Texting while biking? Cycling advocacy group warns of financial, physical risks

Click to play video: 'Financial, physical risks of texting while cycling'
Financial, physical risks of texting while cycling
The dangers of distracted driving are well known -- but what distractions on a bike? Advocacy groups are warning riders about the monetary and physical hazards of texting while cycling. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports, Velo Quebec is adding its voice to those saying cut it out. – Aug 18, 2023

The dangers of distracted driving are well known but consider the two-wheel version.

Cycling advocacy groups are warning riders about the financial and physical dangers of the illegal practice.

“It’s forbidden by the Highway Safety Code very clearly because you cannot manage two tasks at the same time. When you’re driving you need your whole attention span to focus on the road,” Velo Quebec Spokesperson Magali Bebronne said.

Fines for texting while riding your bike cost between $80 to $100, according to the province’s automobile insurance board known as the SAAQ.

That’s compared to distracted driving behind the wheel which can cost motorists anywhere up to $600 plus five demerit points.

“I think they are doing what they can but they aren’t doing enough,” Former police officer Andre Durocher said.

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Formerly part of the Montreal police road safety division, Durocher said the phenomenon has been growing over the past for years thanks to the advancements in technology and the popularity of biking.

He claims enforcement on the issue is lagging behind.

According to Velo Quebec, Montreal police handed out less than 250 tickets for the infraction last year.

Meanwhile, nearly 800 tickets were given out for wearing headphones while cycling.

Bebronne claims the focus should be on drivers and not cyclists as motor vehicles pose more of a risk to the population on Quebec roads.

“Enforcement of our laws is important to be respected. if you ask me I think we need to put a lot more emphasis on distracted driving than we do on distracted cycling,” Bebronne said.

Durocher disagrees, saying sharing the road should be a group effort .

“Its everybody’s responsibility not more than the other. I always said the person that is responsible for your safety is the person in the mirror in the morning,” Durocher said.

Montreal police did not provide comment.

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