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I like to listen to music when I'm out on my own...
Is it the done thing?....is it even legal?

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andycoventry [110 posts] 3 years ago
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I do too, but only in one ear (left closest to the kerb) and not too loud. I have no problems hearing what is around me.

I also use cyclemeter on my iphone which I have set up to give notifications about distance - its useful to know how far you have cycled, its a good tool to keep going.

I don't see why listening to music would be illegal in itself, I suppose if you had an accident 'without due care and attention' might stick I suppose.

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therevokid [971 posts] 3 years ago
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+1 andy's comments - I too use only the left ear when
out on my own. tend not to use the ipod when in a group
though !

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cidermart [492 posts] 3 years ago
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I don't personally but it is not illegal just frowned upon by some, i don't care either way.

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davidw07 [5 posts] 3 years ago
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I would love to listen to music but I think it is total madness. There are enough inches of press devoted to cycling accidents without making a positive attempt to increase them. When riding (IMHO) your ears are as important as your eyes and I certainly wouldn't advocate riding with both eyes shut - or even one come to that.

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londonplayer [620 posts] 3 years ago
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I have a friend, Matt, who I know from my gym who told me he listened to music whilst cycling in London. I told him I thought it was a seriously bad idea. He laughed in my face at my advice, sort of suggesting I needed to chill out a bit.

I didn't see him at my gym for a couple of months.

Bumped into him again in the sauna.

Me "Where've you been hiding? Been on holiday?"

Matt "I broke my right arm badly in a collision with a car. Also landed on my head and had stitches in my forehead. I remember what you said about not listening to music."

True story. He has a MASSIVE scar on the back of his right arm where the doctors have inserted a plate and screws in his upper arm. Listen to music when you get home. It's not that important. Even if you have it low, I think it is possibly the distraction rather than the volume which is more of a problem.

I guess there will still be people who read this and think, that won't happen to me. Why take the risk though? He readily admits that he may have spotted the car if he hadn't been immersed in his ipod music.

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joc [58 posts] 3 years ago
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hmmm, mixed bag of opinion. if i was cycling in central london i don't think i'd have headphones on to be honest.

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VecchioJo [400 posts] 3 years ago
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i listen to music all the time, have done for the last 25+ years, i've never noticed how much more dangerous the roads are when i plug myself in, i rely on my eyes a lot more than my ears whether i'm listening to music or not, it can be hard to hear a car with 20mph wind in your ears

do those who say listening to music on a bike is dangerous and distracting also not turn the radio on in the car and then wind the windows down, or do they use their eyes to see what's going on?

all the accidents (some involving hospital visits and surgery) i've had have been while i've not been listening to music, just to add that to the anecdotal mix

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700c [974 posts] 3 years ago
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davidw07 wrote:

When riding (IMHO) your ears are as important as your eyes and I certainly wouldn't advocate riding with both eyes shut - or even one come to that.

Think that's overstating it a bit! I imagine you cycle at night, when your vision is severely reduced? Listening to music is a personal choice of course, but it doesn't have to render you completely deaf, it has to be used wisely i.e not in heavy traffic and actually is quite motivational when riding solo.

IME perfectly safe to listen to music as long a conditions are right. Never been hit by a car in 15 years of riding with headphones..

Frantically searching for some wood to touch..  4

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Simon E [2845 posts] 3 years ago
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I ride around Shropshire for both fun and training. Music would cut me off from the world and negatively impact on the experience of being out there, which I find important and beneficial for my mental well-being.

In town or busy traffic I wouldn't think it a good idea to be 'in a world of your own' and I don't see any point in half-listening to music - all or nothing. But I can only speak for myself; perhaps other people find listening to stuff doesn't affect how they ride...

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notfastenough [3715 posts] 3 years ago
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I don't. I think that the music is either distracting, or you are concentrating on other things (traffic/potholes/lights/effort/technique etc etc) such that your brain can end up tuning out the music anyway.

I tried on a pair of those shockwave thingies at the bike and tri show in Manchester. They are bone conduction devices that sit just forward of the ear and enable you to hear music while leaving the ears uncovered. However, I found that the music could still drown out ambient sound (dependent entirely on volume), and unless you held the speakers against the bone, there was no bass whatsoever. Without bass, there's less rhythm, and therefore less point.

Interesting story about Londonplayer's mate. I expect that in any incident, it would be more difficult to explain that you could indeed hear the car coming (appreciate that he didn't) - we get enough stick about hi-viz/road tax/cycle lanes/helmets as it is.

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Simon_MacMichael [2466 posts] 3 years ago
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Pretty sure if I'd been listening to music on my commute on a quiet back road near Rotherhithe a few years back I wouldn't have heard the lorry fly tipping out of sight round the corner I was approaching (or at least it wouldn't have registered as quickly), and I wouldn't have thought, 'hang on, something's not right' and slowed down.

I'm also pretty sure I would have been right in its path when it came screaming round the corner moments later had I not slowed down thanks to what my ears were telling me.

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arrieredupeleton [576 posts] 3 years ago
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VecchioJo wrote:

i listen to music all the time, have done for the last 25+ years, i've never noticed how much more dangerous the roads are when i plug myself in, i rely on my eyes a lot more than my ears whether i'm listening to music or not, it can be hard to hear a car with 20mph wind in your ears

do those who say listening to music on a bike is dangerous and distracting also not turn the radio on in the car and then wind the windows down, or do they use their eyes to see what's going on?

all the accidents (some involving hospital visits and surgery) i've had have been while i've not been listening to music, just to add that to the anecdotal mix

It all comes down to personal choice, based on perceived level of risk and where you ride etc. My personal view is that I'd never do it. I take the point about car radios but you're slightly more exposed sat on a bunch of carbon/metal tubes than in a car with numerous safety features.

I can't help but think some riders like to have one earphone in just to look that bit more 'pro'. They should get bonus points for the surgical tape and for talking into the wire/pretend mic.  4

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fatbeggaronabike [834 posts] 3 years ago
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I can't help thinking what difference it would make wether you can hear a vehicle coming up on you from behind.
If it's being driven properly the driver is going to pass you safely. If it's being driven by a moron it's going to side swipe you or worse.

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700c [974 posts] 3 years ago
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Post edited. The wind in your ears means it doesn't matter most of the time anyway whether you have headphones in or not. As others have said, if someones going to hit you by driving dangerously there's precious little you can do about it anyway.

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londonplayer [620 posts] 3 years ago
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This debate seems to have analogies to the Helmet Debate (sorry for swearing). I guess if you're cycling on quiet country roads, it's possibly just about OK. But as anyone has cycled in London, or any other busy urban area, will tell you, you need every chance you can get to stay out of the way of the bad drivers.

I knew someone who was deaf who listed one of their reasons for not cycling as because she didn't like the idea of cycling without being able to hear anything.

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turboprannet [160 posts] 3 years ago
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I use a pair of sports bluetooth headphones that I can pause the music by jabbing aimlessly at my right ear. They're also vented/open backed so even at full volume you can hear road noises, upcoming cars - even the noise of someones chain if they've sneaked up behind you.

not normally in heavy traffic though, it's just not worth it.

and never on group rides, just seems rude and you miss the banter  3

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Joselito [160 posts] 3 years ago
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Don't tend to anymore (no reason) but kind of miss it.
Remember having a fairly clear descent down Dyke Road Ave at the end of the Brighton 100 one year with Iggy's 'Search and Destroy' up to 11.

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foxyloxy [49 posts] 3 years ago
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Anyone who rides a bike listening to music,is a pratt,to darn dangerous.A good friend of mine who was my 2up TT partner whilst racing for East Surrey RC,has sadly gone deaf and needs to wear 2 hearing aids,and he says he had to stop riding because he finds it hard to hear anything coming from behind!How can you be concentrating on your ride if you are listening to hard rock or whatever?  3

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Joselito [160 posts] 3 years ago
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foxyloxy wrote:

... if you are listening to hard rock or whatever?  3

Iggy, hard rock?
Take that back, you cur, sir.

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andycoventry [110 posts] 3 years ago
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foxyloxy wrote:

How can you be concentrating on your ride if you are listening to hard rock or whatever?  3

Quite easily, the same way I can drive a car with the stereo on, whilst talking to passengers. At the end of the day it comes down to personal preference - I personally feel comfortable with one earphone, it doesn't affect my spacial awareness or hazard perception, it just gives a bit of nicer background noise when I am on my own.

There is a difference between a single in ear earphone and massive headphones blaring IMO.

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joc [58 posts] 3 years ago
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my sentiments entirely, its not as if you suddenly become invisible to motorists as soon as you plug the earphones in

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joc [58 posts] 3 years ago
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Anyone who rides a bike listening to music,is a pratt"
bit harsh i feel  20 21

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Noelieboy [87 posts] 3 years ago
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IMHO I think that sometimes not hearing how fast & how close the cars go past you is safer, also you don't hear the mindless comments shouted at you by the phlebs...

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joc [58 posts] 3 years ago
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Very valid point(s)

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arrieredupeleton [576 posts] 3 years ago
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My final points on the matter: As cyclists we already get bad press for being RLJ-ing lycra louts. Of course it's all bollocks but I don't feel like giving them another excuse for the short-sighted, bigoted and vitriolic bullshit that Clarkson, fat Yorkshire chef whose name escapes me and Dailywhail columnists spout. Even if you are the innocent party, I can just imagine them using the earphone line as ammunition in the event of an accident. Could it be brought up in an insurance claim and jeopardise your protection?

I don't commute by bike much so I might have a different view to others but I ride to disconnect from the usual clutter of life and will certainly not be syncing my Garmin with my phone/ipod with my earphones and do't want real time strava/ weather reports or texts bothering me. It all seems a bit....unnecessary.

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Leviathan [2259 posts] 3 years ago
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I find that wind and traffic noise is so load anyway that I could not effectively listen to music without it being load enough to be a distraction. I would rather listen to music properly at home.

I can see people have a right to listen to whatever they want but the extra awareness of cars approaching from the rear that can be important, I wouldn't do it.

Anyway I have what I like to call my organic ipod available at all times, it has up to 5000 songs available although the memory buffer often get stuck in a loop. I had Seven Nation Army on it today, went on for about 12 minutes.

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joc [58 posts] 3 years ago
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arrieredupeleton wrote:

My final points on the matter: As cyclists we already get bad press for being RLJ-ing lycra louts. Of course it's all bollocks but I don't feel like giving them another excuse for the short-sighted, bigoted and vitriolic bullshit that Clarkson, fat Yorkshire chef whose name escapes me and Dailywhail columnists spout. Even if you are the innocent party, I can just imagine them using the earphone line as ammunition in the event of an accident. Could it be brought up in an insurance claim and jeopardise your protection?

I don't commute by bike much so I might have a different view to others but I ride to disconnect from the usual clutter of life and will certainly not be syncing my Garmin with my phone/ipod with my earphones and do't want real time strava/ weather reports or texts bothering me. It all seems a bit....unnecessary.

to be honest fella i couldn't give a shit what anyone thinks.....if i did i wouldn't be cutting about in lycra ;-), fair point though

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andyp [1473 posts] 3 years ago
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'he had to stop riding because he finds it hard to hear anything coming from behind!'

Is he blind too? Poor chap.

If someone is going to drive into you, they're going to do it whether you can hear them or not. If you're going to move into someone's path without looking, then you're an idiot.

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Matt Nicholson [3 posts] 3 years ago
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I can see why you might want to do it on a long daily commute on quiet roads but in busy traffic its surely asking for trouble. Apart from not being able to hear the traffic the bigger danger is being distracted from the task of concentrating on the dangers of the road: Oh, this is such a great track, it was so great live.... cue drift off into a reminisce of a great night and fail to notice a pedestrian stepping between vehicles or whatever. Not worth the risk

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andyp [1473 posts] 3 years ago
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'being distracted from the task of concentrating on the dangers of the road'

only likely for the very feeble-minded, I would have thought.

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