For regular pedestrians, an iPod can be a useful tedium-buster. However, Victorian police have tied an increasing number of road deaths to walkers being distracted by MP3 players and text messaging.
Brendan Roberts at the Herald-Sun reports that 59 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in Victoria in 2008. While a variety of factors were involved, police are fingering increased use of portable devices as a major factor. While there are laws controlling using mobile devices in cars, pedestrians are generally left to their own devices.
As a committed walker, I regularly use an iPod, but in heavy-traffic areas I tend to favour podcasts rather than music, since the latter are more likely to drown out environmental noise. If you've got your own tactics for using an iPod safely while walking, share it in the comments.
Walkers told to turn off iPods [Herald Sun]