Day 8: iPods and cycling – a dangerous combo?

11 01 2010

I walked in front of a moving delivery truck today. By accident of course. I was paying attention to where I was going (or so I thought), but I didn’t hear the truck because I was listening to my iPod as I crossed the parking lot at work after lunch. It wasn’t a close enough call that I almost got squished (thanks to the driver who was more alert than I was), but it still made my heart skip a few beats.

According to the 2010 U.S. Statistical Abstract, there were 37.4 million people who participated in bicycle riding in 2007 in addition to 7.4 million mountain biking participants. (Participants were defined as an individual seven years of age or older who participated in a sport more than once a year). The Statistical Abstract’s “Transportation, Accidents, Deaths and Injuries” report states that there were 43,000 cycling-related injuries reported in 2007. And those are just the ones that were reported. I expect many more are not reported at all. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that 68 percent of bicyclist deaths occurred in urban areas, while 31 percent occurred in rural areas in 2008. Thirty-eight percent of those deaths in 2008 occurred in intersections.

I wonder how many cycling-related injuries in the U.S. each year can be attributed to the use of portable MP3 players by the cyclist? As of this writing, I’ve not been able to find this information for the U.S., but I did run across a few articles discussing “iPod zombies” as they’re referred to, in the UK:

Generation of ‘cycling iPod zombies’ blamed for rise in deaths on the road (Daily Mail)

iPod blamed for Aussie death (Sydney Morning Herald)

Beware, iPod zombie cyclists are on the rise (The Sunday Times)

Most statistics I’ve found for the U.S. have not included this information, but I’m still researching it. (If you find any info, please send it my way). It always makes me nervous when I see a cyclist listening to their iPod. I always leave mine at home when I’m on a ride. I save the music for when I’m training indoors. I know some people will disagree with me, but I think cyclists need as much focus as possible when riding where other vehicles are present. What do you think? Is listening to your iPod while cycling outdoors dangerous? Do you do it? Let me know in the comment section or answer the survey in the sidebar.

Today’s food journal:

Breakfast:
— Yogurt with granola = 420 cal.

Lunch:
— Weight Watchers pepperoni pizza = 390
— Diet Coke = 2

Snacks:
— Birthday cake (for a co-worker’s birthday) = 235
— 1 small apple = 77

Dinner:
— Salad with ranch dressing = 170
— Diet Coke = 2
— 1 soft pretzel = 483

Today’s starting weight: 150. And here’s this week’s photo. Scary.

Thanks for stopping by again. See you tomorrow!

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4 responses

11 01 2010
Teena

be careful my friend! glad you are okay!

20 01 2010
Greg Evans

I had a close call while riding a few years ago that, had I been listening to my mp3 player, might have ended *very* badly. I was riding on a 2-lane country road, preparing to make a left turn. As I prepared to move to the center of the lane, I did a quick shoulder check. There were several (3 or 4) cars behind me and the car immediately behind was signaling that he, too, was turning left. I made eye contact, signaled my intention, and moved to the left edge of the lane. Just as I was starting my turn I hear a car’s motor racing from behind me. Some idiot decided to pass everyone… I swerved back to the right just as he flew by (screaming at me, like *I* was in the wrong). Had I not heard him coming, I’m fairly certain he would have hit me. I haven’t ridden with headphones since (except every now and then at night, the glint of overtaking headlights provides ample warning… I generally see them coming before I hear them at night).

21 01 2010
cyclingproject365

Wow, that is a close call Greg. I’m glad you had a happy ending. Amazing how many idiot drivers are out there, isn’t it? I don’t ride with my iPod at all – only when I’m in the house on the trainer. I figure that’s pretty safe. 🙂

20 08 2010
Day 229: Manhattan Joyride « Cyclingproject365

[…] I don’t advocate listening to headphones while riding, but this event takes place on a route closed to city traffic to allow riders to enjoy the experience without dealing with the dangers of traffic. Sherman limits the event to 50 people, but if someone cancels, she reserves 15 spots for “extras.” She hopes to take Joyride to other cities. San Francisco is apparently being considered. I hope Louisville is on her list. It sounds like a great event. […]

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