Headphones may have contributed to death of cyclist

WEARING headphones while cycling could have contributed to the death of Ipswich cyclist Malcolm Donald Kemp, 52, but a noise and hearing loss expert has told a Brisbane inquest that an outright ban is not the answer.

Mr Kemp was killed as he rode along the Warrego Hwy when he was struck by a semitrailer in June 2011.

Injuries to his lungs, heart and spine in the collision proved fatal.

Mr Kemp was wearing headphones at the time.

Yesterday Professor Warwick Williams, from the National Acoustic Laboratories, said anything that affected a rider's hearing was putting them at risk.

"If you're cycling down a road and you're not aware of what's going on around you, that presents a big hazard to you and a hazard to other people" Professor Williams said.

"Other drivers around you have to take you actions into account."

When quizzed by counsel assisting the coroner Anthony Marinac on whether cyclists should be banned from using the inner-ear gadgets, Professor Williams said education was a better solution.

He said many would not understand why they were simply being told no.

He said a campaign explaining safe behaviours to cyclists would be far more effective.

"Trying to say 'Don't use them' - you almost look like a red flag to a bull."

Truck driver Aaron Sutton has not faced any driving or criminal charges related to the crash.

He told the court earlier this week how he attempted to avoid Mr Kemp on a narrow stretch of road but was faced with oncoming traffic.

Mr Sutton said Mr Kemp appeared to be shifting closer to the road's centre as he approached a guard rail.

Coroner John Hutton questioned on Monday why the truck driver did not slow down until traffic had passed.


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