Banning What's Good For Us

by Patrick Appel

Radley Balko complains about a New York bill that "ban the use of mobile phones, iPods or other electronic devices while crossing streets runners and other exercisers included." Adam Serwer seconds him:

[B]anning cellphone use in cars also doesn't actually reduce automobile crashes, so there's no reason to believe that banning jogging with an audio device would reduce a negligent number of pedestrian fatalities. Listening to music while running seven miles makes doing so substantially more bearable, so I doubt a ban would even be effective. But if you want people to excercise more, banning the one thing that mitigates the pain of doing so strikes me as a particularly dumb idea, because if the ban actually worked it would probably reduce the amount that people exercise.