Wearing headphones to listen to music whilst cycling can be dangerous.


What if whilst listening to music with headphones, we could utilise the headphone's or even the smartphone's mic to fade in the noises of the outside world by a % so we could hear both?

  • No this is a daft idea. Your ears are complex differential point-destinations, and your brain can calculate an approximate direction from the time difference of the arrival of the sound at each ear. You would need at least two microphones, and to encode each channel onto the correct ear so that the latency is duplicated. This is a problem requiring hardware, and not just a software app.
    – Criggie
    Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 8:48
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because a product design proposal, not a question about cycling. Commented Oct 21, 2017 at 13:14

2 Answers 2


There is. It's called leaving out one headphone. I don't mean to be smart, but even if you do fade the music out to a certain extent, you're brain can't multitask and will choose the music over the sounds of car horns and wind whistling.

  • 3
    This doesn;t help with directional hearing though - and that's very important.
    – Chris H
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 12:39

Using headphones with bone conduction. I was using headphones with bone conduction while riding. You can hear clearly outside world and the music both. Your brain will automatically select the loudest sound from both two sources. Their problem that in a road with high car traffic there is an engine sounds that are louder then headphones, so, you dont listen to the music actually. After a year, i switched from headphones with bone conductuin to external speaker (one of JBL) and placed it on an internal frame traingle. After some time I changed it place to a side pocket of my backpack. In both places I had to make it macimum loud to hear. So I am now sure that sound system music source must be in front of you, as near as possuble to the ear to make it loud enough to hear and quite enough to othera not hear (wind blows off the sound whule you riding, so it is hard for sound to ger from a bottom of a frame to your ear while you moving). Next will be a little speaker placed on a handlebar so the sound will have mych shorter way to get to my ear, and i can make it mych quieter so other world wil not be annoyed by my music and i will not have to make it's sound volume too high to hear, and that will save batteries)

  • I have a bone conduction headset and while it works well enough, high speed wind still drowns out the sound. Audio fidelity is pretty terrible too. However it allows me to know there's a phone call and to stop and deal with that.
    – Criggie
    Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 8:45
  • @Criggie as you seem to have tried it, what do you think about the masking/distraction from bone-conduction headphones? Or do you use them for alerts only? I'm considering them for navigation/information purposes but wouldn't want a long speech from my navigation software to spoil my ability to hear cars.
    – Chris H
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 12:42
  • @ChrisH I use them for music on long rides in the open, not for short rides or around town. I can always hear cars/trucks approaching, but bikes can still sneak up on me. Mind you other bikes can still do that when I'm not wearing them. Long-term I want to get wireless ones to play from the phone, so I can hear Strava's announcements too.
    – Criggie
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 1:32

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