The incidence of collisions between motorcyclists and other vehicles may be significantly reduced by research
that improves the acoustic awareness of cyclists, and thus heightens the ability of cyclists to respond to unexpected
incursions from the surrounding traffic. We use our hearing as an early warning system, and hearing swiftly redirects our
vision and attention. This shift in gaze is critical to our capacity to assess the location, direction of travel, and velocity of
approaching vehicles. The present study was composed of two experiments. In the first experiment a Neumann KU-100
dummy head with embedded binaural microphones was used to measure noise levels in a motorcycle helmet as a function
of velocity. Noise levels were measured in two helmets, one with active noise reduction technology, and one without. The
results showed that noise levels exceeded 100 dB (A) at highway speeds in the absence of noise reduction technology.
The helmet with active noise control ear muffs was able to attenuate helmet noise by up to 26 dB. Active noise control
technology shows great promise for noise reduction for the motorcycle helmet industry, and the development of “quiet”
helmets is important for both hearing conservation and highway safety. The second experiment surveyed subjective
perceptions of helmet noise by motorcyclists. The results from the present sample showed that 92.1% of the respondents
objected to the high noise levels associated with cycling, 63.5 % wore earplugs, 46.8% reported tinnitus, and 95.2%
wanted a quieter helmet.