Tips for Listening to Music While Riding a Motorcycle
Is it safe to listen to music on a motorcycle? It’s a common question, and it’s reasonable to have concerns about listening to music while riding a motorcycle.
Hearing music while riding can be a dangerous distraction if done wrong. But come on, who doesn’t want to enjoy great tunes as a complement to the already thrilling experience of a motorcycle ride? It takes some time to get the hang of doing it safely, but once you know how to pair music with your favorite pastime, the experience becomes much more enjoyable.
We can’t talk about listening to music on a motorcycle without first mentioning volume. You need to be able to hear your surroundings like horns, sirens and oncoming traffic. So of course it’s wise to not blast your music too loudly. Keep the volume at a reasonable level where it’s not distracting and doesn’t inhibit your sense of awareness.
Riding a motorcycle is loud enough already, so having music on at full blast can be even more damaging to your hearing. When you’re listening to music on your motorcycle, keep it at a noise level of 100 decibels or less.
You can rock out to your favorite tunes while riding a motorcycle, but just be smart about it. … Ok, now that we got the PSA out of the way, let’s get into the benefits of listening to music on your bike, followed by some methods on how to do it.
Benefits of Music During Motorcycle Rides
Believe it or not, music can help increase your alertness while riding a motorcycle. That’s because the sounds of whooshing wind and your bike’s engine can be soothing at first, but can get redundant after an extended ride.
Listening to music helps eliminate the monotony of your motorcycle’s usual sounds, making the riding experience more pleasurable. Music can not only heighten your awareness, but it’s also known to improve your mood, which helps alleviate road rage. An angry rider can be a reckless rider, so by having great tunes to jam to on your ride, your heightened awareness and mellower mood make for safer driving.
As mentioned earlier, music shouldn’t drown out the sounds of your surroundings, but hearing music at a reasonable volume is great stimulation for longer rides. Of course loud, fast music can give you a rush and get you so pumped that you could end up speeding. Even if you’re a metalhead or prefer the loud thumping sounds of EDM, try to throw in some chill music like reggae and R&B into the mix to help you relax. Or not, but don’t get so caught up in the rush of fast music that you end up speeding.
If your motorcycle didn’t come with a stereo system, you can mount external speakers to your bike. It’s a great alternative for cruisers and touring motorcycles, but not so much for dirt bikes or dual sports. Using the stereo system or external speakers on your motorcycle could potentially annoy others around you if the volume is too loud and they don’t like what you’re playing. If that’s something you care about, there are alternatives to consider so you’re the only person who can hear the music.
Headphones and Earbuds
Earbuds and headphones are a questionable option, especially since some states have laws that outright ban the use of these devices while operating any vehicle.
Some headphones and earbuds could cancel out surrounding sounds that a rider needs to hear for alertness and safety, such as oncoming traffic. It’s not recommended using earbuds or headphones that completely cut off surrounding sounds, as you might miss a car, truck or emergency vehicle such as an ambulance or firetruck and get in a motorcycle accident.
Earbuds in particular can be uncomfortable and irritate your ears, which may cause you to fidget with them while you’re controlling your motorcycle. If you’re going to go the earbuds route, choose wireless earbuds that don’t completely cancel surrounding noise, or opt for a Bluetooth headset instead.
Helmet Communication System
A helmet communications system is great for listening to music, as well as getting GPS directions and communicating with others. They usually come with a microphone that allows you to make or take hands-free phone calls, and to stay in touch with other riders along the way.
Helmet communication systems are a little pricier, but they’re worth the additional cost, as they’re all-in-one systems that allow you to listen to music and multi-task without having to take your hands off the handlebars.
If you don’t want to spring for an expensive helmet communications system, a cheaper alternative is to mount speakers to your helmet. However, opting for cheap wired speakers doesn’t give you the hands-free safety that the helmet communications system with a microphone offers. If you’re just integrating speakers to your helmet for music, make sure to install wireless Bluetooth speakers that don’t require hooking anything up that could come apart inside your helmet and cause a distraction or discomfort.
Helmet technology has come a long way and continues to evolve, which has led to the creation of helmets with integrated Bluetooth technology. These helmets have built-in speakers that automatically synch up with your phone or mp3 player.
With Bluetooth helmets, you don’t have to worry about any components or wiring falling out and sliding around your helmet. These helmets come with external buttons for volume control and skipping songs, and of course synch up with your phone to give GPS directions. You just have to memorize where the buttons are outside the helmet, but other than that Bluetooth helmets are one of the safest ways to listen to music while riding a motorcycle
Additional Safety Tips
Regardless of which audio technology method you use to enjoy music while riding your motorcycle, it’s good to familiarize yourself with the roads first.
Always keep your surroundings in mind, no matter where you ride. In other words, even if you’re riding trails, make sure the music doesn’t distract you to the point where you can miss stuff like sharp turns or wildlife crossing your path.
To avoid having to take your hands off the handlebars to skip songs, create playlists of songs you want to hear before you ride, as playing DJ while riding is a dangerous game. If your playlist is curated only with songs you know you like, you won’t feel the need to skip songs, which keeps you completely focused on the road ahead.
Know the local rules and regulations about playing music while riding, like the use of headphones or earbuds. And once again, don’t use any technology that completely eliminates surrounding noises, especially on highways where you need heightened traffic alertness. It’s not worth risking your life and the lives of others just to hear some good tunes.