Is It Illegal to Ride a Bike While Wearing Headphones in California?

iStock_000019953923_LargeWe’ve all been there; unsure of whether we’re breaking some California bicycle law when we ride a bike while wearing headphones. The short answer is yes. In the state of California, it is illegal to wear headphones that either cover or are put inside both ears, according to vehicle code 27400. This applies to both motorists and cyclists.

Now, if you’re anything like us, you will have read that and immediately thought “aww, but why?!” Wearing headphones while riding a bike poses a variety of safety concerns, some of which we’re going to go over below.

Why Is It Illegal to Wear Headphones While Riding a Bike?

The main reason wearing headphones is illegal when cycling is simply because it’s dangerous…but isn’t riding a bike inherently dangerous anyway? Well, yes, the same way driving a car or walking down the sidewalk is dangerous, but wearing headphones adds more complexity to the issue.

Unlike the debate over whether or not riders should be wearing helmets at all times (you really should), wearing headphones can sometimes put more than just your own safety at risk. Your restricted senses could potentially lead to an accident which leaves another person injured.

As for your own safety, when you ride a bike while wearing headphones, you are compromising your own safety by limiting your ability to hear what’s going on around you. Listening to music may cause you to be unaware of approaching cars, people shouting, and maybe even someone honking.

In conclusion, the law is in place for both yours and everyone else’s safety. Besides, part of riding a bike is to experience the world around you. So, as much as you want to be listening to music while you ride, please, for the sake of safety, leave the headphones behind.

San Diego bicycle accident attorney Frederick M. Dudek is an avid cyclist, and truly understands what it means to be a bicyclist, as well as what it is we lose in a bicycle accident.



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