers of car drivers and cell phone use, especially for the vulnerable cyclists out there. I believe it was prompted by one poster's close call after being cut off by an older lady who was preoccupied with her cellphone while driving. As many of you will recall, this lead to a discussion of what can or should be done to curb driving activity that some feel is more dangerous than drinking and driving. While some felt such activity should be outright banned, others disagreed for various reasons.

Just thought you might be interested in what's on today's front page of the Toronto Star, "Police crack down: Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel". The article states, in part, "Starting today, (Ontario) provincial police (ie. state troopers) have been ordered to lay a charge of careless driving against any motorist who causes a collision or a near miss -- if they're doing anything but keeping their eyes on the road". It's called Opertaion Distraction and it entails a specific squad of 60 officers driving in unmarked cars on the major highways as well as all officers looking for violators as part of their regular duty. I hope many other cities out there conduct a similar crackdown, if they haven't already.

This is the kind of police effort that will benefit the public at large but definitely helps out road cyclists in particular. It won't eliminate the danger, but it's a step in the right direction.
hmmMade in Taiwan
May 7, 2001 9:46 PM
they should also pull over:
drivers who are talking with their passengers (sometimes take eyes off the road and sometimes hand gesturing to his passenger when conversation becomes heated/excited therefore taking hands off the wheel)
drivers who are fuddling with radio knobs (take eyes/hands off the road)
drivers who are using their ash trays (take eyes/hands off the road/wheel)

i drive with my cellphone, but i always use a ear piece when i'm actually making or receiving a call. but then again, i'm an asian driver, so any precaution is a good thing.
I posted thatLnin0
May 8, 2001 7:45 AM
"...experts tell us that there are basically three kinds of driving distractions. The first is visual. Looking away from the roadway would be an example of this. The second is mechanical. This would include manipulation a control -- such as dialing a cellular phone or adjusting a radio, and can often be associated with a visual distraction. The third is cognitive...Being "lost in thought" or being in focused conversation with someone causes us to withdraw from situational awareness...This raises the question, "How is conversing on a phone different from talking with a passenger in the vehicle?" There are two important differences. The first is that a passenger in a vehicle is aware of the driving situation and can even serve as an additional look-out for hazards. If there is a needed pause in conversation, the reasons are evident to all parties. The second is that phone use seems to carry a certain obligation of immediacy. When the phone rings, we feel compelled to answer it -- whether it is convenient, safe, or appropriate to do so or not. We become focused on the phone call and lose the situational awareness so necessary for safe driving. (Fran Bents) Of all the distractions mentioned, only the use of a cell phone incorporates all three of those demands."
hmm indeed!Java
May 8, 2001 11:33 AM
Careless driving is careless driving, regardless of what causes it. Contrary to the point you seem to be trying to make through your sarcastic examples, if you cause accidents or near accidents, then my friend you should be pulled over by the cops and reminded of the danger you've caused and charged accordingly (in Ontario, there's a $325 fine and 6 demerit points issued for this charge).

I don't care if you're picking your nose ... if digging for that booger causes you to drive carelessly (causing an accident or a near accident), then you should be charged with careless driving. Honestly, how would you feel if you were shmucked while riding because somebody was pre-ocupied and distracted by any of the things you mentioned (Though I'd be especially pissed off if I was hit because someone didn't see me while they were figiting with their cigarettes).

The nice thing about this approach is that it doesn't involve an outright ban of any particular activities in the car (you can still pick your nose provided you don't drive carelessly while doing so). Instead, its a rejuvinated effort to penalize careless driving in the face of more and more in-car distractions. Its true that there's some subjectivity in what constitutes careless driving and thus the potential for overzealous cops to get ticket happy. However, I believe that this initiative will cause some people to reconsider their driving habits. That's part of the campaign, grab the headlines and people may pay attention. 140 charges laid on the first day (yesterday) of Operation Distraction and, as no surprise, it's grabbing more headlines and hopefully more people's attention.

Have a safe drive home (especially if you pass any cyclists)!