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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Ban IPods when Crossing Street - Breathing Space Blog

Michael Vitanen, of the Associated Press writes: “Walk, jog or bicycle across a New York street with an iPod plugged in your ears and you could get slapped with a $100 ticket under a new law proposed by a legislator from Brooklyn. State Senators Carl Kruger's bill would also outlaw the use of cell phones, Blackberries, video games or other electronic devices when crossing the street.”

“He cited the death of a 21-year-old man who was listening to music when he stepped off a curb and was hit by a bus in Brooklyn in September, and the death of a 23-year-old iPod listener last month.”

"If you're so involved in your electronic device that you can't see or hear a car coming, this is indicative of a larger problem that requires some sort of enforcement beyond the application of common sense," Kruger said.

“Jason Koppel, Kruger's chief of staff, said listeners would merely have to pull the earphones out for the few seconds it takes to cross the street. Kruger said the legislation would be introduced this week. Charlotte Troisgros, 16, a Manhattan student talking on her cell phone in a crosswalk near City Hall on Wednesday, laughed and said the law may not be such a bad idea. You really don't pay attention. You might get hit by a car," she said.

A civil liberties attorney, Christopher Murray, predictably, said the proposal is excessive."With our schools failing, health costs out of control, and crushing property taxes, the legislature would rather play mother by legislating how we cross the street," he said. "What's next? Do you get fined if you don't look both ways?"

The Breathing Space perspective: it is foolish and dangerous to cross a city street wearing headphones and the legislation is more than appropriate.

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