Manufacturers claim Bluetooth-enabled device safer than sticking in the earbuds

In recent years, it’s become one of the big debates among cyclists – is it safe to listen to your personal music player while you ride? Now, a California-based company has launched a speaker system that provides surround sound via a bike helmet, leaving the user’s ears free to listen out for traffic.

Called the Tunebug Shake, the device uses patented SurfaceSound technology to turn three-dimensional surfaces into what is in effect a surround sound speaker, which the company that has developed the technology, Silicon Valley Global, claims is safer than using headphones which it says isolate the rider from their environment.

According to the manufacturer, the Shake can be fitted to pretty much any type of bike helmet, although you have to admit that the so-called Gecko mount used to fit it to the skate-style helmet shown in the picture wins the aesthetic battle over the Velcro fastening needed to attach it to the vented-style helmet that road.cc users are more likely to own, if indeed they have a lid at all.

As shown in the video below from PhoneDog.com, the Shake can be used wirelessly via a Bluetooth connection to your phone or music player, and there’s also a different version of the device, the Vibe, which is suitable for use on any surface.

The device retails in the US for $99.99, although it’s currently out of stock on the Tunebug website. However, there doesn’t appear to be a UK distributor as yet – clicking on the ‘Europe’ tab on the website takes you through to a page written in German.

While the TuneBug may go some way towards resolving arguments over whether or not cyclists are taking a risk using headphones, the fact that it needs to be mounted on a helmet of course brings it squarely into that other eternal debate that’s never likely to be resolved one way or the other.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.