Is it Dangerous to Listen to iPod While Running?

| by Kate Wharmby Seldman

Is it too dangerous to listen to your iPod while running?

Opposing Views contributor Jess of Fit Chick in the City thinks so. She listens to music when she's working out indoors, but never while biking, and hardly ever while running outside. She began running without musical accompaniment when she was on her middle school track team: "Obviously, we weren’t lugging around a Walkman while running 400-meter repeats around a cinder track," she explains. Now, she says, "SAFETY is the #1 reason to not listen to music while running. Fatal accidents can occur when you lose yourself to the music. I hate to be such a downer, but read the article and be safe out there."

The article to which Jess is referring is a story on out of Dallas, in which a runner listening to her iPod was struck and killed by a bike on a jogging trail.

Others share Jess's opinion. recently published an article in which its author, Dave McGillivray, spoke of seeing myriad iPod-wearing runners jogging along Boston's Charles River. He praised one man for "wearing an iPod with one ear piece in and the other out…[I] thought that was a creative way to balance listening to music and simultaneously being sensitive to his surroundings." He also praised a man with a baby stroller for not wearing headphones while running. "Although I don't use [an iPod]," McGillivray says, "that doesn't necessarily mean I'm totally against them." He does, however, cite USA Track and Field rules, which state, "Participants wearing headphones are less aware of their surroundings... when you can't hear what is going on around you, you lose one of your most valuable senses... the inability to hear clearly is a significant risk factor that cannot be ignored."

It seems that if you're a serious runner, you understand the dangers of running with an iPod - and therefore, you don't do it.