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Why Laws Banning Cyclists From Wearing Headphones Miss the Point

They may actually work against city goals to encourage more riding.
relates to Why Laws Banning Cyclists From Wearing Headphones Miss the Point
Kurt Bauschardt / Flickr

Massachusetts recently proposed a law that would prohibit cyclists from wearing headphones while riding. The bill is currently locked in committee, but it wouldn’t be a big surprise for it to see the light of day at some point. As Jenni Bergal at Pew’s Stateline blog writes, a number of U.S. states are dealing with distracted cycling indirectly—banning headsets or earplugs rather than cellphone use:

There’s sufficient evidence that distracted cycling, like distracted anything, has a negative impact on a person’s behavior. Controlled studies out of the Netherlands, where bike safety is a national mandate, have found that riders using a smartphone veer and swerve more than those who don’t, and also detect fewer road signs. More recent work has found that riders are texting more than they used to, the result being that they tend to make fewer head movements at intersections—and thus are presumably less aware of their traffic surroundings.