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Distracted? Stay alert, whether driving, biking, or otherwise getting about

What about cell phones while biking?

Bicycling Monterey urges reading the comment from League of American Bicyclists cycling instructor Tom Cassera in the following post:

Here’s what California law says about distracted driving:

  • Handheld ban for all drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers–defined as drivers under age 18 (Secondary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)
Refer to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website for more details. Listed below are a variety of DMV links working as of 5/29/19 (our previous links to DMV site were broken due to their website changes).
As the DMV says about cell phones, text messaging, and other distractions: When driving, “Stay focused. Pay attention. Expect the unexpected.”

Regarding cost of a violation, note the warning sign on Highway 68/Monterey-Salinas Highway in 2013 (pictured below).


Don’t think you’d really be risking injuring or killing someone? Maybe the dent in your wallet matters. And you bet– Monterey County cops are out there enforcing these laws, e.g., Salinas  PD wrote 347 distracted driving citations for the month of April 2013.

Distracted? Watch out! We’re all family, as the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition video linked in that post shows.

Fog & Smog give the same message in their video, “Put your  phone down.”  Watch it at the end of this post.

Cell phones–and other distracted driving

Got cell phone?–in your hand while driving/pedaling? Let’s hope not!  Cops on bikes can pedal right up and–bingo–write a ticket.  They may look like they’re just out having fun, but these cops mean business too!  They know that a split-second text, or other distraction, can be all it takes to result in tragedies such as this one or this one, both in Santa Cruz County. Think it can’t happen to you? Watch director Werner  Herzog’s film “From One Second to the  Next.”

There’s probably not a person in the world who hasn’t at some time driven a car or motorcycle, or biked, distracted.  The stories at the U.S. Department of of Transportation Distracted Driving website are another somber reminder of why it’s so important to keep first things first!–Your eyes on the road (or bike path), your hands on the wheel (or handlebars), and your mind on your priority task at hand–safe travel.

These police officers are prepared to get around town quickly, free of any possible traffic delays.

Police officers are out and about,  doing everything they can to keep the peace and assure the safety of our communities.  In this post are cops from the City of Monterey.  Click here to see Constables of the Peace, on bicycles, in other Monterey County cities.

Need more reminders? Visit the Eric Okerblom Foundation website, – Eric was killed while bicycling because of a distracted driver! In April 2012, cyclists will bike through Monterey County with Eric’s father, Bob Okerblom, to express outrage and bring attention to what more must be done to prevent such tragedy.  Visit the website to learn more, or email Eric’s dad:   bobokerblom [AT] yahoo [DOT] com.

See what else our Monterey County’s police officers are up to.

In this post, officers are from the City of Monterey Police Department.

Ma’am, sorry to have to write you up, but California’s seat belt law says “click it or ticket.”

Pausing to give directions help.

Whoops, crosswalk!

Stay alert, folks, there are ticket books in those bike bags!

Keeping a sharp eye on things….

Hey, every biker on the road  needs some of that super-reflective tape!

Getting ready to hit the road again….

Hey, it’s the bike woman! Sure, we’ll pose, no problem.

Back in the saddle….

And away they go, on to the next call of duty.

Thanks for your service, officers.

Thanks to Mark C. Anderson for his 3/22/12 Food Blog post in the Monterey County Weekly bringing the following video to my attention.

Fog and Smog have the last word.


This post was previously published July 19, 2011 and has been partially updated.

This post was published on 19 July 2011. One or more changes last made to this post on 29 May 2019.

  1. marilynch says:

    Thanks for your comment, MacGregor, and for the wonderful public service you provide by writing the Californian‘s “We Could Car Less” column.

    People who bike can get lots of tips on using Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST/”The Bus”), as well as some tips about using other transit in Bicycling Monterey’s bike-and-ride section.

  2. You can text as much as you like on the bus or on the train. I would like to see people who bike support public transit more. When we reduce the dependence on cars for everyone, it will be safer on your bicycle.
    my email is and my column appears every Monday in the Salinas Californian We Could Car Less. Send me letters with questions, comments or criticism about public transit or any non car transportation. yours MacGregor Eddy (Goya)

  3. In Brazil our authorities are only occupied with the “ticket business” and not with the “educational purpose” of tickets. Generally people receive a ticket by mail weeks, months, or year later. How can someone think about his/her ticket and what they have done wrong?
    The right way is just like in these photos. When wrong, get your ticket right at that time and info for stopping the error behaviour.

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