Attention Flagstaff Bicyclists: after a six month warning period, the Flagstaff Police Department is now giving tickets to bicyclists caught using cellular devices for reading or writing text messages while in motion. Bicyclists make up a good portion of traffic on the roadways so the city decided it was necessary to issue ordinance on the matter. Sergeant Margaret Bentzen of the Flagstaff Police Department said that “we believe safety is everyone's responsibility.” The ordinance went into effect on February 15th. Those caught on their devices will receive a $100 fine. If on a device and involved in a collision, you will receive a $250 fine in addition to any other accompanying fines. The City of Flagstaff already has a law against using your cell phone while driving. The purpose of this new law is to bring a stop to distracted driving by all motorists, which may prevent bicycle and car accidents.
This new law coincides with recent state-wide efforts made towards ending distracted driving. The Arizona Department of Public Safety found in a four-month review period that 11% of all crashes were due to distracted driving. DPS is using the existing law A.R.S. 28-701A, which requires drivers to maintain a speed “reasonable and prudent” to the conditions, to issue citations. DPS Officer Carrick Cook said “the essence of the idea…is that it is not reasonable to drive any speed without looking.” Ultimately, no matter what your mode of transportation, your focus while driving should be on the road.
Jay Ciulla is a represents clients throughout the state of Arizona in personal injury and wrongful death cases.