Ditch Distracted Riding Habits
There is no denying that distracted driving is a serious safety hazard for everyone in and outside of the car. Although the level of potential damage does not equate to that of those driving, distracted riding can put you and others at risk. Distracted riding can include the use of cellphones, navigators, and headphones. Distractions also increase with external noise, weather, and road conditions as cyclists are more exposed to their surroundings than drivers isolated in cars. While you cannot control the environment around you, you can control your use of technology to make sure you are aware of your surroundings.
While some states and cities have banned use of phones, headphones, and other electronic devices while riding, Denver has not implemented such laws. This means it is up to you to make safe choices about when and how you use technology while riding. We recommend not using your phone or waiting until you are stopped in a safe place before sending a text, making a call, or looking at route directions.
When it comes to the choice of using headphones to listen to music while riding your bike, the safest option to make sure your ears are open is to forego them all together. That being said, if you do want to listen to music there are ways to stay safe while doing so. The following tips are paraphrased from this article from Bicycling Magazine: 5 Rules for Listening to Music on a Ride (Without Being a Jerk):
1. Use one earbud: Drop the left earbud (the one that faces traffic) so you can hear what’s going on around you. You can also opt for bone conduction headphones that allow you to listen to music while keeping your ears open to hear ambient sounds.
2. Follow the 60/60 rule: Keep your audio at healthy decibel levels of no higher than 60, and limit your time listening to 60 minutes per day to reduce damage to your hearing.
3. Bar mount your music: Instead of using headphones, use a Bluetooth speaker that can be mounted on your bike so you can listen to music in addition to being aware of external noises (just use common courtesy for those around you and keep the volume at a comfortable level).
4. Obey the rules: If you are riding as part of a group ride or event, be sure to double check the rules regarding use of headphones or music.
5. Leave the tunes behind for social rides: ditch the headphones when riding for the sake of riding with others and simply enjoy the sights, sounds, and conversations of those around you.