The Nanny State vs. the Bicycle

Authorities in Japan are considering a new cycling law that would make it illegal to use a cell phone while riding a bike. I’d call that legislating the obvious, but it’s actually surprising how many urban cyclists you see chatting on the blower while spinning through traffic.

Perhaps more interesting to American bike commuters: Additionally, the law would penalize cyclists for inapproprate or excessive bell ringing.

The report filed on Thursday suggested banning cyclists from pedaling while: using a mobile phone; listening to music with headphones on; and randomly ringing the bell to avoid trouble with others.

I’m no acoustics engineer, but I’d guess a very strange set of circumstances must accrue to create a situation where random bicycle bell-ringing rises to the level of a social problem.

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