Don't let sound masking wind noise Interfere with situational awareness and communications.
At moderate cycling speeds (~15 mph to ~20 mph), Wind Noise can easily exceed 85 dB.
Wind Noise alters the threshold of hearing, masks, and impacts the perception of sounds.
The Wind Noise Spectrum is predominantly low frequency - similar to road and traffic noise.
Excessive wind noise can interfere with communications, which can cause annoyance and irritation. When verbal communications are difficult, the likelihood of miscommunications increases. It is common for a person to raise his / her voice when the background noise is high. Typically, a person raises his / her voice by 3 ~ 6 dB for every 10 dB increase in background noise level above 50 dBA. Age-related hearing loss can also have an impact.
When localizing a sound source, we are best at estimating direction, next best at estimating elevation, and worst at estimating distance. The difficulty of making auditory judgments of distance to a sound source in an open space has been recognized for many years. The combination of loudness, knowledge of the source, and previous sound presentation experience, provide information for judging the distance of the approaching sound source.
Drivers 'Cone of Vision'
Driving speed has a dramatic effect on a drivers 'cone of vision'. As speed increases, peripheral vision decreases.
At higher speeds, drivers tend to be focused on where they are going and less aware of cyclists in the periphery.
Hearing approaching vehicles ~50% sooner provides cyclists with an opportunity to prepare to be passed safely.
"The most common collision type in our Every Bicyclist Counts data is a rear-end collision. Approximately 40% of fatalities in our data with reported collision types were rear-end collisions. This is higher than what was found in the 2010 FARS release that included PBCAT-based crash types (27% of fatal crashes with reported collision types), although the crash type 'motorist overtaking bicyclist' was the most common collision type in that data as well." - League of American Bicyclists
Reducing wind noise makes cycling safer and more enjoyable.