A minister in Ireland has suggested a recent legislation change could give police the powers to fine cyclists wearing headphones.
Under legislation covering "cycling without reasonable consideration", the Garda will now be advised to use their own discretion in deciding if a cyclists is putting either themselves, or another road user, at risk.
This comes despite there being no evidence to suggest cycling in headphones is anymore dangerous that the soundproofing many cars offer. In fact, a study by Australian magazine Ride On tested the theory and found that cyclists listening to music at a reasonable level heard more ambient traffic noise than motorists listening to in car audio.
The study said at the time: "With the ear-bud in our synthetic ear but not playing music, we measured the ambient traffic noise at 79dB. With the in-ear earphones, the traffic noise was 71dB.
"We quickly established that cars are remarkably soundproof. We measured the average peak of ambient traffic noise inside the car (with the motor running) to be 54dB, which is 26dB quieter than outside the car. We rang a bike bell right outside an open car window and measured it from in the car at 105dB. With the window closed, the same bell registered just 57dB."
Though not specifically an offence, if fined, cyclists in Ireland would face a €40 fixed charge notice.
The Dublin Cycling Campaign’s Keith Byrne has criticised the changes stating: "I know plenty of people who cycle with earphones on and they can still hear traffic while listening to music or drive-time radio.
“Someone can legally drive while talking on their phone with their headsets plugged in. You could argue this caused the same level of distraction.”
Find out more on the changes here.