Commuting with electric transportation like an electric scooter or Onewheel makes you silent for pedestrians, bikes or other vehicles. This makes it hard for others to pick you up when you are coming up behind them, forcing you to be more alert to the environment and the people around you. Using headphones inside your ears will lock sounds out and is considered a safety hazard. I usually listen to podcast or audio ebooks from Audible to make my commute more present and at the same time educating myself on topics of interest.
Anyone headphones that keep the sound of the environment passing into your ears are considered safe headphones for commuting with a bike or electrical personal vehicles. Technology like bone conducting headphones or speakers worn around your neck or attached to your backpack freeing your ears.
Here are the best safe alternatives for normal headphones when commuting with an electric scooter or Onewheel.
Use only one earbud when commuting with an electric scooter or Onewheel
The easiest and cheapest trick in the book is to use only one of your earbuds when commuting, leaving your other ear free to pick up the surroundings.
The problem is that when using one ear you will lose the 3D stage of the surroundings making it hard to located the traffic or when cyclists coming up behind you. Losing the capability to locate the direction sound is coming from is definitely nothing to recommend in busy traffic and hectic morning rushes.
Another drawback is the lost of suround sound making this mostly sutiable for podcasts and ebooks.
Use a bone conducting headphone when commuting with an electric scooter or Onewheel
Bone conducting headphones has been around for a while and works by sending the soundwaves directly into your head leaving your ears free. The sounds are carried into your inner ears directly by sending vibrations in the bones of the head and jaw effectively bypassing bypass the eardrum.
Having nothing inside your ears makes it possible to determine where sounds are coming from keeping the 3D stage or the environment. Making this a safe choice of headphones for anyone using an electric scooter or Onewheel when commuting in busy traffic.
The downside of bone-conducting headphones is the lack of clarity and deep bass. These frequencies are lost when the sound is transmitted by the bones. There has been a lot of development during the last years, and the new offerings from AfterShokz have made a leap. I’m using the cheaper AfterShokz Openmove that has the latest technology even at this lower price.
The benefits definitely out wages the downside for everyday commuting and the market leader is Aftershokz. They have a well-priced entry option in AfterShokz Openmove with IP55 reading that works with the helmet. Their prime offering is the Aftershokz Aeorpeak built with titanium giving it a lower weight and the added benefits of IP66.
The Aftershokz and my Lazyrooling hoodie is my go-to kit for riding.
Using speakers when commuting with an electric scooter or Onewheel
Using a Bluetooth speaker will fix both problems related to commuting on an electric device. Not having anything in your ears will make you aware of the surroundings and the speakers will make your presence known to the rest of the people. The main drawback is the noise coming from the speakers will also impact the bystanders, making this solution, not for everyone.
Neck speakers are going down in popularity and the top brand Bose has sadly discontinued the Bose Soundwear Speakers. A good alternative is JVC SPA10BTB Wearable Speaker that can be found on Amazon following this link. It’s sweat and weather resistant and lightweight.
An alternative would be to use a single clip on speaker like JBL Clip 3 that you know can grab at a really good price or the improved JBL Clip 4. The drawback will be losing stereo sound but it still has a nice sound stage. It can easily be clipped onto your backpack, I recommend Boblbee from Point 65 for the back protection and keeping your laptop safe. with the added benefits of giving the possibilities for others to enjoy the sound if you decided to go to the beach after work. The JBL Clip 3 and Clip 4 is IPX7 Waterproof, making it possible to be submerged in up to 1 meter in water for 30 minutes. It’s therefore fine to be used when rain hits your ride home or even in the shower.
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