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Thread: Cell phones

  1. #1
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Cell phones

    Am I losing my mind, or have I noticed that more and more often, cars stuck in the middle of intersections after the light has turned, or cars running lights, or cars going the wrong way on a one-way street, or...?...well, anyway, it seems when I see an SUV (usually) violating some traffic principle or safety practice, my vision habitually zeros in on the driver, and they are usually chatting vigorously away on one of those tiny beasts, "cell phones."

    Is there some connection? Would a study be in order?

    Am I crazy?

  2. #2
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    A recent study and a recent observation are both very much to the point:

    1. A professor of communications at my alma mater, the University of Kansas, pointed out that conversation on a telephone is different from conversation with a person (such as another passenger in a car) physically present. It's far more distracting--in part because the person on the other end of the phone can't see what's going on and won't shut up when that semi pulls out in front of you. He likens a phone conversation to a conversation at a party, which is very draining on the attention.

    2. Not unrelated, a study publicized last week has shown, via imaging techniques, that persons involved in "multi-tasking" (such as driving and talking simultaneously) do not have half the neuron capacity for each task, but far LESS. So that as distractions multiply, performance doesn't just go gradually down, it plummets.

    Another good reason not to "listen" to music when cycling, by the way.
    On leave of absence as of March 13, 2002. Contact by email.

  3. #3
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Pete Clark
    Am I losing my mind, or have I noticed that more and more often, cars stuck in the middle of intersections after the light has turned, or cars running lights, or cars going the wrong way on a one-way street, or...?...well, anyway, it seems when I see an SUV (usually) violating some traffic principle or safety practice, my vision habitually zeros in on the driver, and they are usually chatting vigorously away on one of those tiny beasts, "cell phones."

    Is there some connection? Would a study be in order?

    Am I crazy?
    You are not crazy, I have noticed exactly the same thing, and apparently so have a few others. It is now illegal to drive while talking on one of those things in Queensland (and indeed most Australian states). My biggest beef is that this doesn't seem to stop them. Perhaps we need penalties that might present some kind of deterrent. How about phone confiscations?

    If they want to act like children, they should be treated as such.

    Chris
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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    Just a thought-
    if car drivers are using their phones more, doesn't this put us more at risk?
    If they are being distracted more often, then they are more likely to misjudge how much room they should leave us?
    Does anyone think that bicyling 'incidents' will increase because of increased phone usage?

    The down side is that car drivers will not declare that they were using the phone and ran over the cyclist- "But officer they swerved in front of me- honest!"
    So I guess as phone usage increases we must become even more vigilant. ''

    Any thoughts or am I paranoid?
    2005 Merlin Agilis w/ Record
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  5. #5
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    One could argue that talking on the phone is not any more distracting than listening to the radio or talking to someone in the car. Of course, JonR provides strong argument that phone conversation is more distracting than one-on-one with someone actually in the car.

    My biggest concern is people who use hand-held phones while they drive. There is no question that driving one handed is more dangerous than driving two handed.

    This is especially true when driving on poor road surface conditions such as wet or icy or snowy roads.
    Mike

  6. #6
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I strongly favor a ban on hand-held telephoning while driving. One of my worst experiences was riding with a fast-talking, fast-driving sales representative in his BMW. When he talked on the phone while negotiating a curve, he often had to yell at the front-seat passenger, "I need third [or second or whatever]." The fundamental problem is that most motorists do not take driving seriously enough and do not appreciate how attentive they need to be for their own safety and the safety of those around them. As long as "I didn't see him" is treated as a legal excuse instead of the confession it really is, the situation will not improve.

  7. #7
    Chicago Cyclist ViciousCycle's Avatar
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    I favor a ban that prohibits motor vehicle drivers from being inside an motor vehicle while driving. A motor vehicle, after all, is a type of sensory deprivation chamber. When the windows are rolled up, most of the noise from the world around you is blocked out. The smells, tastes, and textures of the world outside are blocked out almost completely. And even with windows, a lot of your vision is blocked out. It becomes tunnel vision - you see only that which is getting in your way.

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    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    But such a ban would create a "vicious cycle." Cars would not be sold...gas would not be sold...steel would not be sold...plastic would not be sold...glass would not be sold...

    People would lose jobs and have to cut back on expenses.

    Before you know it, we'd all be riding bikes!


  9. #9
    aka Sir MaddyX MadCat's Avatar
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    Oh the humanity!!

  10. #10
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    5 or 6 weeks ago there was a story on National Public Radio about a city (sorry, don't remember which one) that had just banned talking on handheld cell phones. The story was discussing the correlation with accidents. They had an interview with a college professor who has done research on, not specifically cell phones but conversation as a distraction. In their research a researcher would engage a subject in conversation. While they were talking, various things would happen in the room. After a while the subject would be tested on the other things that went on. Most subjects could recall very little. One of the incidents was the entrance of someone in a gorilla suit who walked around well within the subjects field of vision. Many times, the subject did not even recall seeing the gorilla! The professor's point was that not even hands free devices make cell phones safe.
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  11. #11
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RainmanP
    ...While they were talking, various things would happen in the room...One of the incidents was the entrance of someone in a gorilla suit who walked around well within the subjects field of vision. Many times, the subject did not even recall seeing the gorilla! The professor's point was that not even hands free devices make cell phones safe.
    That was probably Chris L.

    Seriously, buses usually have a sign posted which says, "DO NOT TALK TO THE OPERATOR." This is referring to the bus driver, not the telephone operator. :thumbup:

  12. #12
    Chi-Chi Monger *WildHare*'s Avatar
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    Heard on the radio yesterday morning that a study showed how hands free devices make absolutely no difference in driver safety as opposed to actually holding the phone. Both methods are equally distracting. The only slight benefit from the hands free device would be for those who drive a stick.

    Can't wait to get my shiny new phone on Monday!

    (I rarely receive phone calls while driving and I do pull over when I place calls, I swear :angel: )
    When it's good it's really good...And when it's bad I go to pieces - David Bowie

  13. #13
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Pete Clark

    That was probably Chris L.
    Not a gorilla, but I very nearly hit a wallaby that came tearing out of some dense rainforest at Springbrook this morning. It actually scared the sh*t out of me .

    Here in Queensland they've banned hand-held phones, but haven't banned "hands free" kits. I just wish they'd enfore the existing law a bit more than they do.

    Chris
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  14. #14
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Originally posted by John E
    ...When he talked on the phone while negotiating a curve, he often had to yell at the front-seat passenger, "I need third [or second or whatever]..."
    I'd have given him neutral.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  15. #15
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Originally posted by JonR
    Another good reason not to "listen" to music when cycling, by the way.
    I ride with headphones a lot, and in terms of the level of distraction it's no more distracting than the thoughts that buzz through my head constantly anyway.

    Although I've never done it either in a car or on a bike, I expect a telephone conversation is in another league entirely. Simply trying to talk to another cyclist on the road is distracting enough. Listening to music just doesn't compare.

    Listening to talk radio is another matter; that can be distracting, but I've found that when I really need to concentrate my attention naturally shuts out the radio anyway - that's not necessarily an option in a conversation (although since I am married I am learning that skill as well ) I rarely listen to talk radio on the bike anyway. Music is much better.
    Last edited by Allister; 08-19-01 at 06:08 PM.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  16. #16
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Allister
    Listening to talk radio is another matter; that can be distracting, but I've found that when I really need to concentrate my attention naturally shuts out the radio anyway
    Just on talk radio, when I first moved into the place I'm in at the moment, I was having trouble sleeping. Solution? I just put Stan Zemanek on the radio and I slept like a baby! Hearing expressions like "spivs", "crooks" and "dole-bludgers" can get very tedious if you do it often enough.

    Chris
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  17. #17
    Chi-Chi Monger *WildHare*'s Avatar
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    Originally posted by ViciousCycle
    I favor a ban that prohibits motor vehicle drivers from being inside an motor vehicle while driving. A motor vehicle, after all, is a type of sensory deprivation chamber. When the windows are rolled up, most of the noise from the world around you is blocked out. The smells, tastes, and textures of the world outside are blocked out almost completely. And even with windows, a lot of your vision is blocked out. It becomes tunnel vision - you see only that which is getting in your way.
    I don't have that problem in my Miata I haven't had it for very long, but it's amazing how much different driving is with the top down. It is definately not a sensory deprivation chamber, quite the opposite.
    When it's good it's really good...And when it's bad I go to pieces - David Bowie

  18. #18
    Chicago Cyclist ViciousCycle's Avatar
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    In the Chicago burbs, crawling along, say, the Tri-State Tollway during rush hour is really dull, and it never seems to end. I don't blame cell phones for distracting drivers. Instead, I blame the tedium of long, boring commutes for making drivers seek ways of distracting themselves.

    WildHare, it's nice that your Miata lets you remain aware of what's going on around you. I wish that all of the SUV drivers around here had the same level of awareness. (Why are they called Sports Utility Vehicles anyway? I don't see them used for sport, and I rarely see them used for utility, though I will concede that they are vehicles.)

  19. #19
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Yes, perhaps we should not blame cell-phones exclusively. Our entire culture is fast asleep, as it is! Maybe we should say, "Before you drive, wake up...it may save a life!"

    Travelling at 60 mph. is 88 feet per second, or almost 30 yards.

    Have you ever sneezed while driving? Scary...

  20. #20
    Senior Member Palafo's Avatar
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    I have, from time to time, passed cyclists on streets and recreation paths who were pedaling away holding a cell phone
    up to one ear with a hand. Now, it's bad enough when drivers
    do this, but a cyclist on a cell phone is not only distracted, but
    he literally has one less hand on the bars.

  21. #21
    dark and cynical PapeteeBooh's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Palafo
    I have, from time to time, passed cyclists on streets and recreation paths who were pedaling away holding a cell phone
    up to one ear with a hand.
    I have to admit that I've done that but at least as a cyclist, it is usually easy to get off the road to the pavement. But then the handfree cell phone kit do not work. Bummer.

  22. #22
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    I don't know why anyone would want one of those things anyway. I had one but got rid of it after it cost me money and I only got calls when I didn't want them. I think I'm better off without one.

    Chris
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  23. #23
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Chris L
    I don't know why anyone would want one of those things anyway. I had one but got rid of it after it cost me money and I only got calls when I didn't want them. I think I'm better off without one.

    Chris
    I'm with you there Chris, except I've never owned one. I'm thinking of investing in head cancer research. Could be a growth industry (pardon the pun).
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  24. #24
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    I'm with Chris L.Besides costing money I have nobody I NEED to talk to bad enough to justify a cell phone. Before I got on the internet I would shut my phone ringer off during the day.Some people claim to have them in case they are stranded,hey I've made it 39 years without one I'm sure I can make it a while longer without one.

  25. #25
    Chicago Cyclist ViciousCycle's Avatar
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    While I have no desire to engage in a cell phone conversation while I am riding my bike, there is one related thing I wish for. When I'm bicycling with someone else along a particularly noisy street, it would be nice to be able to engage in conversation without having to do it in periodic shouts....

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