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City Eyes Banning Earplugs for Bicyclists

Looking to improve safety, the Lakewood Law Department will introduce an ordinance to city council next Monday.

Lakewood ordinances prohibit motorists from wearing headphones while driving, but the law on the books doesn’t apply to bicyclists.

The city of Lakewood is looking to change that. 

Ashley Belzer, the city’s assistant prosecutor and assistant law director, said that a proposed law would require bicyclists to pull out an earplug to focus more on traffic.

The measure would still allow bicyclists to keep one earplug in. 

“Police officers have been seeing (bicyclists) more and more often wearing earplugs in both ears,” she said. “On bicycles, people sometimes don’t follow traffic laws as they would if they were in a car. People get a little more lax on bicycles.”

Law director Kevin Butler said the only law on the books prohibits motorists from wearing earplugs, but not cyclists.

“There’s enough concern out on the road,” he said, noting that a Lakewood police officer approached the law department about the proposed legislation.

The new law would make the first offense a minor misdemeanor, punishable with up to a $150 fine. A second offense committed within one year of the first, would become a fourth-degree misdemeanor.

The proposed ordinance will be introduced to city council at its next meeting on Monday.

Rick Uldricks November 13, 2012 at 11:37 AM
What about the bicyclists who don't use earplugs and are talking on the phone (or texting) while riding?
Peter Bruce Photo November 13, 2012 at 01:34 PM
not a bad eye. But if the city wants to do something really GREAT make it legal for motor cycle to spilt lanes under 25 mph
Kevin Butler November 13, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Note to readers: Everything in the article above is accurate, but we've decided not to introduce this measure next Monday night. It bears further study and input before being introduced. Kevin Butler (Law Director)
Heather November 13, 2012 at 01:59 PM
If we don't stop them from running red lights, I have a feeling we're not going to stop them for this.
Peter Bruce Photo November 13, 2012 at 02:19 PM
heather i think they should stop at red lights,but not stop sign, they should yield. For that fact no one should stop at stop sign, they should all be yield. STOP signs are one of the worst things for the ego system ! Cheers Peter
Terry Meehan November 13, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Now I'll never finish Tolstoy's War and Peace audiobook. Actually, I never use my headphones in traffic, only on the bike path in the Metroparks. Bikers are not the only ones who run lights; just try to cross Hilliard and Madison some time.
Peter Bruce Photo November 13, 2012 at 04:10 PM
war and peace...that is a weekender right... But a traffic light in >>>> fixed
Colin McEwen November 13, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Thanks, Kevin!
Dale Meggas November 13, 2012 at 05:39 PM
What a waste of time...have there been any accidents involving a bike rider and ear plugs???? Is it any different than a bike rider who is deaf??? It's a matter of paying attention not wha's iin your ears...Bicyclists don't get "more lax" because they have ear plugs...they are "more lax" because they just don't want to pay attention and making a law against ear plugs won't change things....
Colin McEwen November 13, 2012 at 05:48 PM
I don't think those things are illegal. But, I am not sure.
Jason November 13, 2012 at 07:45 PM
I ride my bike frequently around town and obey all the traffic laws. Every time I see a car, I expect it to run me over. Every time I cross a street, despite getting the "walk" symbol, I expect to get creamed. Every time I ride on the sidewalk past shops, I expect a patron to come out and step in front of me. Every time I see a dog on a leash, I expect it to wander in front of me. I guess I'm...a bit paranoid. Makes you wonder how I can even ride a bike at all, right? But it keeps me pretty safe. Earplugs? Are you kidding me? I might as well loosen the lugnuts on my wheels before I go out for a ride...

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