Why cycling with earphones is not a good idea
You might be tempted to pop in your earphones and keep yourself entertained with the latest podcast for your ride to work, but here’s why you should think twice before doing so.
The topic is polarising, many people consider it to be ok to wear earphones while riding, whereas others disagree. To be clear, in the UK and many other countries it is not illegal to use earphones, ultimately it's the rider's choice
You're less able to hear your surroundings
This is probably the number one reason why you shouldn’t wear earphones while riding. Your ears play a huge role in keeping you safe. Either consciously or unconsciously, sounds from cars and other hazards provide early warning and help you take action when needed. If all you can hear is music, it's likely to affect your ability to hear for potential hazards.
The other big factor is distraction, being distracted while riding might lead you to danger. For the most part cycling is easy, and you don’t have to consciously think while you ride, but listening to something could mean you're not paying attention to the road and there's a chance you might miss pot hole or junction.
You might argue how this is any different to listening to music in your car, and ultimately, it's very similar. But let’s not forget that your hearing in a sealed car plays a much smaller role in keeping you safe. The mirrors and other features available in modern cars (such as blind spot warning) help you be hyper aware of your surroundings.
What about bone conduction speakers?
The theory behind bone conduction speaker is that you can still hear your music as if you were wearing earphones but because it doesn’t block the ear cannel, so you can still hear background noise. While the theory could be true, this doesn’t account for the distraction point above and so probably aren't worth betting on.
Cycling as an escape
For many, cycling is an escape. Today we spend so much of our lives looking at screens big and small, listening to music all day and watching TV all night. Your ride home is your escape, your chance to disconnect and reflect on your own thoughts. Cycling is ultimately as good for your mental health as your physical and being in the moment will help you make the most of its benefits.