Pedestrians and Cyclists Listening to Music on Headphones - Hear the Warning

With the advancement in technology, marvellous devices such as the Ipod allow people to listen to music wherever they may be, but at what price?  Recent studies have shown an increase in accidents involving pedestrians because of the use of such devices.  Accidents where pedestrians are involved always have the potential for the pedestrian to sustain serious or significant injuries which more often than not lead to death.

Pedestrians and cyclists who use MP3s or the like whilst out and about on the roads should ensure that they take extra care for their own safety.  Whilst headphones are in use, the pedestrian or cyclists’ concentration is likely to be affected, as is their ability to hear the actions of car drivers around them.  I was recently driving to work when a cyclist pulled out in front of me.  Whilst I had sounded my horn to indicate my presence and alert the young man involved, unfortunately he was completely oblivious to my horn as he had headphones on and no doubt his volume was greater than just background noise. 

Drivers are often criticised in claims involving pedestrians or cyclists for not making the victim aware of their approach, for example for failing to sound their horn or flash their lights or indicate their intention.  Unfortunately, a driver observing a pedestrian who does not seem fully aware of the vehicle's presence will have little impact sounding their horn if the pedestrian or cyclist cannot hear it.  Similarly while devices are on and the headphones in, often the individual can drift off into a world of their own and become very unaware of what is going on around them. 

In accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists using headphones, they should be aware that it is likely that if they are injured and wish to pursue someone for compensation, their compensator may claim contributory negligence against them for failing to take care of their own safety.  Contributory means that they have in some way contributed to the accident and therefore their injuries.  In recent years there have been laws brought in with respect to the use of mobile phones whilst driving and I would welcome similar laws being brought in with respect to the use of headphones - particularly with cyclists. 

Headphones are just as likely to affect concentration as mobile phones, so think twice when 'plugging in' on your journey.