Wearing earphones

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
RichardPH
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Re: Wearing earphones

Postby RichardPH » 22 Jul 2014, 4:06pm

beardy wrote:
However have you actually ever tried riding with a walkman on?
Do you ever wear a walkman?


Perceptive questions, in order, no, but you probably realise this from my stance on the subject and rarely. I'm one of the people who regard music as just another aspect of life, to be taken in moderation, not an evangelical calling.

RichardPH
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Re: Wearing earphones

Postby RichardPH » 22 Jul 2014, 5:15pm

kwackers wrote:
RichardPH wrote:depriving yourself of the one sense that will warn you of the presence of 99.9% of motor vehicles does indeed seem Darwinian

Except it isn't 99.9%. If the wind is blowing in the wrong direction (particularly if you're wearing a helmet) then you'll be lucky to hear any.

There's no denying 50 years without an accident is impressive but I wonder under what conditions. How much of that is during rush hour on busy roads, what sort of mileage etc etc.

To be fair I could have avoided all of the above by riding on the pavement so rather than worry about listening to music perhaps the real question I should ask myself is where I should be doing my riding.


lots of questions.. regarding the wind preventing hearing the traffic, I just turn my head slightly to shield one ear from the wind, can easily hear what's behind then.

I started riding in London at about 11 years old including what passed for rush hour then, but it was a different world. I've since done quite a bit of city riding without contact, but not for the want of trying by [particularly City of London] buses, I simply assume drivers are going to behave badly and adjust my approach accordingly. Now my riding is mainly in the country, since I've never been hit I can't really say what's most dangerous. Most scary and worthy of caution are the farm machines, which get bigger every year, it's definitely worth knowing if that's the vehicle trying to pass, you get an inkling from the hard worked engine note, ears again.

Also found that recognising local driving norms is helpful, a recent example was Croatia. Don't try and take 'your space' on the road there, it'll be noisy at best [horns] and scary at worst with punishment passes. I don't subscribe to this riding style, but a mate on the same trip who continually rode a metre from the RHS white line whether there was a hard shoulder or not attracted a lot of abuse.

I've not done all that riding without accidents BTW, but they've been with pedestrians, other cyclists or ambition exceeding adhesion, just never with motorised traffic, that can kill you so I pay attention to what they are up to. If the traffic is too heavy and passing me would be risky, then I ride on the pavement, rare, but there are a couple of spots where I always do it, rather have a conversation with the law than a doctor.

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Cunobelin
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Re: Wearing earphones

Postby Cunobelin » 22 Jul 2014, 7:26pm

Lets go back to a basic assumption that a cyclist or pedestrian with earphones is putting themselves at risk.

Research shows that the reduction in teh ability to hear ambient noises is the same as closing the car windows.

Why on earth are motorists allowed to reduce their hearing in such a way... campaign for open vehicle windows I say!

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Wearing earphones

Postby [XAP]Bob » 22 Jul 2014, 8:14pm

Ah, but they're much safer - they only put *others* at risk...
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
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Mistik-ka
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Re: Wearing earphones

Postby Mistik-ka » 22 Jul 2014, 8:36pm

So if you're hearing impaired you shouldn't ride a bicycle :?:

Or walk :roll:

reohn2
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Re: Wearing earphones

Postby reohn2 » 22 Jul 2014, 9:29pm

beardy wrote:
Actually even the fact that there is a vehicle in the vicinity is important information that helps us avoid an accident.


This seems obvious until you ask why this is so.

The clue is speed differential and a lack of enforcement of the law.
Which is why I have a rear view mirror on all my bikes,and never wear any kind of hearing impairment whilst riding.I can't find a single reason to,but lots of reasons not to.
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beardy
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Re: Wearing earphones

Postby beardy » 22 Jul 2014, 9:38pm

So are you riding in a state of mind where you will leap out of the way of any vehicle coming from behind that you think is going to hit you?

I can not tell which ones are going to hit me, none have so far so I would have wasted my time, every time that I took evasive action but I still could kid myself that I had saved my life by doing so.

Or the other option is that you are riding along assuming that there is nothing behind you and can move around as if you have the road to yourself, not an assumption that I make, I make the default assumption that something may be behind me and check visually before moving my road positioning.

johncarnie
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Re: Wearing earphones

Postby johncarnie » 22 Jul 2014, 9:55pm

If you use ear buds then invest in mirrors, or get some of these http://www.runnersneed.com/pws/UniqueProductKey.ice?ProductID=RAFS0001BB&gclid=CJjQxonl2b8CFfMZtAod6mkAbg&gclsrc=aw.ds I'm totally deaf in my left ear and losing hearing in my right - and I don't hear cars until they are on top of me unless I wear my hearing aids. I feel much safer when I've got my aids in!

Postboxer
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Re: Wearing earphones

Postby Postboxer » 23 Jul 2014, 8:22am

I'm just not sure where the balance should lie between cyclists having to actively do things to keep themselves safe, eg. Not wearing earphones so they can hear things that may crash into them, riding in primary to prevent unsafe overtakes, having lights and high vis as well as the other forum subject, rather than just being able to follow the simple rules of the road and rely on the people around them to not kill them. Cyclists should be able to concentrate on doing what their doing, without having to try and think and control the behaviour of everyone else. There's a difference between being alert and aware that a driver may do something stupid and having to ride to prevent them doing stupid things.

So it boils down to why a cyclist should be able to hear things, if they are riding properly, with good observation, following the highway code. If everyone else on the road is also following the highway code, there should rarely be a problem.

Vorpal
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Re: Wearing earphones

Postby Vorpal » 23 Jul 2014, 8:42am

RichardPH wrote:depriving yourself of the one sense that will warn you of the presence of 99.9% of motor vehicles does indeed seem Darwinian...

regarding the wind preventing hearing the traffic, I just turn my head slightly to shield one ear from the wind, can easily hear what's behind then.


When wind noise is the worst; on a fast descent, I want to pay attention to what is in front of me and coming up, not be turning my head to hear (or see) the cars coming up behind. I just assume that they're there, and check before I maneuver. Not hearing them is not really a problem.

RichardPH wrote:Also found that recognising local driving norms is helpful, a recent example was Croatia. Don't try and take 'your space' on the road there, it'll be noisy at best [horns] and scary at worst with punishment passes. I don't subscribe to this riding style, but a mate on the same trip who continually rode a metre from the RHS white line whether there was a hard shoulder or not attracted a lot of abuse.

I've not done all that riding without accidents BTW, but they've been with pedestrians, other cyclists or ambition exceeding adhesion, just never with motorised traffic, that can kill you so I pay attention to what they are up to. If the traffic is too heavy and passing me would be risky, then I ride on the pavement, rare, but there are a couple of spots where I always do it, rather have a conversation with the law than a doctor.

I find a contradiction in your assertion that you don't 'subscribe to this riding style' refering to a mate who continually rode 1 metre from the right hand side, yet wearing earphones is 'Darwinian'.

Riding at least 1 metre from the edge is considered by many to be essential for safety, and it is the recommended practice of DfT through Bikeability and Cyclecraft. IMO, riding at least 1 metre from the edge (with a few exceptions) is more essential for safety than not wearing earphones. However, neither wearing earphones nor gutter riding should get a cyclist killed or blamed for an accident.
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cotswolds
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Re: Wearing earphones

Postby cotswolds » 23 Jul 2014, 9:55am

In all this discussion, no one from the 'headphones bad' side of the argument has given an example of anything they have done differently because of what they have heard, they just assert that they feel safer.

For quite a few years I mostly rode with a pocket radio and ear buds tuned to speech radio. I turned if off in town centres, but used it on suburban and rural roads. I was never at any time surprised by anything that happened around me where hearing might have helped. With the exception of occasional cricket, I now rarely listen to anything while riding, just because I don't want to, not because I feel it is unsafe.

When riding and hearing something coming up behind you, the best action is surely to continue confidently riding the same line. There is no way what you hear can tell you if an overtake is going to be too close, and looking behind may lead to drifting off line, increase the chance of hitting a pothole, and may make the driver think 'he's seen me, so he'll obviously get out of my way, won't he'.

There's one junction I ride through where I rely on hearing - a right turn on to a major road with a poor view to the left. In my car I inch out half way before committing, but I don't like to risk being stuck half way on the bike, so I wait until I can't hear any traffic. (Traffic from the left is coming up a very steep hill, so is always audible.)

Other than that, the only time I can ever remember taking action based on what I've heard was years ago on a twisty Oxfordshire lane. I heard something heavy come up behind me, and when I got to a suitable overtaking stretch, I waved him passed. When he didn't overtake, I turned to see why, and saw it was a tractor plus grain trailer probably only capable of 2 - 3 mph faster than I was going.

Obviously nobody should be listening at a volume where they can't hear emergency sirens, and there's probably an issue for people who get very engrossed when listening to music, but that apart, I can't see any situation where listening to something while riding has any impact on my safety.

RichardPH
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Re: Wearing earphones

Postby RichardPH » 23 Jul 2014, 10:31am

Vorpal wrote:
Riding at least 1 metre from the edge is considered by many to be essential for safety, and it is the recommended practice of DfT through Bikeability and Cyclecraft. IMO, riding at least 1 metre from the edge (with a few exceptions) is more essential for safety than not wearing earphones. However, neither wearing earphones nor gutter riding should get a cyclist killed or blamed for an accident.


I would argue with the assertion that riding a metre out is the position adopted by many, that implies a majority, try doing a survey of all the cyclists you see in traffic and make an honest appraisal.

I ride appropriately, very occasionally that means moving out and stopping the car behind from passing, under these circumstances I'm going at the speed of the traffic and there is no chance that a half concentrating driver will mistake me for a faster moving powered cycle and pile into my back wheel. I do find the '1 metre out' dogma both dangerous and illogical, I'd rather use my experience and ride according to the conditions, frankly DfT guidelines seem to be for people with no common sense and no imagination of the real world and real drivers.

Did you see the Panorama programme earlier this week, a worrying watch if you believe that riding in the dominant position will keep you safe from inattentive drivers. If the DfT admitted that most drivers are on autopilot and one day one will get it wrong and mistake you for a motorcycle, piling into you and killing you instantly, well it wouldn't do much for cycling figures would it? Sadly though it's fact of life, I used to commute in my car early on a Monday morning and would arrive at work a hour later and not remember a thing about the journey, I was making all my decisions based on a model of traffic that my mind has built up over 43 years of driving. Our lives are all patterns, if you don't conform to the pattern life will be hard, it's the same with roads, the slowest should keep to the nearside [not the gutter of course] where drivers expect them to be. Ride too far out and drivers will need to register that you don't conform the pattern and make adjustments, I'd rather not be the person who re-educates everyone who comes up behind me.

Sorry to go on and on off-topic but it's so typical of the nanny-state giving misleading advice.

kwackers
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Re: Wearing earphones

Postby kwackers » 23 Jul 2014, 10:55am

RichardPH wrote:I ride appropriately, very occasionally that means moving out and stopping the car behind from passing, under these circumstances I'm going at the speed of the traffic and there is no chance that a half concentrating driver will mistake me for a faster moving powered cycle and pile into my back wheel.

Travel at the speed of the traffic? What 30, possibly even 40+?
I doubt it. Not only that but you're contradicting yourself, why would you need to stop a car from passing if you're travelling at the same speed as the traffic? Anyone who passes is by definition travelling faster!

Just to check here. You believe that the driver can see you but can't tell whether they're closing or not?
That's utter nonsense. If they can see you they can work out how fast you're going. I've never heard of a case where a driver saw a cyclist and then rode into the back of them because they weren't going as fast as they thought.
OTOH I've heard of plenty of cases where a cyclist near the kerb was ignored by motorists because they were dismissed without thought and then came a cropper.

mark a.
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Re: Wearing earphones

Postby mark a. » 23 Jul 2014, 11:02am

RichardPH wrote:riding a metre out is the position adopted by many, that implies a majority


No, it doesn't.

As for the "nanny-state" advice of 1m riding, that's shorthand for primary / secondary positioning. So 1m isn't a dogma, primary / secondary should be. It's good advice, and one that you follow, by the sounds of it. Nanny state indeed.

With regards to headphones, I generally don't wear them but I'm happy to allow others to do so if they're sensible about it. There's already enough victim blaming, we don't need more. I don't want a future where you're already blamed when hit from behind by a car because you are hard of hearing, are not wearing a helmet, don't have hi-viz and whatever future conditions drivers would like to apply (no daytime lights? No mirrors? No flags? No warning buzzer? No cyclist's airbag?)

Bicycler
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Re: Wearing earphones

Postby Bicycler » 23 Jul 2014, 11:24am

RichardPH wrote:
Vorpal wrote:
Riding at least 1 metre from the edge is considered by many to be essential for safety, and it is the recommended practice of DfT through Bikeability and Cyclecraft. IMO, riding at least 1 metre from the edge (with a few exceptions) is more essential for safety than not wearing earphones. However, neither wearing earphones nor gutter riding should get a cyclist killed or blamed for an acc
ident.

I would argue with the assertion that riding a metre out is the position adopted by many, that implies a majority, try doing a survey of all the cyclists you see in traffic and make an honest appraisal.

'Many' doesn't mean a majority. It means a considerable number. If you mean a majority then the word is 'most'. There is a big difference between the opinions of experts in road and cycle safety and the current practice of most cyclists (or drivers).
RichardPH wrote:Did you see the Panorama programme earlier this week, a worrying watch if you believe that riding in the dominant position will keep you safe from inattentive drivers. If the DfT admitted that most drivers are on autopilot and one day one will get it wrong and mistake you for a motorcycle, piling into you

I didn't see the programme though I will have a look. Such an opinion doesn't seem to be borne out by evidence in that very few cyclists are killed and drivers very rarely claim to have seen a bicycle and thought it was a motorcycle. The common claim is not to have seen the bicycle at all. I don't think a bicycle resembles a motorcycle to anybody (except maybe with powerful lights at night). Wouldn't this be a much bigger problem for mopeds seeing as they do resemble motorcycless? I'm not sure how a driver at any distance who cannot discern a pedal cycle from a motorcycle could see the difference between your out of the gutter but not 1m out position (that's got to be a good couple of feet, right?) and someone 1m from the kerb.

I used to commute in my car early on a Monday morning and would arrive at work a hour later and not remember a thing about the journey, I was making all my decisions based on a model of traffic that my mind has built up over 43 years of driving.

Then I don't think you are in a position to be giving advice to others.

the slowest should keep to the nearside [not the gutter of course] where drivers expect them to be,

There's this bizarre motorists' fantasy about a duty of cyclists to keep as far left as physically possible. For the avoidance of doubt let me make it clear that where there is a single lane there is no obligation on slower vehicles to keep further left, there is merely a requirement for all vehicles to keep left. This does not mean anything different for different classes of road user. When you say "the slowest" you really mean cycles because none of the other slow vehicles/animals are expected in law or practice to ride further left than a car would be. Can't you see the inherent problem of a single vehicle lane being occupied by two vehicles side by side ?