07 March 2009

Keep an ear out

It's getting to be that time of year again. The sun is out later, the snow is melting (at least it is melting more quickly) and when you go out for more than five minutes you can still feel your fingers and toes. Soon, more and more of us will hit the streets, on bikes without studded tires and shoes which stay dry for more than a block.

It's great to see spring springing, and I more than anyone am excited about biking in to HOURCAR HQ every day, but it's time to remember that not only are we more likely to be distracted when driving by a phone or an iPod (phones in the car are legal, headphones are not, for what it's worth), but that it applies to walking too.

NPR had a piece a couple weeks ago about this. It turns out that we use more than one of our senses when walking or cycling. Having earbuds in blocks out a lot of other sound, like the bus approaching or the light rail train coming down the tracks or the hybrid HOURCAR coasting to a stop for a pedestrian (I'll assume). So go out, and enjoy the fresh air, and bring your music. It's probably fine if you are walking around Isles, but think twice about blasting your tunes if you are crossing a lot of busy streets.

(Am I a hypocrite? Well, yes, a couple days back I listened to my iPod walking from the 63 bus up to our office. There was only one main street, but I'll think twice going forward.)

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