It’s no secret that one of the less pleasurable aspects of riding a motorcycle is listening to the traffic. Whether you are on the highway for a cross country trip or stuck in afternoon gridlock it can get LOUD. Safety is no joke and we should all do everything we can to be safe out there but does that include leaving the music off?
For years people have said that you absolutely cannot ride with your headphones. The key reason is not hard to guess. When we ride, we are vulnerable and we need our senses available to keep up alive. Some have tried to compromise by setting up some truly badass stereo systems on their motorcycles to match their biker vest patches and leather motorcycle pants.
For them, this works brilliantly. For myself, if I am going to show off it is going to be a different style so I was elated over the past couple of years as I saw technology has made it so we can listen to music safely. What’s more, there are no proven benefits to listening to music (surprise surprise).
If you wonder, Can I Listen to Music on a Motorcycle? Not only are we more alert on those long drives because music stimulates our senses but a lot of music can have a soothing effect on the brain to reduce the likelihood of road rage.
How Do We Listen
That does not mean you should go out and buy that expensive set of noise-canceling earbuds. We still need to know what is happening so here are some smart choices.
They now make earbuds specifically for motorcyclists that are specially designed to be less complicated and therefore less distracting when on the road. Furthermore, they are designed not to block out all the surrounding noise so you can still hear that sedan that you were cutting off when they honk. Just remember to keep it wireless, otherwise, you risk having the cord floating around in your way.
One of my long time favorites, when I am on a long ride, is helmet speakers. These beauties have a high-quality sound that can rival your living rooms, making for a great experience and should be easier to work than earbuds or headphones which can get caught in the helmet.
Whether you are using earbuds, helmet speakers, or full-on saddlebag stereo systems you are going to have to remember that can be trickier than listening in a car and there are things to remember.
Check the local laws. Just because I can doesn’t mean your state doesn’t prohibit headphones and earbuds for drivers in general. It’s easy to find just go to AAA.
Be extremely careful when considering anything that claims to be noise canceling. This is no joke and knows what you are signing up for by wearing them.
If you are using helmet speakers or wired headphones mind any wires and do a few head twists before ever getting on the motorcycle. The wires can get caught on your jaw, your leather moto jacket, or in my experience even your leather motorcycle gloves if you go to adjust something.
The Good and the Bad
Bottom line is that there are pros and cons. A lot of people (myself being a prime example) find that they are a lot more alert when listening to music and can improve your mood. But no matter how you slice it, music and the equipment that goes with it can be distractions so pay attention and ask yourself is now really the right time.