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Irish Road Haulage Association: headphone ban more important than safe passing law

Organisation also moots a points system to keep bad cyclists off the roads

A lorry drivers association in Ireland is trying to push through a ban on cyclists wearing headphones.

The Irish Road Haulage Association also wants a points system to punish cyclists who flout the law.

“This is primarily about safety and education,” Verona Murphy, president of the road hauliers’ association, said, according to the Times. “A driver has no way of knowing whether a cyclist is informed about road safety laws, and that makes sharing the road very difficult.”

Speaking at the Oireachtas transport committee this week, Ms Murphy said that these sorts of measures would improve safety more than a 1.5m minimum passing distance for drivers.

She said this would be hard to enforce.

“In theory it makes sense, but I predict a lot of rows over whether the driver was or was not within the specific distance,” Ms Murphy said. “It would be just as easy for a garda to stop a cyclist for wearing headphones.”

Headphone wearing couriers, who took calls from employers as they rode their bikes, were the worst offenders, she said.

“They are the new boy racers, and they try to outdo each other with no regard for others on the road. It is just bad practice,” she said.

Cian Ginty, editor of Irishcycle.com, said: “A total ban would be completely silly. If you follow that logic, we should ban deaf people from cycling. No country in the world has a licensing system for cyclists because they do not pose enough of a threat and because it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money.”

In 2015 we reported how Brighton and Hove City Council came under fire from a number of cyclists for a safety poster intended to highlight the dangers of wearing headphones while cycling.

Featuring a man riding with headphones on, it reads: “Headphones can prevent you from hearing traffic. Share the road, share the responsibility.”

A number of cyclists were critical of the message and an adapted version has appeared on social media reading: “There’s no evidence wearing headphones is hazardous but we’re blaming cyclists anyway. Share the roads, take all the blame.”

Councillor Gill Mitchell, chair of the environment, transport and sustainability committee, defended the poster. She said that it was part of a larger campaign focusing on the dangers of distraction.

“The council’s road safety awareness campaign is aimed at motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, with six different posters carrying messages about the dangers of distraction from headphones, mobile phones and other devices.

“The campaign was launched following road traffic collision statistics for Brighton and Hove over the last three years which show that failing to look properly is by far the biggest contributory factor. As a new administration, we are committed to improving road safety in the city for all road users and will be looking at new and innovative ways to refresh our road safety campaigns and messages.”

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

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