Palo Alto Senator Joe Simitian, the man who authored the 2008 California ban on using cellphones while driving sans the use of a hands-free device, now wants a similar ban placed on cyclists texting or making phone calls. This means that, similar to drivers, cyclists pedaling while handling their iPhones or Droids or whatever could face a $20-$30 fine.
SFist talked to Jim Brown, Communications Director for the California Bicycle Coalition, who told us that the group was approached by Simitian with the hopes that the CBC would support the effort. "We told him that we continue to support his efforts to prevent distracted driving because we understood that that included cyclists." He went on to say that while a giant amount of research has suggested that cognitive impairment can result from phone use while driving, and that bicyclists aren't as impaired as drivers while using their mobile communication device of choice, "there's no evidence to suggest that [cyclists] are causing the same kind of damage." Which is to say, biking while cellphone-ing (ahem) is more of a danger to cyclists themselves than to pedestrians and drivers.
The fine is only a fraction of those faced by drivers (anywhere from $100-$120), "largely because additional local fees have not been added on to the citations," reports CBS 5.