Curses Ya Darn Mobile-Wielding Motorist!
So, doesn’t matter what the law says, how stiff the fines get, how many accidents happen. Forget the fact that authorities now
believe using a mobile device while driving will soon surpass impaired driving for the number of resulting collisions. Seems
society is so addicted to the smart phone that some people just can’t put it down, even when lives hang in the balance.
You know who you are. You’ll just check that text message – it’ll only take 2 seconds. You may be at a stop light. Or you’re driving
but no one is around. Sure, check in with Facebook while you’re at it, how long could that take? And there are NO cops around,
so who’s the wiser?
Well, as a year round cyclist, I’ve had my fill I tell ya! And I’ve come up with a very practical solution. Tried it out today, as a matter
of fact. Whenever I see a motorist in my general vicinity engaged with a mobile device, I will pass that motorist. And then I will
move into the very centre of the lane AND STAY THERE. Let’s have a brief look at the law concerning cyclists ‘taking the lane’,
and I will quote the ORS (Oregon Revised Statutes) as Portland is considered the bike capital of North America:
‘A person operating a bike has the right to move away from the far right side of the roadway when reasonably necessary to
avoid hazardous conditions … or other conditions that make continued operation along the right curb or edge unsafe
or to avoid unsafe operation in a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to travel safely side by side‘
In a nutshell — ‘every bicycle operator has the legal right and responsibility to take a reasonable use of the roadway in
order to protect their own safety. You may take as much of the lane as is practically prudent to create a safe space all around
Hey mobile-using motorist! You there! You’re the hazardous condition! To me, on a bike, when you’re swerving all over the
place with no idea of where you’re going.
I don’t feel safe behind you. I sure as hell don’t feel safe beside you. The only place I feel safe is directly in front of you, occupying
the entire lane, so you have no chance to swerve into me or attempt an ill-advised pass while you’re texting away.
Maybe this new stance of mine will make you wonder why I’m taking the whole lane. I’ll make it easy for you – while I’m riding
leisurely in front of you I’ll mimic talking into a mobile phone. Maybe that’ll get through your thick skull. And hopefully you’ll decide
you’re fed up and decide to honk at me. That would be awesome – because in order to do so maybe you’ll have to put your
Your horn doesn’t scare me. Your mobile, however, terrifies me. Put it away.