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Montgomery Bicycle Club Combats Distracted Driving in Alabama
Earlier this year, the Montgomery Bicycle Club escalated their work to pass a hands-free law in Alabama, and they reached out to the League for our support in their efforts. As a League member group, the Montgomery Bicycle Club has access to our grassroots advocacy platform and we are always happy to partner with League members and clubs on policies to protect bicyclists. If you live in Alabama, please take a moment to raise awareness about this bill and tell your representatives ahead of their legislative session later this week that you support a hands-free law: https://p2a.co/uXqet0E.
Too many bicyclists die on our nation’s roadways. In 2016, more bicyclists died than in any year since 1991. While it may be hard to point to a singular reason for increasing fatalities, it is without a doubt that distracted driving has become pervasive in recent years and presents new problems that did not exist before the proliferation of cell phones, texting, and the ability to be online at all times. According to data from AAA, “83 percent of motorists rated texting while driving and 58 percent rated cell phone use [as] very serious threats to their safety.”
While getting to the root of distracted driving is a complicated issue, one of the best practical solutions are laws that get phones out of the hands of drivers—penalizing everything from watching videos to taking photos and not just texting. Last year, Georgia passed a hands-free law that has been hailed by national groups such as the Governors Highway Safety Association and has been credited with improvements in traffic safety in Georgia. Sixteen states currently ban the handheld use of a cell phone while driving, which makes enforcement dramatically easier than texting bans or bans of specific cell phone uses.
The League has heard from many state and local groups, and individual bicyclists, about the dangers of distracted driving and the need to take action to address it. Next week, at the National Bike Summit, we are excited to meet with advocates and discuss this issue as part of a partnership with the Adventure Cycling Association. We will be discussing the need for raising the voice of bicyclists on this issue, how to highlight bicyclist-related stories, and policy options to address the problem in the near- and long-term.
For bicyclists in Alabama, you can take action now to bring make Alabama the 17th state with a hands-free law. Please take action today: https://p2a.co/uXqet0E.