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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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@andy gibson

I'm going to admit that when I'm out in my Westfield I listen to my MP3 player, simply because there's no radio, and even if there was one I wouldn't hear it.

That said, I've always been able to hear sirens even when I'm plugged in, but that's probably because I can't get the volume loud enough to hear over the engine/road/wind noise (got to love those twin webbers)

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Flame

Texting Twats

The other day some moron walked right into me whilst texting.

I wouldn't mind but he was ugly and not at all my type. ;-)

I was having a fag at the time and was leaning against a lamppost which he would have smacked into if it hadn't been protected by Crumplezone Boomer.

Worse still, "Textard" didn't apologise and walked off still engrossed in his phone.

Since then I have stopped giving way to Texters, Phoners and other meandering idiots (like Tourists). I just aim at them and let them get out of the way of Behemoth Boomer! <Evil Laughter>

The sooner these morons learn that they are not capableof walking/driving/cycling whilst using a phone, the better off we all will be. So my advice is to walk into them or "accidentally" knock the phone out of their hands or shout something at them.

Sooner or later even the most stupid of these idiots will learn.

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Jobs Horns

Stupid people

Bloody idiots listing to iPods while crossing the road - I had to drop my mobile to swerve round one the other day.

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Joke

Don't like the way I drive?

Stay off the sidewalk!

Seriously, pedestrians are targets. Bicyclists are simply better targets 'cuz they move about faster.

OK, settled. Back to Deathrace.

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Flame

I see it every day

Yes, the odd podestrian gets into a bit of a near miss, but it's nothing compared with the other road users I see. On my way to work (from Tube to office in central London), I see possibly

* 1 or 2 pedestrians do something dumb (of 500ish). Usually podestrians.

* 20-30 cars do something dumb (of 200ish). Virtually all of this lot are on the 'phone

* 4-10 cyclists do something idiotic (of 20ish).

* No motorcyclists do anything stupid.

In this corner of London, we need to ban or block mobile phones for all drivers, then do something about idiot cyclists before worrying about the odd random podestrian (to be frank, with the actual numbers, it's not worth the effort - fix the driving and the cyclists, and the podestrian problem becomes little more than the matter of Darwin awards)

Seriously, cycling is great. I cycle at home. But please, stop being such a bunch of tw@s and get off the damn pavements, and stop running red lights. Accident rates would plummet if you cycled properly.

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Anonymous Coward

gave up cycling years ago

Near death experiences every other day just aren't funny, plus I didn't want people thinking I was a member of an arrogant, whingeing and anti social cult.

Try fell running (if you've got a fell handy) it's reet good.

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More importantly...

... why does the bird driving appear to have stuck her handbag in front of the instruments on the dashboard?, Looks like she can't see her speedometer or anything!

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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." ............... And it wouldn't hurt if some of these twats turned round to have a look what's behind them once in a while.

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Anonymous Coward

It's not rocket science

I was always taught to look where you're going, regardless of whether you're a pedestrian, cyclist or driver. It really doesn't require a great deal of effort or sense to pay attention to what you are doing and the environment around you.

That goes for everyone.

Cases in point. At Victoria Station I got almost flattened by someone running with their head down so they were looking at the floor. No headphones but still ignored a shouted warning as I tried to get out of the way. Maybe there should be an advert saying "Think once, think twice, think idiot runner."

In a city centre I saw someone plugged in walk straight into the path of an oncoming double decker bus. The bus was only going at 5 mph so was able to stop before any enhancements were done to the gene pool. The plugged in specimen then launched a foul mouthed tirade at the bus driver.

Same city centre, a busy train station. People crossing a clear and marked crossing. Besuited braindead with mobile phone stuck to ear shot out from the parking area and nearly flattened several people. Then stormed out of his car with a view to abusing these innocent people only to find one of them was a member of British Transport Police.

There are lazy people who can't be bothered to engage brains in all areas of society and on all modes of transport.

The moral here should be ENGAGE YOUR BLOODY BRAIN, wherever you are and however you travel.

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Flame

Personally

I find it unnerving to be out and about with my noise cancellers on - even in areas without a lot of traffic. Evolution gave us ears for a reason, and it had more to do with listening for dangers than iTunes...

People who lack this urge to be aware of their surroundings are obviously mutants that need to be selected against - I say run 'em down.

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Bronze badge

Stupid people to the left of them...

Trust me; there's plenty of stupid to go around.

Stupid pedestrians...?

Check.

Jaywalkers should be shot on sight, as it cranks up the drivers and puts the rest of us at risk. I'm actually pretty compulsive about using crosswalks and waiting for the light (my daughter calls me a "Crosswalk Nazi"). I obey the traffic laws that affect me and I damned well demand others do the same.

...and not looking both ways (twice!) when crossing the street is just beyond moronic even when you ARE in the right, because the one traffic law that trumps all others is "F = MA".

Stupid cyclists...?

Check.

I don't know about where YOU live, but where I live, cyclists are supposed to follow the same rules of the road as motor vehicles: ride WITH traffic, signal turns, yield to pedestrians, and stay OFF the fucking sidewalk.

Do they, my hairy ass!

Stupid drivers...?

Check.

Again, speaking only for where I live, pedestrian in a crosswalk or, lacking a painted crosswalk, in a "presumed crosswalk" (at a corner where a sidewalk is cut by the cross-street, then continues on the other side, drivers have to assume that people are going to want to continue walking down the sidewalk, hence have to treat it as if there were an actual physical crosswalk there), or when pedestrians approach within 10 feet of the traffic lane drivers are supposed to yield right of way to the pedestrian. Also, the little light that says "walk", or shows the little guy limping across the street means that drivers DO NOT FUCKING MOVE!!

Do they? See response above.

People who wait at the red light, then make their turn on the walk light are either scum or morons and should have their gas-pedal foot broken for each offense. (Unless they drive a standard... then the gas-pedal foot can be left alone and the foot they use for the clutch should be used... MUCH more entertaining!)

The only time that I have been hit by a car, I was wearing small fold-up style over-the-ear phones (CD player). OTOH, I was crossing IN the crosswalk, WITH the light, and the driver, who had stopped for the light, decided to make an (otherwise legal) turn on red... without checking to make sure that there was no pedestrian crossing legally in front of him.

There's a great plenty of Stupid to go around... and it's a renewable resource!

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Anonymous Coward

personally

I thought the responsibility lay with the car driver to anticipate hazards such as pedestrians stepping out in front of them. It's called driving sensibly, if you are in a residential area, you should be alert for kids running out pretty much all the time.

It's surprising but people don't randomly cross the road much, they tend to cross at specific points, like junctions and crossings.

As for cyclists, some of them are a law unto themselves, i have nearly been hit several times at a crossing where the light was red but they thought it didn't apply to them.

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Anonymous Coward

Ped/Podestrians should be shot!

The title says it all! If you can't drive there its not worth going!

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Anonymous Coward

Plenty of stupidity in traffic all around..

(side note: disagree with higher scores for iPod users - they're no challenge)

OK, here goes:

pedestrians - not paying attention when texting and listening to MP3s or phones. Primary source of blood on lampposts and the occasional bumper, screen wipers tend to just about cope with them if you hit them hard enough (otherwise the parts stay too big). Great source of entertainment when they have an argument on the phone first - getting run over afterwards must be a class way to feel better.. Zimmerframe equipped one are great as road cones. Irritating when you hit one but generally no big deal. And about as challenging.

cyclists - regarding traffic lights as decoration, and changing lane without even bothering to look or signal. Rather irritating as bike and body parts can get jammed in the suspension. Driving back and forth on one tends to loosen this, though, and bikes come conveniently with a water bottle to rinse.

motorcyclists - come in two classes. Pizza bike class: too easy. Tend to take risks in overtaking and then merging in just in front of you, counting on you hitting the brakes hard to avoid them and thus getting hit in the tail by the next motorist. So don't. For resulting bits stuck in front suspension, see cyclists, extra points if you manage to eat the pizza while still hot. Motorbike class: much harder, and involves more risk. Apart from them being much faster, they're generally also more dangerous when dismounted. Cheating is allowed, though, opening a door when they zip through queues is guaranteed to catch them before they rip your wing mirror off. But you may lose the door, which may get embarrassing when they survive the short flight. Easier to catch by quick lane changes because they tend to do this at speeds that don't allow enough stopping distance. Most stupid trick: driving away from police and thinking they can get away with it - until they end up decorating a lamppost (usually at the level of blood marks, see pedestrian).

car drivers - talking and even texting during driving. Talking: even just using the bloody cable headset would help, texting - well, thank God for trees. Other intelligent activities are hanging in the fast lane because there's something to overtake a mile ahead (which will be done at approx 0.1 mph more than the vehicle to overtake), and wearing a iPod noise cancelling headset because they're to cheap to buy a decent stereo. The opposite of the "fast lane hang" is the lane zipper in dense traffic - somehow these lack the brain to see that the extreme risk they cause will NOT result in more than about a minute gain in an hour, and risk others in the process. Not a good one to have in front as that'll be the cause of the traffic jam you're about to hit. Darwinian selection is fastest with the type which quickly squeezes in between two lorries at traffic lights and then swiftly discovers (a) what "braking distance" for lorries is and thus what the gap was for (b) what "squeeze" really means and (c) that a cage construction and airbags is really no match for 50 tonnes in front and rear. Oh, and there is the drink and drive category. The most fascinating cases end up burning first, which is an interesting way to go as there must be a risk for spontaneous combustion whilst your skin has hardened to an unmovable leather. No, that's not a joke - there is no chance you can move after 90% burns. Drinking and driving do NOT mix.

So there.

Anyone care to continue for bus, lorry and train? Just out of curiosity?

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Back in the day....

I remember when the pavement was for pedestrians (try walking along them now, with the amount of cars parked with 2 wheels up on it), the road was for driving long (now the cars barely move), a telephone was considered 'mobile' if it wasn't bolted to the wall and the cord was a couple of feet long, and a personal stereo was *personal*.

But, I am starting to get on a bit now.

I blame the safety brigade. Cars need to be made more dangerous, not safer.

Start with: no seat belts, and a 6in spike in the middle of the steering wheel.

Then, spikes over the bumpers.

That would make people pay more attention.

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3/4 my a**e

Too many made up statistics...

As a cyclist, I have a good idea of how many people wear ipods on the bike. More than should, yes - but 75%? I might believe 7.5%. Yes, there are cyclists who are idiots, who wear ipods, ride on the pavement, jump lights, follow left turn lanes then go right... many things. But these are, really, a minority. It's just that the driver doesn't notice the cyclist who behaves like a normal car and does the correct things, he remembers the idiots. Simply - what happened to on-the-spot fines for this sort of thing?

Also as a cyclist - most car drivers are nice, play sensible, even hold back too long in order to leave a 3m gap passing (note: if I don't think I can keep my bike within 50cm of the pavement, I shouldn't be riding it - just move to the other side of the lane and you'll have room to pass and leave me a 1m gap). Some assume a bike has no rights, but again this group is a minority (probably driving a taxi or white van). Doesn't stop the typical cyclist 'all drivers are idiots' complaint. Again, cyclists notice the idiots not the majority who are sensible.

As to pedestrians - why do so many think that they can step out in front of cyclists? Again it's only the few idiots - but, really. If I'm cycling at 30mph down your street and you step out in front of me, you'll get a lot more hurt than if you do that to a car at 30mph. In the first case you'll get hit in the hips by my handlebars and you'll maybe never walk again, in the second you'll get broken legs as you bounce over the bonnet which will heal in a few months. The fact that I'll get hurt too (while the driver won't) is probably not much compensation, and I do not have insurance, so you will definitely not get any money.

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Gold badge

Maybe not music players?

"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..."

I think you've hit it on the head! Where I live (Iowa City, IA, USA) I've seen a HUGE increase recently of people just not looking.

1) Where my parents live, there's several kids who just run out onto the street. There's one kid in particular who will just run right out in the street, on a regular basis, without looking.. even right in front of cars. The kid is young, so this isn't too surprising by itself... But he'll do it *while the dad's standing right there!* The dad... One time my mom was like "you know, you shouldn't have your kid running out in front of cars" and he was like "Oh, it's alright". She's like "Really, no it's not" and he just kind of dazedly stared off into space, no response whatsoever. He will not tell his kid that he should look before going out in the street! The same kid also will leave trikes and crap like *in* other people's driveways... 100s of feet of sidewalk, and he consistently will leave stuff in the few feet where someone has to stop their car on the street, get out, and move this stuff.. I've seen the dad walk right past it and he won't move it either. I haven't had him run in front of me yet, but I intend to give him a blast on the horn if he does, maybe he'll get scared out of running in front of cars before one runs him down.

2) I'm also seeing more bicyclists here.. well, OK. The serious bicyclists are not any "worse" than they've ever been (I see one do something stupid once in a while, but so do the cars.) Others are just riding bikes around in their residential neighborhood for fun.. they seem to ALSO think nothing of just riding on the sidewalk, and at random intervals hop the curb into the street -- again, without looking and so sometimes right in front of cars. They'll also ride so they're swerving around over like 2/3rds of the street (which is OK in general, they're just clowning around on a low-traffic residential street), but they won't have the sense to ride straight for a few seconds when cars are going by. These kids look to be early teenaged, old enough to know better.. they don't even have the sense to look surprised or alarmed when they hop a curb, look over and see a car stopped like 3 feet from running them down! They *do* nearly wipe out from shock if I toot my horn at them when I have to get on the brakes though. It's bad enough now, if I see anyone biking in these neighborhoods, I top out at about 10MPH (as opposed to the 25MPH speed limit..) I think, again, noone must have told them that it's stupid to run (well, bike) out in front of cars, so they just go ahead and do it. Also, although the US doesn't really have them, I think they might be chavs.

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Thumb Up

Wait, Wait...

What about 'Podtards'?

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Yes, it's natural selection in action but...

Think of the bigger picture here, people. Yes, the idiot ends up in the morgue, but other people are affected too. I don't want to kill someone with my car. Whilst it may be good for the gene pool, that person on the slab marks the end of my no claims discount.

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Anonymous Coward

@Blubster

Turn head = wobble/slight veering into the direction you turn.

Not exactly what you want a cyclist to do when you are about to overtake them.

Not exactly what a cyclist wants to do when you are about to be overtaken.

That and it hurts your neck. Easiest for a cyclist to do, is assume there is always a car about to pass them and not do anything silly like cut corners without looking etc.

As for cyclists going around puddles and potholes, we shouldn't have to look behind us, you should give us enough room, as if we were cycling in the middle of the lane, it makes basic sense for everyone. Or just look ahead to anticipate it, but then again, a little cave in the road is no match for your behemoth 4x4 :p

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Silver badge
Boffin

@Walkmans, inner-ear headphones

"It wasn't so much of a problem for the Walkman etc. because of the type of headsets."

My Walkman (circa 1998) had the traditional headphones, but I could get the inner-ear headphones for $9 bucks even then. The earbud-type headphones have been out there since at least 1994, still inside the Walkman era.

Oh, and by the way, my Walkman *still works*. I wonder how many iPods actually live that long...

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Dead Vulture

Let me through!

That explains why Ipod sales are so high. it's all plot really.

Got problems now, wait until electric vehicles are rife it is going to look like a bowling alley out there.

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Coat

Didn't this happen with Walkmans?

Theres nothing new under the sun

meanwhile, Boy (and girl racers) could always try driving defensively - or carefully as we experienced old farts call it.

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