Should cyclists worry about hearing loss?

The Easter holidays were over and it was time to go back to work. It struck me how nice it has been cycling around estates and greens within 5k of my home. I commute to work down the Ongar Distributary Road and it was concerning how loud the noise of the cars was. Perhaps it was more obvious to me because of my recent local cycles these past few months due to lockdown. Regardless, it prompted me to go back out with my husband’s Digital Sound Level Marker to see just how loud the volume is along that road. The passing traffic reached levels as high as 94.7!

To put that into perspective, here’s a graph on average decibels (noise levels). You’ll notice it says sounds above 85 decibels are harmful. The constant hum of traffic beside us while cycling surely has an impact on our hearing.

So what could be done to alleviate this issue?

(1) If traffic was slower the sound wouldn’t be as high. The speed limit on this road is 60km per hr but it is clearly not being adhered to. Speed checks are never seen so locals ignore the limit.

(2) If the road surface was smoother that would also improve sound levels.

(3) A buffer between the cycle lane and road would absorb the sound.

I enjoyed cycling to school but I got a flat tyre on my first day!! I thankfully got it as I was entering work so I had reached my destination. I checked the tyre and couldn’t see glass so I pumped it up and hoped for the best.

Poor Paul got a call to come help me get home after his work finished. That’s the one downside to a cargobike, I cannot change a tyre myself. It’s too difficult to lift the bike to get at the wheel. It doesn’t happen too often though so we just get on with it!

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