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Man with earphones mowed down

A 42-year-old man glued to his mobile phone while riding a cycle was run over by a bus in Salt Lake’s AJ block on Monday morning.

Police said the man had barely recovered from a collision with a rickshaw when he rode into the path of the bus near island 8 around 7.30am.

Awadhesh Kumar Singh, a taxi driver and a resident of Kankurgachhi, was taken to Bidhannagar Sub-divisional Hospital, where a doctor in the emergency ward declared him dead on arrival. “He had suffered critical head injuries,” said an officer of Bidhannagar East police station.

Witnesses said Singh had his mobile phone earphones plugged into his ears and did not notice the rickshaw while taking a turn at a roundabout.

“He had apparently fallen off his cycle. But he soon gathered himself and began cycling again, holding the cycle handle with his right hand and re-arranging an earplug with the other, when he met with the second accident,” said an officer of Bidhannagar East police station.

The driver of the private bus on route 215 (New Town to Santoshpur), coming from the opposite direction, apparently honked on seeing Singh but the cyclist was busy fiddling with the earplug and came in front of the bus.

“The driver tried to apply the brakes but the bus had by then hit Singh. He was flung off the cycle and his head rammed against the roundabout pavement,” said the officer.

The police seized the bus and arrested the driver.

According to the police, Singh had come to Salt Lake by crossing over the AG block footbridge and was heading towards the garage in Karunamoyee where he used to park his taxi at night.

Use of mobile phones while riding a two-wheeler, including a cycle, is banned in Bengal. Violators can be fined Rs 100.

However, in Salt Lake, riding cycles on roads where they are banned, riding two-wheelers with two pillion-riders, not wearing helmets while riding, driving down wrong lanes and talking on mobile phones while at the wheels are the rule rather than the exception.

Traffic officers, however, prefer to pass buck on commuters and motorists for such violations.

“We try our best to spread awareness of the importance of abiding by traffic rules, but a section of the people refuse to pay regard to rules,” said a senior traffic officer of the Bidhannagar commissionerate.