Two-thirds of road users back cyclist headphone ban

Two-thirds of road users across 32 countries are in support of introducing a ban on cyclists wearing headphones, according to a new poll.

Conducted by the E-Survey of Road Users' Attitudes (ESRA), the research questioned 35,000 road users across Europe whether they were in support of introducing a ban on cyclists wearing headphones – and 65.8 per cent were in favour of the move.

Support for the ban was higher in the UK, rising to 68.2 per cent of respondents agreeing that a ban should be implemented.

Spain, meanwhile, felt most strongly that a ban should be introduced with nearly 80 per cent of road users voting in favour. However only one in three in Finland believed that cyclists should be banned from wearing headphones. Support in Germany and Hungary was at similar levels to the UK, with 69.8 and 69.9 per cent respectively polling favour of the ban.

The European average was 66.5 per cent, though this was mirrored by similar results across North America, Asia and Africa.

Those aged 18 to 24 were most against the introduction of the ban, with just 53.5 per cent of respondents across the globe agreeing with the proposed measures. In Europe, just four in 10 of 18 to 24-year-olds believed that the ban would be a good idea.

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Neil Greig, policy and research director at IAM RoadSmart, said: "It's clear that the majority of road users are very concerned about distracted cyclists wearing headphones or earbuds while riding. These findings were consistent right across the world in this substantial survey.

"Being plugged in to either headphones or earbuds is the ultimate distraction, as it completely shuts you off to your surroundings, creating a potential road safety risk to yourself, pedestrians and other road users around you. This is even more critical with the popularity and increasing prevalence of noise-cancelling equipment.

"There are plans to update the Highway Code being discussed as we speak, so now is a great time to have an informed debate about the best way for cyclists to avoid potentially fatal distractions."

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