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The good and the BADD
In January, Jim Rogers, a cyclist well known in Nevada County, California was killed in a crash with a motorist who was reportedly on her cell phone at the time. This tragedy has inspired four Nevada County residents, including the wife of Rogers, to launch a grassroots organization and campaign called Bicyclists Against Distracted Driving, BADD. The group is taking advantage of the Tour of California to increase awareness of the dangers of distracted driving by distributing stickers, designed to fit on back of a cell phone, to remind drivers to put the phones away before they drive. They have already given away several thousand stickers. The names on the stickers will change depending on the cyclist being honored, according to Rene McGillicuddy, one of BADD’s founders, who spoke to me earlier this week.
Image from BADD, via theunion.com
BADD’s effort is an excellent example of bicyclists working to promote alert driving. However, they have aspirations beyond their awareness campaign. McGillicuddy testified in front of the California Assembly in favor of greater penalties for drivers found guilty of driving while distracted. California currently bans handheld cell phone use and text messaging while driving, and bans all cell phone use for drivers under 18 and school bus drivers. McGillicuddy has been working with the California Bicycle Coalition to strengthen California Assembly Bill 1951, which would amend the penalties for injury-causing vehicle crashes.
McGillicuddy said that we can expect distracted driving to continue to get worse until we take strong steps to curb it. BADD is working on two critical areas: awareness and legislation. We wish them all the best and look forward to supporting their efforts.
For more on what bicycling advocates have done to fight distracted driving, see our report, Distracted Driving: A Bicycling Advocates Resource and fact sheet. For more on BADD, see this article in theUnion.com.