The Italian Almanac


Fined Cyclist

A cyclist was fined in Verona for using his cellphone while operating a bicycle in an apparent violation of road laws. Nicola Abati, 23, was nabbed while pedalling through the city center and fined 148 euros by municipal police. ''I thought is was a joke but instead they pulled out their fine book. At first I was about to get very angry but then I calmed down,'' the student said.

Abati said he will appeal the fine but the head of the municipal police said his men were right to fine the cyclist for ''behavior which is not ony illegal but also dangerous, because he didn't have both hands on the handlebars''. The commander pointed out that a bicycle is considered by law to be a road vehicle in all respects and recalled how only recently a cyclist was serious injured when he rode into a truck while speaking on his cellphone. ''The situation is also becoming very serious because not only are cyclists using their cellphones, but a growing number are riding listening to their MP3 recoders through earplugs which impairs their hearing and thus creates a safety risk,'' he added.