Should I Use Headphones While Cycling? (With pros and cons)

We all have different opinions when it comes to cycling with headphones, should or shouldn’t wear them. What are the pros and cons? If we have to wear which is the right way and right headphones so we can ensure our safety as well as enjoy the ride.

These and more questions will be answered in this article. So let’s start the article but first here is a quick answer for you.

Should I use headphones while cycling? Headphones definitely reduce the hearing ability and you can lose your focus as well. So from a safety perspective, you shouldn’t wear headphones while cycling. However for those who prefer to wear headphones while cycling, bone conduction headphones like Aftershokz are the ideal choice. They let you hear the music as well as everything going on around you quite well.

While looking at what other people/cyclists have opinions on whether to wear headphones while cycling or not I found a pretty interesting discussion and survey. So I thought it should be shared with you people.

Headphones and Cycling: Survey

A quick recap of what the survey was about and how many people participated.

The survey was held by a Reddit user mrnavigator5000. In the survey, he asked people to fill a form.

The form contains 5 questions with few options.

  1. Do you wear headphones when cycling? (yes, no, sometimes)
  2. If so, do you have one side in or both? (one, both)
  3. What kinds of content do you listen to when cycling? (music, podcasts, audiobooks, navigation apps)
  4. What are your favorite genres of music to listen to while cycling? (your answer)
  5. What kind of listening devices do you use when cycling? (over-ear headphones, speakers, earbuds, Bluetooth headsets/AirPods, bone conduction headphones)

And guess what the form was filled by over 1,523 people. This means there’s lots of data to make a good decision on whether to wear headphones while cycling, wearing one side or both appropriate, which type of device to use, and more.

Here are some infographics pulled with the data.

headphones and cycling

And those who’re interested in reading all the stuff here are the links to the Imgur and Reddit thread.

That is not there is a lot more to explore.

And if you decide that you will wear the headphones while cycling, first finds out whether it is legal or not.

Is it legal to use headphones while Cycling?

It turns out, the law varies from state to state and even city to city. In some cases, you can be fined for wearing earbuds/headphones on your cycle; in other places, there is no such ban on cyclists with audio devices.

However, in most countries/states, it’s actually fully legal to use headphones as long as you’re not using them as earmuffs or other safety equipment. You should note that there are different rules for drivers and cyclists though, so make sure to read through them before making any assumptions about your rights on the road!

Below I’ve listed some countries and states where wearing headphones while cycling is legal and illegal so it might help you to find about your location.

State/CountryLegal/Illegal
Belgiumlegal
Franceillegal in any form since 2015
Germany legal if it isn’t too loud (unclear how this is policed)
Italyone ear only
Portugal one ear only
Spain illegal in any form
Sweden legal in all forms
United Kingdom legal in all forms
Louisianaillegal
Ohioillegal
Marylandillegal
Rhode Islandillegal

Reasons to Not Wear Avoid Headphones While Cycling

 

1. Safety

You should never put your life in danger for the sake of entertainment. Safety should be the first concern while cycling. Using headphones on both ears will not allow you to hear your surroundings. Noise from other vehicles is important to listen to during cycling as it helps to drive safely and smoothly.

Losing focus while cycling may also cause accidents. That is why from a safety point of view wearing headphones is not appropriate when you are riding.

2. Hearing Loss

Loud noise from headphones as well as from the environment at the same time is dangerous for the ears. Firstly if you are keen to use headphones while cycling tries to cover only one ear. Using very high-volume headphones will end in hearing loss from one ear or both.

Using headphones with high volume can also cause injury inside ears with bleedings. Try to avoid using headphones for the care of your hearing ability and ears.

3. Distractions

Listening to your favorite music while cycling can create distractions. It will result in losing focus which can cause accidents as well as bad riding experiences.

You may hit a car or truck due to these distractions which can end up causing death.

4. Restrictions

There are legal issues while wearing headphones during cycling. You should know whether it is legal in your area or not. Mostly it is illegal on roads with heavy traffic.

Using headphones in such a place will result in legal actions according to the rules of the state.

Why Wearing Headphones While Cycling is Good

Music is something that can boost your speed or change you into a lazy dude. It has all those impacts while riding which can be beneficial.

1. Impact of Different Music while Riding

It is known that music has a serious impact on the listener. It also applies while riding. Mostly If you are a fast music listener it boosts your performance while at the same time slow music can impact oppositely.

Listening to your favorite music can also be helpful in boosting your performance. You can cover more distance in a short time while listening to your favorite or fast music as compared to slow or moderate music.

2. Type Of Ride

Cycling in a normal daily routine can be easily done without using headphones. If you are traveling a long distance while cycling it cant be easy without headphones.

In long rides, you can preferably try to listen to music using one ear covered. This will help in making you secure as well as you will get a proper entertained ride.

3. Environment

During cycling, you are more exposed as compared to a car rider. It allows hearing more noises as compared to a car rider having closed mirrors without music. Mostly you can easily hear the noise while wearing headphones.

To achieve the above-discussed benefits/pros you need to have the right type of headphones. Below I will share some good headphones for cycling that are good to go.

Which is the Right headphone For Cycling?

Before using Headphones for biking and cycling you should find the best and safe one.

Open ear headphones are also known as bone conduction headphones. These headphones are known for providing the sound through the bones instead of covering or blocking the ears.

These headphones are considered best for cycling as they allow you to hear all the noises of other approaching vehicles. They also help in providing a natural environment as compared to other earbuds or headphones covering the ears.

Here is the best headphone for cycling you can get to enjoy the ride as well as music.

AfterShokz Aeropex

This Open-Ear Bluetooth Bone Conduction Sport Headphone is considered the best for cycling. This premium on-ear bone conduction headphone is specially built to keep you aware of surrounding noises.

This lightweight 26-gram headphone comes with dual built-in noise cancellation mics to make it more premium.

It is a Bluetooth wireless headphone with the best battery which can work for 8 hours. Its waterproof feature gives it the best finish for using for cycling or running.

The special sport belt of these headphones makes them more comfortable and premium. There is also a special moisture detection alarm for safe charging. These are quick and a lot easier to use due to the multifunction button.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Supports sport belt
  • Open Ear Experience
  • Good Battery

Cons

  • Expensive

How to wear earphones while cycling? Right Way

Cycling headphones should be used with some precaution to prevent safety issues.

1. Volume

Try to use headphones on low or moderate volume. Prefer to adjust volume according to the traffic. Low volume will help to hear the noises of other vehicles which will make your ride smoother and safe.

2. Cover one ear

Some states don’t allow you to wear headphones on both ears. It is better to cover one ear in such areas due to restrictions. Covering one ear is better if you are concerned about your safety.

3. Never Use Noise Cancellation Headphones

Noise Cancellation Headphones are obviously helpful in noisy areas such as offices, airports, or Railway stations. But these headphones are not good for biking as they block all the environmental noises. Biking without hearing the sound of other vehicles will cause a lot of distraction which may cause accidents in the end.

FAQ

 

Is it safe to wear headphones while cycling?

Wearing headphones while cycling can be dangerous leading to death. It is also not allowed to use headphones in some states legally. Where there are cons using headphones also comes with some benefits which are mentioned above in detail.

Can you wear headphones while riding a bike in California?

Wearing headphones in California is legally prohibited. You cant wear headphones on both of your ears while biking on the roads of California. Going against this can cause legal action including a fine.

Is it illegal to wear headphones while riding a bike UK?

Legally there are no restrictions in the UK regarding the usage of headphones while biking. You can cover both ears with headphones but it will not allow you to hear the noises of other vehicles. It is better to avoid using headphones for safety reasons.

Conclusion

It is always dangerous to use headphones while driving. However, you can use a headphone while cycling but you need to ensure it let you enjoy the music and at the same time allows you to hear your surroundings.

Some states forbid cyclists from wearing headphones as they significantly reduce the hearing ability to hear surrounding noises.

So all you have to do is first find out whether your state allows wearing audio devices during driving or cycling and then choose the appropriate type of headphone and yes in most cases you can wear headphones while cycling.

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