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Riding A Bicycle With Headphones: Is It Safe?

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Is It Safe To Ride A Bike With Headphones?

No, it’s not safe to ride a bike with headphones. But, then, maybe you’ll find something else equally fun and healthy to do instead. Riding a bicycle requires our constant attention to our surroundings. Listening to music while riding a bicycle is distracting, unsafe, and also bad for a sense of hearing.

Listening to music while riding a bike is just plain rude. You might be tempted to argue that it’s perfectly acceptable to listen to music while driving a car, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Driving a car is inherently risky.

There are countless dangers associated with operating a vehicle, including distracted drivers, drunk drivers, speeding drivers, aggressive drivers, careless drivers, reckless drivers, distracted drivers, texting drivers, talking drivers, etc.

Listening to music while biking isn’t environmentally friendly. Bicycling is a great way to reduce pollution, save money, and improve health. However, it’s hard to enjoy the benefits of bicycling when you’re surrounded by noise pollution.

Moreover, listening to music while bicycling is disrespectful. Cyclists are already viewed as a nuisance by motorists. By listening to music while riding, we only add insult to injury.

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Why Is It Dangerous?

There are two main arguments against allowing cyclists to wear headphones while riding. First, there is the argument that cyclists should be aware of their surroundings and therefore shouldn’t be using headphones because they are cutting themselves off from hearing what’s happening around them.

Second, there is the argument against cyclists being singled out as dangerous because they are listening to music while biking. It can cause severe risk of damage due to an accident.

The counterargument to both of those points is that cyclists are already required to wear helmets and obey traffic laws, which means that they are already aware of their surroundings and are paying attention to what’s going on around them.

Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to single out cyclists as being particularly dangerous simply because they are listening to headphones.

Of course, if you think about it, nothing gives cyclists a sensory advantage over motorists except for the fact that they don’t have to worry about getting hit by a car. So, it makes sense that cyclists would want to have a sensory advantage over motorists.

However, the counterargument to this is that pedestrians are allowed to walk down the street without headphones, and they are just as safe as cyclists who are listening to music. Furthermore, pedestrians are not required to wear helmets, so they are not cut off from the world around them either.

Ultimately, it seems like the only way to really decide whether it’s okay for cyclists to listen to music while riding is to look at each situation individually. But, even then, it may depend on where you live. Some places might feel safer for cyclists to listen to headphones, while others might feel unsafe.

Reasons Why You Should Not Use Headphones While Biking

There are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t wear headphones while riding a bicycle. Here are just a few:


While riding a bicycle without headphones might seem dangerous, wearing headphones isn’t necessarily unsafe either. However, if you wear headphones while riding a bicycle, you run the unnecessary risk of not being able to hear any warning sign or sound of traffic coming from behind you. You may not realize that a car is approaching until it’s too late.

That’s why it’s essential to keep your ears open while riding a bicycle. There’s nothing worse than getting hit by a vehicle only to find out later that you didn’t notice anything was wrong. So, make sure that you listen to your environment at all times while riding a bicycle.

You should also consider using a helmet when riding a bicycle. Helmets reduce the chances of head injuries significantly. Even though helmets won’t protect against every injury, they are still worth the investment.

Bike riders should not wear portable headphones while riding a bicycle. Not only does it allow you to hear warnings and sounds coming from behind you, but it also allows you to enjoy a music player while cycling. And, if you happen to fall off your bike, you’ll be glad that you had headphones on. There should be a ban on-ear headphones.

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It Might Be Against The Law

There are several states where riding a bicycle with headphones might be against the law. It’s not clear if there are any federal regulations regarding this issue. However, most states have specific laws that prohibit using headphones while driving a vehicle.

California, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia specifically include bicyclists in the list of drivers prohibited from wearing headphones while operating a vehicle.

In the UK, a BBC Poll found that 9 out of every 10 road users support a ban on cyclists wearing headphones while riding bicycles. So, riding with headphones is dangerous.

So, if you’re planning on biking anywhere near traffic, make sure you wear noise-canceling headphones instead of regular ones.

It Is Not Necessary

You might think that listening to music while driving is against the law, but it isn’t. However, if you are using earbuds or headphones that cover your ears, then you should probably stop doing that. You may be putting yourself at obvious safety risk of being involved in an accident.

There are laws regarding the use of cell phones while operating vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers must keep their eyes on public and private roads and their hands off the wheel while talking on a phone. Drivers cannot talk on a handheld device while driving.

Drivers must also maintain control of their vehicles at all times. If they lose control of the car, they could cause an accident.

If you are planning on listening to music while driving, consider getting Bluetooth speakers instead of headphones. These types of devices connect wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet and play audio through your car stereo system.

They are safer than headphones because they won’t block your vision and they won’t interfere with your ability to drive safely.

Last Updated on October 31, 2022 by Sai

Evan Medders

Evan Medders

I'm Evan an avid cyclist and bike consultant. Besides my biking, I enjoy being a dad to two, a husband to one. Cycling is a fun and sustainable means of transportation, something not only our planet but also your body craves. We need to stay in physical shape, and keep our Earth in a good condition so we face fewer natural disasters. Biking is our way to see we do our part :)

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