24 June 2008

iPods And Cycling, An Argument FOR Them?

You may remember back in September of 1946, OK so it was 2007, I wrote a little ditty called Taking The Tunes On The Road. I've actually been meaning to write this follow-up for some time now, so here goes:
Back on May 13, 2008 four people were killed in a helicopter crash. The catch, you ask since you read enough to know there is always a catch, is this; the pilot and two people were in the helicopter at the time. It appears the fourth was Isaiah Otieno, 23, a student at the College of the Rockies. Apparently he was walking and wearing an iPod or similar and did not hear the falling Bell 206 helicopter that was crashing to the ground. Sadly it came in low and he was dragged for 10 to 15 meters before being trapped under it. Even more sad is the obvious fact that he died. This had me thinking though. If this type of inevitable occurrence is to happen, isn't it really better you don't see, or hear, it coming? I know if I'm going to get road pancaked by one of the locals Lexus SUV's I don't think I want to hear it coming. So might it actually be in your best interest to wear that iPod on the road? Just trying to be devils advocate here.


yeahdog said...

Not so sure about open road cycling, but in terms of urban cycling it really does help to be able to hear everything: approaching sirens (there have been times when I've had the right of way to enter an intersection but stopped just in time to avoid being plowed by emergency vehicles going against the light because I heard the sirens before I saw them), cars approaching from side streets/honking from blind alleys, other cyclists overtaking you to pass, etc..

Just my take on it. Nothing pisses me off more on the lake path than the people who are riding/running/skating/etc with ipods on and zero awareness of what's going on around them. It sucks trying to pass these people because they often don't hear your approach and have an unhealthy habit of swerving in front of you at the last minute to avoid obstacles that are way ahead of them. Curiously, ipod wearers also seem to be anti-over-the-shoulder-looking-before-making-moves people as well.

Highwaymunky said...

Personally I love wearing my ipod on my bike but my ride is mostly rural and I do what I do, riding on the road in an assertive manner ensure that the cars see me.
Regular over the shoulder checks are a must.
But i'd never have it so loud that I couldn't hear cars passing or sirens!
Nothing beats bombing down some single track with metal tunes blasting in your ears. Sound tracks are a must!

Bluenoser said...

I don't know what to say about it Phun. I try to ride safety first. In traffic urban and rural I need every edge I can get.

I followed a young guy on the way to the race two weekends ago. I followed him about 20 feet behind him for about a minute as he wandered back and forth between the side and centre line.

When I passed him he was scrolling through his tunes. I was in a 3/4 ton FWD truck, the same as the helicopter he would have never heard it coming.

I've tried it and felt very uncomfortable because I wasn't able to hear traffic so I turned it off and never did it again. I don't get uptight when I hear traffic but found I did when I couldn't. It's like there is a tiger out there in the dark waiting in the bushes and you can't see it but have to walk by.

I had a word with the guy on the bike because he came to the race and it was a waste of time because he had no clue about what I was talking about. The buds are a constant part of life for some folks now.


Harp said...

I only wear mine when I'm out on open rural roads on my road bike and when I'm riding gravel on my mountain bike. I keep them low enough that I can hear traffic coming up behind me.

When I'm commuting in town I agree with yeahdog I need every advantage I can get.

What really drives me nuts is when people ride with them on in the local park singletrack. There is no one set direction in it and lots of switchbacks. You hear someone coming before you see them and I've almost been taken out a couple of times by someone who didn't hear me coming. One time I kept asking to get around a guy in tight singletrack and he couldn't hear me cause he had them up so loud and them was pissed when I rubbed him to let him now I was there after following him for a 1/4 mile.

So I guess in the end I find them ok is some situations but definetly a problem in others.

Judi said...

I recently stopped wearing headphones unless I am on a bike trail. I can still hear what's going on around me. I think after reading the comments here I will go back to wearing them in rural areas. Not in traffic though.

Dee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dee said...

I wear an Ipod, but I don't have it real loud (I am an old gal) and I ride with all my senses. Frequent shoulder checks! Lots of Prius in my city, the cabbies love them for the extra $500 bucks a week income. Just a matter of time til some confident 'no ipod' rider gets a fright from a hybrid car in stealth mode. Get ready for the new paradime ...