Bicycles + Headphones = Safety Issue

Bicycles + Headphones = Safety Issue »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. - With one look at a bike rack at the University of Oregon it becomes apparent that a large number of people choose to pedal for the commute.

However getting the attention of some campus-bound cyclists isn’t as easy: many UO students wear headphones while their riding their bicycles.

Kelly McIver, public information officer for the UO Police Department, said using headphones while you ride a bicycle is a distraction.

“It’s just another thing impeding your senses, that keeps you from being as aware as possible from everything going on around you,” he said.

McIver said there are several accidents on campus each year involving bicyclists who violate traffic laws. “There’s a lot of demand for parking, there’s a lot of cycling activity, and there’s a lot of pedestrian activity. All those things converge and it’s a safety issue,” he said.

KVAL News flagged down a couple of student bicyclists wearing headphones to see what they thought about it.

“A lot of times I ride with one headphone in, and a lot of times I do it because I’m talking on the phone with someone,” Xander Berenstein said. He said a lot of bicyclists get into accidents without using headphones, so he doesn’t think wearing them makes a big difference.

Jack Yates said there’s an intersection on campus where “lots of people wear small headphones. They’ve got them in both ears and they’re not paying attention and there’s lots of crashes down there.”

Yates knows about distracted bicycling first hand. He walked into an intersection and was hit by a distracted biker when he was in middle school. His hand was run over by a tire, but he was not seriously injured. He said he wasn’t paying attention.

Kasy Wilson was sideswiped by a bicyclist in the rain. She wasn’t wearing headphones at the time, but she couldn’t hear the bicycle approaching over the sound of the rain.

“I think our generation, especially, is really used to multitasking. And so I bet a lot of bicyclists don’t think it’s a big deal.” Wilson said.