Young cyclists at risk from texting
Texting while riding is putting many young cyclists at risk, according to a survey.
As many as 40% of children aged under 16 use phones and mp3s when riding their bikes despite acknowledging the danger such actions pose, the survey by solicitors Bolt Burdon Kemp found.
Nearly a fifth of the 1,000 children aged 8-16 had an accident or near-miss after being distracted while cycling.
The poll showed that m usic, texting and making calls were the most popular uses of devices while cycling.
The survey also revealed that children were more likely to use phones and music players while cycling the older they got, with 44% of 11-13-year-olds and 60% of 14-16-year-olds doing so.
The problem is starting at an even younger age, with 14% of 8-10-year-olds already developing this unsafe habit.
While the problem was consistent among youngsters across the UK, more than half of those in London and Northern Ireland (both 55%) were cycling and using electronic devices simultaneously, and more than two-fifths in the East Midlands (46%) and north west England (44%).
The poll results showed 55% of youngsters cycled without a helmet and 30% had never received advice on cycling safety.
Cheryl Abrahams, partner and personal injury specialist at Bolt Burdon Kemp, said: "With phones and mp3s playing an ever more apparent role in children's lives, there is a genuine risk of more youngsters being seriously injured on the road if major changes are not made.
"This research shows that phone and mp3 use while cycling is a prevalent problem among youngsters already, and one which is likely to gather pace unless there is a fundamental change to how we educate both parents and children on these risks."