A recent conversation has piqued my interest; how many of you listen to your iPod/etc whenever you are out on the road, pedaling out mile after mile?
Do you wear headphones?
- On both ears or just one?
How loud do you keep the volume setting?
When do you listen to your music?
- Group rides?
- Solo Rides?
If you wear them during a group ride, do you know how your group of friends feels about music during the ride? (or do you care?)
All of these questions have an underlying idea of whether music on a ride creates a possible distraction or removal of concentration while out on the road. It is overgeneralized by the public that cyclists are crazies who take up the whole road, cannot hold a line; swerving all over the place. Does music contribute to this at all?
New York Times had an article that says:
It was a normal day at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in Washington Heights, where music fills the operating rooms much of the time, as it does in other hospitals. Like most of modern life, surgery has acquired a soundtrack, whether it be Sinatra or Vivaldi, Mozart or Bob Marley, “La Bohème” or the Beatles. Surgeons say it relaxes them, focuses their attention and helps pass the time.
In a survey of 200 anesthesiologists published in 1997 in the British journal Anaesthesia, 72 percent of respondents said music was played regularly in their operating rooms. About 26 percent felt that music “reduced their vigilance” and interfered with communication. Half felt that music was distracting when they encountered a problem.
If heart and brain surgeons can listen to tunes while working on the insides of another human being, and know when the going gets tough to turn it down, you think riding in a straight line while jamming out to At The Drive-In would be a piece of cake.
In California though, riding a bicycle (motor vehicle/motorcycle/etc) with headphones covering BOTH EARS is an offense which fines can be placed.
The Times UK had an article on cyclists using headphones on Nov 29. 2009 stating:
Edmund King, the president of the AA, called on the Department for Transport (DfT) to launch a campaign warning cyclists of the risk. The number of urban cyclists has grown so sharply that safety groups say the risky behaviour of a minority can cause serious problems.
The latest DfT figures show that 820 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in the three months to June, a 19% rise on the same period in 2008. It is not known how many of these cases were caused by people listening to music because the DfT and the police do not record the information.
I find the full article to have some pretty funny quotations of what some of the sideline viewers are saying… that or cyclists in Britain are all fools. Either or, the article made me laugh… iPod zombies…
What do I do? 90% of the time, I cannot find my headphones or the attachment to my phone that allows me to play music on it, instead of lug two pieces of technology with me. When the planets align, and I’m able to get everything in one place, I keep the earbud on the left side out of my ear in order to have complete hearing out of the ear closest to the road. I don’t keep the music roaring, and I don’t listen to it during a group ride. On the rural roads that I ride on, I really don’t see a big deal, but I could only imagine the mayhem of it all in a place like NYC :O