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I could be wrong, but I don't see the NTSB proposal going anywhere. I think drivers have zero recognition that they may be the problem. Look at the comment section of any publication that broke this story yesterday -- most comments were along the lines of "Well, maybe the other guy can't do two things at once but I've never had any trouble talking on the phone while driving."

It's going to take years of educating the public, just like with the dangers of cigarettes, before there is a groundswell of support for measures like this. I'd love to be wrong.

I'm in favor of the NTSB proposal. A driver who was on the phone hit me (while biking, in a bike lane)--there are stats on fatalities, but I wonder how many serious accidents are caused by this?

I don't think the dangers of distracted driving - driving with a cell phone, even hands free, or an MP3 player, or texting - should be compared to cigarette smoking. It's more akin to drunk driving. Years ago, having "one for the road" was socially acceptable. Today, it is less so. Sunny's comment could easily be turned from phone to drink: "Well, maybe the other guy can't hold his liquor and drive, but I've never had any trouble having a few before driving."

I think any discussion of phones and driving should be linked to the hazards - and the social changes - that come from drunk driving. If we tie it to that, perhaps the social acceptance will dwindle.

Unfortunately, stricter laws against cell phone use will end up being enforced in the same way most current laws are -- in the circumstances where that use is least dangerous: people stopped at red lights, sitting in parking spaces with the engine running, etc. And more restrictions will be imposed instead of raising the penalties for distracted driving that actually causes accidents. Because the problem isn't just cell phones -- it's GPS and Pandora streamed to your radio and 300 channels of satellite entertainment and changing DVDs for your children in the back seat and (especially in the DC area) reading a paperback novel or the dead-tree Washington Post while stuck in traffic.

It isn't the "phone companies" pushing people to talk on the phone while driving -- it's the huge convenience, and, quite frankly, usefulness of being able to do so.

In the event of a crash with injuries (which is most car-bike crashes I would think), couldn't police be required to get cellphone records for all parties? Or on request of one of the crash victims? It seems to me like evidence of voice conversation or a sent text during the time of the crash should automatically be on the record.

Sunny, I'm also skeptical about it. In one of those cases of dissonance, most drivers admit to talking on the phone while driving, and most agree that it's dangerous.

Slow, according to the stats at the Post link, "In 2009, nearly 5,500 fatalities and 500,000 injuries resulted from crashes involving a distracted driver"

7, I don't think we're comparing distracted driving with smoking per se. I'm saying that the phone companies are behaving irresponsibly by fighting laws to make it illegal, just as cigarette companies behaved irresponsibly by covering up science relating tobacco to cancer and heart disease. Sunny is comparing the kind of cultural change needed to that for smoking. I'm hoping it isn't that bad. Smoking had been a part of American culture for centuries and EVERYONE did it. This is a new phenomenon and I'm hopeful it can change quickly.

In all of the last three close calls I've had while on my bike -- ones where I felt compelled to chase the driver and say something when I caught up -- the person driving was on the phone. Being on the bike also allows a pretty unqiue perspective where you can see through a cars windows and get a good view of what people are doing with their hands. It's astonishing the number that are holding mobile devices. Good for the NTSB, but the right wing outrage over the "guvment takin our freedoms" is already making me think this has little chance.

I don't know if a bike trail along Long Bridge would be approved. Or even necessary, considering that the 14th St. Bridge bike path is located about 1000 ft. to the northwest. A new bike bridge would be a lot of extra cost for relatively little benefit. If USDOT and other parties want to build it, I won't complain. But it's not high up on my personal wish list.

They could certainly include a connection between Long Bridge Park and the Mt. Vernon Trail. Cyclists from Alexandria can take the Potomac Ave. road/trail up to Crystal Drive and the park. From there, a connection to the MVT would allow riders to bypass the chokepoint at Gravelly Point (many families with young children).

With the increase in cycling in the Northern Virginia and DC areas, popular trails like the MVT can get very crowded during peak hours. Having another bike commuting route would make the MVT less stressful for cyclists and increase safety for users because many cyclists would take the Potomac Ave./Crystal Drive/Long Bridge Park route instead.

The key is getting the Long Bridge Park/MVT connection built. I hope that can get approved and built within 2 or 3 years. Sooner would be even better.

The two aren't totally redundant. One is a bridge from the Humpback Bridge to the Jefferson Memorial and the other is from North Crystal City to Downtown DC (draw those two on a map chutes and ladders style).

It would be significantly faster rather than going over the Parkway, then onto the MVT looping around to 14th Street Bridge and off that, onto the sidewalk by Jefferson around the tidal basin and then into street traffic somehow.

Besides it really wouldn't cost that much if the bridge is being replaced. The Bay Bridge in SF cost $6.3 billion. Adding a bike/ped lane to it accounted for only $50M of that, which is less than 1% of the total cost.

We can never be too connected.

While I support the thoughts of the NTSB, we tolerate so many other driving distractions (children being #1) and bad driving habits its never going to go anywhere....

Shouldn't the NTSB be focussing on what most driver tell you is the real danger, scofflaw cyclists? Based on comments boards I've seen, they are responsible for thousands of near-misses annually.

You used the phrase "bike thefts on Metro", which sounds like the bikes are being stolen from the trains. However, the context of the Post article you link to makes it clear that these are bikes located on Metro facilities, ie, parked there.

No, that's the job of the NTFB. The National Transportation Fairness Board, which makes sure that everyone feels the law is being broken fairly.

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