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Old 06-30-05, 08:47 PM   #1
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Wear your helmet, forget the headphones...

June 30, 2005
Cyclist killed near popular Portland riding trail

PORTLAND, Ore. - Another Portland bicyclist has died after colliding with a motor vehicle.
Brenda Elliot, 39, of Portland, was struck while crossing the street near southeast 252nd and Telford, an exit point for the popular Springwater Corridor riding trail in southeast Portland.

Police say Elliot was not wearing a helmet. They added that she was wearing headphones.

Police say no citiations have been issued at this time.

Two other cyclists have recently been killed in collisions with cars.

http://www.katu.com/news/story.asp?ID=78087
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Old 06-30-05, 09:26 PM   #2
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That means nothing... I wear headphones all the time and I probably cycle in traffic 10x more than this chick.
Sometimes, I'm beginning to think that some of these other guys who roam the advocacy and safety forums are right, headphones or helmets aren't the problem, it's people using common, being safe, and sometimes, it's the damn driver's faults.
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Old 06-30-05, 09:40 PM   #3
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Headphones are for noobs.
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Old 06-30-05, 09:44 PM   #4
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Headphones are for noobs.
Noob for life yo.
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Old 06-30-05, 09:50 PM   #5
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I always wear the helemet, even just riding to the store a few blocks away. The one time I got hit was in a parking lot.

As for headphones, I couldn't do long rides, especialy climbs without out them, but i only put in the onbe on the right and keep the vollume to a reasonable level. I am always aware of my surroundings, but have the music to keep me going too.
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Old 06-30-05, 10:30 PM   #6
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i couldn't ride with headphones. heck, for over a year, my daily-driver car didn't even have a radio - the only reason i put one back in it was for traffic reports!

my ears are too much a part of riding (and driving) safely for me...
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Old 07-01-05, 06:26 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by jhota
i couldn't ride with headphones. heck, for over a year, my daily-driver car didn't even have a radio - the only reason i put one back in it was for traffic reports!

my ears are too much a part of riding (and driving) safely for me...
If you can't handle such tasks simultaneously you're actions are correct. Some cyclists can chew gum/listen to music and be aware cyclists all at the same time.

Bicyclist Nannyism is neither safety nor advocacy, it is the whining of PITA self-appointed know-it-alls.
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Old 07-01-05, 07:58 AM   #8
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hey, i'm not saying others shouldn't use them; i'm saying i don't like them. if you want to use headphones, go ahead. i don't feel it's unsafe for everyone, i just don't like it.

i like being able to hear the natural world as it goes past me - whether the rustle of a squirrel in the undergrowth, the wind in the branches above, or the water running past... i like being able to hear an emergency siren before i can see the vehicle it's on; but they have flashers, too for those of you listening to the radio.

so don't get in my face - i'm not saying everyone should do what i do (in fact, that would probably be a bad idea, if i'm used as evidence), i'm expressing my opinon of what's right for me.
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Old 07-01-05, 08:17 AM   #9
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Would the helmet have helped?

Did the car that hit her have the radio on and/or was the driver talking on a cell phone?
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Old 07-01-05, 09:05 AM   #10
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Not to try and start anything but how fast are you guys going if you say you can hear the squirrels and the leaves rustling?
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Old 07-01-05, 09:18 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
If you can't handle such tasks simultaneously you're actions are correct. Some cyclists can chew gum/listen to music and be aware cyclists all at the same time.

Bicyclist Nannyism is neither safety nor advocacy, it is the whining of PITA self-appointed know-it-alls.
It isn't about multi-tasking- it is about having all your senses available to you. If you want to be the fastest guy on the bike path with your iPod and bare head, I don't really care. If you want to ride on the road without a helmet, I don't care. I don't care about anything you do.

Unfortunately, I do think your actions help shape motorists' general attitude toward cyclists. If you blow through red lights while cars are waiting, split lanes on narrow (unpassable) roads, riding against traffic, riding at night without any lights, ride with headphones, etc.- none of which are legal- you may just be provoking a bout of road rage directed at a fellow cyclist.
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Old 07-01-05, 09:20 AM   #12
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I don't know how many times I have had close calls with head phone wearing riders because they do not hear my verbal warning. I class them in the same category as cell phone yaking drivers. If you can't live with out music for your ride stay home and listen to it on your home stereo.
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Old 07-01-05, 09:45 AM   #13
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I did some experimenting with sound on the bike to see what it is like. I've regularly worn an an ear bud in one ear when walking and found I can still hear around me just fine.

What I found on the bike is that with an ear bud in one ear I can still hear fine. This is only true when listening to news/talk. I tried listening to music but in order to hear the music I had to have the volume too high.

Another interesting thing is that over about 20mph the wind noise was enough to completely drown out the radio. I'm thinking if the wind noise would drown out the radio it would also drown out traffic sounds that I'd be better off if I could hear.

I did find listening to the radio over a long ride to be enjoyable and will probably do it again. Of course I'm in a rural area and it's easy to click off the radio when in an area with increased traffic.

As an aside to the issue of being able to hear for safety. Anyone else annoyed when a vehicle with a stupid-loud exhaust goes by and drowns out the sound of other vehicles? I think this is a real safety issue and one I've never seen discussed.
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Old 07-01-05, 10:10 AM   #14
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To each their own...

I can always and correctly tell what general type of vehicle will be passing me when riding on 45mph roads - specifically I always know if a large delivery truck, an 18 wheeler or a bus is coming without looking behind me - each makes a unique noise. Also trucks with mud or heavy tread tires also make a very specfic road whine.

Lack of noise doesn't mean a vehicle is not there, but noise always means one is and often what type.

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Old 07-01-05, 10:19 AM   #15
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Wore my MP3 player today, forgot the helmet! Well, I didn't forget. Listening to music, I can still hear traffic long before it passes me, sirens long before I can see the flashy lights. As for the helmet, it reduces my peripheral vision, drops sweat into my eyes, further impairing my vision. At the speeds where I actually worry about crashing, a helmet would not provide any benifit. Ditto getting hit or run over by a car. Helmet wearing is not safety. Riding properly and not crashing or getting hit is safety. Helmet wearing is disaster control, and fairly ineffective disaster control at that. If you crash, you already lost the safety game.
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Old 07-01-05, 11:19 AM   #16
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No citations have been issued at this time, meaning the rider was likely at fault, and this has WHAT to do with helmets?Whats its got to do with any safety issue other than riding smart?

Someone above mentioned the air noise with headphones or ear buds from a music player, yep, at anything over about 18mph thats about all you can hear unless youve got the huge headphones most music players dont even come with anyway or youve got the music blasting.At any rate if not being able to hear means you shouldnt ride does this apply to deaf people too?
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Old 07-01-05, 11:34 AM   #17
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I would never wear headphones on a bike because I like having all my senses alert.
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Old 07-01-05, 12:43 PM   #18
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I find I can still tell what kind of car is coming up behind me. In fact I can tell the color, and if the bumpers are chrome or not, what kind of space the driver is giving me, if he has a dorky kid hanging out the window, alas, I cannot tell the color of his shoes though. This is because I use a mirror. I can see the cars long before I can hear them with my headphones off even. I can still tell what kind of car is behind me with headphones on and the volume low (earbuds allow this with wind noise I have found for me). I find the mirror to be the most helpful to monitoring traffic behind me though. How many people here drive with their windows up? Seems to me you are limiting your senses while driving a large dangerous vehicle. I mean if we are going to talk about making use of every safety feature possible, do you wear a helmet in your car? It is possible to get a head injury from the stearing column, not to mention you could fall over exiting the car. Why do racecar drivers wear them? what is good for the goose is good for the gander after all, a wreck at 150 can crush your head just as bad as a wreck at 50.

The point is, at a certain point we have to accept some risk in life. Some people just accept a little more than others is all. I would submit that there are just as many bicycle accidents out there if not more that don't involve headphones than do. Heck, Ken Kifer got killed and he was following "All" the standard rules.
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Old 07-01-05, 02:02 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L.
I find the mirror to be the most helpful to monitoring traffic behind me though.
Paul, I agree a mirror is best. But sound often gives a head up to check the mirror.
Do you find in Phx-metro rush hour traffic that you check the constant flow of passing cars in the mirror? I find that when there is a constant stream of 45mph cars it really is hard to watch them all and still watch the road ahead. I find my mirror more useful to check for merge gap before confirming with head turn and for more rural riding when cars are less frequent. I know you have much more experience riding in and around the Valley so I really am open to your learnings and best methods.

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Old 07-01-05, 02:05 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L.
do you wear a helmet in your car? It is possible to get a head injury from the stearing column, not to mention you could fall over exiting the car. Why do racecar drivers wear them?
Actually if all car drivers wore car auot race certified helmets there would very likely be few auto deaths (assuming helmets did not increase risky behavior and did not distract/hinder senses, vision)


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Old 07-01-05, 02:18 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by filtersweep
..., ride with headphones, etc.- none of which are legal- you may just be provoking a bout of road rage directed at a fellow cyclist.
Please post a copy of the law for your state which prohibits the use of headphones by bicyclist. I believe there are only a couple of states out of the 50 that actually have such laws.

Some cyclist in the forum posted a CA law that they claimed prohibited headphones; the law in fact was dealing with hearing protection devices such earplugs and the mickey mouse type ear covers.

As far as Minnesota Statutes, look at the following and please note that it only applies to motor vehicles and not bicycles.


Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 169

169.471 Television; headphones.
Subdivision 1. Television screen in vehicle. No television screen shall be installed or used in any motor vehicle where it is visible to the driver while operating the motor vehicle except:
(1) video screens installed in law enforcement vehicles;
(2) closed-circuit video systems used exclusively to aid the driver's visibility to the rear or sides of the vehicle; and
(3) video screens installed as part of a vehicle control system or used in intelligent vehicle highway applications.
Subd. 2. Use of headphones in vehicle. No person, while operating a motor vehicle, shall wear headphones or earphones which are used in both ears simultaneously for purposes of receiving or listening to broadcasts or reproductions from radios, tape decks, or other sound-producing or transmitting devices. This section shall not prohibit the use, however, of hearing aid devices by persons in need thereof.

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Old 07-01-05, 02:22 PM   #22
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I will never understand the need to set one's entire life to music (and I'm a musician!).
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Old 07-01-05, 02:26 PM   #23
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Noob for life yo.
Hehe.
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Old 07-01-05, 04:02 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
Paul, I agree a mirror is best. But sound often gives a head up to check the mirror.
Do you find in Phx-metro rush hour traffic that you check the constant flow of passing cars in the mirror? I find that when there is a constant stream of 45mph cars it really is hard to watch them all and still watch the road ahead. I find my mirror more useful to check for merge gap before confirming with head turn and for more rural riding when cars are less frequent. I know you have much more experience riding in and around the Valley so I really am open to your learnings and best methods.

Al

I still use sound to check the mirror in the right situations. I am not one of those people who has the music so loud it shuts everything out. When traffic is extremely heavy I find that it is hard to hear individual cars anyway even without headphones. Riding the recumbent aims your ears and peripheral vision more to the front so the mirror becomes even more important. on the recumbent I constantly check my mirror just like I do in a car. I leave the music at home quite a bit too so at least for me I have a lot of opportunities to hear the difference and for me there isn't much. My mirror is a glasses mount and when I am on the recumbent, I can aim it so that I don't even have to turn my head to see out of it, just a quick eye glance. I think a lot of people picture a person jamming along on a mountain bike with music so loud even people 10 feet away can hear it when they think of headphones. I can hear traffic better with my headphones on than someone in a car with the windows rolled up and the air-conditioner on with cars being so soundproof these days. I guess that is good though as I have a lot more on the line than a person in a car does. The routes I ride the most are straight open stretches and good bike lanes, or wide outside lanes so I am not actually interacting with cross traffic or turning that much (I think I have 4 or 5 turns over 24 miles). The places I like to use the headphones the most however are on rides over 3 hours in length out on highways in the middle of nowhere where you can see a car coming a mile or two away and I have had experience here of getting buzzed and didn't hear the car until he was a split second away (without headphones). Also a lot of my riding these days occurs at 4AM to beat the heat and there is noone on the roads at that time so in situations like that I usually see people long before I hear them. Not everyone rides like that though so I would say depending on the person Headphones could be dangerous, or for another they might not be. If I was cruising down a MUP that crossed a lot of streets without traffic lights (as many around here do) I probably would not wear it as ears are a huge benifit in that situation in apprising you of approaching cross traffic and a mirror is of little use. The problem in becoming overly depended on hearing though is some cars are almost silent as they approach so I think there is another side to this as well. I have had close calls without headphones and very quiet cars. So I guess for me, whether I have slow reactions, bad hearing or whatever it may be, I don't notice a lot of difference in most situations.
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Old 07-01-05, 04:25 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhota
i couldn't ride with headphones. heck, for over a year, my daily-driver car didn't even have a radio - the only reason i put one back in it was for traffic reports!

my ears are too much a part of riding (and driving) safely for me...

I with you. Any distractions on the road are dangerous.
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