SAHRE THE ROAD: Distracted driving third leading cause of fatal crashes

As a cyclist you are sharing the road with drivers, some of whom may fall into the Distracted Driver category

By Steve Nagle

This week’s Share the Road article is aimed directly at drivers!

This month ICBC is teaming up with the B.C. government and police all over the province for a month-long crackdown on distracted driving, with the slogan ‘Leave the Phone Alone’.

It has been illegal to use personal electronic devices, including a hand-held cell phone, while driving in B.C. since Jan. 1, 2010. Penalties include a $167 fine and three penalty points.

Despite this, distracted driving is the third leading cause of fatal collisions in B.C., behind speeding and impaired driving, and caused a quarter of all crashes between 2008 and 2012.

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, cyclists and pedestrian’s safety.

These types of distractions include:

  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone or smart phone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

But, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction. So what’s all this got to do with cycling?

As a cyclist you are sharing the road with drivers, some of whom may fall into the Distracted Driver category. You are not nearly as visible as other cars and generally speaking, drivers are looking out for other cars, not cyclists or for that matter, motorcyclists.  When a driver is distracted they don’t see anything, so STAY ALERT to what’s going on around you. Some cyclists are distracted too, I’ve observed cyclists talking on cell phones while riding! Be respectful of drivers, follow the rules of the road. Do not listen to music or radio through earbuds! Riding on the sidewalk by the way is NOT an option as it is against the law. Do not ride  facing the traffic flow either. Make your intentions known with correct hand signals. As a driver, concentrate on the job at hand. Pay attention, look out not only for other cars, but watch out for motorcyclists, bikers and pedestrians. Leave the phone alone!

Till next time, stay safe!

Steve can be found at Outdoor Adddictions. Visit www.outdooraddictions.ca