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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 09-08-05, 05:09 AM   #1
Patriot
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About the 127,438th ipod thread.

I got to thinking it would be nice to get a mini-digital AM/FM radio with earbuds to listen to the local stations on the way to work.

However, after digging through just a few of the bazillion ipod threads, I have but one interesting thing to note. They are basically illegal to use with headphones/earbuds while riding in just about every state.
Right?

If so, why do so many people on here use them and disregard the law? I have been considering getting a mini-AM/FM radio with earbuds to listen to on the way to work. But then, why break the law? More importantly, why risk my life by not being able to hear the traffic around me? Does it make that much of a differance?

Has anyone here found it difficult to ride with the earphones?
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Old 09-08-05, 05:27 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patriot
I got to thinking it would be nice to get a mini-digital AM/FM radio with earbuds to listen to the local stations on the way to work.

However, after digging through just a few of the bazillion ipod threads, I have but one interesting thing to note. They are basically illegal to use with headphones/earbuds while riding in just about every state.
Right?

If so, why do so many people on here use them and disregard the law? I have been considering getting a mini-AM/FM radio with earbuds to listen to on the way to work. But then, why break the law? More importantly, why risk my life by not being able to hear the traffic around me? Does it make that much of a differance?

Has anyone here found it difficult to ride with the earphones?
I thought of this because I never rode with earphones before. On my commute yesterday, however, I brought my mp3 player along. Put the right bud in and had the volume relatively low. I could still hear everything around me and the music didn't distract me at all (the hot blonde in the parking lot did, however). I had to have passed 6 or 7 cruisers and maybe 10 officers at construction sites. I waved to almost all of them and they waved back. I'm usually a stickler for the law, but if you do it right I don't see a problem. If you're blasting the headphones in both ears and shaking your head to the beat, that could be a problem.
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Old 09-08-05, 05:58 AM   #3
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In New York state, one can legally wear one earphone while riding (it actually says its illegal to wear more than one earphone) 375 24-a
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Old 09-08-05, 06:39 AM   #4
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Lately on my solo rides I have been using both earbuds and listening to MP3s on my Sony Clie. Mind you, I don't have the volume cranked up but I can hear every vehicle approaching me from the rear. What I find amazing is that mirrors are not mandatory (or are they?) and yet you cannot ride listening to music. Seeing what is around me is as important, if not more important, as hearing what is around me.
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Old 09-08-05, 07:35 AM   #5
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As far as I'm concerned, noise is noise while on a bike. I'd rather hear the dangerous noises and avoid them rather than having my music turned down so low I can barely hear it with one ear. I've also found that music tends to distract me from what I'm doing - cycling. I did think about the radio/news deal for my commute to work, but then, see line one of this response. It's not a criticism of those who do listen while on board, it's just not for me.

An example is this morning's commute - coming upon where the offramp for the interstate meets Circle Drive. This lady had several hundred yards to see me. Me on my glossy blue bike, yellow gloves, Primal Hot Head, white helmet, Heineken shorts. she still just about drove into me. I would not want music or any other distraction keeping me from concentrating on avoiding potential hazards such as this.

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Old 09-08-05, 07:57 AM   #6
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I listen to music while on rides in the park or on paths closed to traffic. On the streets, I either don't listen to music or keep the volume low. The reason is not only to hear traffic around me, but to be alert to emergency vehicle sirens. I think that's the big reason for not being allowed to wear headphones on any moving vehicle.
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Old 09-08-05, 09:04 AM   #7
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I wouldn't listen to music on my bike. The music I prefer tends to require a certain amount of attention paid to it... attention that I cannot afford while on a bike.
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Old 09-08-05, 09:42 AM   #8
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I bought a pair of these headphones, and because they're 'open air' I can still hear pretty much everything, including a flight-attendant in mid-flight. Seems like a pretty decent litmus test to me....



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Old 09-08-05, 09:49 AM   #9
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I used to listen to the radio/mp3 player when I commuted on the MUPs. I was almost run into by a rider coming in from one of the side trails. He wasn't looking for me. But I could've heard him if I wasn't plugged in. I ride mostly on the roads now. I've tried the one bud in one ear thing. It didn't seem to work. Personally I think it's a bit dangerous... for me I get too caught up in the tunes to focus on the road and traffic. That's just me, though.
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Old 09-08-05, 10:14 AM   #10
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I think the trick is the headphones and the level. The phones have to allow other noise to come in, and the level has to be low enough to hear cars, dogs, etc...

On my commute most of the ride I can barely hear music untill I get to the monster hill climb to my house, which is where having the tunes pumping really helps. On the times where all I can hear is the faint beat because there are cars all around me, it is enough to get into the rhythm without taking me out of the 'now'.
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Old 09-08-05, 10:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patriot
If so, why do so many people on here use them and disregard the law? I have been considering getting a mini-AM/FM radio with earbuds to listen to on the way to work. But then, why break the law? More importantly, why risk my life by not being able to hear the traffic around me? Does it make that much of a differance?
There are a few laws that I think we all disregard once in a while because we figure we're not hurting anyone. However, I wouldn't wear earphones while commuting especially in heavy traffic locations but that's just me. I have been contemplating getting an ipod for my weekend rides that are a bit longer than my commute, usually on country roads, and are early in the morning so there isn't a lot of traffic.
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Old 09-08-05, 10:35 AM   #12
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I wouldn't wear earbud(s) or headphone(s) on a bet. I rely on my ears to keep me safe on my rides because I just can't see in all directions at once but thanks to the stereo imaging of two working ears, I can hear in 360 degrees and know what is going on around me even if I can't see it. Also, I enjoy hearing what is going on in the world around me (as well as seeing and smelling it). I listen to music all day at my desk and at home in the evenings so I figure 30 minutes each day without isn't worth worrying about.

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Old 09-09-05, 12:06 PM   #13
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I just bought a monophone earbud from Radio Shack, but I don't know if it works because my iPod just took a dump.

Incidentally, almost my whole commute is on a closed bike path.

And I listen to audiobooks, not music, if that makes any difference (if the attention that must be paid to listening, and not the interference with road noise, is the danger, then presumably audiobooks are worse).
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Old 09-09-05, 12:27 PM   #14
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I'll be the bad guy. There's no way in hell I want or need to listen to music or talk radio while riding, and I would prefer fellow cyclists abstain as well. The obvious reason to me is the inherent safety issue of your weakened sense of awareness. Doesn't matter how minor.

I see this as little more than gadget mania for information junkies. I can go on about this, but I'll stop for now and say that I hope this is a fad that quickly passes.

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Old 09-09-05, 12:41 PM   #15
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I don't understand how it is so distracting when the wind coming over my ears is much more of a distraction than the one bud in my non-traffic-side ear on low volume. I guess I just don't "get into" music as much as some people. If it doesn't work for you, fine, but I can hear absolutely everything that I could hear when I am not listening to music.
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Old 09-09-05, 12:54 PM   #16
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I'll be the other bad guy here. I listen to music in both ears as I commute through South Central Los Angeles and trust me there is so much traffic and noise you can't tell what direction anything is coming from. There are cars behind me, and cars in front of me and I can hear the only important thing I need to over the music, "sirens." And I passed at least 6 cop cruisers today and not a single one of them gave me a second glance.
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Old 09-09-05, 01:03 PM   #17
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I'm also guilty of the two earphone rides. I'm on the side of a dark highway, so I see headlights coming up behind me long before I hear them over the wind regardless of headphones. I do keep it pretty quiet though, when I'm hauling I can barely hear it if at all. I won't do the radio, as I hate the radio, but the ipod is a wonderful friend.

I must say, though, my commute is a pretty long, lonely dark commute. The music helps me from going crazy. Sometimes I turn it off and just chill, but it's a welcome addition to the ride. I don't really pay much attention to the music, though, so it's not a big distraction.
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Old 09-09-05, 02:49 PM   #18
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I think that the headphone rules are incosistent. I see people driving and playing video games or talking their phones, blasting their rap so loud that there is no way they can hear anything else, heck, there is no law against driving/riding deaf, so why the headphone rules? Safety and common sense cannot be legislated, that is just to lay blame on someone afterward. I think that cyclist is the one mostly in danger in an accident, so they should be primarely responsible for safety, deploying common sense.
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