Wearing headphones while biking may seem like the best of both worlds – you get to enjoy your favorite music while you ride your bicycle. But before you start pedaling along with the greatest hits, take a moment to read this blog. There are some valid reasons that you should think twice and avoid headphones while cycling.
Some states have been debating laws that would making cycling with headphones illegal, but some of these same states don’t address cyclists using cell phones or texting. I am far more concerned about the safety and well-being of a cyclist who talks on the phone or, worse, texts while cycling. This seems a far more flagrant violation of safety standards and opens the cyclist up to significant distraction.
What Does the Law Say About Cycling with Headphones?
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Laws vary based on state and jurisdiction, so before you wear headphones while cycling, check the laws in your state. Some states prohibit the use of earphones by individuals operating a vehicle. Although these states may not specifically state that cyclists are prohibited from using earphones, they probably still apply as bicycles are considered vehicles. Other states and jurisdictions are presently considering this issue.
Some people choose to use bone-conducting headphones as a way to potentially get around the law. Although these music producers do not block the ears and prevent the user from hearing outside sounds, they may still be considered earphones – it all depends upon how your area interprets the law.
There are arguments on both sides of this issue. Although the ears are blocked by earphones, most users can still hear oncoming traffic and sirens unless the volume is high. The distraction of music is certainly far less than the distraction of a cell phone and texting – but in some locations this is still legal.
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Before you decide to listen to music while bicycling, check your local laws. Even if you can legally listen to headphones while you ride, be sure to keep the volume to a low or moderate level. You should be able to hear road noise, like the sound of an oncoming vehicle, easily over the music. Remember that losing your focus while riding for just a moment can lead to a crash.
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Studies conducted internationally have shown that riding with headphones impairs a cyclists ability to hear and be aware of their surroundings. Hearing is an important sense, and a study published in the Journal of Accident Analysis and Prevention has shown that wearing headphones and earbuds while riding a bike has a negative effect on the ability to perceive sound.
It’s common sense- if you are wearing earbuds and listening to music, especially when wearing noise canceling headphones, you cannot be aware of the sounds around you. If you do want to listen to music while you ride, consider a pair of jawbone headphones. They do not fit over the ear, therefore they do not hinder your ability to detect other sounds as much as traditional headphones.
Ride safely and stay vigilant at all times. Even if you are aware of others on the road, they may not be focused on you. Too often, drivers are distracted by music, their children, cell phones, or eating while driving. A single distraction can lead to a devastating crash.
If you have been injured in a bicycle crash, you likely face mounting medical bills and time away from work. Costs quickly escalate, and the pain can be unbearable. Don’t suffer in silence- bring on a team that will work for you. The bicycle accident attorneys at Kass & Moses are ready to take your case and help you get the fair and just compensation that you deserve.