REM frontman Michael Stipe has urged electric car manufacturers to install loud ringtones in the vehicles - after he was nearly killed by one.

The MAN ON THE MOON singer was left shaken when an silent electric car narrowly missed him in Los Angeles, and predicts the problem will increase with the futuristic transport's growing popularity - unless music is played to alert pedestrians to their presence.

He says, "It was an electric car! I suddenly thought to myself: 'This is going to be a big, big problem.' People will be run over by electric cars all the time. They make no noise. No sound. They're silent!

"And then I realised that they'd have to make some sort of sound to mimic the sound of a car engine. But that would be stupid. And then it struck me - ringtones. People will program their car, as part of the insurance policy that states: 'Don't run people over with your silent car', with ringtones.

"It will blow the music business wide open! Everyone will love it. In the country they'll be able to play whatever they want; in Vegas it will have to be classical. Or reggae. Or bluegrass. Could you imagine?"

29/09/2004 09:25