Future Voices: Accident warning over using earphones when cycling or walking

Stay safe on the roads.

Stay safe on the roads. - Credit: PA

Do you have your headphones in when you're walking or cycling? Well it's time to stop and think about what has happened to some young people in recent years and the consequences it could bring to you.

Having your earphones in and looking at your phone can make you distracted from oncoming traffic. Even careful young people can be distracted by a single text or notification and a split second time lapse in concentration could result in a crash. In 2013, there were 35 serious accidents and 197 slight accidents involving young people up to the age of 15 in Norfolk. In 2014, there was an increase in fatal accidents from 0 to 3, 30 serious accidents and 215 slight accidents. These statistics tell us we need to do more to stay safe.

There are ways we can combat this through expressing key safety messages for both young children, primary aged, and secondary aged children. It is important that children recognise safe places to play, know how to be a safe pedestrian and a safe cyclist. But, it isn't all negative, as there are many ways you can help yourself when you're out and about: 1. Wear a fitted cycle helmet and therefore, in the result of an incident, your head is protected. 2. Ride positively, decisively and remember to keep off the kerb - signalling to cars where you are going. 3. Use lights after dark and when visibility is poor, so that people can see you. 4. Wear a hi-viz jacket – yes of course, you may look silly, but you would rather be safe than sorry. 5. Don't listen to music when you cycle, so you can hear vehicles around you and stay safe. 6. Be aware of your surroundings, keep an eye on traffic and use the crossings provided.

7. Remember, that a text can wait until you've crossed the road.

Iain Temperton, manager of the county council's casualty reduction education & development team, said: 'The only person who can keep you safe on the roads is you. Look for yourself, listen for yourself, decide for yourself.'

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For more information on staying safe on the roads, visit: http://think.direct.gov.uk/

Emily Fox, 15, Mattishall

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