So, I've been riding for a long time like most of us I guess and commuting recently I've seen more and more people joining in which is great, but I do wonder about the wisdom of riding in heavy traffic while listening to music. I know I rely on my ears nearly as much as my peripheral vision and just wouldn't do it on the road (off-road is a different story). I used occasionally to ride my motorbike with headphones on and stopped after realising how much more isolated you feel from your surroundings?
So anyone think it's a good idea? because I wince when I see people who are fairly clearly new to cycling pottering along in traffic with headphones on and staring straight ahead

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I admit I am a headphone wearing cyclist, but I have the volume low enough that I find it hard to hear the music over the traffic (this is a must). I also wear headphones when not listening to music just to keep the cold air out of my ears.
Hi James.

I'm with you in questioning the safety - I too use my ears an awful lot to keep safe, esp. when there are blind-spots from other cars or static obstacles at intersections etc. You can also hear vehicles and other bikes behind you too which helps a lot.

Regards, Grant
I too find it amazing that people would consider listening to music while in traffic, yet have seen it alot.
I even find it annoying that pedestrians (using shared bike paths, ie anzac bridge or bayrun) wearing headphones can't hear you. I've almost given up warning people that I'm coming through - as they never hear the warning anyway.
My cycling club has banned ipods from training rides. ie the attitude is, wear it if you want to, but just don't train with us.
I know that everyone is talking about the safety of hearing the traffic but from a female point of view I don't wear headphones for another reason, my personal safety. I am disgusted at the number of women who think it's okay to wear headphones while they run/walk/ride home. Even with the music turned right down you wouldn't have the ability to hear the slight noise of someone walking up behind you. The first thing they teach you in self defence is to be aware of your surroundings and you can't do that with music, however low, in your ears. I think wearing headphones in public is incredibly anti social as well.The best sound in the world is the rhythmic whirl of bicycle tyres not Britanny Spears.
I think it depends on the situation.

I don't see an issue with Dave riding down the M7 listening to music (defensive riding doesn't exactly count there.. if some idiots going to run you over at 110km/h from behind, you won't hear them coming anyway).

... but not much shits me more than riding up behind a bike in a constricted cycle lane or path (lots of them on my commute) and not being able to bell or yell past them because they've got high tech fingers in their ears. The joggers are bad enough.. please cyclists, don't start.

It is definitely a bad idea in city traffic from a self preservation point of view...

Kim's point is very valid.. those joggers with ipods certainly seem to jump higher when I ride past, even if I ring my bell first :)
Oooh, we've had the helmet debate.. .now iPods. What other tired debate can we bring out here...

That's it, I'm starting a Shimany vs Campy thread!

:)

(Joking, kinda)
Woooo! Damians getting cut, Damians getting cut. I'd never seen the question asked, so was interested.
On the face of it it's about the level of risk an individual is prepared to accept for various reasons, which is fair enough. Yet I'd class myself as more prepared to engage in risky behavior (mountain biking and superbiking in undies, thanks Dave :-) but I won't ride with my iPod in traffic, so maybe if you add experience into it people wouldn't do it. . .dunno. The thought at the back of my head is that if you get knocked off whilst one of your senses is dulled to some extent isn't that like having a prang in your car whilst talking on the phone? . .and you'd suffer not only physically, but it might count against you in any court case.

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