….no, it isn’t a new Wes Craven film, it’s the new menace facing the streets of London, apparently.
The latest Government figures show that 820 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in the three months to June 2009, a 19% rise on the same period in 2008.One of the main factors being cited in this rise is the use of headphones by cyclists on London’s streets.Â However, it is not known how many of these cases were caused by people listening to music because the Department of Transport and the police do not record this information.
Last year an Oxfordshire coroner, Nicholas Gardiner, recorded a verdict of accidental death after a seventeen year old cyclist pulled out in front of an oncoming car whilst wearing earphones. He said, â€œThey ought to take a minimum amount of care over their safety. It seems to me ridiculous to deprive yourself of what is the second most important of your senses.â€?
There is currently no legislation in place to govern either the use of music players or the wearing of helmets on the road, but cyclists can be prosecuted for dangerous riding â€” an offence that attracts a maximum penalty of Â£2,500. Boris has promised has promised â€œcomplete zero tolerance of cyclists who break the rulesâ€? (would that include party colleague David Cameron who was spotted riding his cycle through a red light in London earlier this year, I wonder?)
The Mayor plans to give even greater leeway to cyclists, to encourage people to switch to one of the greenest forms of transport. He is studying the possibility of allowing cyclists to ride through red lights on left turns at a junction.