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Old 09-02-2013, 08:30 PM   #1
ThumperStorm OP
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If talking on cellphones is bad...

...what about the people who use Sena headsets and such. Is that to distracting to be safe? Or couples that use headsets to talk to each other two up?

I think that using a cellphone, and especially texting, while driving is dangerous. On the other hand I don't have a problem driving my car while talking to my passenger.

When do things cross over to the danger zone?
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:38 PM   #2
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Yes, it is bad. When I see someone who looks like they might be talking on a cell phone I give them a wide berth. When I was cycling once, well over near the edge of the road, I was hit by a SUV driven by a woman talking on her cell-phone.

Fortunately it was in slow moving traffic, so no injury; not that she bothered checking. She heard/felt the bump, kind of looked my way, gave a sort of half-hearted wave and and continued her conversation while accelerating off as the traffic speed up.

Even using a "hands free" set-up in a car or on a bike is dangerous. When driving your mind is on who you are talking to and the conversation.

When using an intercom set-up with a pillion, or talking to someone in a car, the situation is different. Both of you are (or should be) aware of what is going on around you. Notice how the tempo of the conversation changes as the situation changes. When the driver has to concentrate more for whatever reason, talking often more or less stops.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:28 PM   #3
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I don't ride two-up but when I'm driving, it does happen that I tune out the passenger(s) when I need to pay extra attention to traffic. Sometimes they will notice and will just repeat whatever it is they were saying, but to be honest most of the time you can follow a conversation perfectly well without hearing every single word.
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Old 09-03-2013, 12:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThumperStorm View Post
...what about the people who use Sena headsets and such. Is that to distracting to be safe? Or couples that use headsets to talk to each other two up?
Riding pairs, headsets are not distracting. If anything, it improves your focus. Probably 95% of the time you ride in silence, anyway.

I don't listen to music when riding. I do wear earplugs. Personal preference.

Quote:
I think that using a cellphone, and especially texting, while driving is dangerous.
Agreed.

Quote:
On the other hand I don't have a problem driving my car while talking to my passenger.
Any idiot can drive a car, which is why most cars are driven by idiots.

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Old 09-03-2013, 12:35 AM   #5
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navigating through downtown DC at rush hour on a cell phone is a bad idea.

Riding down a four lane country highway at 4am on a sunday on a cell phone, meh.
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:59 AM   #6
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The handsfree/ bluetooth devices are not nearly as bad as someone holding the phone to their ear. I use a headset in my helmet mostly to listen to music but I have taken and made few calls....short conversations....It can be a distraction but I will not make or take a call in heavy traffic or where extra focus is needed. I also give a wide birth to people that are using their phones while driving...they are easy to pick out...usually driving slower than traffic....lane drift, sitting when the light turns green etc....
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:52 AM   #7
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DW (pillion only) and I have a wired intercom. No cell phone usage, just conversation between the 2 of us.

Why would talking on it be any different than talking to her when we are driving?
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Offcamber View Post
The handsfree/ bluetooth devices are not nearly as bad as someone holding the phone to their ear. I use a headset in my helmet mostly to listen to music but I have taken and made few calls....short conversations....It can be a distraction but I will not make or take a call in heavy traffic or where extra focus is needed. I also give a wide birth to people that are using their phones while driving...they are easy to pick out...usually driving slower than traffic....lane drift, sitting when the light turns green etc....

Agreed. Drivers holding a phone to their ear have lost peripheral vision on that side and with one hand occupied, the turn signal is usually forgotten as well.

I have hands free in my car but am not in the habit of talking while driving unless necessary.

I listen to music in my helmet and don't find it a distraction. Thinking about a com headset but would be cautious using it.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:04 AM   #9
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Initially I was very anti music and intercom. I picked up a cheap Chinese bluetooth headset as an experiment. I found that listening to music I didn't feel as exhausted when I finished a long trip. I gave the second headset to my riding buddy and found that we were both more focused - the lead rider could point out upcoming road/traffic conditions "whoa, there's a slick spot.... Keep left, gravel in the curve... Watch the idiot in the red car, they're drifting past the stop sign." Etc. We rarely talk when in optimal conditions unless, mostly looking out for each other or keeping us entertained while on some boring slab.

When riding 2up, I keep my wife alert and remind her to lean some more on the right hand curves and warn her when I need to make a more aggressive maneuver - she reminds me to stop and rehydrate and let her off to pee, lol.


I rarely use my cell when riding, mostly use it for emergency calls. One example in particular, I was setting out for a long day trip and had just fueled up (200 mi range) when my daughters school called and told me she was having a pretty severe asthma attack. I was able to turn around and get to her quickly... Otherwise I wouldn't have checked my phone for at least 2-3 hrs and even then I may have been out of cell range.

If a non emergency, I explain that I'll get back to them when I can and hang up.


All in all, a positive experience, highly recommend a good headset... For what its worth, I went with the Sena smh10 dual kit.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:20 AM   #10
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My girlfriend is a new rider and using my Cardo system we communicate about road conditions, proper gear to be in, look out for that driver! issues, etc.
This kinda talk does not lower road awareness, but actually improves my riding too.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:22 AM   #11
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I think that people travelling together and talking (whether in a car or on bikes) are more situationally aware - so there is no pressure for a vehicle operator to keep talking when obviously focussed on some other road condition or task. That is not the same when you are on the phone.

A call of "Deer, Deer, Deer!" on our intercoms may very well have saved a friend from a wreck yesterday afternoon. Her husband, a hundred yards or so ahead, saw the deer under a tree by the road and made the shout immediately. She was hard on the brakes immediately and going at <30mph instead of 60 when the deer ran across a couple of feet in front of her. I watched this all unfold from a further fifty yards back and was able to proceed slowly past the area while looking out for Bambi's friends and relatives.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:23 AM   #12
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I'm ordering the SENA 10's. Like someone else said, if things get suddenly complicated, it's okay to stop talking, or say "hang on a sec".

Here in Nevada, Bluetooth is the rule. It's against the law to use any hand-held device while driving. Not that people don't do it anyway... but even in my truck, if traffic gets congested, I'll tell someone i need to hang up and drive, and then let them disconnect so I can focus on driving.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aj Mick View Post
When using an intercom set-up with a pillion, or talking to someone in a car, the situation is different. Both of you are (or should be) aware of what is going on around you. Notice how the tempo of the conversation changes as the situation changes. When the driver has to concentrate more for whatever reason, talking often more or less stops.
I have read that talking on a cell phone using hands free is nearly as bad a holding the phone up to your ear, and Aj Mick's comment might explain why that is. Maybe when we talk to someone not present, we tend to try to imagine their surroundings as we are engaged in conversation with them, which distracts us.

When we talk through helmet to helmet coms (or to a passenger in our car), both parties are in the same environment, so there is no need to take up part of our mind with what we think they may be seeing. Interesting.

My wife and I use the Sena 5 set (no cell phone or music), and like others have said we benefit from 4 eyes looking out for hazards. Even though she is a very new rider, she is already giving me warnings about road hazards when she leads. This weekend, I was able to tell her to hang in the right wheel track through right hand corners, just minutes before a motorhome cut across the yellow line. I'm glad I didn't have to wait until the next fuel stop to pass along that bit of advice from the Proficient Motorcycling book.
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:35 AM   #14
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From my experience the cell phone itself isn't the problem. It is the habits people have that allow their attention to give precedence to the text or phone call over the act of driving. It is a matter of focus.

Distraction is the problem, regardless of whether it is a cell phone, rambunctious kids in the car, music, makeup, eating, etc.

As far as distractions go texting seems to be the worst. Some people think a "quick" text is not a threat. They have no idea how much ground they cover in that, to them, brief moment.

Other people likely have problems driving with their music playing. Getting so wrapped up in the music they let attention lapse on driving.

I have and use the Sena intercoms. When the wife is riding she and I communicate, but rarely have conversations. I have found that playing music in the background works for me. But, I'm not one who places any kind of priority on music over driving. I don't sing along or daydream about the song, it is just something in the background.

Having the discipline to put driving first and avoid distractions is the key to managing for a safer environment.

I don't think passing laws, essentially attempting to legislate common sense, are likely to have as significant an effect as education and training would.

Keeping fingers crossed for self-piloting cars to come online so those who really don't care to improve their skills, or take driving more seriously than they do their communication, and/or music, can be able to travel about and be as distracted as they want.
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThumperStorm View Post
talking on cellphones is bad

...what about the people who use Sena headsets and such. Is that to distracting to be safe? Or couples that use headsets to talk to each other two up?

I think that using a cellphone, and especially texting, while driving is dangerous. On the other hand I don't have a problem driving my car while talking to my passenger.

When do things cross over to the danger zone?
Talking on cell phone while driving is not bad. It's drivers that are so stupid that they have no idea when to shut up and pay attention that are bad.

I can cruise along a desolate stretch of I-70 in Utah at 75 mph and carry on a cell phone conversation very safely. Safe enough at least that taking/making the call is not imprudent. I could roll along on several dirt roads at 10mph while texting and still not be in much danger of an accident.

OTH, when if heavy traffic the driving will at time require so much concentration that I cannot carry on a conversation or even hear whats said on the radio. The problems with distracted driving come into play because too many drivers are unable to realize when the nature of their driving at the moment requires too much attention to be engaged in others tasks.

I don't think this will be much of a problem with motos/headsets because most moto drivers enjoy and thus have a knack for operating complex machines and as such instinctively know when they are too engaged to carry on a conversation or take a call.
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