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Australia To Fight iPod Use By Pedestrians

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the hard-to-fight-that-logic dept.

Australia 450

Kilrah_il writes "In recent years the number of people killed on roads in New South Wales, Australia has dropped, but strangely enough, the number of pedestrians killed has risen. Some think it's because of the use of iPods and other music players making people not attentive to road dangers (the so-called 'iPod Zombie Trance'). Based on this (unproven) assumption, the Pedestrian Council has started a campaign in an effort to educate the people, but apparently it isn't enough. Now, some are pushing for the government to enact laws to help eradicate the problem. 'The government is quite happy to legislate that people can lose two demerit points for having music up too loud in their cars, but is apparently unconcerned that listening devices now appear to have become lethal pieces of entertainment,' [Harold Scruby of the Pedestrian Council of Australia] said. 'They should legislate appropriate penalties for people acting so carelessly towards their own welfare and that of others. ... Manufacturers should be made to [warn] consumers of the risks they run.'"

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What the.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494488)

Who is RUNNING Australia?

I mean seriously, this is STUPID

Re:What the.... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494498)

It is a penal colony. You have to expect that the rules and regulations are going to be stronger.

Re:What the.... (2, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494640)

It is a penal colony. You have to expect that the rules and regulations are going to be stronger.

Yeah, and the USA is still a British colony that answers to the King George III.

Really, who modded this "Informative"?

Re:What the.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494798)

Really, who modded this "Informative"?

New Zealanders

Re:What the.... (4, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494916)

New Zealanders

True, from Christchurch.

They were actually aiming for a "Funny" mod, but the mouse pointer was bouncing all over the screen.

Re:What the.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494826)

And the Kings not impressed bitch!

Re:What the.... (0, Troll)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494860)

Do you know why we are not a part of this "commonwealth" thingy? That's right - WE KICKED THE LIMEY BASTARDS OUT!

Unlike some penal colonies.

Re:What the.... (4, Interesting)

shadowblaster (1565487) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494538)

Apparently in about 30 minutes, Australians will find out who's going to run their country.

Re:What the.... (1)

euphemistic (1850880) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494714)

Because no tiny interest group in any other country has demanded something ridiculous and outlandish to be put into law.

What's stupid is reading the headline on Slashdot and assuming it's somehow unadulterated fact. But this shouldn't even be on the front page, the Pedestrian Council aren't even a vaguely influential group as far as I know.

Re:What the.... (4, Interesting)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494940)

Who is RUNNING Australia?

I mean seriously, this is STUPID

What retard is WRITING these headlines? Some doucher from some independent organisation comes out with the idea that pedestrians should be penalised for ipod use and somehow this is representative of Australia and/or the Australian government?

You won't hear it coming. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494490)

http://lukeroberts.deviantart.com/art/You-won-t-hear-it-coming-16413967

what is with the Aussies (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494492)

Darn - Australia has gone to goodie two shoes fascists. Seems like all the news coming from there is about less freedom.

Re:what is with the Aussies (4, Funny)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494502)

Darn - Australia has gone to goodie two shoes fascists. Seems like all the news coming from there is about less freedom.

They are either following America's example, or they are showing America how to do it right.

The reason why (5, Informative)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494552)

Seems like all the news coming from there is about less freedom.

It's largely because all the news is bullshit.

Australia does not have an internet filter.
Nothing is happening in regards to this story

Somebody making a noise about something, even if that person is a politician in government, is not the same as them actually doing something.

Re:The reason why (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494568)

Seems like all the news coming from there is about less freedom.

It's largely because all the news is bullshit. Australia does not have an internet filter. Nothing is happening in regards to this story Somebody making a noise about something, even if that person is a politician in government, is not the same as them actually doing something.

The fact that Australia has politicians who are even willing to test the waters by floating such ideas says a lot by itself. It's how they wet their finger to feel which way the wind is blowing. If the idea shows support they run with it. If not, they distance themselves from it and the impression they leave is the one you express there.

Re:The reason why (4, Informative)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494642)

The fact that Australia has politicians who are even willing to test the waters by floating such ideas says a lot by itself.

Far be it for me to defend politicians, but this little bit of "policy" as you'd like to call it has come from a not-for-profit group that pretty much amounts to a "Club for Pedestrians".

To wit: [walk.com.au]

The Pedestrian Council of Australia is a non-profit organisation whose objectives are: the continuing improvement of the safety, amenity, access, health and environment of all pedestrians throughout Australia.

Re:The reason why (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494676)

The fact that Australia has politicians who are even willing to test the waters by floating such ideas says a lot by itself.

Far be it for me to defend politicians, but this little bit of "policy" as you'd like to call it has come from a not-for-profit group that pretty much amounts to a "Club for Pedestrians".

To wit: [walk.com.au]

The Pedestrian Council of Australia is a non-profit organisation whose objectives are: the continuing improvement of the safety, amenity, access, health and environment of all pedestrians throughout Australia.

Sounds a lot like the Women's Christian Temperence Union. So perhaps I jumped the gun a bit; the politicians are the ones who follow shortly after.

Re:The reason why (5, Insightful)

QuantumBeep (748940) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494648)

Go read aggregated local news anywhere in the US. Make sure you pay attention to actions by school boards.

The world has no lack of abject morons, sanctimonious hypocrites, lawsuit-happy soccer moms, and pointy-haired bosses. And it's nothing new.

Re:The reason why (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494786)

We need 2 points of informative and 3 of insightful stat!

And as someone who has spent upward of 10 years walking to work either reading a book or listening with headphones, I can say that yes, doing either is dangerous unless you use common sense and your other senses. Of course doing both at once is suicidal.

Re:The reason why (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494946)

We need 2 points of informative and 3 of insightful stat!

And as someone who has spent upward of 10 years walking to work either reading a book or listening with headphones, I can say that yes, doing either is dangerous unless you use common sense and your other senses. Of course doing both at once is suicidal.

What do you mean by both? [Walking and reading/listening] or [using common-sense and your other senses]?

Re:The reason why (2, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494622)

The theocracy that backed the filter is still alive and well, just under cover again.
They know the tech works and will just wait to re introduce it under a left or right gov.
It was tested, great interest was shown and much political capitol spent on it.
I expect ID for ISP use to move in, IP tracking to a home address without court order might gain traction too.

Re:what is with the Aussies (3, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494720)

They should legislate appropriate penalties for people acting so carelessly towards their own welfare

Everything that's wrong about nanny state in one sentence.

Fuck (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494494)

Bunch of nanny-state niggers. Is this what has become of the once proud Australians who live and thrive in the land of the Outback?

Laws from Myths (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494500)

Boy, for every time a law passed that was from some unfounded statement...
Australia isnt the only one that does this, but it is still no less funny to read these.

However, I do agree iPods are dangerous in that they help support Apple.

Re:Laws from Myths (4, Interesting)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494930)

Actually, this has come about because a woman stepped out in front of a speeding ambulance - siren on, lights blaring - just last Friday.

No law has been passed as yet, but the NSW government is concerned the 25% increase in pedestrian fatalities this year is a bad trend, and is moving to be appear to be doing something.

Selection (4, Funny)

VendettaMF (629699) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494518)

As long as they're eradicated before they breed I see no reason to interfere in this natural and culturally benevolent phenomenon.

Re:Selection (4, Funny)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494608)

As long as they're eradicated before they breed I see no reason to interfere in this natural and culturally benevolent phenomenon.

The downside is all the perfectly good cars that might get damaged. I guess failing to account for that is why you were marked "Troll".

Re:Selection (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494830)

The downside is all the perfectly good cars that might get damaged. I guess failing to account for that is why you were marked "Troll".

I doubt it. It's probably his "my shit don't stink" mentality. It's easy to imagine he has, or will, at some point in his life, have an avoidable close call.

Put another way: There is not a statistic out there that says nobody who knows how to configure a web-server has ever been hit by a car.

Duhh... (5, Informative)

meglon (1001833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494520)

Warning: Being STUPID can cause injury or death.

Eyes... (1)

AfroTrance (984230) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494522)

How hard is it to use your eyes when crossing a road?

What about cell phones? (5, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494530)

Just last week, a kid nearly killed himself on my car while texting on the phone and riding a bike going from the parking lot of a strip mall across a main street, with his free hand on the front brake lever.

It was a 45mph zone and most cars zip through at 55mph at that point and it's not a place to expect pedestrians (nor was there a light). Luckily, I saw him and screech to a stop 10 feet in front of him, but he looked up and was so surprised and hit his own brake so hard that he flipped forward and took a total spill.

He was cut up pretty good, could have been much worse, but hopefully his self-inflicted wounds cured him of his dumbassery. He looked 15 too, hope he remembers that lesson when he gets into a car.

Re:What about cell phones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494560)

You've done your part and the guy is alive, but not all drivers pay attention like you do, they expect pedestrians to behave like their counterparts from Carmageddon, and make way regardless. I know lots of drivers get pissed off when you pass on green and don't walk fast enough, or almost squish you on the crossing and scream their heads off that it's your fault.

Re:What about cell phones? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494620)

You've done your part and the guy is alive, but not all drivers pay attention like you do, they expect pedestrians to behave like their counterparts from Carmageddon, and make way regardless. I know lots of drivers get pissed off when you pass on green and don't walk fast enough, or almost squish you on the crossing and scream their heads off that it's your fault.

That makes me re-appreciate the joys of not living in a densely populated area.

Re:What about cell phones? (4, Interesting)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494664)

Funny you say that. That happened to me the other day while driving a loaded van. The kid was around the same age, maybe as young as 13 and just blindly rode his bike across the road. I had the light and he did not. Although I probably had more time to stop then you. I leaned on the horn and the stupid kid just looks up and then back to his phone blissfully pedaling away.

I can easily see how all this electronic noise can be a danger. When I first bought my new multimedia phone (before smart phones) I tried walking to work with headphones on. After the first trip, I just couldn't do it again. I felt so cut off and not being able to hear my surroundings actually scared me. Save the headphones for the bus, train or killing time.

Re:What about cell phones? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494736)

I usually mute the sound when crossing, even at a light; there are plenty of idiots who jump the gun when turning. But annoyingly on some headphones the volume doesn't go completely down to zero and there's no way to check before buying.

Some Guy (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494532)

FYI, Harold Scruby is a nutter who's always on his high horse and jumping to short sighted conclusions..

|Walkman has been around since the 80s (5, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494558)

Having music devices around isn't the problem. Stupid overprotective mollycoddling laws are the problem. What you're probably seeing is the result of lowering the speed limit to 40km/hr around school zones while cutting back on educating kids about the danger of cars. The number of kids who should be old enough - in late highschool - to behave at least somewhat sensibly and look both ways, but instead blindly walk out in front of oncoming traffic because they know they won't be blamed if they or someone else is hurt is mind boggling. It is now way too RARE to see kids actually look both ways crossing a road.

This is just a prime example of how badly the Australian political system has gone off the rails. In Australia we're happy to throw away freedoms left right and center, and if anyone else is doing well or having fun, we like to put a stop to it. It's sad, because I've lived here all my life and while there was always an element of Tall Poppy Syndrome [wikipedia.org] here it has gotten WAY out of hand. This country use to be a lovely place. In polite company manners counted. Now if you catch an (overcrowded hellish) Sydney train you're lucky not to get shoved out of the way or sworn at.

We don't need new laws. We need enforcement of the existing laws. There is already a law in NSW against pedestrians walking out in front of a car. My cousin while 12 was almost charged because he blindly stumbled out from behind a bus and was hit. I'm in 2 minds about this. On the one hand at least the driver wasn't penalised when he could have done nothing to prevent the accident. On the other, do you really think it is a good idea to charge the victim of an accident, who may have been mamed by it? Or penalise the parent who now has to look after a sick child? Is that really what a stretched police force should be out doing? And these are already existing laws. Do we really need more of the same? The "Pedestrian Council of Australia" needs to have it's head read. I can just see it now "Were you wearing headphones when you were hit ma'am?" "Ah yes but I..." "No buts ma'am. I'm afraid we're going to have to place you under arrest".

IDIOTS.

Re:|Walkman has been around since the 80s (2, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494600)

The Walkman wasn't/isn't nearly as interactive as the iPod/iPhone. Much more random access storage and the ability to check e-mail and SMS and worse yet respond to such things is what trip people up.

Re:|Walkman has been around since the 80s (3, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494618)

The Walkman wasn't/isn't nearly as interactive as the iPod/iPhone. Much more random access storage and the ability to check e-mail and SMS and worse yet respond to such things is what trip people up.

Mobile phones have been around for some time too. So have books and newspapers. Do I need to mention billboards? They have definitely cost lives, especially where they are of scantily clad women. What about daydreaming? Perhaps we should legislate against that too? Anythign to avoid having to educate people to watch where they are going.

Re:|Walkman has been around since the 80s (3, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494610)

The number of kids who should be old enough - in late highschool - to behave at least somewhat sensibly and look both ways, but instead blindly walk out in front of oncoming traffic because they know they won't be blamed if they or someone else is hurt is mind boggling. It is now way too RARE to see kids actually look both ways crossing a road.

I have a nephew who, with his group of emo friends, walks out in front of cars intentionally and laughs when they have to swerve and veer off-course.

Of course, there is going to be a driver that isn't paying attention and one of those little emos are going to get hit. Whether or not they get the blame won't be the point. The point will be if they'll ever get to walk again and whether the guy is really covered insurance-wise. The minimum coverage a ton of people have in this country isn't going to cover shit when it comes to an extensive hospital stay, nevermind if you're crippled for life. And many people don't have enough assets to sue for. All those kids would likely end up doing it drive their own parents to the poor house or extended legal battles.

It's shit like this that makes me want to put multipe cameras on my car just in case I do have an accident.

Insurance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494756)

No need to worry about that scenario. Third party injury insurance is compulsory for drivers in Australia. If your nephew does that here he'll be covered.

Re:Insurance (2, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494794)

No, in the US.

It varies state by state, but for example, I looked it up and Florida's minimum injury protection is like 10k. Bodily injury limits to other people paid by insurance are the same limits as the insurance coverage. And property damage for an entire accident can be 10K as well. IIRC, that's for an ENTIRE accident, not per person injured or each car destroyed, etc.

Being underinsured or uninsured, both medically and with car insurance, is a major problem in the USA.

Re:Insurance (1)

harrytuttle777 (1720146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494950)

One of the major problems in the u.s.a is that medical cost are flexible. There is not big board that says a new liver costs $290,000. Cost usually amount to exactly the amount that is willing to be paid by the insurance companies or the patients. This creates a system where you do away with market forces, and create a defacto socialized medical system. This system allows the patient to get doubly screwed by the insurance companies, and by the hospitals who are both trying to maximize profit. In an ideal capitalist system, the patient is looking out for their own best interest. With the system we have now, the patient is giving gobs of money to insurance companies who 'say' they will always do best for for patient. Yea right.

Re:|Walkman has been around since the 80s (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494896)

And many people don't have enough assets to sue for.

In an ideal world you'd be referring to the parents of the little bastards who actually walk out in front of cars on purpose. In the event that something happened, the driver should be able to successfully sue them for damage to his/her vehicle, any medical bills (for any occupants of the car), and emotional harm from having to find the best way to remove blood and brains from clear coat. They so clearly failed their duty as parents to instill any degree of sense into their children that they should be liable for all such damages.

And don't give me that "how can anyone sue grieving parents" crap. The time to care about them is when they're still alive and can be taught better than that. It shouldn't take a smaller-than-standard coffin to make them wake up and realize that the TV wasn't such a great babysitter. Really, I'm tired of shitty parenting and the society of broken, whimpering, dependent, passive, shallow, childish, impatient people it's been producing.

Some of you bleeding-heart types may think that's inflammatory. I'm not going to make you feel better. I'm going to tell you to get over it because it's the fuckin' truth. All I'm saying is this: if your kids think that deliberately walking out into traffic and scaring the hell out of drivers or maybe making them have an accident is great fun, while risking their own lives to do it, then yeah you've failed as a parent. That's exactly the sort of stupidity and bad decision-making you're supposed to have equipped them to identify. Really the whole immediate-self-preservation thing is one of the more obvious ones.

Re:|Walkman has been around since the 80s (2, Interesting)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494682)

You know what would be great? Allowing kids to use their cellphones during gym. More specifically, dodgeball. Just amend the rules that as long as they use the phone, they can't go out and remain a viable target.

I don't think it would take very long to catch on but then I'd be one of the ones more interested in throwing the balls.

Enforce that Walkman law (1)

ben_kelley (234423) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494708)

I hear you brother. They should be totally enforcing the anti-Walkman law! Those things are killers.

Re:|Walkman has been around since the 80s (1)

nonguru (1777998) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494886)

Um, the angry ranting column is more appropriately your local rag. I say let's arraign Steve Jobs for not anticipating that addiction to iPods would cause Aussie kids to walk in front of moving vehicles. He should have known that Apple's uber-coolness would cause this utter madness in teenagers and Gen-Ys. Maybe we should start the campaign to extradite him from his lair in Cupertino now - as soon as we actually get a functioning government Downunder...

FACE IT! APPLE USERS ARE BRAINLESS TO START!! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494566)

You cannot legislate smarts. Apple users are stupid people, that much is well proven. That some of them get Darwinized, is that such a bad thing? I say, no, it is fate - their destiny.

Re:FACE IT! APPLE USERS ARE BRAINLESS TO START!! (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494712)

Ummm... the law would apply to Zune drones and Android phone-Pandora-streamning-zelots as well.

Even if there are fewer of them.... (ducks)

Re:FACE IT! APPLE USERS ARE GAY TO START!! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494788)

Can you be eligible for a Darwin award if you're the kind of person who wouldn't breed anyway?

Re:FACE IT! APPLE USERS ARE BRAINLESS TO START!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494892)

Might as well in OZ - they even have a town named Darwin.

Darwinize the fuck out of them.

Re:FACE IT! APPLE USERS ARE BRAINLESS TO START!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494894)

I'd say all Mac OS X users are Darwinized.

Harold Scruby (5, Informative)

hairyfish (1653411) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494578)

For those outside Australia, The Pedestrian Council of Australia is a fringe element run by a media whore and general looney Harold Scruby. Their role seems to be one of self importance and can be found offering their opinion about 'road safety' to anyone who'll listen (mostly pseudo current affairs type shows that like to drum up controversy). The best tactic here is to ignore anything they say. Like with most crazies, arguing back simply provides them with more attention than they deserve.

Re:Harold Scruby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494936)

For those outside Australia, The Pedestrian Council of Australia is a fringe element run by a media whore and general looney Harold Scruby. Their role seems to be one of self importance and can be found offering their opinion about 'road safety' to anyone who'll listen (mostly pseudo current affairs type shows that like to drum up controversy).
The best tactic here is to ignore anything they say. Like with most crazies, arguing back simply provides them with more attention than they deserve.

FYI this isn't exactly the only reactionary thing to happen in Australia of late. If you aren't careful you'll have to replace the Kangaroo as the national symbol with a jerking knee.

Really? (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494580)

DEATH by iPod is being blamed as a contributing factor to the 25 per cent rise in the number of pedestrian fatalities in NSW.

Here I was thinking it was all the bad drivers from Victoria moving up to NSW and Queensland. All this time it was the hordes of iPod Zombie Pedestrians.

demerits? (3, Funny)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494588)

'The government is quite happy to legislate that people can lose two demerit points for having music .........

Demerits? Sounds rather childish. But at least you lose 2 demerits, which sounds much better to me than being given 2 demerits.

Re:demerits? (2, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494614)

Translate that to the American "Points on your license" phrase. Doesn't sound so childish now.

Re:demerits? (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494646)

"Hey man, I got more points on my license! I'm ahead of you!"

- American Teen

Re:demerits? (2, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494696)

People never understand when high score = bad score.

Re:demerits? (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494816)

It's because nobody actually plays golf.

Re:demerits? (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494914)

You had a perfect opportunity, and you blew it. It should have been:

Obviously you're not a golfer. [youtube.com]

Re:demerits? (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494948)

It's rather simple to flip it around if they chose to communicate it that way - you start with 12 points, and if you hit 0 you're out of credits/lives/points and your licence is gone.

Re:demerits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494870)

But it does sound dumbed-down

Re:demerits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494920)

no. it still does.

Re:demerits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494616)

Yeah, remember to always play your music loud and you could be rolling in merit.

Re:demerits? (1)

nully (1802028) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494668)

Demerits? Sounds rather childish. But at least you lose 2 demerits, which sounds much better to me than being given 2 demerits.

You do actually accumulate demerits. if you have more than 12 in any 3 year period you may lose your licence.

They have a point (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494594)

If you ride a bike on a shared footpath in Victoria you are required to warn pedestrians before you approach them. You can do this with a bell or a verbal warning. But the vast majority of pedestrians wear earphones.

So whats the point requiring a warning if it is not going to be heard? The only problem I have with the proposed changes is that it won't be applied to the drivers of vehicles too. Headphones and telephone use should be outlawed entirely.

As a bike rider I don't want distracted pedestrians stepping into my path. Thats as dangerous for me as it is for them.

Re:They have a point (2, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494732)

Many places here in the USA have laws against driving with headphones on, even though we are driving in cars that have more and more soundproofing and those without headphones are often playing their car stereos far louder than the effective volume the headphones could ever generate. (There are a bunch of idiots around here that often have their car stereos so loud you can clearly make out the song from inside my apartment 2 blocks away, and the windows are shut.)

If it's a safety issue, they should mandate that cars have no soundproofing on the cabin and that any radio/stereo/etc can exceed a maximum decibel level equivalent to normal conversation at any time. That isn't going to happen, but still, it points out both the folly and stupidity of such rules.
Screwing with pedestrians who listen to headphones while wandering around is just as stupid.

Re:They have a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494776)

If you ride a bike on a shared footpath in Victoria you are required to warn pedestrians before you approach them. You can do this with a bell or a verbal warning. But the vast majority of pedestrians wear earphones.

So whats the point requiring a warning if it is not going to be heard? The only problem I have with the proposed changes is that it won't be applied to the drivers of vehicles too. Headphones and telephone use should be outlawed entirely.

As a bike rider I don't want distracted pedestrians stepping into my path. Thats as dangerous for me as it is for them.

As a pedestrian in Victoria I am miffed that bike riders typically use the pathways.

I'd support a law which stopped this.

You want to be single issue and intolerant about my iPod usage, then I want bicyclists back on the road where they belong.

Else ... get a damn grip.

Re:They have a point (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494800)

If you ride a bike on a shared footpath in Victoria you are required to warn pedestrians before you approach them. You can do this with a bell or a verbal warning. But the vast majority of pedestrians wear earphones.

So whats the point requiring a warning if it is not going to be heard? The only problem I have with the proposed changes is that it won't be applied to the drivers of vehicles too. Headphones and telephone use should be outlawed entirely.

As a bike rider I don't want distracted pedestrians stepping into my path. Thats as dangerous for me as it is for them.

As a pedestrian in Victoria I am miffed that bike riders typically use the pathways.

I'd support a law which stopped this.

You want to be single issue and intolerant about my iPod usage, then I want bicyclists back on the road where they belong.

Else ... get a damn grip.

Most of the money for shared footpaths comes from funding for bicycle commuting. I agree that it is misplaced there. Cycling on shared footpaths is dangerous for bicycle riders.

Re:They have a point (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494802)

Then bike on the street, where things with wheels are fucking well supposed to be.

Re:They have a point (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494842)

Then bike on the street, where things with wheels are fucking well supposed to be.

Thats how I ride to work, yes. But if I ride with my eight year old son I will ride carefully on a shared footpath.

Most of the funding for bicycle commuting in my state goes into off road paths which are intended to be shared between bicycle riders and pedestrians. That is partly why they get so much use.

liability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494910)

Right on, parent post. Here's what I wonder, though: if I always call out "on your left" as I'm passing a pedestrian, and one wearing headphones doesn't hear me and stumbles into my path, can I sue them and win? Seems like a biker should only be responsible for passing a non-zombie in a reasonable manner. I've had trail newbies step toward my path on hearing my call, but I think it's relatively easy to avoid a collision with someone that knows you're back there, even if they do make a somewhat danger-enhancing mistake. Or am I supposed to fall back behind the rocking-out jogger and scream my lungs out until they hear me?

Re:liability? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494934)

I've had trail newbies step toward my path on hearing my call

I think we are programmed to turn towards a potential threat as a low level defensive measure.

Yep (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494956)

I've found that biking around a little park near me is rather impossible because people get all zoned out on their music players. They can't hear you (and bicycles are usually audible, even if the rider doesn't say anything). Also people seem to get over focused on their music and ignore everything else. I noticed this when I got a new bike and tried it out in said park. It was getting dark, so the bike's automatic light came on. Pretty bright too, one of those Cree LEDs. Thus there was a visible indicator I was coming up on someone. However multiple times when I passed someone, with plenty of room on the left, I'd hear them go "Oh Jesus!" or the like. Shocked out of their trance as a bike whizzed past.

I see students the same way on campus all the time where I work. They'll just wander out in to the street, not looking, staring ahead. Perhaps they are just that way anyways, but all the ones I see doing it are listening to music.

I'm not the only one who's noticed this.

While this isn't a proper experimental test, it is plenty of observational evidence to think that a test should be done. People really do seem to zone out when they are listening to music on a portable player and indeed that seems to be what some like about it. They talk about the ability to just ignore everyone and live in their zone.

Well when walking in areas with traffic, that isn't safe. As a pedestrian you are very vulnerable, but very agile. You can quickly change direction and move, much quicker than any vehicle. Thus to me it makes sense to make sure your senses are sharp. Also since you aren't moving fast, you can hear much better than vehicles. Walking around I can get a pretty good idea of what is going on around me by listening.

Hell, same deal biking. I don't own an MP3 player because at home and at work I have computers to play music for me, and when I'm biking I want my ears available. I need to know what is happening around me, and my ears help with that.

People (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494612)

Pedestrians aren't people! (?)

Re:People (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494904)

Not these ones. They're zombies!!

Sure the *drivers* weren't texting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494628)

Need more data... drivers texting/surfing at red lights can gun and go and take out late crossers easy.

Re:Sure the *drivers* weren't texting? (2, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494638)

Yeah I ride a bike to work and when I stop at traffic lights I have a nice high POV to look into the interior of cars. I see a lot of drivers fiddling with phones, playing games, etc.

iWalking (4, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494634)

They should call the offense iWalking. Every modern country should reserve at least two letters of the alphabet for traffic offenses.

Electric Cars will make it worse (3, Funny)

mark99 (459508) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494636)

Electric cars emit much less noise. I think we will need to have a protocol whereby iPods can sense potential collisions and warn the listeners. Cars are getting anti-collision devices and software anyway in the coming years, they shoud expand the protocolls to iPods too.
Hmm - maybe I should patent that idea :).

Re:Electric Cars will make it worse (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494746)

Electric cars emit much less noise.

Shit man, if we're not careful people may even have to start paying attention when dealing with potentially dangerous situations. That'd be a real bummer, as it would waste a little precious time that could be spent on texting, music, and games. Thank God people have their priorities straight!

It's also a great thing that laws could be made to sort this out. That would work like a charm, of course. It's only natural that people don't care if poor decision-making gets them killed, but they'll wise up really quick when it might get them fined.

There's no cure for stupidity (3, Informative)

Fry-kun (619632) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494650)

[This Darwin award candidate] was struck and killed by a southbound Caltrain while crossing the tracks [...] Witnesses said at the time [he] rode his skateboard around a lowered crossing arm and was listening to headphones when he was hit [mercurynews.com] .

The maths of death (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494658)

A young fit healthy person gets hit by a car. Loss as a long term tax payer? Future dr, lawyer, teacher, arts person?
Vs the low donation rate
"Mr. Burns: I love children, particularly their young supple organs" (from FABF03 Marge vs. Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens, and Gays)
Think of all the productive people who will miss out. With safe cars for young drivers, this ipod bounce is good news for some.

So much for personal responsibility... (2, Interesting)

jimmyswimmy (749153) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494678)

If you are watching TV or texting or screwing your girlfriend while you're driving, you risk hurting yourself AND innocent other people who are following the rules.

If you are listening to your ipod while you run across a street, you risk [mostly] hurting just yourself. I always thought it was my responsibility to look both ways and pay attention to what I'm doing. But I guess I need laws to remind me of that. This way, after I get hit by a car, I could get a ticket to boot. Sweet.

Re:So much for personal responsibility... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494922)

Bullshit. A pedestrian risks the lives of other people also. It's a instinctual reaction to avoid a collision. imagine a busy road with a driver swerving to avoid a pedestrian. Many people are killed each year instinctively avoiding cats/dogs/deers etc. the same goes for avoiding (idiot) humans. But there's shitloads more humans on busy streets than deers.
Just because a human is probably going to die in a collision with a car, doesn't mean that pedestrians are risking only themselves.

The only difference between you and roadkill is your ability to judge when and where it's safe to cross/walk etc. How do you decide? sound and vision - little green man, red lights, engine sounds, screeching brake sounds, beeps all of which is almost completely disabled if you're listening to music and focused on texting.

Lefties (0, Offtopic)

WoollyMittens (1065278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494692)

It would help if they didn't drive on the wrong side of the road here... (recent immigrant)

Will deaf people get punished too? (5, Insightful)

evilsofa (947078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494704)

How about people who are deaf like me? Will we get written up for walking around in a dangerous fashion and relying only upon our eyes to stay alive on the streets?

Re:Will deaf people get punished too? (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494744)

How about people who are deaf like me? Will we get written up for walking around in a dangerous fashion and relying only upon our eyes to stay alive on the streets?

Where I live it is accepted that deaf people can be educated to help them work around their inability to hear, while people who choose to be deaf by listening to loud music are impossible to get through to.

My mother worked for her whole career teaching children with disabilities, BTW. He first job, before I was born, was teaching ballet to deaf girls.

Inattention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494710)

Anything that diverts your attention while you're doing something potentially dangerous is asking for trouble.

Last week, a young woman was run over crossing the main road outside our office- she was on the cell phone, and looked in the wrong direction when crossing the road (it's a dual-carriageway split road). I don't know if she made it, she didn't look in good shape at all.

It's not the same as walking and chewing gum at the same time, when you're in a phone conversation,your mind is involved to a much greater degree, and people don't generally realize this.

So I think some public education is warranted.

While on bicycle... (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494726)

For some reason, my earbud set came with only one earbud; annoying though this may be, as a side effect, it leaves the other ear open to hear normal environmental noise a bit better.

Screw Godwin! (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494730)

I want to invoke DARWINS LAW.

If you're so completely retarded that you get yourself killed because you were listening to music/focussed on facebooking your ipod/updating your PING in iTunes - then SERIOUSLY YOU DESERVE TO DIE, the gene pool is better off without you.

Re:Screw Godwin! (3, Insightful)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494758)

And lets not forget the corollary:

LAWS do not stop people doing things (see drugs, illegal, the continued use of).

LAWS just allow POLICE to arrest you, and LIFE INSURANCE people to reject your payout.

Darwinism does not apply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494902)

Darwinism does not apply because everyone knows that iPod owners are gay (Apple users) hence they can't reproduce and pass on their genes...oh wait (ducks!).

Let people be free (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494742)

I saw the aftermath of what triggered this media coverage on Saturday night and it was not pretty, a 26 year old woman was jogging on Parramatta Road on the outskirts of the CBD with her headphones in her ears. An ambulance which had its sirens on was passing threough an intersection and she didnt notice it coming...she died at the scene despite the fact that she got instant attention from the occupants of the ambulance. For all the usual sardonic banter here on slashdot about natural selection et al it is sad to think that a young woman has been taken so early from her family and friends.

Despite this I dont think the government can legislate away every single risk in our lives, more people die from smoking than being hit by cars and we arent banning smoking yet...

Will they ban deaf pedestrians? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494808)

We walk so carelessly without being able to hear what is going on around...

Common Sense? (1)

slowbart (989679) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494840)

You just can't legislate for common sense...

The sad thing (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 3 years ago | (#33494882)

I've joked in the past that "geek" should be declared a religion for when the shoe finally drops. This almost makes me think that it might seriously have to be considered. I mean that's fucked up. They're essentially trying to make it illegal to have impaired hearing. They're trying to make deaf people illegal. WTF!

really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33494944)

I think there comes a point where you have so many laws on the book making so many things illegal that you cant possibly enforce any of them at all times, which is where our society is sadly headed.

Now, as for bicycleists and to a lesser extent pedistrans wearing headphones, yes i agree its a problem, but what about bluetooth earpieces? Much more distracting (although only in one ear instead of two, so you can atleast hear the truck sneaking up behind you as you swerve in and out of the bike lane, than act totally surprised when they sound their horn as they are about to pass...

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