Possible Duplicate:
Is listening to music dangerous while cycling?

Is it bad to listen to earphones while commuting? I have a lot of people tell me I shouldn't, but I find when I'm biking without them I completely zone out other audio and I don't even notice other cars.

Is it really that bad to be listening to music while biking? Am I putting myself at risk?

Thank you.


It depends on where you're riding. If you're riding in situations where you do not need to be aware of automobile sounds (quiet side streets, broad bike paths, etc) then it's probably OK. But in traffic, or on a narrow bike path where you'll need to hear the cyclist behind you call out "On your left", I'd strongly advise against it.


Every opinion differs. Check local law and then decide for yourself.

I listen to music and audiobooks during my commute, but not on rides with others (I'd rather chat with them during the flats). I do pay attention to my surroundings and if the traffic is sketchy I will pop one (or both) buds.

  • I should have mentioned that very few of the folks on the internet like the "decide for yourself". They want to enforce what they think is right for your safety.
    – Ken Hiatt
    Jul 6 '12 at 21:04
  • A different framing of the previous comment: The behavior of others affects my own safety. It's difficult to find a situation where one really can "decide for yourself" and one's choices don't affect others. Therefore, it's reasonable to ask others to behave more safely; i.e., yes, it really is OK for me to have an opinion about your behavior while on the bike.
    – Reid
    Jul 7 '12 at 3:18

Car-locating via the auditory system is a pretty much subconscious activity, but it exists nevertheless, and requires the audio channel to be free from blocking music.

Other option would be to listen to music at a lower level, or with only one earbud inserted, but this tends to give a poor musical experience, since wind on the earbud and the lower perceived sound level from a single ear makes necessary to rise the volume too much, or otherwise the music gets obscured by noise (and roads are naturally noisy).

I'd strongly discourage earphone usage while riding a bike. A better option would be to use some handlebar-mounted speaker system that play radio or mp3.

Hope this helps.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.