The laws regarding headphone use on motorcycles vary from place to place. There are some countries where it’s illegal, and a handful of US states that also don’t allow headphones while operating a motorcycle. These laws exist for safety purposes.
This post will examine whether it’s illegal to wear headphones while driving a motorcycle. I’ll give you a list of some locations that don’t allow this and explain why it’s a safety issue relating to being aware of your surroundings while you ride.
Let’s get started.
- Key Takeaways
- Is it Illegal to Wear Headphones while Driving a Motorcycle?
- Is it Illegal to Wear Headphones While Driving?
- How to Listen to Music while Riding a Motorcycle
- How to Choose an Earbud for Motorcycle
- Final Thoughts
- Laws relating to headphone use on motorcycles vary from location to location. There are some states in the US where doing so is illegal.
- Even if wearing headphones while driving a motorcycle isn’t illegal in your area, it’s still not a good idea to wear them for safety purposes.
- Wearing headphones while you ride can affect your ability to hear sirens from emergency vehicles, posing a safety hazard your yourself and others on the road.
Is it Illegal to Wear Headphones while Driving a Motorcycle?
Most locations don’t have specific laws regarding if it’s illegal to wear headphones while driving a motorcycle. But there are a number of states in the US where it’s illegal to do this, so you should always check your local regulations.
The states where it is currently illegal to wear headphones while driving a motorcycle are Washington, California, Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, and Rhode Island.
In some states, it is illegal to wear both sides of headphones, but you are allowed to wear a single side. And in a few other states, special circumstances dictate whether it’s illegal to wear headphones on a motorcycle or not.
As you can see, most states don’t have any laws about wearing headphones. But just because there isn’t a law against it doesn’t mean you should wear headphones.
Wearing headphones while riding a motorcycle poses serious safety issues regarding hearing your surroundings. That’s why there are laws against doing so in some places. If you can’t stay aware of everything as you ride, you risk getting in an accident.
Just like you should always wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, even if there is no law against it, you shouldn’t wear headphones. Doing so can very much put your life in danger, and it’s simply not worth the risk.
Is it Illegal to Wear Headphones While Driving?
The laws relating to wearing headphones while driving a standard vehicle are similar to those relating to motorcycles. It depends on your location as to whether it’s illegal to wear headphones while your’re behind the wheel.
And the same advice applies to this – you should never wear headphones while driving a car because it’s a safety hazard. You might not hear other cars or emergency vehicles near you if you have headphones on.
The specific laws relating to this vary from state to state and country to country. Check your local laws if you are thinking about wearing headphones while driving. But remember, it’s always a bad idea to do so.
How to Listen to Music while Riding a Motorcycle
The only really safe way to listen to music while riding a motorcycle is to have a stereo system installed. That way, you can listen to music while riding and remain aware of your surroundings.
Not all motorcycles have stereo systems or can have these installed. If your motorcycle isn’t capable of getting a stereo, you might be out of luck and can’t listen to music. Listening to headphones is not a good idea.
Some motorcycle helmets have speakers built into them. This is a legal way to listen to music on a motorcycle in some states, but not all.
How to Choose an Earbud for Motorcycle
Before going ahead to buy earbuds for your motorcycle riding, there are a few factors you should consider.
If you’re going to ride on bumpy terrains often, it’s wise to get earbuds that are shockproof. The earbuds should be able to endure all forms of vibrations you may encounter while riding.
Also, you should consider buying a pair of earbuds that are weatherproof—withstanding all types of weather conditions. For example, you can confirm if the pair of earbuds you’re buying is water-resistant, which means it withstands the rain.
Noise-isolation technology is a passive solution to blocking out external noise from the surroundings. It uses soft padding to absorb some of the background noise and reduces the volume that gets to your ears.
This technology is versatile and straightforward. In what sense? It doesn’t require batteries or uses electric parts, compared to the noise-canceling brands. This feature makes it fit for use for various applications, including the fact that it provides ear protection underwater.
Earbuds that use noise-isolation technology are usually inexpensive. And that doesn’t mean it’s inferior, as it can last you for an extended period. With a 20 – 25dB of noise dampening, we can categorically say that it will make a decent difference to block out external noise.
Your comfort is one factor you shouldn’t negotiate, especially if you’re going to be covering long distances. It’s not a wise decision to be riding around with earbuds that quickly give you discomfort while you’re riding.
You need to feel more comfortable and safer with fewer distractions while you’re moving, especially if you’re on the highway—whether you’re with your helmet or not.
Don’t be tempted to buy earbuds because of their meager price. You need to check and do your homework well before going ahead to purchase earbuds. You don’t want to get a pair of earbuds that you’ll end up replacing after a couple of times.
Thus, go for reputable brands that have lived up to expectations over time. And if you have to settle for a no-name brand, check out what others are saying about it.
Having a pair of earbuds that come with exclusive add-on features is not a crime. Thus, if you’re lucky to see earbuds that are sweatproof or come with radio functions, then you’re good to go.
In some cases, you can find some earbuds that come with standalone mp3 functions as well as radio. Others offer separate volume control and power buttons for more versatility.
Overall, it boils down to what you’re looking to get.
Most motorcycle riders tend to go for low-profile earbuds than average earbuds to enjoy more comfort. The reason is simple. These low-profile earbuds do a great job of gripping your ears, and they don’t allow your ears to stick out.
Typically, helmets put so much pressure on your ears. And if the pair of earbuds you’re using is bulky or doesn’t fit correctly, you can get a bit uncomfortable. Hence, it’s ideal to settle for low-profile earbuds.
Here are a few short answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to if it’s illegal to wear headphones while driving a motorcycle.
Can you listen to music while riding a motorcycle?
You can listen to music while riding a motorcycle in most places, so long as the music comes from the speaker on a motorcycle, not headphones. This is similar to cars, where you can listen to music but not wear headphones.
Can you wear headphones under a motorcycle helmet?
It’s not illegal in every location to wear headphones under a motorcycle helmet, but you still shouldn’t do so because it’s a safety hazard. Wearing headphones while you operate a motorcycle can prevent you from hearing other vehicles around you.
Is it illegal to wear earplugs on a motorcycle?
It’s typically not illegal to wear earplugs on a motorcycle as long as the plugs don’t block out all sounds. The exact rules on this vary from location to location. Earplugs can help you avoid ear damage, but you should still be able to hear your surroundings as you ride.
Can you wear headphones while riding a bike?
There aren’t as many restrictions for listening to headphones on a bicycle as for motorcycles. But wearing headphones when you ride a bike can be dangerous because you can’t hear your surroundings.
Always be sure to check your local regulations if you are thinking about wearing headphones on a motorcycle. It’s illegal in some places, and you can get a ticket or fine if you get caught.
But even if it is legal where you live, you shouldn’t wear headphones while riding because it isn’t safe. There’s no need to risk your life for a few tunes.
Is it legal to wear headphones on a motorcycle where you live? Have you ever done it? Let me know in the comments below.