Is It Illegal To Wear Headphones While Riding A Motorcycle

Are you wondering is it illegal to wear headphones while riding a motorcycle? Riding your motorbike while listening to your favorite tunes may sound extraordinary. But it also makes riding motorcycles a bit dangerous. And because of this, some states make it illegal to ride with your headphones in your ears.

We will find out exactly how riding with headphones can be dangerous and which states have legalized this activity to assist you further. Maybe there is a way to make it less dangerous! Eager to find all about it, keep reading our guide!

Why Is It Dangerous to Wear Headphones While Riding?

Dangerous to Wear Headphones While Riding

So, why is it dangerous to wear your headphones? Wearing your headphones and listening to your favorite tunes will make everything special. And it’s not just about riding. Even if you are taking a bath or working out, turning a little music on makes everything more exciting.

However, it becomes dangerous when you are riding on a bike because it distracts your mind to some extent. And we all know a distracted driver is a dangerous driver. We are listing down some reasons to understand why it is risky to have your headphones on when riding.

●     Limits hearing

Your headphones are diverted towards the music, and you cannot hear anything on the road and in your surroundings. This makes riding extremely risky because you won’t listen to any horn honking or police sirens. You also won’t be able to hear any nearby ambulances and the sound of your engine as well as others’.

Having your earbuds on may reduce engine and wind noise in your ear and protect your ears from dirt and debris, but they also limit hearing. This is especially the case if you ride more in heavy-traffic regions. If you don’t tend to hear what is going on around you, you might end up in an accident.

●     Limits attention

Sometimes when you are jamming on your favorite tunes, your attention diverts a bit too much. You are so much deep within the music that you might forget you are on the road.

If you listen to an audiobook, your focus is on what you’re listening to and not what is happening around you. This way, you won’t be able to react well in different scenarios, and you will be less spatial aware because you have no idea what’s going on around you.

●     Slows down reactions

It can significantly slow down your reaction time. You will only react to the things you can see. With hearing, you are covering a lot more 3D space around you.

You will only have to rely on your sight, and you might keep turning your head around. So, you end up focusing on one dimension only and won’t emphasize your sides and back.

Your reaction time will reduce significantly, which is not good to have as a motorcycle rider.

●     It can be used against you

Lawyers, insurance companies, and judges can use this against you. And from a victim of an accident, you end up being the cause of the accident. This can significantly increase any chances for you to go to jail. This is because you have been declared a negligent rider, which you don’t want to be in case of an accident.

Is it Illegal to Wear Headphones While Riding a Motorcycle? Which States Illegalize it?

If it is illegal to wear headphones while riding a motorcycle, which states ban it? As you have become aware of the dangers of wearing headphones while riding, it’s time that you learn about which states prohibit this activity. Some states don’t entirely illegalize headphones and earbuds, while others ban it entirely for motorbike and bicycle riders.

You will notice that we are only mentioning a few states below. This is because these states entirely or partially prohibit the use of headphones or earbuds. **All other states allow you to wear headphones while riding or driving**.

●     Alaska

The State of Alaska doesn’t allow you to ride your motorcycles with headphones on. However, if you are using them to navigate your way, they are safe to use

●     Arizona

You can conveniently use your headphones in the state of Arizona. But if you are transporting children professionally or personally, you cannot use these headphones. 

●     California

The state of California bans any electronic equipment that covers your ears. The rule applies to both bicycle and motorbike riders. However, you can use them as your hearing aid.

●     Colorado

The state of Colorado also prevents any electronic equipment that covers your ear while riding a bike. However, you can use audio systems within your helmets. You can also use just one earbud to receive calls or for using the navigation services.

●     Florida

You cannot have anything on your ears that emits sound while riding your motorcycle. And this rule applies to all vehicles on the roads, including cars and bicycles too. However, you can use hearing aids.

●     Georgia

The state of Georgia only allows earpieces for communication. If you are using your headphones or earbuds for anything else, it’s completely illegal.

●     Illinois

Like the state of Colorado, Illinois also allows the use of audio systems built into the helmets and single-ear headsets. Anything else in this regard is illegal.

●     Louisiana

You can only use headphones and earbuds that are built right into your helmets. You will get fined if you use anything else in the state of Louisiana.

●     Maryland

There is no way you use earbuds or headphones while riding or driving. But the state allows you to use hearing aids without any issues.

●     Massachusetts

If your earbuds or headphones don’t have anything to do with the control of your vehicle, they are not allowed at all, and you should avoid wearing them.

●     New York

You cannot wear anything on your ears, and there are no exceptions in the state of New York. This rule applies to both riders and drivers.

●     Minnesota

The state of Minnesota only allows you to wear a hearing aid. And any electronics that tend to cover your ear is completely illegal, and you are charged huge fines.

●     Ohio

The state of Ohio allows you to use inbuilt headphones inside your helmet as well as hearing aids. But anything else is strictly prohibited, and you are subject to fines and even jail.

●     Oregon

In some cities in this state, you can conveniently wear headphones and earbuds, while other regions and areas may completely restrict the use of headphones or earbuds.

●     Pennsylvania

You can use a single earbud as your hearing aid. Otherwise, you cannot wear anything else on your ears.

●     Rhode Island

You cannot use any hearing device when riding your motorcycle, driving your car, or even when you are riding your bicycle.

●     Virginia

You are only allowed to wear hearing aids as well as inbuilt headphones inside your helmets. No other type of hearing device is allowed at all.

●     Washington

You cannot use any earbuds or headphones while you are riding or driving. But you can use wireless devices to communicate along with the inbuilt audio system in your helmet.

Preventive Measures for Using Headphones While Riding

So, are there any precautionary measures you can take to tackle the dangers and still enjoy the music during your ride? Ensure you go through the laws in your state and make a way around them if you decide to wear headphones while riding. 

●     Choose helmets with inbuilt headphones

Helmet with inbuilt headphone

It is legal to use helmets with inbuilt headphones in most states, and you can conveniently listen to your favorite tunes while riding. Your listening is not entirely blocked, and you are still aware of what is going on in the surroundings. So, these helmets are a better option. You can use them for navigation and communication purposes with your fellow riders.

●     Don’t crank up the volume

You have to make sure not to turn it up while riding. You need to be well aware of everything that is going around you. And with higher volume, your listening becomes distracted. Therefore, it is better to keep the volume low to hear what’s going on around you.

●     Go for one earbud from the two

You can go for a single earbud, so your other ear stays free to receive the sounds. It means you can listen to your favorite tunes and communicate with others, and remain safe and spatially aware on the road simultaneously.

●     Go for a playlist

Going for a playlist will ensure both your hands remain completely free and in control of the bike. This way, you won’t have to touch your phone and automatically listen to your favorite songs. Eventually, your focus won’t distract for even a bit.


Can I wear AirPods during my ride?

Airpods are snugly under your helmet. For this reason, you can comfortably wear them under your helmet. But you have to make sure if wearing AirPods is legal or not.

Is it dangerous to ride with your headphones on?

It is undoubtedly dangerous to have your headphones on while riding. This is because your station gets diverted, and you can’t listen to most sounds on the road. It means that you are less aware of your surroundings.

What are the dangers associated with using headphones while riding?

These headphones can limit your hearing, and they also reduce your attention span. It also means they reduce your reaction reflex.

Are there any benefits of using headphones while riding?

There are some benefits, especially if you use them as your hearing aid or for navigation purposes. They can also work great for communication with your fellow riders. And, of course, listening to your favorite tunes always make things exciting.

Are there any alternatives to these headphones that I can use?

There are certainly some alternatives to these headphones. You can go for your motorcycle stereo or an inbuilt portable speaker that can be connected directly to your phone. Moreover, you can go for helmet stereo that comes as an inbuilt feature of many helmets. Its tiny speakers within your helmet produce surround sound.

Both these options are the best alternative to headphones and earbuds, and the best part is, most states have legalized them. Plus, they are not that distracting, and you can hear what’s going on around you.


So where is it illegal to wear headphones while riding a motorcycle? Different states have different rules regarding wearing headphones and earbuds. In the state of Arizona and Oregon, there are some cities and regions that allow you to wear any type of earbuds or headphones.

But in the same states, there are some regions and cities where it is completely banned. States like Virginia, Colorado, Washington, Ohio, and some others allow you to only wear inbuilt helmet audio systems. However, all states unanimously allow using hearing aids or for navigational purposes.

But for best practice and to keep yourself safe on the road, it is best to keep the music or its volume down so you can hear what’s going on around you. You can also use just one of the two earbuds and can also use a playlist so your hands remain completely free.