This is an open letter to all police departments. I wish it could be a challenge but I don’t think they’ll take too kindly to some nut on a bike during rush hour. I mean, anyone has to be brave to maneuver the traffic especially where there aren’t any bike lanes.
All I am asking is for you to specifically target those who are texting while driving. Let’s call them intexticated drivers, shall we? As many of you know and probably have seen, texting and driving don’t mix just like drinking and driving. The statistics are the same for both.
I ride my bike to work almost everyday. Its my way of keeping fit, healthy and doing my share to reduce greenhouse gases although I do confess to producing some of my own depending on what I ate. My bike route takes me onto a very busy thoroughfare. In this case, Main Street/Rt. 5 which goes all the way across New York State and through my hometown of Williamsville towards downtown Buffalo and beyond. Both my house and workplaces are not too far off it.
If I could make a nickel for the number of close calls I have had with vehicle operators (we can’t blame the cars…yet) doing something other than paying attention to the road, I’ll be as rich as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
The vast majority of police departments have some form of cycle patrol. And I don’t mean motorcycle either. I know mine does. Why can’t these be utilized for some form of traffic inattention patrol? I mean, it doesn’t take a whole lot to ride a bike, pull up next to a vehicle and see whether the driver is doing something else. You’ll be surprise how many different things some of these drivers claim to accomplish besides operate the vehicle.
Obvious clues to see if someone is texting:
- weaving and wobbling all over the place (or as they say in NASCAR, cleaning off the tires)
- hesitation when a light turns green (having trouble reaching the gas pedal, dear?)
- creeping along (and I mean at a speed slower than walking)
- using the phone as a sun shield (eehhh…..the sun is behind you)
- looking down (lets not assume the unspeakable)
Now I am aware that NYS has a law on the books that makes texting a secondary offense. That means that there has to be something else wrong. Like speeding, erratic driving (see the first three points, above), broken taillight, smoking a joint, bald tires, drinking Colt .45 or Night Train, expired inspection or registration, putting on makeup, etc.
I’ll like to thank the moronic bozo in Albany who sponsored this because what good is a law if there is a gotcha? However, the good news is NYS is currently considering legislation to make texting a primary offense. Read about it here.
If you need me to help you catch the culprits, I’ll be more than willing. But then that means I need to use my cellphone, right? That will make me “above the law”. Not a good idea and definitely not the kind of role model you need.
If you can spare a few patrol officers to park on a side street, I can leave a 12 inch piece of evidence in the fender. Just look out for these. Its not too hard to miss. But then again, I’ll be accused of vandalism so I guess that idea is out the window.
How about…watching and listening for some snotty, pizza-faced Housewife of (the name of your village/town/city here) cursing more expletives than a redneck southern truck driver because I slapped the back of her SUV and scared the poop out of her. You could get her for disturbing the peace, threatening bodily harm or something like that. (I should tell you this did happen…ask Steph).
In the meanwhile, I’ll continue to ride my bike to work and you’ll continue to rack up the statistics on the number of fatalities and injuries caused by intexticated drivers. And its business as usual….until someone close and dear to you becomes a victim.
A caring and concerned bicyclist