PSA: It’s not alright to watch your iPhone while riding a bike

Exercise bike? Fine. Not a regular bike. via Flickr user Jun Seita
Exercise bike? Fine. Not a regular bike. via Flickr user Jun Seita

As you may know, there was a car that burst into flames on the Williamsburg Bridge yesterday. Dramatic! And as seen in the link, plenty of people stopped to take pictures. Bedford + Bowery got an interview with one of the photographers, and while talking about seeing the car on fire, she mentioned that she had been “watching ‘Burn Notice’ on my iPhone’s Netflix” while riding her bike over the bridge. This passed without comment on B+B, so allow me to chime in here: Jesus, that is a dangerous and not smart thing to do.

Never mind the aesthetic crime of watching TV on a 4-inch screen or deciding that getting your Burn Notice fix is better then the magnificent views the Williamsburg Bridge gives you. The first damn rule of riding a bike without being a sociopath, or for that matter putting yourself in danger, is keep your eyes on the goddamn road. It’s the simplest thing you can do. It doesn’t really matter that the witness, Samantha Radocchia, said she was taking a “leisurely” bike ride. If you’re pedaling a bike fast enough to move it, especially up an incline on a bridge, it’s not safe to be splitting time between staring at spy games and checking the road in front of you.

There are other people on the bridge who you risk colliding with, possibly because you veer off one side while they try to pass you and you’re not concentrating on the road. And especially on the Williamsburg Bridge, there are inevitably people who disregard the whole “which side of the bridge to walk on” thing, and what if you collide with one of them in front of you? How can you possibly get any enjoyment out of watching a movie on your iPhone while biking if you’re trying to pay attention to where you’re going, at all? Better to just not do it. And definitely don’t casually mention it, as if this is a thing everyone does and is acceptable behavior. That kind of talk is bad for the cyclists of this city, because you make us look like self-involved clowns. For the sake of the people around you, if not for your own safety, please please please do not do this.

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