Headphones While Biking

I was sort of shocked at the debate surrounding helmet usage on bicycles. I use a helmet, I don’t find it to be very onerous. Just the other day, I’m confident there would have been a death outside my workplace were it not for the rider wearing a helmet.

But something else caught my attention over the past few weeks of passable biking weather. The warmer, if rainy, weather has brought out lots of bikes. That’s a good thing. What I did not see amongst the hard core winter commuters was mp3 players and headphones in ears while in motion.

Is this another issue with two sides like the helmet issue? I’m not sure this one does? What about pedestrians using headphones? Runners?

7 thoughts on “Headphones While Biking

  1. Good topic Rob! I too am a supporter of helmets, they’ve saved my bacon a couple of times.

    But I’m with you on the headphones. My route home takes me down a path shared with pedestrians past UW and RIM and if you’re not listening to your iphone they’re pounding out emails on their blackberry oblivious to the world around them.

    I recently had to put a horn on my bike cause the sweet ding of a bell just isn’t enough. My next purchase from Mec will include one of these 120 decibel horns …. http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524441777409&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302693017

  2. I’ll cop to wearing headphones while riding, sort of. If I want music, I wear earbuds with one earbud in. I think that’s a decent compromise that lets me hear music but also be able to hear horns / shouts.

    I also think a bell and good lights, front and rear (no, not blinking lights; good lights) are far more important than a helmet, so I’m probably just an odd duck.

  3. I presume most know where I stand on helmets :p and that won’t be changing anytime soon.
    however when it comes to mp3 players I’m split. I use to listen to my mp3 player pretty well all the time — though haven’t in nearly 3 years.
    Like Colin, I use to have one ear bud in and one out although this was only in my final months of doing so.

    As long as people are more aware of their surroundings, I’d have little issue with people listening to mp3 players while walking, running or cycling.
    It’s not too different IMO then those who have their radio/stereo blaring in their cars.

    Common sense (you’d think) would tell you to turn off or lower your mp3 player while walking on train tracks. Yet every year it seems someone is killed in St. Catharines by doing so.
    Same with pathways. Common sense says stay to the right if your walking and listening to an mp3 player.
    As for texting and walking? I highly doubt these people are that important that they couldn’t wait until they got home to text.

  4. Ah another scourge brought on by cheap consumer electronics, everyone has their ears stuffed… I love it when indignant joggers and runners give me the stink-eye despite the fact I’d been ringing my bell for 30 seconds. I tend to avoid the iron horse at peak periods if I’m in a rush.

    I don’t choose to wear a helmet or listen to my ipod when I’m riding… I’d rather have every edge I can get when I’m riding since fools seem to be everywhere on the roads an d paths ready to swerve wildly or ignore my presence completely.

    I will also laugh out loud at other cyclists that wear a helmet but plug their ears… might as well put an eye patch on eh. Mind you, I’m a bit of a dick and also laugh at the guys that can’t use their clip-in shoes…

  5. I once tried using an MP3 player while on a solo ride, but I felt so disconnected, I shut it off after a few kms. Just didn’t feel safe…

    1. I’ve never tried it, but that’s pretty much how I would expect to feel too. Of course, I can’t drive with the music too loud either.

  6. I tried listening to music once a few years ago while riding and discovered that in order to overcome the ambiant wind noise I had to crank up the volume to the point where it was harmful to my ears. Also, I was unaware of what was going on around me – other cyclists overtaking me as well as other vehicular traffic, so I gave it up. Since then, I’ve seem many cyclists wearing ear buds, including many serious racers/triathletes, and I’ve seen them on organized bike events. I hate this because these guys are a menace to themselves and everyone around them. I refuse to get into a pace line if a rider is wearing ear buds. When you’re on a bike you need to focus, period.

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