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Headphones ‘could have contributed’ to cyclist’s death

Emily Norton death

A coroner ruled a cyclist caused her own death due to listening to music with headphones and failing to hear an oncoming truck.

Emily Norton, 38, entered a roundabout without looking right at the same time as a DAF HGV truck was exiting the roundabout. The mother-of-one, who is thought to have been listening to music with headphones, could not avoid a collision.

“I accept this was an entirely avoidable incident and the cause of the events that lead up to the accident rest entirely with the cyclist,” said coroner Paul Marks. “No charges have been brought against the HGV driver and he has been totally exonerated. I cannot determine if she was on her iPhone listening with earphones at the time, but if she had been, it could have caused a distraction and could have contributed to the cause of the accident.”

“She would cycle most days before work and was competent and knew the local area. She would listen to music and have a cycle app,” her brother Hans Hargroves said. “I cannot understand why she did not wear her helmet that day. We later found it in the house.”

Lorry driver Alexander Lamb, of Featherstone, Yorkshire, told the inquest he would have stopped if he had seen a cyclist.

He said: “I couldn’t believe it happened. I didn’t hear anything, feel anything or see anything. If I had seen anything I would have stopped and tried to help.”

Cyclist are banned from wearing headphones in competitive events, but they are not illegal in the UK.

Kevin Clinton, from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: “Hearing is an important sense when cycling as it gives riders warning about the approach of nearby vehicles and an idea of their speed. We advise cyclists not to wear headphones when riding.”