Much like runners, cyclists often like to listen to music while they ride. It helps to pass the time and prevent boredom. Plus, studies have found that people often ride harder when listening to music that they enjoy, so riders who care about their times may have a real advantage.
The downside, of course, is that listening to music can be very distracting. This is less true when you use a portable speaker, but many riders -- again, just like runners -- use headphones or earbuds. Doing so can effectively cut you off from the world around you.
Blocking out the noises on the road potentially puts you at risk. You may have no idea that a car is about to pass you. If a dog is barking and chasing your bike, you may not know it's there. For those who really turn up the music, there is the risk of not hearing emergency vehicles and getting out of the way. If another rider tries to pass and informs you that they're going to be on your left, you may never hear them. There are many examples of ways that this distraction could lead to an accident.
There are ways to get around this and still have music playing. Portable speakers are one. Listening to a single earbud, rather than both, is another. But even doing that can expose you to some level of distraction.
Considering the potential for distractions can help you stay safer while you ride. Even when you eliminate distractions, though, someone else could make a mistake and cause an accident. If this happens, you must know what legal options you have to seek compensation for your injuries and losses.