I WOULD like to respond to a letter from Felipe Hewlett on cyclist safety (The Argus, July 8).

He asks how cyclists can hear warnings from motorists while listening to music, but has assumed three things: Firstly, that the volume is on full; secondly, that the audio is actually on (motorcyclists and cyclists sometimes use ear pieces to block wind noise) and, most importantly, may have forgotten that some motorists also drive around with their car stereo on full blast.

The nature of motor traffic is such that it will produce sounds and vibrations of some considerable level.

This includes frequencies as low as seven hertz right up to several hundred hertz, and at decibels of between 40 and 90 depending on the vehicle and how it is used.

Contrary to this, most mp3 players will not produce these low frequencies. In fact the lowest frequency I can find is 19hz. And, more than likely, they certainly won’t match the decibels of motor traffic.

The earphones used are not suitable for blocking these motor traffic sounds, either.

That would take significant sound proofing.

There has been some debate on whether earphones distract cyclists, but no study has ever been undertaken. With this in mind, we shouldn’t make assumptions.

A study by Dr Warren Brodsky [music psychologist] in 2002, however, seemed to show loud music can affect a driver’s peripheral vision and takes away mental concentration.

Perhaps it is time for drivers to turn down their stereos?

This could equally equate to cyclists, however their speeds are much slower and the risks are statistically far less.

D Cook, Sholing, Southampton, Hampshire