BADD Cyclists Rally for Good Cause

Group Uses Amgen Tour As A Tool To Raise Awareness Of Cellphone Safety Concerns

In the recent past, Lance Armstrong and Hundreds of other world-class competitors gathered to compete in the annual Amgen Tour of California, America’s largest cycling event.

If you get the chance to watch one of these cyclists struggling up a steep hill during the race, you’ll likely notice the furrowed brow, the piston-like motion of the legs, and the look of steely determination that all bespeak the athlete’s intense focus on the task at hand.

During your next commute, sneak a quick glance at the people driving nearby cars. You’re likely to see drivers applying makeup, yakking to passengers, disciplining restless kids, or munching on a burger. What’s more, with the plethora of portable gadgets and high-tech devices available on the market today, there are more distractions clamoring for drivers’ attention than ever before.

Cellphones: A Growing Menace

Today’s preoccupied drivers have exacted a terrible toll on public safety. According to data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation, approximately 6,000 fatalities and half a million injuries are attributed to collisions caused by distracted drivers each year, and the number of accidents believed to be caused by driver distraction has ticked steadily upwards over the last five years.

Not surprisingly, statistics that identify the causes of distracted driving usually rank cellphones among the top offenders. According to information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers who are operating hand-held devices like cellphones are as much as four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to cause injuries. Furthermore, a recent study conducted by scientists at the University of Utah found that the use of a cellphone while driving can cause cognitive impairment that is equal to having a blood-alcohol level of .08.

BADD Takes Action

Galvanized by these grim statistics, a group of grass-roots activists called Bicyclists Against Distracted Driving (“BADD”) took to the streets during the 2010 Amgen Tour of California to raise awareness of another all-too-common consequence of distracted driving: fatal crashes involving cyclists. Because collisions that result in the death or severe injury of a cyclist often result from driver distraction, public safety experts point to cellphone use by drivers as posing a major risk to the bicycle commuters and pleasure riders who share our roads.

One of the most visible symbols of the awareness campaign is the small stop-sign-shaped stickers that BADD members are distributing to drivers and supporters of the cause. Emblazoned with text that reads “Save Lives,” the stickers are intended to be affixed to the back of a cellphone, reminding drivers to postpone their cellphone conversations for a safer time and place.

Get Involved

Dovetailing with the current awareness campaign is the Ride of Silence in 2017. That evening, in communities across the country and around the world, cyclists gathered to take a silent ride to memorialize those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways (see www.rideofsilence.org for more information).

The awareness campaign hits close to home for Stephen Heller, Esq. of Heller LaChapelle in nearby Woodland Hills, California. They have long supported efforts to increase the stringency of California’s anti-distraction legislation. Over the past 40 years, the firm has striven to promote cycling safety awareness, holding negligent drivers responsible for incidents in which bicyclists have sustained serious injuries and whose families have lost loved ones.

The League of American Bicyclists (originally founded in 1880 as the League of American Wheelmen) has some 300,000 affiliated cyclists. The League is at the forefront of promoting bicycle safety and awareness and “sharing the road” with the motoring public.