Life Without Wheels: Chronicle of a Car-Free Lifestyle
Him: (rolls down window, pulls large red van up next to me, says confrontationally) Why are you shaking your head, what did I do!
Me: (calmly) You're talking on your phone, and it's illegal. 
Him: (defensively as he puts cell phone down) Well...I lost my girlfriend, so...(as if this is an excuse for breaking the law)
Me: That's fine, sir. If you need to make a phone call, just pull over off the road. That's all.
Him: (grasping for straws) Well, well, what are you? The political police?
Me: (patiently and restraining from telling him that he knows he's wrong and should just shut up) No, it's not about politics, it's the law and unsafe.
Him: Well, it's not like I hit you (then honk horn and speed off as light turns green)
Me: (talking to air) So the law doesn't apply to you because???? 

Here's the deal: regardless of how good a driver you think you are, the law in the State of California says that you can't hold your phone and talk on it. You must have a hands free device. You also can't text and drive. Period. It doesn't matter who you are or what you're calling for, you are breaking the law. These laws were enacted for a reason: to improve safety for all road users. I don't care how safe you think you are or how good a driver you think you are, turn the fucking phone off. You don't get to decide which stop lights to stop at, do you? No! You have to stop at all stop lights. And you have to turn the damn phone off (or use a hands-free device). 

Studies have shown that talking on the phone while driving is so distracting it is basically the same as being intoxicated while driving. Could you please respect the lives of the people around you and turn the phone off? You don't have to like me or like anyone else on the road, but you can certainly respect my right to live, can't you? So turn the G&#*!!!!$%#@! phone off. 

Thank you. 


Ben Rosen
07/15/2010 08:32


I follow your blog. I really like it. My girlfriend and one of her friends who works for the LA County Bicycle Coalition are hosting a women's ride downtown this weekend and I thought you might be interested. I can e mail you the info. if you want. My e mail is


07/15/2010 19:42

Complete opposite of what happened the last time I asked someone to hang up. I mimed hanging up the phone to the guy behind me at a stoplight, he burst into laughter and hung up! Mission accomplished!

Some day they'll get it, Amanda. Some day.

07/16/2010 09:37

Yesterday I rode to the palos verdes peninsula and at some point during my ride I was overtaken by 5 cars (one after the other) and the five drivers were... you guessed it: talking on their phones.

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