On Paying Attention

So there I am this morning stopped at the light at Elm and Kimbrough heading east toward MSU. I’m first in line. The switch at this intersection often doesn’t trip for bicycles.

There was very little traffic. A guy in a minivan pulls behind me — and we wait.

After a bit, I decide to pull a maneuver that I will use in such situations if I deem it safe and necessary. I looked back at the motorist — difficult to see him in the glare of his windshield — pointed to the trip and then waved him forward. I swung left to take a position behind him. This is not a legal move strictly speaking, but it is one that helps keep things moving and is easily accomplished without hazard. And I only use it if there’s no other traffic about.

As I’m pulling behind him I see that he’s not pulling forward. His window is open — despite it being 37 degrees — so I said “pull forward and trip the light.”

That’s when I noticed he was texting.

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Comments 8

  1. Tom Armstrong wrote:

    Sometimes things get prioritized over situational awareness. Glad his lack of same didn’t lead to him letting off the brake pedal while you were in front of him…

    Posted 22 Oct 2013 at 6:58 am
  2. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    Oh f***!

    I just wish we could get motorists like that off the road – and for good. I mean, what does it take to get these morons to act responsibly?

    Did you have any choice words for him?

    Posted 22 Oct 2013 at 7:35 am
  3. Steve A wrote:

    What were you doing in Wichita Falls, home of MSU?

    Posted 22 Oct 2013 at 8:40 am
  4. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Just gotta laugh. How many times have I seen that same scenerio, just slightly different, i.e., the light cycles green and “send” has not been hit yet?

    Posted 22 Oct 2013 at 9:09 am
  5. Andy Cline wrote:

    Ian… No choice words. He was too engrossed in his message :-)

    Steve… We have a branch campus? ;-)

    Posted 23 Oct 2013 at 7:58 am
  6. Kevin Love wrote:

    Baaaad. This is one of the worst things that car drivers can do. In Ontario last year, more people were killed by distracted driving than drunk driving, and the Minister of Transportation is talking about boosting punishment for this offence. See:

    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2013/10/23/ontario_should_crack_down_on_drivers_who_phone_or_text_editorial.html

    I note that that Ontario Court of Appeal recently ruled that a car driver holding a cellphone or other wireless device, however briefly, violates the distracted driving law. See:

    http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2013/09/27/its_illegal_to_even_hold_a_cellphone_while_driving_court_rules.html

    Meanwhile, in more civilized parts of the world, cyclists using protected infra can safely chat on their cell phones. See the adorable video (love the children!) at:

    http://www.streetfilms.org/bicycle-anecdotes-from-amsterdam/

    Posted 24 Oct 2013 at 2:14 pm
  7. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    Kevin, other than whose life one is endangering (other people’s or one’s own), how is talking on a cellphone while cycling any different from talking on a cellphone while driving?

    Your video link is just another typical Streetfilms propaganda piece.

    Posted 24 Oct 2013 at 3:02 pm
  8. Khal Spencer wrote:

    I suppose the advantage of screwing up while bicycling on the phone is that one is riding slowly on a 30 lb device rather than driving quickly in a 3500 lb device. Other than that, I’d prefer not to have to dodge a clueless cyclist who is deeply engrossed in his/her text message or phone call. Also suspect that in heavy bike traffic, a cyclist engrossed in a phone conversation could do plenty of damage by creating a pileup. A slow pileup, mind you.

    Posted 25 Oct 2013 at 4:00 pm