Bicyclists may face fines for handheld cell phones

Bike Messengers might have a tough time with this one. From the Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Bicyclists: Don’t pedal and talk on your cell phone.

That was part of the message Thursday from the state Senate, which voted 21-16 to add for the first time a $20 initial fine for bicyclists for gripping hand-held cell phones while riding. You’ll have to go hands free. Subsequent offenses would cost $50.

The legislation, which now goes to the Assembly, also would increase the base fine for motorists from $20 for the first offense to $50 for talking without using a handsfree device.

As Road Warrior readers know, that $20 fine for drivers really turns out to be $142 with all kinds of additional county and state fees. So for $50, that ticket is going to really cost $256. Under the bill subsequent offenses will cost you $100, which with fees will really cost $446. Click here to read earlier story on all of the fees.

But under the bill, sponsored by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, bicyclists would NOT pay the extra fees. The total fine for cyclists would be $20 and $50. Period.

The California Bicycle Coalition supports Simitian’s bill, according to the Sacramento Bee. Spokesman Jim Brown told the Bee that drivers carelessly using cells endanger cyclists, and cyclists endanger
themselves when they clutch a cell while biking.

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