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Discussion Starter #1
I've been listening to music while riding since 1982. Recently I've begun to wonder if I'm significantly compromising my safety. Not hearing a police siren recently caused a near crash that only my ABS prevented.

Any thoughts pro or con out there. Please provide your opinion/experience.

I love to listen to my ipod when riding but am weighing its safety reduction quotient.

Jim Jones



K7 Wee
 

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Living the Stereotype
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Not Safe in Maryland

In Maryland its only safe if you're listening in mono, stereo is unsafe. This is according to your state legislature:

http://home.ama-cycle.org/amaccess/laws/result.asp?state=md


Seriously, it's probably less safe listening to music than not.
Are you using earplugs or in-helmet speakers?
I listen to music with crappy-sounding headphone speakers mounted in my noisy modular helmet about half the time and I don't feel any less safe.

I'm glad the ABS worked for you and helped to avoid a collision.
ABS was one of the deciding factors in my Wee purchase.
 

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I only listen when I'm not in a town or busy area. I find it's either too distracting or, as you pointed out, masks things I should be listening for.
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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I listen to music on long interstate trips only, not around town or on fun roads.
 

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Its all about paying attention.
If it was just about listening the Deaf would note be able to drive.
Mike
 

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I use my Ipod when riding. I have a set of ear buds that have a slide volume control on the ear bud wire so I can more easly lower the volume without fumbling with the Ipod in my pocket.
If I don't have the ipod going I put ear plugs in to reduce the wind noise so I don't see a real problem with safety.
 

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these are the types of replies that I would expect from this site. I think we make up a more mature segment of the riding world, and no offence to anyone out there that likes to ride "Hair straight back, no regrets" but I do think that the strom rider is the person that typically has been riding for some time.
Having said that, I do listen as I ride, but I employ many of the same measures mentioned, modest volume, and only on the less busy biways and highways.
Its not like we are yapping on the phone while taking a van full of kids to soccer. The mature rider tends to check the mirrors and get the big picture.
 

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Not around town/urban areas and not too loud. Only had one bad experience with a firetruck, but it was enough to convince me that music doesn't belong in sub 50mph traffic.
 

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So let me get this right.
In my car I am capable of holding a conversation with three other occupants, having the radio on and speaking on my hands free phone all at the same time but when I jump on my bike having music at low volume seriously affects my safety. :confused::confused::confused:
 

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Actually K1W1, I don't think that makes you particularly safe in your car either? Somebody was telling me that new research indicates hands free is almost as bad as holding the phone - though I have no proof?

When I was driving all the time (1000km+ a week) it was nothing to have music blaring and people in the car - I was still able to concentrate on the driving. I went without a car (pre bike) for 6 months just after I moved to Sydney and it ruined my driving/multi tasking skills - to the point when I'd stop talking and listening when something was going on - merging/brake lights ahead whatever took all of my concentration. The louder it is and the more distractions there are the harder it is. I think some people make the wrong choice - focus on the talking/music and that's when crashes occur.

I personally find music detracts from the riding experience. I go out to get away from the stuff I usually have to deal with. I've only ever used an MP3 player for half a days riding across the nullabor and even then it had to be too loud to hear it over everything else. It did relieve the boredom of 3 days without corners though - a bit anyway :) I see people who can't leave the building at work without their ipod - I don't get it I'm afraid? There's plenty of other things to listen to and think about without wearing an ipod - I do understand that's just me though.

To be quite honest, this is not a topic I would normally reply to but I have just come back from seeing a friend in the hospital - a guy I sit right next to at work. He's in the ICU at the RPA hospital - got knocked off his ZZR 250 on Parramatta Rd (Very Busy) on the commute to work on Friday morning. He got knocked off by a truck (don't know what size) which proceeded to drive up his left shoulder and across his helmet (he was face up) before stopping.

Looks like he's going to be OK but he was unconscious for several days I believe. He can now write on a piece of paper - still has a trach tube so he can't talk.

Amongst other things we discussed (he managed to scrawl) was the following:

He had a 6 hr operation for a cracked skull.

He's got another 4 hr operation tomorrow morning for more of the same thing.

A Full faced Shoei possibly saved his life - open faced would possibly have snapped easier - no face bar to break?

The truck was empty. If it had a few tons of cargo on board it could have mashed his helmet instead?

His jacket was unscathed.

He can still hear the ipod playing and thinks that might be what distracted him.


In light of that I'd be inclined to think no, it's not safe to use an ipod while riding.
 

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I've got a little different take on music while riding. I'm the type of person that always has to have some sort of background noise going. I'm alway listening to music while working or surfing the web. Back when I was is school I'd alway have music going if I was doing homework or reading. I find that some sort of rhythmic background noise keeps me focussed on the task at hand. Without it my mind tends to wonder.

I should add that I use a starcom headset and wear earplugs
 

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So let me get this right.
In my car I am capable of holding a conversation with three other occupants, having the radio on and speaking on my hands free phone all at the same time but when I jump on my bike having music at low volume seriously affects my safety. :confused::confused::confused:

I'm glad you drive in another country.


Otherwise, I listen to music, while riding out in the country. Haven't had it loud enough that I don't hear anything else, but I use the er6i's and those things rock. Don't have to turn them up loud to hear the music. I can still hear the motor, and other things, over the music. (though, at idle, I can't hear the motor.)
 

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Adhd

I've got a little different take on music while riding. I'm the type of person that always has to have some sort of background noise going. I'm alway listening to music while working or surfing the web. Back when I was is school I'd alway have music going if I was doing homework or reading. I find that some sort of rhythmic background noise keeps me focussed on the task at hand. Without it my mind tends to wonder.
This is classic ADHD. Listening to music lessens the number of distractions to one. Without the music, there are far more distractions.

Note that ADHD does not always mean physical hyperactivity. It's the brain that's in overdrive, and the music calms it down.

My medicine of choice lately is DragonForce. :)

-Beensy in Niagara Falls
(off to Miami tomorrow)
 

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So let me get this right.
In my car I am capable of holding a conversation with three other occupants, having the radio on and speaking on my hands free phone all at the same time but when I jump on my bike having music at low volume seriously affects my safety. :confused::confused::confused:
When I'm on my bike, the music isn't at what I'd call low volume, because it has to fight wind noise (and let's not turn this into a discussion about noise-cancelling ear buds or the fact that I may be damaging my hearing). So that's why I rarely use the iPod, and why I only use it in areas of low traffic. Plus, I think it takes a different skill set to ride the bike vs. drive the truck, because imho there's more to be aware of when riding. Another reason I reserve the music for rural rides.

In my truck, the music is only loud if I'm not in town/heavy traffic, and it's usually never loud enough to block out other noise such as sirens, etc.

If I'm on the cell phone in the cage - using a hands-free set - the radio goes off. If I'm talking to someone else in the vehicle, the music is either low or off, and my eyes don't leave the road. If I need to use the cell phone while someone else is in the cage, I'll often have them make the call/do the talking for me.

Oh, and if I have to do any careful maneuvering, the radio also goes off. Yes, this includes parking. I find in some situations I concentrate better without music, because it distracts me. Maybe I'm an extreme case, but there are some things that I'm not good at while multitasking. I just try to recognize my limits. And the older I get, the more limits I discover ... :mrgreen:
 

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I like to have all my senses available to me without distractions. I also like the sound experience of riding a motorcycle. Just me and the machine. I can listen to music or watch TV(GPS) somewhere else.:rolleyes:
 

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Actually K1W1, I don't think that makes you particularly safe in your car either?
I was simply trying to make a point. Most of us think nothing of having a radio or music on and engaging in a conversation while driving a car. Some even talk on the phone as well.
So while we think nothing of driving a car and talking or driving a car and having the radio on it seems that we constantly need to have these discussions about whether is safe to do so on a bike.
My attitude is that if you are comfortable with the concept then fine, go ahead. if you are not don't! There appears to me to be no need or reason to listen to music based on the advice of people who are in most cases complete strangers.
Previously I would have said definitely no music, I ride to get away from all of that, etc. Then I actually tried it for myself and found that it was relaxing and in no way distracting (for me) and that I could have the music going at a low volume that still enabled me to hear the engine and surrounding noises (other bikes and vehicles for example) but that in many ways it enhanced the riding experience on country runs. I do not listen to the music as such and at the end of a ride I would probably be hard pressed to tell you what songs were playing but it's simply there as a rather more pleasant sound than the wind rushing around my visor. I'm not comfortable with having music going in the city and don't do that.
As far as talking on the handsfree is concerned I'm not 100% happy about that either and do usually pull over if I need to have the conversation or end the call quickly if I don't.

He can still hear the ipod playing and thinks that might be what distracted him.
My only motorcycle vs car accident was in the days well before iPods existed when radios were an extra cost optional extra in most cards so statistically that is one accident where and iPod may have been a factor and one where an iPod definitely was not a factor. I guess we can say that the case is nowhere near proven yet.
 

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I tried it a few times and didn't really like it. Sometimes on the slab but I just can't do it in the twisties or around town.

I don't listen to my GPS either, I just glance at the screen. That way I'm in control, if I want to look I do, if I don't I don't.
 

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I enjoy listening to music through my headset while on the road. I wear earplugs, so the sound isn't deafening and comes through as good quality music. I don't listen to it while riding in in-town traffic or other congested traffic situations because I do feel as if it makes for greater distraction. I need to pay closer attention to my riding environment, and music in my headset doesn't help that.

Currently I only have music in my Gold Wing. I haven't gotten around to getting an Ipod or whatever for using on the Wee. I do have a CB mounted on the Wee, but have been riding without it, and the Wee is pretty entertaining by itself, even without music.

The problem with cell phones in cars or motorcycles is that the driver/rider is now faced with having to divide attention between driving/riding and carrying on a conversation. Persnally, while riding, even though I carry the phone with me, I don't have it to talk on while riding. I ride to get away from that. Anyone calling can leave a message if it's important. Even a hands-on setup is just as distracting as a hand hold phone. You still have to drive and carry on a conversation at the same time.
 
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