Author Topic: Using Headphones on tour?  (Read 7235 times)

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Offline benshirley

Using Headphones on tour?
« on: May 06, 2006, 10:03:16 am »
Hi I'm getting ready to leave on the TransAmerica tour and I'm considering taking a cd player and radio to listed to with headphones.
I wonder what people's opinons are about using headphones while riding. I know that many people would prefer not to use them and rather just soak up thier environment, but I'm more curious about saftey.
I know it's bad idea to not be able to hear while riding on roads with heavy traffic and no shoulder, but what about on more remote less busy areas? What about using just one headphopne in the right ear so the left is open to hear traffic? What about listening to books on tape as opposed to constant blaring music? What are people's experinces or opinions with this?
Does anyone know of accidents caused by using headphones and biking at the same time or that could have been avoided otherwise?


  • Guest
Using Headphones on tour?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2006, 11:32:51 am »
I think you should decide for yourself what proportion the sense of hearing as opposed to say, the sense of sight, you use to detect cars approaching, most importantly from the rear as you weave left and right across the shoulder line, but also from the sides and front, as you subconsciously assess how much space there would be left for you if an oncoming car and an overtaking one cross right where you happen to be.  You might want to think about whether you subconsciously assess whether what is coming up behind you is a motorcycle or a logging truck so you can take the two to three second precaution of getting even further over to the right with the latter - or even completely off the road.

It takes only one car to kill a cyclist and death can occur in both heavy and light traffic.  In light traffic, drivers may not be looking for obstacles on the road - maybe because they are distracted by the radio, cell phone, a lit cigarette or doobie, an alcoholic buzz, a struggle with an infant, a conversation with a passenger, chewing their gum too fast - or even by wearing headphones.

If the quiet of the wilderness is just too quiet, you should consider a bicycle stereo, never headphones:

Riding with headphones is illegal in many states, including California.  

Offline ptaylor

Using Headphones on tour?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2006, 08:52:21 pm »
Are you going on the ACA Transam Expedition? If so, head phones are not allowed by the ACA. Period.

And for good reason, in my opinion.


Offline DaveB

Using Headphones on tour?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2006, 11:16:17 pm »
I would think remote, low traffic roads are more dangerous with headphones than heavy traffic roads.  

In heavy traffic, you can't hear individual cars so your hearing isn't as useful.  You have to watch all around you all the time.

On light traffic roads, you will hear the occasional car from much further away so your hearing is a far more useful warning.  Also, since there are fewer cars, you are more likely to let your mind wander and not hold your line as carefully so hearing something coming is even more important.  


  • Guest
Using Headphones on tour?
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2006, 11:55:05 pm »
Outside of the bike shop, and the rest of the bike world, my other passion is music. I listen to it and make it. I'm a bit of a gear-nerd and an audiophile. Still, as much as I love music, and as much as I love cycling, I never use headphones when I'm on the bike, regardless of the circumstances. Everyone who's posted so far has sufficiently covered my own personal reasons for abstaining and so I will not repeat them -- I just wanted to emphasize that my decision to abstain was not made lightly.

......... __ o
......(O) (O)...........
i'd rather be biking.

Offline njdaniel

Using Headphones on tour?
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2006, 04:27:22 pm »
I'll be bringing headphones and an mp3 player on my 6 week tour.  If you love music it can be great when you're taking a break or when you're done biking for the day.  

Everyone else is right, don't use them while on the bike.

Offline jimbeard

Using Headphones on tour?
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2006, 01:07:47 pm »
I ride with ipod 80% of the time just use your commonsense and a mirror.