One of the things I do as a commuting cyclist is to use my ears as well as my eyes to get a sense of the surrounding traffic. I’m sure many of you do the same. I keep a listen out for cars coming up to me from behind. And some souped up cars can be heard 100s of metres away!

So I was wondering – when electric cars become more prevalent will this be harder to do? Because I’m assuming they will be quieter. And if it’s harder will this compromise riding safety?

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I use a handle bar mounted rear view mirror and  I find it very useful.

Me too. 

me too. I'd say essential

Me too.

I can still hear Tesla's and hybrids operating in EV mode coming as they make a bit of a whine, coupled with a bit of tyre on road noise. 

Is the whine intentional? I vaguely remember reading something about lobbying by deaf advocacy about adding sound to EVs several years ago. For deaf people its especially important to form a aural map of the road.

Seems the US will require vehicles to make noise

Two things.

I want a quieter city. Adding noise - yuck.

Adding a noise also sends the message that it's everybody else's responsibility to get out of the way. I'd prefer drivers to take responsibility for the danger their choice of vehicle causes.

Yep. There's an overseas standard, that most manufacturers already comply with, that requires EV's and PHEV's to emit a special noise at speeds of upto 40kph. It's so pedestrians, guide dogs etc can hear them coming.

I think a significant proportion of the sound from approaching cars is tyre noise, which will be just the same with electric cars of course.

That's my thought as well. I suspect the bigger issue is when the cars are moving slowly which is going to be more of an issue with pedestrians. I know when I've been photographing cyclists coming down to Bobbin Head you can hear them around the bend and it's the road and wind noise, not the freewheel you hear.

One of the UK car mags did a test of an electric vehicle in the late 80s/early 90s in Paris, the tyres they mentioned on that were low rolling resistance, probably to help the range back then - so not as much noise generated.

Biggest issue they had, lots of peds stepping straight onto the road not expecting a maybe an issue.....and that's before the proliferation of phones.


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