I was walking (gasp) to a lunch place earlier this week which was a bit farther than the norm for me, but the weather was nice and I felt like enjoying it.
It involves walking down a fairly busy but still pretty fast moving traffic street (avg speed 35-45mph) with good car density and some lights. Just for kicks, I started to observe and actually count the number of oncoming drivers (I was facing traffic) who were driving distracted.
I considered distracted:
- Having a cell phone to their head and talking (which is technically illegal here in CA)
- Texting (which means actively looking at their phone and away from the road)
- Doing something else requiring not looking at the road at all (often involved finding a phone or trying to attach the phone to a headset)
I did NOT consider driving distracted:
- Talking hands free - that's legal here in CA so I gave those drivers a pass
On my estimate, after seeing a good 30+ cars pass by at 35+mph, a good one-third of the drivers were distracted by the criteria above. If I were a cop, it would have been a field day - could have pulled over every third car for those violations. And keep in mind I'm not being a stickler about dinging drivers for distraction; these weren't momentary lapses of a second. Most of these violations were ongoing full-out conversations or big-time texts that went on from the moment I saw them to the moment they rolled by. A few drivers drove a good several hundred feet without ever even looking at the road!
Makes you worried about cycling on roads with this situation, unfortunately.