/ Cycling on roads with earphones on/in?

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Bobling - on 01 May 2019

I frequently see people tootling around on busy roads with earphones.  I find being able to hear is a very valuable sense - telling me of that boy racer sitting on my rear wheel about to pull a d*ck move, or the Bus/Digger/HGV that's patiently giving me room.  What am I missing?   Do UKCers cycle with earphones on?

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gravy - on 01 May 2019

It's plainly madness to cycle in traffic with headphones on it scares the shit out of me to see this going on.

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Toby_W on 01 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

I’ve tried it, after all we listen to radios in the car but I found I had to slow down so much on my bike to look that much more carefully because I could not listen I didn’t do it again.  Also any outside activity is diminished if I shut myself away with music.  Great on a turbo or running machine or gym.  Just me though, we all lose ourselves in different ways.

cheers

toby

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captain paranoia - on 01 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

> Do UKCers cycle with earphones on?

No. I don't ski with them, either. Same reason.

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Howard J - on 01 May 2019
In reply to captain paranoia:

If you must, use bone conduction headphones which leave the ears uncovered.

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Dave Cundy - on 01 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

When i was cycle touring in Italy last year, i found music helped distract me from the hardest bits of the journey/effort, especially the post-lunch stretch through the hot afternoon (and there was sometimes a nice long 10% hill as well). But that was on quiet roads.

In town, i wouldn't dream of it.  There's too much stuff going on, both aurally and visually.

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Dave the Rave on 01 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

Only if I’m on the tandem with the Mrs. She doesn’t wear them. I also make sure that I’ve had a curry the night before. A meat one preferably as she’s a vegi.

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wintertree - on 01 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

When I used to cycle commute I’d have my left earphone in with quiet music and an audio pace readout every 5 minutes.  This didn’t affect my awareness.  

On the fast bombing down hill section I would hear more traffic noise with both ear pieces in and the audio paused, as sound still came through but wind noise was dramatically reduced.

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Ramblin dave - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

I don't cycle with headphones on, for pretty much the reasons that you describe. On the other hand, I wouldn't consider it to be _that_ big a deal if someone does - there are plenty of hazards that you won't hear (other cyclists being the obvious one) so you always need to look as well. In fact, I sometimes wonder whether having headphones in would actually make me more paranoid about looking behind me and hence actually safer overall...

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Run_Ross_Run - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

Yeah, I actually had mine in on a ride last night. Mine are the inner ear 'sport' ones and I can still hear traffic etc as long as they're not blasting.

Very rarely I do use them tho. Just facied a change last night. 

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Dax H - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

Don't see a problem with it myself. I keep mine set loud enough to hear but quiet enough that I can still hear the traffic

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MonkeyPuzzle - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

I'd take a considerate competent cyclist with earphones in over an inconsiderate or incompetent cyclist without. Also, I reckon the deaf would argue they are capable of being perfectly safe cyclists.

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Ben Sharp - on 02 May 2019
In reply to gravy:

> It's plainly madness to cycle in traffic with headphones on it scares the shit out of me to see this going on.

If you think about it then it really isn't, it's certainly not in the same league as not being visible enough which a lot of cyclists are guilty of.

If you can still hear traffic through your headphones then surely it's less dangerous than a deaf person riding a bike, which is perfectly legal and acceptable. It maybe depends a bit on how long you cycle for and whether you're cycling rurally or in a town. Most long distance cyclists I've known have listened to podcasts or music, I'm sure there are people out there who can happily entertain themselves on a 6 hour ride but for me anything more than an hour and I'll want something to listen to. I've never cycled in a city before, usually when I set off there's very few people on the road in town but even if the odd car comes up behind me I can still tell. Even if you can't as long as you're not cycling eratically and you look before changing course I don't see the danger, being able to hear a car drive into you isn't going to help.

When you're out on the main road it doesn't make a blind bit of difference if you've got headphones on or not, if a 40 ton lorry hurtles past you at 70mph, whether you're wearing headphones or not doesn't really matter. It slightly reduces the deafening roar and if you've got overear headphone on it at least means one part of your body stays dry!

If you're cycling without headphones and relying on your hearing to stay safe then you'll need to be careful as more and more electric cars come on the road. You wont be able to hear them so you will have to learn not to rely on your hearing as much.

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Ben Sharp - on 02 May 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

beat me to it!

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Enty - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

All the time but I do have 5/6 hour rides which I do where the traffic density is often less than 2-3 cars per hour.

E

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TobyA on 02 May 2019
In reply to Ben Sharp:

I always listen to podcasts while riding. Have done for 15 years now and had a mini FM radio before that for a bit. I use standard mini ear pods, not the type that go into your actual ear hole but just sit in the outer ear. I generally use only the left one when on roads, but even if I have both in I generally find I can hear ok. In winter wearing something to keep my ears warm like a buff has a bigger impact.

Going fast downhill you often can't hear the podcast, which makes me think you can't hear traffic much either in that specific and limited case.

Almost never listen to music though so don't know if that would be worse?

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Hardonicus - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

I listen to podcasts. I can still hear the traffic. What you may be missing is the mental acumen to separate multiple sensory streams in real time?

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Rog Wilko on 02 May 2019
In reply to Dave the Rave:

How very dietist of you.

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Yanis Nayu - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

I’m not one of those people who’s incapable of doing anything without headphones, but I do sometimes wear them and don’t find it affects my ability to hear traffic. It’s way down the list of things that affect my safety while cycling. 

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dh73 - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

if the music is played quietly enough so that it doesn't affect hearing traffic, then in safety terms this is no different to not wearing them

but if it does reduce or entirely stop hearing what is going on around you then it clearly does increase risk. audio may not be as vital as sight for cycling but it is still an important sense, so why would you voluntarily give it up? you may get away with it 99 times out of 100, but it could make all the difference in some instances.

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DubyaJamesDubya - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

It's a useful extra sense but, given that deaf people manage to cycle safely, I assume you make up for the shortfall by doing extra visual checks. When electric vehicles become common the lack of audible warning might mean we will all have to do that anyway.

Post edited at 11:35
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jonnie3430 - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

Same arguement would get radios out of cars? 

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Eric9Points - on 02 May 2019
In reply to jonnie3430:

> Same arguement would get radios out of cars? 


No but it is already illegal to wear headphones or earphones when driving a car and I believe this should be extended to all road users.

Also note that a car driver uses mirrors to keep track if what is going on outside their field of view. Very few cyclists fit mirrors to their bikes and so are putting themselves at greater risk than a motorist.

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jonnie3430 - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> No but it is already illegal to wear headphones or earphones when driving a car and I believe this should be extended to all road users.

I think it's their risk. It depends how loud their music/podcast is. What does it matter to you? And by road users, you mean pedestrians too? I'd also remind you that as a motorbiker I always use earplugs to block out as much noise as possible.

> Also note that a car driver uses mirrors to keep track if what is going on outside their field of view. Very few cyclists fit mirrors to their bikes and so are putting themselves at greater risk than a motorist.

No, but they do turn their heads, something car drivers can't do because of their seats. As a cyclist I'm way more aware of what's going on around me than when driving a car. 

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Yanis Nayu - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

It’s much better to be able to clearly hear the vehicle driven by a distracted motorist who’s about to kill you. 

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The Norris - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

I regularly wear headphones when I commute, often fairly loud. I've never had a problem. I'm very visually aware, regularly perform shoulder checks and "lifesaver looks" as was taught to me during my motorcycle training.

Criticising cyclists for wearing headphones smells like victim blaming to me. Not very nice imo.

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Eric9Points - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> It’s much better to be able to clearly hear the vehicle driven by a distracted motorist who’s about to kill you. 


Well yes, a motorist could be distracted or there are a host of other scenarios where a cyclist puts their life at risk if they are not aware of what's going on out of their line of vision.

Why am I getting dislikes and tetchy replies for suggesting that cyclists should be made to use the road in a safe manner even if it is mainly themselves they are putting at risk?

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fred99 - on 02 May 2019
In reply to jonnie3430:

> I think it's their risk. It depends how loud their music/podcast is. What does it matter to you? And by road users, you mean pedestrians too? I'd also remind you that as a motorbiker I always use earplugs to block out as much noise as possible.

And as a Biker I never use earplugs because I like to hear what's going on - and listen to the roar of my exhaust.

> No, but they do turn their heads, something car drivers can't do because of their seats. As a cyclist I'm way more aware of what's going on around me than when driving a car. 

Which cars have seats that prevent the driver turning their head ? - Apart from maybe F1 cars. Any sensible driver would  (and should) turn their heads whenever making a manoeuvre to ensure that there isn't someone in their blind spot.

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Eric9Points - on 02 May 2019
In reply to The Norris:

> I regularly wear headphones when I commute, often fairly loud. I've never had a problem. I'm very visually aware, regularly perform shoulder checks and "lifesaver looks" as was taught to me during my motorcycle training.

Good for you. So far, so good.I guess you motorbike had mirrors?

> Criticising cyclists for wearing headphones smells like victim blaming to me. Not very nice imo.

Not at all. Merely making sure all road users behave in as safe a manner as possible. I'm baffled by the tone of your response.

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Ramblin dave - on 02 May 2019
In reply to dh73:

> but if it does reduce or entirely stop hearing what is going on around you then it clearly does increase risk. audio may not be as vital as sight for cycling but it is still an important sense, so why would you voluntarily give it up?

Because it makes your journey less boring and more pleasant?

Broader point - in basically all the potentially hazardous things we do in life (driving being an obvious one) we make some trade-offs between safety and other considerations, otherwise we'd never leave the house except to work and to buy essentials. We don't all drive around in the safest possible car regardless of comfort, space, fuel economy etc, we don't drive everywhere at 20mph, we don't all avoid journeys that aren't strictly necessary because "is it worth the risk of dying in a car crash just to go to the Lakes for a weekend", we don't insist on racing-style seatbelts, we don't wear helmets in the car despite the fact that head injuries are a common cause of death in car crashes. So it's probably unreasonable to look at cyclists and take the view that anything they do which increases the risk to themselves by any amount for any reason is evidence that they're lunatics / negligent / suicidal or needs to be banned.

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Enty - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> No but it is already illegal to wear headphones or earphones when driving a car and I believe this should be extended to all road users.

>

This is a good point. I'm unaware of whether or not it's illegal to have phones in when you're on a bike. However I look at it like this. If you're in an accident and you have earphones in/on you're already at a disadadvantage explaining this to the cops even if it's not your fault.

A tiny bit like drinking. Even if it's not your fault you're screwed.

E

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NIGBEE on 02 May 2019
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

How does a vehicle that is going to kill me sound different to one that isn't going to? 

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JLS on 02 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

>"Do UKCers cycle with earphones on?"

I haven't recently but did a lot when I was doing a long commute regularly.

Wasn't ever a problem. I guess it's just a case of setting the volume appropriately.

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Ramblin dave - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Not at all. Merely making sure all road users behave in as safe a manner as possible. I'm baffled by the tone of your response.

You aren't making sure that all road users behave in as safe a manner as possible, because that would mean arguing, at least, for a nationwide 20mph speed limit and a ban on all motorised journeys that aren't essential for working or buying necessities. You're arguing - or at least, asserting - that one particular tradeoff of safety for comfort and convenience shouldn't be allowed where others are. And tbh I'd want to see some evidence before I'll accept that.

Post edited at 13:53
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Yanis Nayu - on 02 May 2019
In reply to NIGBEE:

> How does a vehicle that is going to kill me sound different to one that isn't going to? 

That’s the point I was making sarcastically. 

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Yanis Nayu - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Well yes, a motorist could be distracted or there are a host of other scenarios where a cyclist puts their life at risk if they are not aware of what's going on out of their line of vision.

> Why am I getting dislikes and tetchy replies for suggesting that cyclists should be made to use the road in a safe manner even if it is mainly themselves they are putting at risk?

Couple of reasons - one, in my view and I accept its counterintuitive, wearing headphones at the correct volume does not present an extra risk (if anything it makes me look more) and two, I as a cyclist get pissed off with people on the internet seeming so keen on my welfare, when a significant minority of the motorists who drive around me in real life take a much more cavalier approach. If/when I get killed or seriously injured there’s a 99% chance it’ll be because of somebody driving like an arsehole. If you care about cycling safety lecture people about driving safely around cyclists. 

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NIGBEE on 02 May 2019
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Apologies, misread your sarcasm. Glad we agree

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Bobling - on 02 May 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> Also, I reckon the deaf would argue they are capable of being perfectly safe cyclists.

Yeah, I did consider this when thinking about it!  

Post edited at 14:31
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Bobling - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Hardonicus:

> I listen to podcasts. I can still hear the traffic. What you may be missing is the mental acumen to separate multiple sensory streams in real time?

Are you calling me thick? : )

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Bobling - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> No but it is already illegal to wear headphones or earphones when driving a car and I believe this should be extended to all road users.

Is this so?  

I have also often wondered about the people I see driving around with earphones on/in, what are they listening to?  Best guess I could come up with is their phones which can't connect with their car stereos.  Always seemed a bit dodgy so interesting to hear it is not legal.

I do sometimes listen to loud music in the car but if I come up against a bit of driving that requires additional thought (e.g overtaking manouver/complex junction) I need to turn it down to concentrate, weird eh.  I guess that could be a reason why cycling with headphones seems so counter-intuitive to me.  sS Hardonicus says perhaps my mental (aural?) acumen is lacking!

As usual good to see the wild penduluming and irascible nature of all UKC's many opinions!

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Rigid Raider - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

I once experimentally skied with headphones and was shocked at the effect it had on my threshold of danger; I skied like a lunatic. I bet the same would happen if Iistened to music while cycling, not to mention the danger of being deaf to vehicles approaching from behind. 

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Jon Greengrass on 02 May 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

>  Also, I reckon the deaf would argue they are capable of being perfectly safe cyclists.

I'm sure that there are motorists and their defence lawyers who would argue otherwise.

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Eric9Points - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> Couple of reasons - one, in my view and I accept its counterintuitive, wearing headphones at the correct volume does not present an extra risk (if anything it makes me look more) and two, I as a cyclist get pissed off with people on the internet seeming so keen on my welfare, when a significant minority of the motorists who drive around me in real life take a much more cavalier approach. If/when I get killed or seriously injured there’s a 99% chance it’ll be because of somebody driving like an arsehole. If you care about cycling safety lecture people about driving safely around cyclists. 


What exactly is the correct volume to have your entertainment set to and how do you know what you aren't hearing?

I know a couple of people who have killed pedestrians while driving. In neither case were they at fault but in both cases they were profoundly affected by the event. While it is true that a cyclist who takes risks is usually the one that comes off worse they are often not the only casualty.

I really don't think it is useful to take the view that every time a cyclist has an accident it is because a motorist behaved in a negligent manner. I doubt it's an accurate reflection of reality either. Regardless of where the truth lies the most important thing, surely, is to frame our rules of the road in a manner that leaves the roads safe for all users without putting onerous restrictions on any one group? It is not an imposition to require people not to wear headphones or earphones when driving or cycling any more that it is an imposition on motorists to wear a seatbelt.

Finally, I commute to work through the centre of Edinburgh by bike several days a week and have been doing so for years. I have never been hurt or put in danger by bad driving, on the contrary I find mist drivers behave with courtesy and consideration towards me in the same way as I show courtesy and consideration towards them. Are you sure there's nothing in your style of cycling that is unsafe?

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Jon Greengrass on 02 May 2019
In reply to Ben Sharp:

> If you think about it then it really isn't, it's certainly not in the same league as not being visible enough which a lot of cyclists are guilty of.

Nice bit of victim blaming there.

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Enty - on 02 May 2019
In reply to NIGBEE:

> How does a vehicle that is going to kill me sound different to one that isn't going to? 


I can think of a few hypothetical examples.

E

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MonkeyPuzzle - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

> >  Also, I reckon the deaf would argue they are capable of being perfectly safe cyclists.

> I'm sure that there are motorists and their defence lawyers who would argue otherwise.

Motorists and their defence lawyers seem to manage justifying driving into the back of cyclists sporting hi-vis and bike lights whilst on open stretches of road, so I won't argue with you there.

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Yanis Nayu - on 02 May 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

Research the statistics. 

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DubyaJamesDubya - on 03 May 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

So you'd ban deaf people from the road?

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wintertree - on 03 May 2019
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> So you'd ban deaf people from the road?

Better ban electric cars as well; at low speeds they’re so quiet a cyclist relying on hearing may not know about them.

Its a real PITA for letting horse riders know you’re behind them and planning to overtake; use of the horn to alert the riders is as bad an idea as overtaking when the riders don’t know you’re there.  

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Dan Arkle - on 03 May 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> No but it is already illegal to wear headphones or earphones when driving a car.. 

No it isn't! 

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Rog Wilko on 03 May 2019
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

Agree with Ben Sharp. Speaking as a cyclist with a very poor view of the way a minority of drivers treat us on the road I still think the way some cyclists dress might be construed as contributory negligence. (Ducks down behind parapet).

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Ben Sharp - on 03 May 2019
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

> If you think about it then it really isn't, it's certainly not in the same league as not being visible enough which a lot of cyclists are guilty of.

> Nice bit of victim blaming there.

I'm not sure that's the most appropriate use of the phrase victim blaming; some would reserve it’s use for things like domestic violence, hate crimes, crimes against minorities or the victims of prejudice. Compare these two examples:

There is a man that cycles into the town where I live in the morning at about 8am which means it’s dark during the winter. He doesn’t wear reflective clothing or have any lights on his bike. I’m aware of a couple of near misses with him and one day he’ll kill himself or someone else. He is breaking the law by not having lights on his bike, if there is an accident, I would have no problems blaming him for it. I saw someone else recently cycling in dark clothing in the rain and I couldn’t see them until I was right on top of them. A car coming the other direction would have no chance. This is not an appropriate use of the phrase victim blaming.

There was a woman who got raped in a town where I used to work, I heard it on the local radio news while I was working with a colleague and the first thing she said was "what was she doing out on her own around there at that time of night?" The victim wasn't in the wrong because of where she decided to walk at night, the perpetrator broke the law and focussing on how the victim behaved is victim blaming.

Can you see the difference between the two situations and why you would use victim blaming for the latter but not the former? When I go out on my bike, I wear reflective clothing and use lights when it’s dark. If I’m in the car and someone’s decided to go stealth on their bike then quite frankly it really shouldn’t be my problem if they get themselves killed. And that's coming from someone whose been knocked of their bike more than once by people in cars and lorries. There is a vast difference between advising cyclists to make themselves visible and advising people to dress a certain way to avoid a crime being committed against them. Conflating the two only detracts from a legitimate problem in society where we have a tendency to blame the victim of a crime based on our own internal prejudices, usually directed towards the disadvantaged or discriminated against.

Post edited at 09:19
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DubyaJamesDubya - on 03 May 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

> Agree with Ben Sharp. Speaking as a cyclist with a very poor view of the way a minority of drivers treat us on the road I still think the way some cyclists dress might be construed as contributory negligence. (Ducks down behind parapet).

I'm fed up with the way that it is assumed that as a cyclist I have some sort of collective responsibility for the way other cyclists behave. I see people riding on the pavement or without light with dark clothing on and hear people talk aggressively toward cyclists as a group.  Funny how joyriders and such aren't viewed as reflecting badly on car drivers as a group.

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Jon Greengrass on 03 May 2019
In reply to Ben Sharp:

wow, I don't know how to reply to that, are you being ironic?

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Eric9Points - on 03 May 2019
In reply to Ben Sharp:

Absolutely Ben.

I'm baffled as to why three people disagree with a perfectly reasonable point of view. It's a shame they didn't engage in some reasoned debate rather than press a button. Maybe they didn't like what you said because they can't see anything wrong with it.

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fred99 - on 03 May 2019
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

> >  Also, I reckon the deaf would argue they are capable of being perfectly safe cyclists.

> I'm sure that there are motorists and their defence lawyers who would argue otherwise.

A neighbour of mine was knocked off his motorcycle and put into a coma followed by around 50 operations (he's recovered now). The driver of the van was arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced to 6 months in jail (as well as a lengthy driving ban). This underlines the level of responsibility for the collision.

His insurance company's lawyer tried to claim that my neighbour was 50% responsible for his own injuries because he was riding a motorcycle !

Lawyers - they'd argue anything that suits them or whoever is paying them.

Biggest bunch of liars around - and that includes politicians and estate agents.

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elsewhere on 03 May 2019
In reply to Ben Sharp:

> I saw someone else recently cycling in dark clothing in the rain and I couldn’t see them until I was right on top of them.

Part of using the roads is anticipating (as you seem to have done) where you might plausibly encounter known risks such as legal pedestrian in dark clothes or in your case this particular illegal cyclist you've even seen enough times to actually recognise (actually that was somebody else, but you get the point). Hence you try to drive so you can stop within the distance you can see or slower if appropriate for other road users & speed limits. That means you should be able to see & avoid (as you did) the illegal cyclist just as you would see & avoid a legal pedestrian.

The cyclist has a responsibility but that does not absolve other road users from anticipating/adjusting to ***plausible*** risks, mainly other road users who are imperfect or even illegal and definitely not just weather & road conditions. Defensive driving* I guess.

*defensive cycling/pedestrianism too

I dress and light up like a Christmas tree which helps those paying attention but they would have seen me anyway, it might help those who are a bit inattentive but it makes no difference to those not paying attention.

Post edited at 11:30
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Mike Peacock on 03 May 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

I'm not one of the dislikers but:

"When I go out on my bike, I wear reflective clothing and use lights when it’s dark. If I’m in the car and someone’s decided to go stealth on their bike then quite frankly it really shouldn’t be my problem if they get themselves killed."

Whilst cycling without lights is obviously not a very clever thing to do, your car has two massive torches attached to the front of it. Unless a cyclist literally throws themself onto your bonnet you should be able to see and avoid them, just as you should be able to avoid unlit walkers on country roads, or fallen trees that might also be lacking in hi-vis.

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subtle on 03 May 2019
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> If/when I get killed or seriously injured there’s a 99% chance it’ll be because of somebody driving like an arsehole. If you care about cycling safety lecture people about driving safely around cyclists. 

This.

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SpaceCaptainTheodore on 03 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

In my youth (relatively speaking, I'm still youngish, he said with faint desperation) I almost exclusively cycled listening to music. I was always comfortable with my awareness of traffic and, if I thought the music was a distraction, would pop an ear bud out our turn it down a little.  I don't ever listen to music when cycling now, but it's a different experience In after, not a safety thing.

Except for the more militant among us, I think if you're getting unexpected passes etc. the fear would influence a review of behaviours. As such, it's probably safe to assume anyone with earbuds in is probably reasonably aware of their environment and happy that the risk level is proportionate.

With the old dark clothing chestnut, I never encountered a cyclist I didn't see whilst driving until last week coming across a man without lights.

I think if this is happening to anyone more often, then, like most of us do, you've probably drifted into being a bit too fast (and probably stressed) in some road situations.  I also think it's natural to have the "Jesus, why isn't he dressed like a yellow clown?" or "Bloody lycra louts" reflex when this happens. Very few of us want to hurt anyone or to be in an accident, so when the prospect seems real, it's normal to have an internalised moment and then vent that frustration onto the other party.

Take home message, we're all human and life is scary. Cyclists don't want to die and probably won't do anything to accelerate it. Motorists don't want to kill and so have an understandable perspective but as a generality, and being in charge of a hurling hunk of metal, should probably be confident that they've put enough focus onto their side of the equation before judging. We should all just be nice to each other and try to get along.

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Tom V - on 03 May 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

I think it's interesting that at least seven US states have laws disagreeing with the majority of posters on this thread.

Post edited at 12:25
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Tom V - on 03 May 2019

As a pedestrian or cyclist, if someone nearby is driving like an arsehole, I'd like to be able to hear them approaching. 

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SpaceCaptainTheodore on 03 May 2019
In reply to Tom V:

Yeah, but if we ran our lives according to States' statutes, we would be banning ferrets, controlling the sale of lawn mowers, promoting creationism and preventing other people from accessing contraception and abortion. I don't think that comparison signifies.

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Eric9Points - on 03 May 2019
In reply to Mike Peacock:

No, that's just plain wrong.

Do you drive a car?

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Mike Peacock on 03 May 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

Nice assumption. Yes. Before I left the UK a few years back I was driving about 40,000 miles a year.

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Tom V - on 03 May 2019
In reply to SpaceCaptainTheodore:

 Stop, look, listen is something kids are taught which acknowledges that hazards on the road are often audible where they are not visible. Depriving yourself of a useful sensory aid when out in traffic flies in the face of common sense.

Car drivers playing music  are just as like ly to be distracted by music as pedestrians and cyclists but they aren't as vulnerable; for me they could outlaw in car entertainment tomorrow and it would make the world a better place.

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Eric9Points - on 03 May 2019
In reply to Mike Peacock:

Well in that case you should be aware that it is quite easy to miss cyclists without lights, especially in urban environments when there are lots of other lights and lots of movement.

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Eric9Points - on 03 May 2019
In reply to Dan Arkle:

> No it isn't! 


Actually, after checking, you're right. It isn't illegal to use headphones or earpieces while driving in the UK but if you are involved in an accident you are likely to be charged with driving without due care and attention. That goes for cycling too and the highway code makes no distinction between cyclists and motorists on this subject.

Further, trials have shown that using headphones as opposed to listening to the radio (or presumably not listening to anything) does increase reaction time and reduce concentration. I don't see why the result would be different for a cyclist than a car driver.

It's all here: https://www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/road-safety/drivers/headphones-as-a-driver-distraction.pdf

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Hooo - on 03 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

I won't cycle, run, ski, climb etc. with headphones on. Hearing is a useful sense, and I'm not prepared to sacrifice it for the sake of listening to tunes. It's all about risk.

The argument that deaf people can cycle so it must be fine is BS. Blind people can walk the streets, so does that make it fine to walk around with your eyes closed? Deaf people are more at risk on the roads, but it's a risk that they have to take and they take extra care to compensate for it.

On the other hand, we all take unnecessary risks. If someone understands and evaluates the risk of riding with headphones and decides that in their current circumstances this risk is justified by the gain, and if they take this additional risk into account in their behaviour, then I don't have a problem with people doing it. The problem is people who ride with headphones in without even thinking about it, because it hasn't crossed their minds that is increasing their risk.

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Jimbo C - on 03 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

I don't even run with head-phones in. I'd much rather be able to hear what's going on around me. Not just for safety either, I also like to hear the noises the bike is making, and when near woodland, the birds singing too.

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The Norris - on 03 May 2019
In reply to Ben Sharp:

If you follow through your logic in thinking that cyclists shouldn't wear headphones for their own safety, it implies that if a cyclist is knocked off by another vehicle whilst wearing headphones, you would think that s/he shouldn't have been wearing headphones, and he or she is partially to blame for their misfortune. In my opinion, that is victim blaming. 

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Tom V - on 03 May 2019
In reply to The Norris:

A bit like blaming someone who smokes sixty a day for getting lung cancer - all the sensible advice is against it but no-one likes to be told they should have heeded the warnings.

Some people make themselves victims.

Post edited at 14:36
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Bobling - on 03 May 2019
In reply to Hooo:

Well put. Thanks for contributing.

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PaulScramble - on 04 May 2019
In reply to Bobling:

I've rode with headphones for 5 years on MTB and 5 years on a road bike. Arguably it is safer on a mountain bike than on the road.

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bouldery bits - on 05 May 2019
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> I'd take a considerate competent cyclist with earphones in over an inconsiderate or incompetent cyclist without. Also, I reckon the deaf would argue they are capable of being perfectly safe cyclists.

This is true.

My total preference would be a considerate competent cyclist giving the road their full attention though. 

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Tommyfatlad on 13 May 2019
In reply to Hooo: in reply to everybody not just Hooo

Certainly is an interesting topic..... as a cyclist ive read a lot ( not all ) of the comments and have been sat thinking. My main thought / question is - Why does listening to anything make it more dangerous to ride ?

a cyclist cant get off and hide behind a tree every time they hear a vehicle approaching, so it wont stop bikes being hit by other road users - if a car is going to rear end a cyclist its going to happen if the riders listening to music or not.....

the only time it might be handy to be able to hear clearly is on the occasion that another cyclist silently approaches from behind and verbally lets you know there passing - and hardly anyone lets you know anyway. plus this is only as surprising as being passed by an electric car.

riding as a pair or in a group its handy to be able to hear vehicles behind so you can allow for easier passing but if your in a pair / group you wouldn't have earphones in anyway.

I appreciate in built up areas its more useful to be able to hear but I think that's mainly listening out for other people shouting to warn you about stuff.

being fortunate enough to cycle in the country what exactly is it I'm supposed to be listening for? if a vehicle rounds a corner on the wrong side or from behind and I'm on the inside line then being able to hear isn't going to stop the inevitable......

I appreciate that yes, it makes logical sense to be able to hear and see as much as possible to make being on the bike as safe as possible - but I cant think how me hearing it would prevent someone else from causing an accident....

id love to see the data on % of cycles in accidents that were / weren't wearing earphones...…..

Post edited at 14:16
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