By The Free Rider, Craig Richards, 7 September 2016
If you’re to have any cred in the school yard of life today you need to be carrying iPhone or Samsung. If you’re packing a Nokia or Motorola flip you’d better get comfortable living with cats.
Of course this applies to cat gentlemen as well.
Which is a really harsh judgement considering that pretty much any mobile phone today has more computing grunt than NASA used to send people to the moon.
I looked this up and it’s not an urban myth. Today’s mobile phones are millions times more powerful than the computer that brought back Neil, Buzz and Michael.
Which leads me to a puzzle: if the moon is 350,000 kilometres away and my phone is millions of times more powerful than the computer they used to get there, why can’t I get phone coverage 35 kilometres out of the city?
I’m pleased to say when it comes to apologising for judging people by the type of phone they carry I have…
But it’s largely because I don’t care enough to know one phone from another.
The other day I lost my charger and had to buy a new one. Problem: I didn’t know what type of iPhone I had. When I asked the too cool for puppy school sales person in JB Hi Fi what sort of phone I had, his smart arse answer was ‘That’s an iPhone, sir.’ When I answered, ‘ Yes I know that but what number?’ He just grabbed a $29.95 pack off the shelf and thrust it in my general direction.
That’s not the guy but it gives a general picture of his hipness.
Oh wait, I do have one thing to declare. I don’t like the blue tool ear pieces. This photo shows why.
This couple looks kind of happy but look deeply at her expression: she resents him wearing the ear thing. Of course he doesn’t know anything is wrong but a relationship crisis is only five calls when he should be listening to her away.
Hopefully you’re wondering by now, how (and when) is he going to get to the point and make this something to do with bikes? Well the answer is now. It’s about looking after bike riders…and others.
Using a phone behind the wheel increases the risk of crashing and killing or maiming someone by a ridiculous amount. It hit home in the early 2000s when we tragically lost Anthony Marsh and we have’t learnt the lesson.
Now I’m going to say something really surprising: I’m breaking my anti-judgement stance. If we’re going to stop people talking/typing and driving, our best shot is to make it socially unacceptable.
Now I’m going to say something really really surprising: I agree with hard line NSW Road Minister Duncan Gay on something. He said that even though his Get your hand off it program had reduced drivers caught texting from 52,000 to 32,000, ‘32,000 it is still too many.’
It’s time we developed some out there (and loving every minute of it) ways to do more to stop this dangerous behaviour than just the standard government one two punch combo of shock ads and higher fines.
But first let’s go back to Abba and the 1970’s when Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone was the only mobile in town.
In the classic Abba song Ring Ring Bjorn Ulvaeus (yes that’s him with the cape) interrupts the beautiful singing of Agnetha and Anni-Frid to sing the words:
And I sit all alone impatiently
Won’t you please understand the need in me
Of course Bjorn is saying that when the phone rings it makes you feel wanted and loved and needed. And with a mobile, much like Linus’ security blanket, you can take it anywhere.
Better still, with 3 or 4 Gs there’s stuff flying into the phone every second. In other words, you never have to sit all alone impatiently waiting for someone to ring.
So we need to cut off the feeling good supply. We need people to feel unwanted, unloved and unneeded when they use their phone when driving. We need to make it as socially unacceptable as picking your nose.
Whether he was picking or scratching, nostril penetration cost Jerry Seinfeld his model girlfriend.
So how do we make this happen? Well I’d like to hear your thoughts so we can develop a great action list. Here’s 3 to get the ball rolling:
- Make all phones have a car mode, like aeroplane mode. Then when you sit on the drivers seat a nasally voice reminds you to switch your phone to car mode.
- If you send an email in the drivers seat, it automatically says at the bottom sent from my Samsung Galaxy while I was driving and risking people’s lives.
- If the phone is engaged because the driver is talking the caller hears Craig is on the phone and driving right now. He’s risking people’s lives.
So over to you. Let your mind run wild. What should we do to make using your phone while behind the wheel socially unacceptable?