Cell phones are a known hazard to most cyclists these days. Every time I talk to a group of cyclists there are questions or comments about the epidemic of distracted driving due to the increased use of cell phones over the last decade. I understand the concern as I see people on their cell phones at every stop light it seems. In our practice, we just assume that every case that comes in is a possible distracted driving scenario. We examine the possibility of cell phone use in every new case now.
That’s bad, but I fear it is nothing compared to the threat posed by automated cars. If you talk to anyone in the industry they’ll tell you that automated cars are not capable of driving themselves yet, and they won’t be for years to come. In particular, self driving cars have difficulty detecting and negotiating venerable users such as bicyclists. It appears that some self driving car owners have more faith in their self driving car than it deserves. At this point self driving cars are still in their infancy, but some people treat them as if they can drive themselves. Automated cars will probably become safer than human drivers, but at the moment there are huge gaps in their capacity which won’t be filled anytime soon. In the meantime I fear for the vulnerable users of our roadways.