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Distractions can affect bikers just as much as drivers

A lot of the discussion around distracted driving in this country usually revolves around one act: texting while driving. There are a couple of issues with this, and the first is that texting while driving is just one of many ways that a driver can become distracted. Changing the radio station can take a driver's eyes and hands -- and even focus -- off the road long enough to cause a wreck. Talking with someone in the backseat can distract a driver. Distracted driving is a vast idea that encompasses a lot of behaviors.

The other issue with this line of thinking is we only think about distracted driving in the context it refers to: driving. But texting is a huge problem for bicyclists too. Even pedestrians aren't immune to the allure of their cellphone while they are traveling in the crosswalk.

We bring this up in light of a new law that was passed by the city council in Flagstaff, which bans texting while driving -- including when that driver happens to be on a bicycle. It's important for bicyclists to realize that since they are so prone to injury in a collision, they have to be just as focused on the road as the other vehicle out there too. Texting while biking not only puts the biker at risk, it could theoretically make them liable in an accident.

So remember, whether you are driving a car, riding a bike or just walking from point A to point B, stay focused on your surroundings and let that text wait a few minutes.

Source: azdailysun.com, "Flagstaff city council passes texting ban," Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa, July 17, 2014

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