Earphones Connected to More Injuries and Deaths

That headline is the claim of an automotive group in this Fox News DC story. The American Automobile Association says pedestrian injuries and deaths are increasing because people wearing earphones are not aware of their surroundings. I’d personally be interested in knowing the real crash data on this.

I don’t wear earphones while cycling, but I also realize the hearing impaired can cycle safely as well. In California, riding with both ears covered with earbuds and headphones (with some exceptions) is a violation (CVC 27400), but it is legal to ride with one ear covered.

How about you?

Via DC Metro Street Smart.


  1. I wear them on long rides > 3 hours, but on the ear facing away from traffic and not so loud that I can't hear wind noise from a grill.

  2. I wonder if there have been any studies about the relative safety of driving with the in car stereo turned up so loud that people can hear the bass line a block away – is this a public service, warning pedestrians and cyclists of an impaired driver in the neighborhood?

  3. I ride with my iHome water bottle speaker thingajiggie. That way I can also share my tunes with others in the group. Sure, it's a little more weight but seriously, people. Who am I kidding?

  4. Does that cyclist have his chainwheel on the left-hand side of the bike?! I don't know that I've ever seen such an arrangement.

  5. I wanted to mention this in the article without sounding *too* cranky, but I think it's funny / odd that it's a motoring organization telling pedestrians and cyclists to be more careful.

  6. I sometimes wear earphones, on both ears, when cycling on rural back roads by myself on longer rides. When the ride is one that I can look up, enjoy the scenery, and not have to put any thought into potholes and traffic, then I have no problem with with it.

    I think it's a very poor choice on city streets however. Anything that makes it noticeably harder to pay attention to nearby vehicles seems like a bad idea to me. Although I'm sure the Lake Wobegon affect works here too… everyone probably thinks that they are better than everyone else at listening to music while still paying attention on the road. We're all above average, right?

  7. It seems like the responsibility falls more on the shoulders on cyclists than the drivers who have way more distractions going on in their vehicles, ie, phones, radios, portable tvs, computers, etc.

  8. I think awareness is the key factor to safety.

    If you're paying attention, and keep the volume turned down quite low, I think it's perfectly rational to wear earbuds while cycling. (I didn't realize it's illegal, though, so thanks for mentioning that.)

    If you're not paying attention, the lack of earbuds is not gonna save you. I've seen people jaywalking while gazing backwards over their shoulder, and talking on a cell phone! Some people just don't pay attention to their surroundings, whether they're walking, biking or driving.

  9. Those quietly crashing planes could land almost anywhere, anytime–you never know! Guess I'll stop wearing earbuds, going to the beach, going to any open fields, umm… does anyone have a bunker I can hide in for the rest of my life?

  10. This is why I no longer watch local news.

    YOU ARE GOING TO DIE!!!! Detail later on Action News at 10…

    Just reinforcing that it's always the pedestrian's fault. Never ever the motorized vehicles. Nope, never ever.

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