Does listening to music pose a safety risk?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by PDIstudent, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. PDIstudent

    PDIstudent New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2012
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi, I'm a 4th year Product Design and Innovation student, I'm currently working on a project to develop an aid for joggers/cyclists who train on the streets while listening to their ipod/music and was wondering if I could get some feedback from this forum. I'm looking to develop a product which can be used during the training routine of a rperson focusing out on the street, during the day/night and especially looking at people who train while listening to their ipod/music.

    So my question is: what problems do you come across while you are out cycling on the street/roads and listening to music?

    Any feedback is greatly appreciated and will help towards my project.

    Thanks

    Craig
     
    Tags:


  2. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    12,596
    Likes Received:
    160
    I don't listen to music while I ride. See, I like to commit all of my attention to being aware of my surroundings.
     
    PDIstudent likes this.
  3. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Messages:
    2,883
    Likes Received:
    139
  4. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Messages:
    10,600
    Likes Received:
    338
    This has been asked many times. I do not listen to music since I have no bike paths to ride on I rely on my ears to alert me when a car is approaching from behind. After years of riding I can tell if the vehicle is slowing or speeding up by the sound of the tires.
    I can at times sense the gender of the driver and model, the year of the vehicle and whatthe driver had for breakfast without looking.:)
    Except for the last sentence all the above is true and I don't listen to music while riding in the road.
     
    PDIstudent likes this.
  5. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Messages:
    2,883
    Likes Received:
    139
    Not really, no... /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
  6. Chavez

    Chavez New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Messages:
    833
    Likes Received:
    2
    Here are a good number of the times this has been discussed on this forum:

    http://www.cyclingforums.com/search.php?advanced=1&search=music+riding&titleonly=0&byuser=&output=all&replycompare=gt&numupdates=&sdate=0&newer=1&sort=relevance&order=descending&Search=SEARCH

    Should be plenty of info for ya there.


    Also, since the MAIN argument is headphones are dangerous because you can't hear, several someones have already beaten you to the punch on alternatives; here's one example:

    http://www.trythings.org/product_info.php?products_id=39382


    A secondary argument is usually that devoting whatever % of attention to music while riding is distracting and therefor dangerous, so ANY product that allows you to listen to music is inherently dangerous.
     
  7. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Messages:
    2,289
    Likes Received:
    139
    You're trying to quantify what's basically unquantifiable.
    All other things considered, if you set the volume high enough, it will mask some street input that might have been useful to you.
    And if you're actually following the music, then you are paying it some attention - that much is clear.
    But everything else is mostly hearsay, personal opinion and debate.

    There are hearing impaired people navigating the streets all the time, w/o being particularly accident prone. Hard to see why a self-inflicted limitation would be categorically different.
    A bit unwise perhaps to deliberately chose to play a poorer hand that what would have been available.

    There's more than music that can distract you. Maybe you're talking to a riding buddy, Maybe you're trying to pinpoint that squeak your bike has developed. Maybe you're just in awe by the beautiful scenery. Maybe you're real concerned about something going on in your personal life.
    It's not like we can forbid people to worry or daydream a little while riding.
    Music would perhaps be a more consistent distractor, more dangerous as the time adds up. But I can't see why one minute of music distraction would be categorically different from one minute of conversational distraction.

    And there's the basics, like how does our capacity for attention work?
    And is it the same for all?
    Does the human mind only have one bucket of attention to draw from, or are there several?
    If you are of the one-bucket opinion, then listening to music would steal some attention that would otherwise have been available for riding.
    But just b/c something is available, doesn't mean that it will be used. Solid numbers of improvement/deterioration would be hard to come by.

    I often listen to music while jogging in quiet/low traffic areas. There, I can still get enough detail out of the music w/o having to boost the volume to the point where it'll mask possibly important traffic noise.
    Maybe the introduction of electric cars will change that, but right now I don't think music while jogging in quiet areas brings any extra risks worth considering.

    I just about never listen to music while riding a bike.
    With the wind noise generated, I have to crank the volume up so high to get any enjoyable detail out of the music, that it blanks out a fair bit of traffic noise.
    Self, and hearing preservation kicks in, and the music go off.
    One exception though. I did use music as an aid for cadence training for a while. I see that as some sort of intermediate stage. Didn't need much detail from the music, just to hear the rhythm. Probably caused some degradation, but not as much as trying to follow the lyrics.
    Concentrating on the cadence counter would probably have been just as bad, if not worse.

    Jogging in areas with intense traffic is pretty much the same as riding. When ambient noise gets too high, the music is no longer enjoyable. Added risk or not, the music doesn't bring anything, so I turn it off.

    OTOH, I have a friend who is a dedicated defender of the one-ear theory. He listens to news radio, but only use one ear bud, in the ear facing away from the the road. I wouldn't think of him as daredevil material , and he's been doing it for years, so it can't be that bad.

    I dunno about that. Trying to follow a conversation seems more demanding than listening to music to me. But leaving one ear open would seem to limit the risk of missing out on important traffic noise.

    To get back to your question:

    It's about ambient noise that isn't information carrying.
    With riding, it's wind generated noise that's the main culprit. By the time I've cranked the mp3-player up high enough to get any enjoyment out of the music, it's uncomfortably loud, and I'm deaf to any traffic noise short of horns and harleys.
    Not that I'm a likely buyer, but maybe a laminar-flow helmet(time-trial kit?) with integrated ear flaps would sort it out. Or to always ride in a matched tail wind.
    With jogging, it's a lot less of a problem, But what remains is probably harder to fix.
    I want some of the street hum for situation awareness. But I also need a fairly low ambient noise to enjoy the music.
    Maybe one could do some clever filtering, saying that the noises that are pure background are in this frequency/dB range, and the noises that are important are in another freq/dB range. Then you could design a set of active headphones that would block one set and let the other set through. Or an app that does some nifty active cancellation processing. Doppler processing might be able to separate out approaching noises from receding noises. That could be a good start.
     
  8. Livestrong0701

    Livestrong0701 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2012
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, it is very dangerous. To be aware of your surroundings, you need practically all of your senses. I'd rather ride with no helmet or gloves than listening to music. Besides, i like to hear the nature around me and the moving parts on my bike, its more relaxing.
     
  9. vspa

    vspa Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    2,203
    Likes Received:
    39
    +1
     
  10. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    1,333
    Likes Received:
    90
    There are already plenty of products that make personal music devices safer on the road:

    • A rock to bash them against
    • A scissors to cut the cord
    • An air horn to get their attention

    You get the idea.

    In a non-scientific poll, about 1 or 2 out of 10 people using music devices I encounter on the road respond to a loud "on the left" prior to passing. Compare this to 5 to 7 out of 10 of people without such distractions. People can, of course, be safe and responsible when using such devices - but they appear to be a minority.

    Personally, I am biased against the use of such devices. I think it is a cultural belemish that people need to be supplied a constant stream of media. The need to be distracted / entertained while performing what should be entertaining activity is not healthy. Constant (over) stimulation results in a diminished response.
     
  11. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    12,596
    Likes Received:
    160
    +1
     
  12. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Messages:
    10,600
    Likes Received:
    338
    I feel that is poses not threat for cyclist to have such devices on the road , it's when you put them on your head that the problem starts..
     
  13. Bigbananabike

    Bigbananabike Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    Messages:
    967
    Likes Received:
    15
    I often train with a little Sony radio in my jersey pocket and earplug threaded up under my jersey and into my ears.
    I don't have it too loud - I can hear trucks etc coming.

    I feel its safe to do so because;
    1/ I always ride in the middle of the day and mostly in semi rural so there's not much traffic
    2/ I have a helmet mirror I refer to often so I know whats coming from behind better than if I only had my hearing to rely on.
    3/ sometimes I'll flick the earbugs out for more heavily traffic'd areas
    4/ I ride on roads I know well

    Having the radio certainly makes my long training rides more pleasant and interesting./img/vbsmilies/smilies/icon14.gif

    BBB/img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  14. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,477
    Likes Received:
    74
    The music from my tires on the road and the wind in my ears is all the music that I need while riding. I like to hear birds and the occasional car, and I like to look around at the scenery and that is all that I need to make my rides pleasant and interesting. I also like to be able to hear any slight ticks or chain noise from my bike so that I can take care of it before it becomes a problem. I save my ipod for the gym.
     
  15. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    12,596
    Likes Received:
    160
    +1.
     
  16. Bigbananabike

    Bigbananabike Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    Messages:
    967
    Likes Received:
    15
    Sure, that poetic stuff lasts about 30 mins with me. I like to be informed and entertained /img/vbsmilies/smilies/icon14.gif

    BBB/img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  17. curby

    curby New Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    0
  18. coolcamaro12

    coolcamaro12 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2012
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    1
    I find wearing headphones while cycling extremely dangerous, as you can not hear your sorroundings. On the other hand, I have tried speakers that hook onto your bike and they are much safer. You can hear everything around you, but still hear the music. Headphone cords are also a huge pain! I hook up a speaker to the handlebars on my bike, and then hook my mp3 player up to it. I play the music as "background music", as you would never really want to get immersed in music while biking because you become less concentrated. There have been multiple instances where I have seen cyclists wearing headphones and they almost got hit by a car! I think listening to music is excellent when doing fast paced rides. It keeps you motivates you, and gives you that last little piece of energy you have ;). There is not a huge market for listening to music while cycling, as you can see by the forums, because it can be dangerous. If you listen at appropriate volumes and use speakers, I think it is perfectly safe. Just don't be listening to mui while riding your bike in a traffic jam in the middle of the city ;)
     
  19. cobooboc

    cobooboc New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    In my opinion Cycling songs really is a very enjoyable, but the songs will also lead to more hidden, so I think for safety sake, or do not listen to music better.
     
  20. Bigbananabike

    Bigbananabike Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    Messages:
    967
    Likes Received:
    15
    We had a Dickhead who had an MP3 player and headphones in one of our club races/img/vbsmilies/smilies/icon13.gif

    I saw him at the start fiddling with the cord etc.

    I should've told him to turn it off and take them out and if he hadn't done that I should've told the starting official (a woman not to be messed with).

    There can be a bit of yelling etc in our races and if they don't hear it it can be dangerous or split the bunch etc.

    Also it annoyed me that he thought so little of our race that he wanted other entertainment/img/vbsmilies/smilies/icon13.gif

    BBB/img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
Loading...
Loading...