Equipment and On Road Behaviour, Laws and Rules. Cycling Promotion and Advocacy
From Cycling Australia e-newsletter
You know those bunch rides you sometimes go on where someone new comes along and has an iPod in their ear? Or those riders whose mobile goes off at 5.30am when the bunch has just started rolling off? Hereâ€™s some research suggesting phones, music and bikes shouldnâ€™t mix.
25 recreational cyclists (11 men, 14 women) aged between 16 and 26 rode their bikes round a car-free 220m x 2m asphalt path for about 30 minutes. The following different conditions were imposed on them:
1. Normal cycling with two hands on the handlebars
2. Cycling with one hand on the handlebars
3. Normal music (120 beats/min) with two normal iPod-type earpieces
4. Normal music (120 beats/min) with one normal iPod-type earpieces
5. Normal music (120 beats/min) with two in-earbuds that cut off all external sound
6. Fast beat music (180 beats/min) with two normal iPod-type earpieces
7. Normal but loud music with two normal iPod-type earpieces
8. Bluetooth phone earpiece
9. Normal handheld phone
The Dutch scientists measured bike speed using GPS; how many times each cyclists heard a bike bell emitted from a pannier on their bike; how quickly the cyclists stopped and put a foot on the ground when hearing a loud horn emitted 5m from them near the finish of each ride; and how observant the cyclists were noticing safety signs or traffic lights put up randomly on each ride.
Cycling speed only changed when using either the Bluetooth earpiece or the handheld phone with speed dropping from about 19 k/hr to 17 k/hr. When riding (one- or two-handed) without any devices and when using either of the phone devices, all stop signals were heard. However, stop signals were missed 4% of the time with two earpieces in, 16% of the time with the fast music, 24% of the times when using high volume music, and an amazing 68% with the enclosed earbuds. Braking time increased only in the two phone conditions by 0.29 of a second, especially in the one-hand on handlebar condition. When riding without music or phones, 53% of the riders missed signs. This increased to 66% when using phones but music didnâ€™t affect this measure.
The So What?
The research team concluded that music worsens the ability to hear sounds, especially when wearing in-earbuds that cut out external sounds like cars, trucks and other riders. They also concluded that both handheld and hands free mobile phone use negatively effects perception of sights and sound. The bottom line is ride safe by having all the senses primed for any input that flags danger. Leave the toys at home and communicate with others in the bunch to keep everyone safe.
De Waard, D et al. (2011).Effects of listening to music, and of using a handheld and handsfree telephone on cycling behaviour.Transportation Research. 14: 626-637.
Please note that this information is not prescriptive.
Peter Reaburn is an Associate Professor in sport science at CQUniversity. He races B-grade with Rockhampton Cycling Club and in 2010 completed his second Grafton-Inverell (228 km) race. He has also won the 50-54 years National Ironman Championship at Forster in 2005 and is building to another Hawaii Ironman in 2015. Peter has presented vet rider and coaches workshops for Cycling Australia and Cycling Queensland and has a passion for â€˜bridging the gapâ€™ between sport science and sport. He has written the definitive book for veteran riders titled The Masters Athlete available at www.mastersathlete.com.au . He will be writing regular â€˜bridging the gapâ€™ articles for E Cycle.
As helmets were not worn during the study (being conducted in Dutchland) , doesnâ€™t that make it irreverent to Australian conditions?
Although I must admit that using music devices while in the bunch group does have an adverse impact on your enjoyment of the ride (as the other riders diss & curse you, ultimately banishing from the group).
How much attention do you really need to give to riding, to do it safety anyway? It seems that the answer would be â€œnever enoughâ€ as any distraction is regarded as life threatening.
A bike and a place to ride.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
I rode to work for most of a year using in-ear buds and music-player, a couple of years back. Never had any problems missing stop signals
Were these cyclists blind or something??
Ahh! Now it comes out. Just generally incompetent.... and a bit more so when playing with toys
Sorry that's got to be the best example of an invalid conclusion I've ever seen. I mean it's correct... of course in-ear buds cut out external sounds, that's what they're designed to do. But is this a serious safety risk? Jury is still out.
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
yup. useless research with a big jump to that conclusion.
they found no significant difference in the group that had the music in normal earbuds on one or 2 ears.
of course noise cancelling type headphones are going to miss a bell. thats what the headphones are designed to do. and if you ride with those, well your a tad daft.
Newbie to the cycling world.
2011 Giant TCR Advanced W
I listen to podcasts, audio books and music from an iPod Shuffle all the time ... but there are a couple of circumstances where not just relying on sight really helps.
One is anywhere amongst pedestrians, such as shopping strips, and the other is on a winding country road, where I can hear an approaching vehicle long before it appears ahead or in the mirror, and slow down to spend some quality time in the crap lining the lane's shoulder.
On main roads with constant traffic doing 60kmh or more I think the advantages of switching the toys off are minimal.
Having been on a group ride in November (the Port To Port) I've witnessed, first hand, why iPhones/iPods or any device of that sort, should not be used on a bike.
Person was messing around with his iPhone on it's mount, swiping away at the screen... He certainly couldn't hold a steady speed, let alone hold a straight line.
This in turn made the other riders around him twitchy and nervous. A nervous group is not a good place to be.
So I told him that he's making everyone around him twitchy, to which he replied "What's your f@#ken problem?"
Needless to say, I gave him a spray back, then rode around him and his playlist. I was joined by 15 other riders and he was left by himself wondering why no one would ride with him.
Headphones in a group is primarily dangerous... but it's also unsocial.
Don't want to talk to others? Get a TT bike and ride solo!
You hear the pedestrians walking towards you ???
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
Nothing to do with the music listening - he was a distracted driver. I would certainly never use a music player and headphones in a group ride of any sort - it's just plain rude.
iPods and pedestrians are a poor mix as well
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/brea ... 6224074631
2012 Oppy A4
And the cyclists announcing "Passing right" to me from behind!
Sounds indicating the presence nearby of kids, animals, a car door opening, a shopping trolley being pushed, friends laughing and talking to each other as if they're not noticing everything going on around them - I reckon those cues can help buy an extra second to reach for the brakes if they don't see you in time. I switch off the player when there are a lot of people around. It's one button.
I saw someone practising the opposite philosophy, Peter ... a hipster ninja, at night, in the City, black clothes, black single-speed, no lights, no reflectors, going through a red light texting with one hand, steering with the other.
I couldn't tell if he had earphones in. I was too busy picking my jaw off the road!
IMHO 10-year old boys and roadside repairs on a highway are the poor mix here. The iPod just magnified it a little.
I reckon if you don't see them well before you are likely to hit them....... you need your eyes checked
Even with my music fairly loud on the headphones I have I can hear bells and 'bike right' noises. Really it's about the same as riding into the usual 20kph+ winds here - or riding on the PSP near the freeway - the traffic is loud :O
I reckon i'd be more impaired riding one-handed.
Xtracycle, Surly Long Haul Trucker, Bike Friday New World Tourist, Giant TCR, 9:zero:7
So, how do you hear a come approaching from behind while listening to Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga or whatever they're passing off as music these days?
Pretty damn hard without headphones, let alone while listening to that rubbish.
So you're agreeing that iPods, etc are a distraction.
Finally, some sense. See, it wasn't that hard now, was it!
Thanks for sharing that with us Bill. Sickening dweeb that even my grandmother would have issues with. Makes me wanna ride my wheel right up where there is no light and see if the ubersmile is still there.
Unchain yourself - Ride a unicycle .
How does hearing help you know what is happening behind?? I mean know what is actually going on ?
My solution to traffic-awareness
Certainly I agree that fiddling around with an iPod (or any other screen device) while riding is pretty foolish. I don't regard listening to music as a problem or distraction however. After all I can walk and chew gum at the same time .
I do regard listening to headphone music while riding in a group as bloody rude. Solo, it's a quite reasonable personal choice..... as long as you take responsibility for being aware of all traffic. My mirror helps greatly with this, ymmv.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35896336/ns ... uxfH9V35I4
(From last year)
You don't ride around with your attention fixed on your mirror do you?
I think the usual mode of use is to scan them occasionally and whenever prompted by some audio cue. IOW you hear the car behind you before you see it even if you have a mirror. Of course if your ears are full of noisy music ...
judged, insulted, gone
Where did I ever say this??
I use the mirror much like I use it in the car. I scan it routinely for information.... probably glance at it at least every 15-20 seconds. Sound may alert my attention but, as I have said before, by the time you hear the car it's usually already passing you. In some circumstances (eg. when about to make a right hand turn move) I may focus on it for some time. This is not a problem as while looking inn the mirror I am still facing forwards and aware of what is happening ahead via peripheral vision (in contrast to the blindness of a headcheck).
The answer to the OP is NO, but that is my opinion. It is vitally important to focus while on the road when on a thin carbon bike and wearing lycra and mixing with big cars . Your senses should be on alert the whole, time. I think you are oblivion if you have earplugs in while riding, but hey that is just my opinion
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.
Speak your mind,Those that mind dont matter, Those that matter dont mind!!
So, by the same argument that ipods AREN'T a distraction, the same could be applied to loud sound systems fitted to cars.
The occupants don't need to hear what is going on around them (the fact that their choice of music can be heard by other motorists two suburbs away is of little consequence).
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