back to article 'Podestrian' risk rising for drivers, warns insurer

Portable media players are putting a growing number of pedestrians in danger, UK insurance firm Swinton has warned. Podestrian "Watch where you're f***ing going!" It defined a “podestrian” is anyone who listens to an MP3 player or phone while they're out and about, and are so immersed in the musical experience or their …

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Sam

wait for it

Webster will be along as soon as he finishes fitting iron spikes to the front of his vehicle.

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Walkmans?

I may be showing my age, but was this not an issue in the 80s with the then ubiquitous Sony Walkman? How's this a new phenomenon?

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Mobile 'phones

In my experience as a cyclist, the bigger problem's people who are too stupid to cope with walking and talking on their mobiles. I've had loads of these walk out in front of me.

Great fun watching them leap in the air when I fire off my super-loud air horn though and it never fails to cause amusement to everybody else in the area at the time.

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Cyclists

If car drivers pose such a risk to cyclists as they claim, why do 3/4's of the cyclists then block their only sense that could tell them of something happening behind them.

Idiots! Who says natural selection is dead.

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Unhappy

Hello welcome to the 1980's

Then they were called "personal streos". never caught on...

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Probably deserved it.

I have an iPod, and I have noise canceling headphones. Guess what? I still look before I walk in to the fucking street. These idiots deserve to be hit. A little chlorine in the gene pool would go a long way.

"I'm Chris Taylor, and I endorse this message."

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What about the drivers?

I've seen an alarming increase in car drivers listening to MP3 players while in the car. I didn't think that was allowed?

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Joke

The important question is...

...how many points for 'scoring' one?

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And what about...

... the number of pedestrians, cyclists and other road users who are *STILL* being put at risk by idiots using hand-held mobile phones whilst in "control" of a tonne and half of metal despite it being illegal?

(PS "breaking"? "Swindon"?? Methinks some proof-reading is required!)

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@CC

I think a lot more people are using MP3 players than used to use Walkmans.

Mobes and texting are also a big issue now.

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Joke

Nature

Nature ALWAYS finds way to whittle down the numbers. Natural selection at work.

To help Mother along maybe some new legislation is required whereby Podestrians are treated with the same disregard as a Hedgehog on the road.

I'll tell you, the world would be a happier place and the entire Human Race would be so much stronger for it.

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@Tony Green

I agree and some pedestrians will not look if they cannot hear anything coming, like a silent bicycle.

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Stop

Excuse me!

How long have there been portable music players? Over twenty years? I think we can blame the rise of accidents on numpty members of the public living in a litigation happy society, comfortable in the knowledge that their personal responsibility is all but removed and they can claim a shedload of money if a demon driver hits them.

I'd call it natural selection...

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I'm living in the eighties

I remember when I was in New York ages ago, about the time we were all listening to Sony Walkman cassette players, hearing of a law requiring joggers, cyclists and rollerbladers to have one ear unplugged. This was supposed to prevent similar accidents although none of these are really classed as pedestrians I suppose.

It's most unfair of you to put 'Most Wanted MP3 players' next to this story. You are promoting death. Anyway, I might have to buy one. They can play cassettes can't they?

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Cyclists

Yep I also use an Airzound airhorn it's great fun freaking out the podestrians, as for cyclists with headphones it's more like 1 in 20. Let's not forget the drivers with phones.

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"Easy target"

Like hell they are. In 16 years of driving I've yet to hit an iPod user.

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Keeping Score

I thought you got an extra five points if you mow down someone down with an iPod in, and an extra 20 if you get home and find a zimmer frame in your front grill

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Anonymous Coward

It's not only pedestrians or cyclists... drivers do it too!

The other day I see someone DRIVING with headphones on. EH? WHAT? And the luxury sedans these days are so insulated that they don't hear what's going on outside either.

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Earphones

This is (one of) the reasons why I hate in-ear headphones. I do a lot of long-distance road walking, a fair bit of it on roads without pavements, so I always wear open-ear headphones that allow me to hear everything going on around me. It's less friendly at work though, when people assume I can't hear them and start shouting at me!

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Coat

Re: Cyclists

Were the hell did that all come from?

One reason why a cyclist should wear personal-stereos is to avoid contracting PTS from all the noise being generated by those four wheeled cocoons spewing-out lethal emissions. And speaking of natural selection, either cyclist are out performing chameleons in stealth bio-tech or that keen detection of movement that kept us ahead predators is entirely missing from the driving population.

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shunts?

The article says, "According to Swinton, podestrians currently account for about nine per cent of minor accidents involving sudden braking or shunts".

Surely shunts are caused, wholly and completely, by car drivers not leaving an appropriate stopping distance between themselves and the vehicle in front.

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Coat

Well for the drivers amoung you.

You could always start a game of iDeathrace.

10 points for a mobile phone user.

20 points for a MP3 user

30 points for an iPod user

and 50 points for those muppets who thought it was trendy to go and get a iPhone.

All we need now is a website and a ranking system, first to a thousand gets a Sherbet Dip.

*\. Getting a map out the pocket so I can find the pedestrianised part of town.

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Anonymous Coward

Isnt it about time

...we had a jaywalking rule. Fair enough to have a charge of dangerous driving for car drivers, I'd *like* to see more stopping of dangerous cyclists but we really need to be "educating" pedestrians as well. I blame the withdrawl of "charlie says" adverts myself...

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Unhappy

I wonder...

... how the multiple millions of DEAF people worldwide cope with crossing the road?

Sometimes, natural selection needs just a little help removing the stupid.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: cyclists

Actually, going at 20mph on a bike, you'd be hard pushed to hear anything behind you due to the wind noise.

I ride listening to music at low/medium volume, which keeps me motivated & doesn't significantly interfere with my awareness (I've tried with & without). However I am always checking to see what's coming up behind, which I rarely see anyone else doing.

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Happy

@Chris Collins

Chris, I think the problem is, as the article states, the prevelance not of personal steroes [PMPs my arse!] but the increased availability of noise cancelling headphones from the likes of Shure, etc.

I have a pair of, er, SE110s I think - and they do a great job of blocking most background noise, with only serious bass and treble really getting through ; the difference is that I compensate for that by keeping my wits about me all the time when strutting my funky stuff.

A bit like paying more attention to shaded areas of pavement when you are wearing sunglasses - it's common fucking sense.

I actually think that *non* noise cancelling headphones are more dangerous personally, as you have to turn them up much further to hear your music, which is distracting in the first place; I rarely have my personal stereo [oh, OK, iriver] up beyond 10% volume, even on the tube, to hear it properly. Better for your eardrums, and better for your concentration IMO/E...

Steven R

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Anonymous Coward

Walkmans? Cyclist?

In the '80s there were fewer cars, and no fscking SUV rolling down the road like T72 tanks. And with the level of noises you have nowadays you can walk around with earplugs and is exactly the same thing.

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@Matthew

Where did this anti-cyclist rant come from? The article is about podestrians - a "witty" pun on ipod and pedestrian. I hope you don't veer off the road as randomly as you veer off topic. But while we're here...

Where did you get the "3/4 of cyclists" statistic from? What makes you think that hearing is the only sense that cyclists rely on to tell when something is happening behind them? Most cyclists I know use optical sensors on a flexible mount. Apparently drivers have them too, but many don't know how to use them. And when a driver does go SMIDSY, there's often very little the cyclist could do to avoid the hazard even if they were aware of it.

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@walkmans and @welcome to the 1980's and @cyclists

The difference being that modern mp3's play louder and use inner-ear or noise-cancelling head-phones, as opposed to the foam-sit-on-ear type that were common in the 80's.

As for cyclists (and indeed motor-cyclists) who wear head-phones - idiots, the lot of 'em. I cycle in a city every day and every day some twat tries to kill me (I might take it personally soon), i've never understood the idea that blocking out hearing is a good idea.

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Stop

I wonder what

percentage of the claims were by drivers

A) Not paying any attention as there seems to be any number of idiots these days

or

B) On their mobile at the time and needed an excuse to claim

I'd guess about 80%

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Cyclists

I cycle lots of places but I would never ever consider listening to music when I was on my bike. It is tremendously dangerous!

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@Matthew

'their only sense that could tell them of something happening behind them'....

So, that's our cycling hats covering the eyes in the backs of our heads, then?

Or are you suggesting that fully 75% of cyclists wear music players? I'd be intrigued to know where you got such foaming-at-the-mouth blame-stats from, but I suspect that Jeremy Clarkson will soon be calling to ask for his opinion back.

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Coat

Deaf people are a terrible risk to drivers

...and don't even get Clarkson started on blind people!

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Anonymous Coward

@Walkmans?

It wasn't so much of a problem for the Walkman etc. because of the type of headsets. Even the best of them didn't cut out ambient noise very well, so you had to really crank up the volume to become oblivious to the world around you.

Enter the ear bud and noise cancelling headsets and now they live in their own little cocoon. Now, why that makes them forget that they have EYES and can TURN THEIR HEADS to see what is coming I don't know.

As was said, natural selection...

What, no Darwin icon?

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Stop

Definition of "podestrian"

Silly of them to define it as MP3-player-wearing pedestrians, because this implies that people with portable CD players and MiniDisc players for example aren't a threat. It would be better to use a proper term for any kind of portable stereo unit like "personal stereo" or "portable music player" because the threat is from ANYONE who wears headphones connected to any kind of portable unit.

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Peds & cyclists

It happens even with people who don't have things attached to their ears. Many pedestrians have a habit of stepping out into the road and THEN looking to see how accurate was their presumption that the street was empty. In most built up areas cyclists such as myself are effectively silent, but it happens so regularly that hopefully sensible cyclists will be anticipating it and riding accordingly.

However, off my bike I know I've done it myself a few times, so I'm not in a big hurry to point fingers. When on my bicycle I just ride slowly when there are people around, pay attention to what is going on around me, and try not to do silly things. I don't always get it right, which is why I'm hoping everyone else is doing likewise.

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cyclists

Tony Green - perhaps the reason why loads of pedestrians walk in front of you is because, like the majority of cyclists, you are on the pavement? Just a thought....

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@Matthew

That's exactly why I don't use my mp3 player when I'm cycling. I don't understand why so many of my fellow cyclists do. Or the looks of blank incomprehension when I ask them why not being able to hear the traffic behind them doesn't worry them...

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Coat

Calm down dear!

It's a commercial!

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Drivers

Of course, the noise a driver makes furiously revving his engine in second gear while overtaking the cyclist tends to blot out any noise from MP3 players. Even moderate engine noise is easily heard.

If you'd ever cycled in traffic you'd know that. Idiot.

And, btw, this article is about pedestrians, who are the dumbest road users of all, after idiot motorists. Idiot.

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@Cyclists

Back when I used to cycle regularly I found that earphones actually improved my ability to hear cars by stopping the wind from whistling in my ears. Obviously I didn't crank them up to 11 while on busy roads.

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Pedestrians

As a non-podestrian I have had plenty of incidents of Cyclists attempting to mow me down on crossings when I have clear right of way and can hear everything perfectly. I even occasionally get mowed down on the pavements.

As for anyone who steps out into the path of traffic based on the sense of hearing then more fool them, unless of course you are blind but then if you are a blind Podestrian then good luck in making it to tomorrow.

Use your fucking eyes people.

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Shunting the car in front

Shunting the car in front are only ever caused by bad driving. If you don't have room to stop if the person in front suddenly slams on the brakes, you're driving too close for the speed your doing!

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Natural selection

No really, this is natural selection at work. Especially here in Russia where we only obey the rules of the road when the road police are around.

Kid walks out in the road with headphones on.... 50 points if you hit them.

Kid texting while listening to music.... 100 points.

Ever seen Deathrace 2000?

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@Matthew

Where do your numbers come from? 3/4 of cyclists listen to music on the go?

Anywho, how the hell is a car behind a cyclist a threat if they actually did as they were meant to and gave the same room as if a car was there. ie, foxtrot oscar to the other lane, there's plenty of road - use it (or be patient if needs be)*!

I by no means imply hear that all motorists should be shot ~50% where I live are actually very considerate. 20% seem to be unaware that they should give a bit more room, 20% should be shot because they just don't care (affects other motorists as much as cyclists). 10% should be hung up to starve to death because the worthless scum seem to think cyclists are fair targets.

Same numbers probably apply to cyclists and others too.

Anywho, back on to the topic of the story. Ipods are quite clearly evil - we have proof. Wha, ha, ha. Lets ban morning lectures too, the amount of times I nearly went under the wheels of a car due to being 'so tired I was in autopilot' is scary. A big thanks to those who stopped - even if it was just to save on dents.

*A pre-emptive "actually the majority of cyclists do pay road fund tax". So no, that isn't a valid accuse for running them down.

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Anonymous Coward

Cause

>> According to Swinton, podestrians currently account for about nine per cent of minor accidents

>> involving sudden braking or shunts.

I thought that 'accidents involving sudden braking or shunts' were caused by traveling too close to the car in front (which is probably a more recent trend than the personal stereo).

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Nearly got one

Out on my bike the other day and someone stepped straight off the kerb in to my path - oblivious to anything due to the tell-tale white wired sprouting from their ears. Even a well placed 'Oi!' didn't work. Fortunately I leave enough room from the kerb to allow for such events so could negotiate the hazard without veering off in to the path of traffic behind or crashing in to then oblivious listener. It was close - it's possible that they may have required a change of underwear but at least it was me and not a skip lorry doing 50mph.

Oh, Matthew, I doubt if it's as much as 3/4 of cyclists but I agree that it's bloody stupid to block off something that car drivers don't have -- a sophisticated early-warning system.

Don't fret though, our old mate Darwin has worked out that they are a dying breed.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: Matthew

They are talking about pedestrians. Or do you just have such a hatred for cyclists?

And, you will find that any cyclist moving at speed can hardly hear anything from behind them anyway, the sound generated from your own tyres/wind speed can sound like there is a car behind you constantly.

3/4 is just a poor exaggeration.

PS. I'm more of a driver than a cyclist so don't make me out to be biased.

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Is this really a 'problem' only now?

I am one of the many who has been walking down the road whilst listening to my personal stereo [as in cassette player initially of course] since the late eighties. Not much has changed really....

Ok, Noise cancelling 'in-ear' style headphones are a fairly new phenomenon more due to the increased bass response as much as anything else but I find when walking down the road wearing these type of headphones that I am much more aware of whats going on visually. In fact I will look around before crossing the road much more than usual if I am listening to music with noise cancelling style earphones on.

Normal mobile phone use (whilst walking along as well as when driving) is MUCH MORE dangerous in that since you are listening more intently and speaking whilst walking along you are far more likely to be a danger to road users.

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phones

I drive for a living and I would agree with a previous poster that pedestrians imparting their world-shattering and obviously terribly important views into a phone seem to be more of a danger than people using personal stereos. Many`s the time I have nearly mown down a completely oblivious perambulating phone user who has stepped out into the road. Young mums with baby buggies are the worst offenders, pushing their vulnerable offspring out into the road first, as if testing the waters. The "joke" is that they seem to get quite upset when they are hooted at, as if it`s all MY fault that they have a death wish!

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