would you in the first place, though?

I picked up on this post on Road.CC today – a poll of readers which ponders the question ‘should ipod use while cycling be discouraged or banned?’, prompted by an earlier call from the AA to ban headphones when cycling.

Now, call me old-fashioned, but I posted only yesterday on a momentary lapse of concentration while approaching a husy crossroads that, had I left it another two seconds, may well have signified curtains for this author.  The thought of walking along the pavement, let alone cycling on the road, while wearing headphones and listening to music simply causes me to shrug and get confused.

Don’t get me wrong – I have an ipod classic; in fact right now Can’s classic ‘Ege Bamyasi’ is playing thru the Fatman I-Dock docking station.  But that, and the car stereo, is where it belongs.  You do not, I mean you just DON’T, try and undertake a strenuous, attention-demanding activity like cycling while listening to music in your ipod cocoon.  So much goes on in your immediate and wider environment while cycling – some of it, like the breeze, the sunlight, the scenery, the birdsong, is beautiful and should really be part of the attraction of the sport.  But more crucially for your short and long term survival, so do many of the signifiers of danger.  Such, for example, as the approach of a distant car, heralded by tyre noise behind you.  Such as the traffic noise that warns you that you are approaching a busy road ahead.  Such as people talking as they stand on the pavement.

In all, 357 votes were cast, and the full results of the poll were:

It’s dangerous and should be illegal – 15% (52 votes)
It should be discouraged but not banned – 40% (144 votes)
It’s no more dangerous than a car stereo – 12% (42 votes)
It’s a red herring – there are much bigger problems out there – 33% (119 votes)

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