Biking to work in the United States isn’t as popular compared to European countries. However, it is increasing year after year. In 2014, at least 60% of workers commute by pedaling. Portland, Oregon has the highest percentage of worker-bikers at 6.4%. In DC, the number has been increasing by 1,200 people annually.
Many of these bikers prefer to wear headphones while on the road, as listening to music keeps them up to pace. Others listen to songs to keep themselves entertained. Whatever the reason, there’s a long-standing question.
Is it safe to use headphones or should they consider Bluetooth motorcycle handlebar speakers instead?
The Arguments about Headphones
Whether wearing headphones while biking is safe or not is hard to argue. There is no sufficient scientific data available. In fact, many states do not have any law about using one when on the road. Those who put on their headphones, though, should know eight states do have regulations. Five allow listening with only one ear, while the rest do not allow them at all.
One of the biggest contentions about headphones is they block out the noise. That in itself is dangerous. The biker may not be able to hear an oncoming vehicle behind them. Some wear their headphones to keep themselves focused. In certain cases, the device is counterproductive since the songs may divert the biker’s attention from the road.
For many users, headphones do not block out the noise completely. But it all depends on the style. Some of them, for instance, have noise-cancelling features. Those with in-ear buds can remove ambient noise effectively. Furthermore, depending on the size of the headphones, it may prevent the biker from wearing the helmet properly.
The best solution to the problem is to consider not wearing one until there’s enough study to show its safety. Instead, consider using Bluetooth speakers instead, which can provide the same benefit without blocking one of the primary senses.