November 24, 2014 (New York, NY) – City councillors in New York City are considering a bylaw that would ban the use of handheld cell phones while riding a bicycle reports CBS New York. Democratic Brooklyn Councilman Mark Treyge is the author of the proposed law. This bylaw would fine offenders $50, which could rise to $200 for repeat violations. Taking a bike safety class could sometimes be an alternative to paying the fine. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio reportedly supports the proposed law in principle.
Chicago already has a similar law, Chicago Municipal Code section 9-52-110(b), which reads in part, “Except as otherwise provided in subsection (c) of this section, no person shall operate a bicycle while using a communication device.” Pedal believes that this Chicago bylaw has been on the books since about 2011.
“A cell phone is included in the definition of a ‘communication device.’ Subsection (c) indicates that this section shall not include those people using a hands-free-device. I, for one, have never found a hands free-device that could be used while riding a bicycle. In my experience there is just way too much outside noise and wind,” reads an online posting by Chicago attorney Jim Freeman. Freeman describes his area of legal specialty as serving, “Chicago area cyclists, pedestrians, and transit riders who are the victims of injury.”
Pedal also understands that the state of California is considering a state-wide ban on the use of cell phones while riding a bicycle.