Before I say anything else in this article, I’ll start off by saying this about listening to music while riding a bike: NO. Don’t do it. It’s far too dangerous and will probably get you or someone else on the streets injured. That said, I understand that sometimes, you need your music to help pep you up for an energetic workout. So, here are 6 rules to absolutely follow when listening to music on the road.
Never do it on a busy street
No matter what happens, if traffic is high, just forego the music. Since bikers are more prone to injury than people in cars, it is best to keep your ears open and your mind alert and aware, so that you can hear the sound of the traffic and act accordingly. Listening to music to pump you up is fine in a less crowded place, like a park, for example.
Use only one earphone
Using one ear to listen to music and the other to listen to the traffic is a good idea, especially if you leave the ear facing the traffic free. This will let you hear the horn of another vehicle or the bark of a dog or anything else that will alert you to their presence and let you move out of the way safely.
Set it at 60%
The volume of your music should never be at more than 60% of the maximum volume allowed on your phone. Any louder, and your music could drown out the traffic, making you a potentially dangerous rider. Several riders use the 60-60 rule, which says that music should be no louder than 60% and not be listened to for over an hour (sixty minutes).
Use on-ear headphones
…but do not put them over your ears. Instead, turn them all the way up, and let them hang from your neck. This will let you listen to your music, but not become a nuisance for other drivers around you or drown out the traffic either. If you’re unable to hear your music from your neck, position the headphones so that they sit on your cheekbones or temple, of your headphones allow it. It might seem a little odd at first, but it will keep you safe.
Attach a speaker to your bike
A small battery-operated speaker mounted on your handlebars can be an alternative to earphones or headphones, but you have to keep the volume low enough to keep other drivers from getting disturbed. Again, if the situation calls for it, forego the music. There’s no point in getting a ticket for music that you can listen to later on. Check out these reviews of various Bluetooth speakers here on Bikers Basics.
Use a boom box
If you’re travelling as part of a group, a boom box, which is naturally louder than a regular speaker, could be a good idea. It would make the ride more fun for you and your group members. Make sure to use this only on empty roads. Listening to loud music even as part of a group will just make your group look like jerks.
Music is something that can make an already pleasurable activity like cycling even more fun. Several studies have shown that music increases stamina and energy levels, and reduces perceived exertion. So, it makes sense that bikers should want to listen to music while they get in their daily dose of exercise, and that’s okay. But safety and traffic rules should never be ignored. So, these are some reasonable compromises that can let you listen to music in a relatively safe manner. Be mindful of the people and vehicles around you, and always remember to turn your music off if the situation calls for it. Nothing is worth more than your safety. Happy riding!