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Old 05-08-15, 01:37 PM   #1
SB739
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Headphones & Cycling?

As I get into cycling, I've been wondering if it's safe to have earphones in whilst cycling.

What are some of your opinions as you are all more experienced than me?

I have a nice pair of B&W C5 Series 2's which I'd love to enjoy on the bike!
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Old 05-08-15, 01:42 PM   #2
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I wouldn't wear headphones for two reasons. First, I want to be able to hear cars coming up behind me. Second, as much as I love music, I like listening to what is going on around me when I am outside.
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Old 05-08-15, 02:34 PM   #3
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As I get into cycling, I've been wondering if it's safe to have earphones in whilst cycling.
It's great and, IME, has no impact on safety. I often ride with ear bud headphones even when I'm not listening to anything because they cut down on wind noise.
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Old 05-08-15, 02:35 PM   #4
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I wear a single earbud in the right ear to listen to audiobooks and podcasts on my commute. I like listening to nature, but honestly, I live in the country and work from home a lot, so I hear birds and such pretty much constantly anyway. I like taking advantage of the commute time to read a book or catch up on design news.

With a single bud in, I absolutely can hear cars coming exactly as well as if I had no earbuds in at all. I've tested it, and in both cases I can hear them before they are even visible usually 1/2 mile before they get to me.

I find that it's best to use noise isolating earbuds. If I use regular earbuds, the wind noise is so bad that I have to crank the volume to painful levels to understand what's being said. With noise isolation, I can keep the volume low.
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Old 05-08-15, 02:38 PM   #5
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With a single bud in, I absolutely can hear cars coming exactly as well as if I had no earbuds in at all. I've tested it, and in both cases I can hear them before they are even visible usually 1/2 mile before they get to me.
Just curious...why on earth is hearing cars important? I personally can't think of any scenario where hearing a car could possibly impact my safety while riding.
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Old 05-08-15, 03:43 PM   #6
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Just curious...why on earth is hearing cars important? I personally can't think of any scenario where hearing a car could possibly impact my safety while riding.
It's not necessarily hearing cars that's important. It's learning new profane word combinations from the drivers that pass you.
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Old 05-08-15, 03:49 PM   #7
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Personally I no longer do it. Partially because it can make it more difficult to hear what's going on around me but also because it takes my mind off of what I'm doing so I become less aware of potential dangers (and of instances where I should be considerate of others).

What fascinates me are people who wear buds and helmets. They think the helmet will save them from death or injury in a crash (not likely) but may have a greater chance of crashing in the first place because of the buds.
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Old 05-08-15, 03:55 PM   #8
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I use one of these.

Small bluetooth speakers for bicycles - Buckshot | OutdoorTech
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Old 05-08-15, 04:06 PM   #9
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Personally I don't do it as I am unwilling to compromise my perceptions. For others I've witnessed everything ranging from it having no impact, to total fluster clucks of imperception, so I give them a wider berth.
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Old 05-08-15, 04:11 PM   #10
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They think the helmet will save them from death or injury in a crash (not likely) but may have a greater chance of crashing in the first place because of the buds.
FUD.

First of all, I've crashed at 25-40 mph more times than I can remember (sport or training) and not once did I have a serious injury that prevented me from riding home or commuting.

Secondly, don't assume that everyone wears helments because they believe they magically eliminate risk of TBI. I wear helments on my commute because I ride very fast and scalp abrasions suck (personal experience).

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Old 05-08-15, 04:24 PM   #11
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Secondly, don't assume that everyone wears helments because they believe they magically eliminate risk of TBI. I wear helments on my commute because I ride very fast and scalp abrasions suck (personal experience).
Agree about the abrasions and for that same reason I'll wear a helmet on training rides where I'll be going greater than about 30 or so on a bunch of downhills. Where I'm at now though is flat as a pancake so haven't touched a helmet in a while. For all of my transportation bicycling it's unnecessary.

Not sure why the FUD comment.
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Old 05-08-15, 05:13 PM   #12
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FUD.

First of all, I've crashed at 25-40 mph more times than I can remember (sport or training) and not once did I have a serious injury that prevented me from riding home or commuting.
But it does seem to have effected your memory and judgment.................
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Old 05-08-15, 07:21 PM   #13
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I wouldn't wear headphones for two reasons. First, I want to be able to hear cars coming up behind me. Second, as much as I love music, I like listening to what is going on around me when I am outside.
I agree on those points.
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Old 05-08-15, 07:40 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by SB739 View Post
As I get into cycling, I've been wondering if it's safe to have earphones in whilst cycling.

What are some of your opinions as you are all more experienced than me?

I have a nice pair of B&W C5 Series 2's which I'd love to enjoy on the bike!
I suspect it's as safe as driving while texting... Most people can and do almost certainly "get away" with it,...? Or at least it seems like they certainly can, but sooner or latter... It's going to hurt. JMO.
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Old 05-08-15, 07:46 PM   #15
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I believe that there is some scientific evidence that wearing earphones increases risks for both cyclists and pedestrians who are using them.

r
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Old 05-08-15, 08:07 PM   #16
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I use to wear them all the time. However, I have become more accustom to not using headphones anymore. I do think using headphones at a low level is completely acceptable. now I like not listening to music because I can focus more on my riding, and along with hearing more of what is going on around me. You can also hear what noises if any, your bike is making. And nothing beats the nice sounds of a smooth bike.
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Old 05-08-15, 08:51 PM   #17
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I love my music but I don't want to compromise my awareness, though sometimes I do stick a earbud on the ear facing away from the road.

No matter what anyone says I believe a second of warning before a car goes up your ass is still better than utter obliviousness. Sure 95% of the time it may not matter, but I don't need a rock concert blaring in my head either.

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Old 05-08-15, 10:07 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by SB739 View Post
As I get into cycling, I've been wondering if it's safe to have earphones in whilst cycling.

What are some of your opinions as you are all more experienced than me?

I have a nice pair of B&W C5 Series 2's which I'd love to enjoy on the bike!
Don't do it. It would be analogous to, a motorist on their cell phone. Do you want a motorist on their cell phone?
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Old 05-08-15, 11:37 PM   #19
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Personally I don't do it as I am unwilling to compromise my perceptions. For others I've witnessed everything ranging from it having no impact, to total fluster clucks of imperception, so I give them a wider berth.
What he said. I don't do it.
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Old 05-09-15, 12:10 AM   #20
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this is a somewhat heated debate.

many different people have many different opinions on the subject.

My bottom line... not safe. risk vs reward is too great.

Plus I like to use my ride time a as a "personal mental vacation" (other than safe riding practices). me and my thoughts alone to work it all out and just be part of my surroundings as they zip by.
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Old 05-09-15, 06:02 AM   #21
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Personally I no longer do it. Partially because it can make it more difficult to hear what's going on around me but also because it takes my mind off of what I'm doing so I become less aware of potential dangers (and of instances where I should be considerate of others).

What fascinates me are people who wear buds and helmets. They think the helmet will save them from death or injury in a crash (not likely) but may have a greater chance of crashing in the first place because of the buds.
It fascinates me how BF posters throw around "safety" statements about how this or that activity has "greater" risk than another activity without referencing any credible source.
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Old 05-09-15, 06:09 AM   #22
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Just curious...why on earth is hearing cars important? I personally can't think of any scenario where hearing a car could possibly impact my safety while riding.
Agree; listening to or for traffic noise is the last thing I want to do while riding; my mirror tells me all I need to know about relevant traffic from behind; my eyes provide the rest of the traffic information.

You can expect the same degree of hysterical rhetoric on A&S from emotional and uninformed safety nannies about riding with headphones as seen on threads about riding without a helmet, or riding in the vicinity of anyone holding a cellphone.
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Old 05-09-15, 06:14 AM   #23
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this is a somewhat heated debate.

many different people have many different opinions on the subject.

My bottom line... not safe. risk vs reward is too great.

Plus I like to use my ride time a as a "personal mental vacation" (other than safe riding practices). me and my thoughts alone to work it all out and just be part of my surroundings as they zip by.
I don't see it as heated at all.

You have the earbuds in, you're out-to-lunch. That person who you come up behind and is oblivious to your repeated calls of "on your LEFT!", that becomes you. It simply isn't courteous and by making you oblivious makes you less safe. I'd also add that in order for earbuds to drowned out ambient noise you have to crank the volume so high that people can hear your muzak 20+ft away...and in doing so are doing hearing damage to your one and only pair of ears you ever get.
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Old 05-09-15, 06:15 AM   #24
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I believe that there is some scientific evidence that wearing earphones increases risks for both cyclists and pedestrians who are using them.

r
I suspect your belief in the existence of "some scientific evidence" is the only source for this alleged evidence.
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Old 05-09-15, 06:15 AM   #25
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Agree; listening to or for traffic noise is the last thing I want to do while riding; my mirror tells me all I need to know about relevant traffic from behind; my eyes provide the rest of the traffic information.

You can expect the same degree of hysterical rhetoric on A&S from emotional and uninformed safety nannies about riding with headphones as seen on threads about riding without a helmet, or riding in the vicinity of anyone holding a cellphone.
This has been a pretty low key discussion.
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