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19th October 2015

The Sound of Music

Blasting those sick beats maybe isn’t as important as knowing when the next Magic Bus will hit you, warns Aj Mal

Crossing the road with headphones on is up there on the stupid list alongside running with scissors and cooking whilst drunk. All of the above are activities which are likely to end in injury or worse, yet so many of us persist in doing them. I have lost count of the number of times I have seen people blindly step out in front of traffic, oblivious to the beeping of horns, whilst humming along to their favourite tune.

Headphones are ubiquitous, whether they are giving us an inspirational beat to walk or jog to, providing a soundtrack to our day, looking trendy or just keeping our ears warm. However, removing one of our senses whilst navigating the extremely busy roads of this city can be lethal. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents reports a massive rise in incidents involving headphone wearers. These have included people being hit by cars or even trains, and a large percentage of incidents have lead to death.

To avoid accidents and harm to yourself (or even those expensive new headphones), pause the music or take them off when navigating busy traffic, and take extreme care when stepping into the road. This can be a life saver.

Studies by the University of Maryland state that in most accidents, a horn was sounded to warn the pedestrian, but headphones prevented this from being heard. In some cases this was combined with mobile phone use leading to almost complete loss of awareness of surroundings.

We suggest removing headphones entirely and enjoying the sounds of life around us. Without those obstructive beats in our ears, we can enjoy the sounds of crowds, people telling us to move, beeping horns, comments on our dress sense, and those annoying people in matching T-shirts in the city centre asking us for ‘just a minute’ of our time. There is so much to hear, so think twice the next time you venture out with headphones on.

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