Earlier this month a 45-year old cyclist rode into the path of a tram while listening to his iPod in Victoria, Australia. While the rider was lucky enough to escape with minor injuries, the accident has prompted the state to warn cyclists of the dangers of ‘iPod oblivion’, reports the BBC.
The iPod oblivion term joins the Times-coined iPod zombie cyclist phrase, created late last year to highlight the hazards of listening to music while riding.
Both terms refer to the ‘trance-like’ state that pedestrians and cyclists enter while using MP3 players and mobile phones.
Inspector Greg Parr of the Victoria Police said: "You call it ‘iPod oblivion’, I just call it stupidity. It’s a constant problem. They just walk up to the road and keep on walking. We have always told motorists to look out for pedestrians. Now we are increasingly telling pedestrians to look out for motorists."
"We are stressing equal responsibility. In road accidents in the central business district in Melbourne, 90 per cent are caused by pedestrians."
Parr added: "It’s not just pedestrians, it’s cyclists. People riding their bikes to work. It has to affect your concentration."
The BBC report goes to pore scorn on the ‘iPod oblivion’ phrase as being a misnomer – research from the Western Washington University in America has indicated that mobile phone use is far more of a distraction than using MP3 players. One part of the study found that 75 per cent of mobile phone users failed to notice a brightly coloured clown riding a unicycle while they were walking and talking.