Cellphone use on your bicycle: yes or no?

Everybody does it every once in a while: using your phone while you’re cycling. But that has to change says minister Melanie Schultz (infrastructure). She’s trying to pass a law which will make it illegal to use your phone while you’re cycling. This has been confirmed by the Ministry of Infrastructure. If we step into our time machines and go back in time 365 days, Schultz would have quoted that calling and texting on your bike should be permitted. This law would be too hard to keep track of. But now she has changed her mind and decided she does want the law to be introduced.

Most people are a bit confused by the new change of plans, so Ms. Schultz decided it was time for some statistics. The numbers tell us that the number of bicycle accidents per year is quite stable. In 2015 185 cyclers died in traffic, almost an exact copy of the number of the years before. In the last 5 years, 40% of the victims was 75 years or older. This only tells us something about the cycling abilities of old people, not smartphone use. So why the law? According to Schultz, the total amount of severe accidents in 2015 was 21.300. In 2014, it was 20.700 accidents. So this is a raise of 600 severe causalities. Schultz also says that she has noticed a raise in the number of accidents, starting in 2007 and with a small break in 2012/13. She says its unacceptable that 40 people die on places where you aren’t allowed to drive faster than 30 km/h.

In short, Schultz wants to ban the use of smartphones on bicycles because she is convinced that this will raise the awareness on traffic of the people on the bikes because they aren’t distracted by their smartphones anymore.

I personally think the idea of the law is good, but a bit too heavy. Because to completely forbid the use of phones on bicycles is quite over exaggerated. Because in case of emergencies you first have to stop cycling, pull over on the side of the road and then you may finally call. These moments could be vital for the police, ambulance etc. I also think the law is quite unclear and I still have some questions about it. Are you allowed to listen to music while you cycle? If not, I think it should also be forbidden for cars, because they are more of a danger than bicycles. Also may you have a quick glance at the time? By the time the law will be introduced, I hope there will be a bit more clarity about what may and may not be done with your phone. My opinion that necessary calls (problems, emergencies etc) should be allowed, just like listening to music (but volume may not be too loud, unless it’s a really good song). But playing games and having small talk should be forbidden.

Ward Beerens





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