Commuting with electric transportation like an electric scooter or Onewheel makes you silent for pedestrians, bikes, and other vehicles. This makes it harder for others to notice you when you are coming up behind them, forcing you to be more alert to the environment and the people around you. Using in-ear headphones will lock sounds out and could be considered a safety hazard.
Any headphones that keep the sound of the environment passing into their ears are considered safe headphones for commuting with an Onewheel, bike, or other electrical personal vehicle. Technology like bone-conducting headphones or speakers worn around your neck or attached to your backpack free your ears.
Here are the best safe alternatives for normal headphones when commuting with an Onewheel.
- Single Earbud Usage: Enhance awareness by using only one earbud during commuting.
- Bone-Conducting Headphones: Shokz offers safe alternatives to transmitting sound through vibrations, ensuring awareness in busy traffic.
- Bluetooth Speakers: Consider Monster Boomerang Neckband Bluetooth Speaker or JBL Clip 4 for external audio without blocking ears. Beware of noise impact on bystanders.
- Market Leaders: Shokz stands out in bone-conducting headphones, offering options like Openmove and Aeorpeak.
- Considerations: Balancing safety and audio quality, users may choose the most suitable option based on their commuting preferences.
Use only one earbud
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 locate the traffic or when cyclists coming up behind you. Losing the capability to locate the direction sound is coming from is nothing to recommend in busy traffic and hectic morning rushes.
Another drawback is the loss of surround sound making this most suitable for podcasts and ebooks.
Bone-conducting headphones have been around for a while and work 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 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 few years, and the new offerings from Shokz have leaped. I’m using the cheaper Shokz Openmove that has the latest technology even at this lower price.
The benefits outweigh the downside for everyday commuting and the market leader is Shokz. They have a well-priced entry option in Shokz Openmove with an IP55 reading that works with the helmet. Their prime offering is the Shokz Aeorpeak built with titanium giving it a lower weight and the added benefits of IP66.
The Aftershokz and my Lazyrooling hoodie are my go-to kit for riding.
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 Monster Boomerang Neckband Bluetooth Speaker which 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 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 back protection and to keep your laptop safe. With the added benefit of giving the possibility for others to enjoy the sound if you decide to go to the beach after work. The JBL 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.
Commuting on electric personal vehicles like Onewheel demands safety and awareness, especially in busy traffic. Traditional headphones can pose hazards by blocking environmental sounds. This article explores safe alternatives, including the use of a single earbud for partial awareness. Additionally, bone-conducting headphones, like Shokz, offer a balance between safety and audio quality, transmitting sound through vibrations. Bluetooth speakers, such as the Monster Boomerang Neckband Bluetooth Speake or JBL Clip 4, provide an external audio solution, although with considerations for noise impact on bystanders. The evolving market emphasizes the importance of maintaining situational awareness while enhancing the commuting experience.
|MonsterBoomerang Neckband Bluetooth Speaker
|JBL Clip 4
|Wearable Bluetooth Speaker
|Portable Bluetooth Speaker
|Vibrations through bones
|Vibrations through bones
|Speaker for external audio
|Speaker for external audio
|Clarity & Bass
|Balanced sound, limited bass loss
|Enhanced clarity, improved bass
|Clear audio with weather resistance
|Quality audio with IPX7 rating
|Lightweight and comfortable
|Quality audio with an IPX7 rating
|Portable, clip-on design
|IP55 rating (Openmove)
|IP66 rating (Aeorpeak)
|Sweat and weather-resistant
|Usage with Helmet
|Compatible with helmets (IP55)
|Built with titanium for durability
|Clip-on design for versatility
|Premium choice for audio quality
|Wearable and lightweight
|Portable, versatile, and compact
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