ASK BICYCLING: Is It Safe To Ride While Listening To Music?
In 2013, the Western Cape government passed its ‘one-metre passing law’, making it an offence for a motorist not to leave a distance of at least one metre when overtaking a cyclist. However, what many people don’t realise is that included in the legislation are provisions for cyclists too.
Among them is this one: “A person may not ride a pedal cycle on a public road while wearing a headset, headphones or any listening device other than a hearing aid.” And if you contravene any of the laws, you can be fined, or even jailed for up to a year. We’re not aware of any other province (or country, for that matter) that has enacted a similar law, but the ‘wearing headphones while cycling’ debate is a thorny issue that has divided cyclists. While some riders argue that listening to music makes them train harder, the worry is that wearing earphones while riding on the road is distracting, and diminishes your hearing. Riding on the road is dangerous enough – the more alert you are and the more aware of what’s going on around you, the better. If you want to listen to music while training, go to the gym.
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