What the hell are they thinking at the LA Weekly?
In a remarkably wrong-headed piece, Weekly writer Hillel Aron writes that he texts while driving and doesn’t see a damn thing wrong with it.
First, effective July 1, 2008, came the bans on talking on your cell phone while driving – an act about as dangerous as drinking a cup of coffee whilst talking to a passenger.
Six months later came the drive-texting bans. Never mind the fact that we’d been changing the music on our iPods for years, and before that we were switching out CDs, and tapes and eight-tracks and lighting our cigarettes and God knows what else.
Now sending a text message, no matter how brief, or how slow the traffic, is a crime.
As well it should be.
Never mind that texting at highway speeds can take your eyes off the road for the length of a football field. Or that studies have shown texting is more dangerous than drunk driving, which Aron evidently would approve of, as well.
And never mind that nearly one in five injury collisions involve distracted driving. Or that even using a hands-free device to make a call dramatically increases the risk of collision; evidently, Aron is a very risky coffee drinker.
But he says he can do it, so it must be okay.
I’m sure his insurance company would disagree. As would his seemingly inevitable future victims.
The remarkable thing is he has confessed, in public and in advance, for any collisions he may be involved in for the rest of his life. Because any prosecutor or civil attorney will jump on this as proof of a cavalier attitude behind the wheel, at best. And search for evidence that he was doing exactly what he claims.
As cyclists, we see the effects of distracted driving on a daily basis.
Virtually every close call I’ve had on the roads in recent years, and most of the vehicular idiocy I’ve witnessed, has come from drivers whose eyes were glued to their cell phones instead of the road. Or at the very least, had a hand-held cell phone illegally plastered to their ears.
It’s bad enough that Aron is a tragedy waiting to happen; worse that he irresponsibly encourages other fools to follow his lead.
Because only a fool, and a dangerous one at that, would fail to grasp the dangers of distracted driving clearly demonstrates.
But worst of all is the irresponsibility of a formerly respected alternative weekly that has long since given up any hint of relevancy putting the lives of innocent people at risk as link bait to boost their sagging fortunes.
I don’t want my life — or that of anyone else — to be in jeopardy because the paper’s editors lack any ethical standards and encourage their readers to drive in a dangerous and distracted manner.
They owe us all a retraction and an apology.
And if you happen to see Hillel Aron on the road, grab his fucking cell phone out of his hands and throw the damn thing as far as you can.
Oh, and as for his assertion that we all text while driving, I have never, ever texted, tweeted or otherwise used a handheld device while driving. And never will.
Perhaps because I’ve written too many times about the needless heartbreak and devastation caused by those who do.
In a case of tragic irony, Haitham Gamal, the 38-year old bike rider killed in Dana Point last week, was a three-time convicted drunk driver who had completed rehab, sold his car and taken up bicycling in an attempt to turn his life around.
Only to be killed by a 19-year old drunk driver.
The Tour of Long Beach rolls this Sunday to benefit pediatric cancer research at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.
The Orange County Register ranks the county’s eight most dangerous intersections; the killer conjunction of Jamboree Road and Santiago Canyon Road tops the list.
A letter writer says we all can coexist on Newport Beach’s Back Bay Trail.
Not surprisingly, San Diego’s bike share stations are going in the usual tourist areas rather than places with the greatest need.
Bike lawyer Bob Mionske discusses how to fight back with a civil suit against motorists who hit or harass you.
Ms. Magazine looks at how bicycles influenced women’s rights.
Tucson gets its first protected bike lanes.
A Florida man is caught on video drinking heavily before he got in his truck and killed a couple on their tandem bike.
Remembering 1970s Irish cycling champ Billy Kerr.
On the eve of the Giro d’Italia, the BBC profiles three-time winner Gino Bartali, who risked his life to save Jews and aid the resistance in WWII. And who should be the first cyclist on a very short list for sainthood.
Interesting Norwegian share the road public service campaign; you don’t have to speak the language to get the idea.
A big-hearted Kiwi cyclist forgives the driver who hit him and asks the court to waive her $11,000 reparation fee.
Bicycle advocacy goes worldwide.
Repeat after me. When you’re carrying drug paraphernalia and an ounce of cocaine on your bike at 1:30 in the morning, put a damn light on it, already. And a new foldable bike helmet allows you to carry it anywhere; personally, I’d rather have a clunky one if it’s built to a better safety standard.