listenning to music

diy
diy Posts: 6,473
edited December 2012 in Road general
I've heard quite a few people say that there is evidence that listening to music substantially increases your risk of an accident. Personally I listen to music, I can still hear cars approaching, so wondered if there was some other evidence that listening to music impacted your safety? Anyone know the arguments/evidence? The obvious one is that you cannot hear mechanical problems developing so, if your pedal bearings are on their way out, the first you will realise is when your shoe tries to rip your foot off.
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Comments

  • ddraver
    ddraver Posts: 26,383
    After trying to MTB with Crank Bros pedals, I can say with some authority that you can feel bearings disintegrating long before anything get's ripped off....they did have a good go though.

    ;)
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • iPete
    iPete Posts: 6,076
    I listen to music purely to drown out the sound of my Crud guards rubbing!
  • thistle_
    thistle_ Posts: 7,138
    I can hear cars approaching while listening to music but I don't have it on so loud that I can't. The wind noise will drown out any music anyway above 20 mph.

    I also look over my shoulder frequently to see if anything's coming, even if I've not got music on.

    If you're riding along faffing with the MP3 player changing tracks etc. I can see how that would increase your chance of an accident.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Can you hear other bikes approaching, or electric cars ?
    Personally I'm not a fan of music when cycling - I had a double decker bus catch me unawares - on a climb once and I didnt have any music on. All I saw of it was the shadow looming over me.

    There's plenty of other sounds you'll miss if youve got music in. like the noise of a rivet catching as it works its way out of your chain for one.
  • I can hear cars approaching while listening to music but I don't have it on so loud that I can't. The wind noise will drown out any music anyway above 20 mph.

    I also look over my shoulder frequently to see if anything's coming, even if I've not got music on.

    If you're riding along faffing with the MP3 player changing tracks etc. I can see how that would increase your chance of an accident.

    I haven't noticed this before, I can normally hear mine decently enough up to about 40kmh.

    I think music is fine as long you don't become oblivious to the world around you. I spent most of my adult life on motorbikes, so am adept at being situationally aware when I can't hear anything.
  • i only have my left ear plugged in. i can still hear cars approaching, coming past etc.
  • Critch
    Critch Posts: 60
    I listen as well but I dont use those tight fitting, deep in-ear plugs. I don't have it loud and tbh I get the wind noise louder than the music and can still here traffic.

    Cycling bodies and charities encourage the hard of hearing or the profoundly deaf to cycle so please don't start with the, "You're idiots who create danger... blah, blah, blah."

    Its about awareness and observation (I use mirrors) and virtually all of that comes from sight. I can listen to music and still hear and be alert to whats around me.
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Don't get me started... Crazy and irresponsible are two words that come to mind. However Your problem, your life
  • Mikey23 wrote:
    Don't get me started... Crazy and irresponsible are two words that come to mind. However Your problem, your life

    You do realise that listening to music is exactly the same as sitting inside a giant box (car)? You don't hear the other cars as well without the windows rolled down. Neither is more dangerous than the other.
  • I don't get the whole "listening out for passing cars" argument..... So you're telling me that when you're riding along and you hear an approaching car (from behind) you have a look over your shoulder to spot the approaching car?!?!?!?!?
  • Ive done it on and off for years. If you ride in good positions out of peoples way etc then you should be fine
    Don't get me started... Crazy and irresponsible are two words that come to mind. However Your problem, your life

    Its really not if you use your head
  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    edited December 2012
    I use the OneGoodEarbud - which is what is sounds like - one earbud with both left and right channels played on it. Works perfectly for me.

    I don't buy this whole listening to music makes it dangerous. Deaf people can ride bikes and drive you know?

    If you are relying purely on audible feed back before making a manoeuvre in traffic, then you're doing it all wrong. It's a help, but in reality your eyes are rather more important.
  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    Mikey23 wrote:
    Don't get me started... Crazy and irresponsible are two words that come to mind. However Your problem, your life

    What are the arguments, please lets hear the reasoned logic. So far I have only considered that it is dangerous when riding in a group as groups ride very close and need to hear each other communicate.
  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    I spent most of my adult life on motorbikes, so am as deaf as a post due to the wind noise and am adept at being situationally aware when I can't hear anything.

    corrected for you ;)
  • It's a tricky question. Not a case of is it unsafe, more one of is it less safe? I'm sure a deaf person is very safe, but these are people that have probably spent a lot of time adjusting to using other senses to gather information. So will a rider who is listening to music pick up all of the available cues that a rider with good hearing etc. not listening to music will pick up? My guess is probably not. But will that make the rider unsafe, again probably not. Will a rider listening to music but otherwise totally alert, be safer than one without the music, but still half asleep, or full of anger because they have just had a near miss with a car, probably.

    I suspect that location may also make a difference. If you are commuting and constantly surrounded by traffic then I'm not sure how much your hearing helps. If you are out on a twisty country road then the sound of a boy racer tearing up from around the blind bend, may give you that extra bit of time.

    Myself I tend not to listen to music. When I'm in the car I like to listen to pod-casts, when I'm on the bike out with others I will chat to them, I wonder if these are more or less distracting then music? At the end of the day you have to choose. One thing for sure you are more vulnerable, than a car driver if you do miss some sort of cue...
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Mikey23 wrote:
    Don't get me started... Crazy and irresponsible are two words that come to mind. However Your problem, your life

    You do realise that listening to music is exactly the same as sitting inside a giant box (car)? You don't hear the other cars as well without the windows rolled down. Neither is more dangerous than the other.

    Not really the same is it though ? You'll have three mirrors in your car - so you can see easily what's behind you.
    Plus you have a lane of your own - you're not constantly getting passed by motorists in your own lane - they have to come round you. And also the speed differential - and safety aspects of being in a car are completely different. So its not exactly the same is it ?
  • navrig
    navrig Posts: 1,352
    diy wrote:
    Mikey23 wrote:
    Don't get me started... Crazy and irresponsible are two words that come to mind. However Your problem, your life

    What are the arguments, please lets hear the reasoned logic. So far I have only considered that it is dangerous when riding in a group as groups ride very close and need to hear each other communicate.

    I think it simply boils down to awareness and keeping your senses available for best use in a particular situation.

    Every cyclist will be, to some extent or another, riding defensively because of being vulnerable to damage from any motor propelled vehicle. To maximise their safety making full use of their senses is adviseable. The more they divert their senses to other activities the greater they are exposed to the risks.

    The degree of exposure will vary enormously by person and riding conditions however at its very simplest if you redcue your ability to hear your environment you will increase your risk of an accident.
  • For me personally, most of my awareness what's going around me, behind me in particular, comes from sound. So, I don't think I would risk training with earphones on. And to be honest, I don't think anything may sound nicer than tyres on a nice tarmac ;)
  • Bozman
    Bozman Posts: 2,518
    I never do but I can't see the problem, you only need to know what's in front of you, if you worry about anything behind you It'll become a distraction and that's when accidents happen.
  • d10brp
    d10brp Posts: 70
    I use aftershokz. When there is traffic around it drowns out the music completely.
    Scott CR1 Pro
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  • Tom Dean
    Tom Dean Posts: 1,723
    If music doesn't distract you, why listen to it?
  • Tom Dean wrote:
    If music doesn't distract you, why listen to it?

    Why does music have to be a distraction? Music helps while away the hours but can be kept low enough to be able to hear whats around you.

    Do you drive? If so do you do it with all windows down and no radio just in case? My guess is no.


    In answer to the OP's question (and the many others that have preceeded it). If it suits do it, if not don't.

    I listen to music when out on my own but don't bother with company.
  • mike6
    mike6 Posts: 1,199
    No I dont. I love cycling and I love music. When I do either, I do them exclusively. I listen to music on the turbo trainer but that is a different ball game (or not, ha)
    When I was a runner I could never understand people running with headphones on. If its loud enough hear It has to distract you. If you need a distraction, dont do it, the roads are dangerous enough without impairing one of your senses.
  • cougie wrote:
    Mikey23 wrote:
    Don't get me started... Crazy and irresponsible are two words that come to mind. However Your problem, your life

    You do realise that listening to music is exactly the same as sitting inside a giant box (car)? You don't hear the other cars as well without the windows rolled down. Neither is more dangerous than the other.

    Not really the same is it though ? You'll have three mirrors in your car - so you can see easily what's behind you.
    Plus you have a lane of your own - you're not constantly getting passed by motorists in your own lane - they have to come round you. And also the speed differential - and safety aspects of being in a car are completely different. So its not exactly the same is it ?

    All of that is solved by the occasional check over your shoulder. Personally I don't care about getting passed by cars, if their going to hit me their going to head me, no awareness will help in most situations if you ask me.

    All I was trying to point out is that your hearing is the LAST sense you should be relying on, but rather making sure you are visually aware of what is around you.

    As far as people saying it is a distraction, you clearly don't understand the other side of things. I use playlists when on the bike to keep me going at the pace I want, and it works very well. I can still hear the cars coming up behind, but I check over my shoulders regularly, so I don't just rely on the hearing and think everything is safe.
  • TakeTurns
    TakeTurns Posts: 1,075
    I listen to music when cycling on my own. In fact, I have earphones which I use specifically for cycling. They're cheap so they don't cancel out the noise and I usually have them around 40% volume.

    Listening to music makes my ride more enjoyable, it helps to cover up all the noise from the vehicles. Having said that, I can still hear well enough for it to not effect my awareness. There have been times where I've been a little skeptic about the traffic and I've taken out my earphones. If I'm riding in an area with hardly any traffic and great scenery, I'll take them out to enjoy the peacefulness.

    At the end of the day, it comes down to how you use it. If used sensibly, it could make your experience more enjoyable or it could be the cause to an accident. Same applies to a car. It could get you from A to B, but if you're reckless, you may run someone over.
  • I used to years ago but not any more, I just wouldn't feel safe enough on the bike. For those with iPhones though, there's an app called 'Awareness' which is pretty good and well worth a look.
  • dodgy
    dodgy Posts: 2,890
    d10brp wrote:
    I use aftershokz. When there is traffic around it drowns out the music completely.

    I'm using them, too. Not 100% impressed with sound quality, but they are very comfortable.
  • chris_bass
    chris_bass Posts: 4,913
    I sometimes use one of these:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cyfi-Bluetooth-Wireless-Sports-Speaker/dp/B001LETCXK

    sound quality is pretty good, it doesnt cover your ears so road noise is still easily heard, it has controls on the speaker itself so I can turn it off when people are around, i'm sure they dont want to hear what I'm listening too! hooks up wirelessly to my phone.
    www.conjunctivitis.com - a site for sore eyes
  • I've used the 'left ear only' method, once, listening to the radio on an early morning Sunday run.

    The radio Prog was talk only (outdoor activity programme)' which turned out to be both motivational and inspirational, it gave me the oomph to finish the run (I often get bored/distracted when out on my own). A bit like talking to chums on a group run.
    All the gear, but no idea...
  • dawebbo
    dawebbo Posts: 456
    I sometimes close my eyes to pass the time, as I love cycling and I also love sleeping. Periodically peeking seems to be sufficient. Other times I ride with an eye patch as I only really need 1 eye to see and it's nearly as good as using two.