|In British Columbia using a handheld cellphone and other handheld devices while driving is ILLEGAL|
Cellphones are a modern convenience that most of us now have. I remember back in the 80's when they came out, they were the size of a small brick and just as heavy. Up until about a year ago I resisted getting a cellphone, but that all changed when Scooterpie Junior went into high school, we needed to be connectable for safety reasons. I have never used my cellphone in the car unless I had my bluetooth earpiece. Even with the earpiece I found it distracting enough to make me pull over and carry on the conversation while stopped. Two years ago my cd/player radio toasted in the van and I just haven't bothered to fix it, I kind of like the peace and quiet in the car.
One morning about a year ago I was taking Scooterpie Jr to school and we were almost wiped off the map by someone who was holding a cellphone and 'trying' to drive at the same time. This person made a very illegal lane change, they passed us on the righthand side on a city street where there was no lane and almost hit us. That was it, I told Scooterpie Junior to call 911 on her cellphone and then we reported the driver to the police, I only got a partial license tag, so it wasn't very helpful. I was so shook up and angry that someone could be so careless and take our lives for granted.
Fast forward to today and I now ride a scooter or motorcycle for my commute to/from work. This last 10 months has been an education on the road. I have learned never to take my safety for granted and I have adopted a drive like they don't see me attitude. I am constantly scanning for errant drivers who are not paying attention and can pretty much say that every day I encounter situations on the road where someone is doing something stupid and dangerous. Because of this I wear a bright colored helmet - diva pink and have a hi viz traffic vest over top of my textile riding jacket and people still don't see me. Several times on my commute I have encountered countless drivers who are talking on their cellphones and worse yet texting and I have had to take evasive measures. YOU ARE A DANGER to everyone around you and yourself if you are using your cellphone, GPS unit or snarfing down your breakfast bagel on the way to work while driving.
Riding a motorcycle makes me vulnerable to the 3000 or so pounds of rolling 4-wheeled death that shares the road with me. I also know that if there is an incident I am not going to be the one who walks away with just a little ding on the door and it has the potential to be life threatening and/or a life changing event. I can do everything right and take all of the motorcycle safety courses in the world and it won't matter a rip if someone is an inattentive distracted driver. So you maybe wondering why I still ride? I ride because I like the sense of independence, freedom and love of adventure it gives me, its hard to put into words and only another motorcyclist or scooterist will know what I am talking about and why I ride. That being said, we all have a responsibility to be attentive good drivers, car or motorcycle.
In 2009, BC Solicitor General Kash Heed proposed a new law for BC - a cellphone ban while driving. The cellphone ban became law in January 2010. The law includes a prohibition against using handheld devices; cellphones, ipods, GPS units and any form of text messaging or emailing while driving. Ok, I seriously have to ask who in their right mind could even think that texting in any way shape or form is a safe driving habit? Where has common sense gone? The cellphone law is meant to address driver distractions. Distracted driving is anything that takes your eyes from the road or hands from the wheel. Our vehicles have become much more than modes of transportation, they seem almost to have become mini mobile offices for some and to others their cars have almost all the creature comforts of home. When we are in our cars we have several distractions; radios, kids in the backseat, being in a rush to get somewhere, eating food and drinking a cup of the demon bean, thinking about the countless things we have to do and how stressed we are. Your attention is already divided in the car between keeping control of the chaos inside and paying attention to the mayhem that is going on outside, add an electronic device or two and it sounds like the perfect recipe for a disaster in the making.
We are almost two years into the cell phone ban and you would never know it. People seem to be willing to risk the penalty of being caught on the phone or texting and the threat is gone. Drivers have become complacent and are starting to use their cellphones while driving. When I am stopped at lights I see people taking furtive glances at their lap area and you can bet they are texting. Do you really think you are being clever because you are sneaking peeks at your phone - Nooooo you aren't clever, police can spot you a mile away. I've seen people sitting at a red light and they are talking on their phones. Ok people here is the dealio - even stopped at a red light it is STILL ILLEGAL to hold your phone and have a little chat with someone or text. Hello! how about paying attention to your surroundings? You should be scanning the area looking for another idiot like yourself that is driving the 3000 pounds of rolling 4-wheeled death coming up behind you and are about to rear-end you because he finds his conversation more important and interesting than paying attention to the road.
If you are near me and talking on your cell phone or texting I WILL give you a wicked Moto Diva stare and probably memorize your license plate number, find the nearest & safest place to stop & pull over and call the police and report you.
GET OFF YOUR CELLPHONE AND STOP TEXTING. PLEASE SEE THE PICTURE BELOW - THESE ARE THE PEOPLE I NEED TO COME HOME TO.