Is It Legal To Ride A Bike With Headphones On in Florida?

Girl riding bike with headphones on
Florida law considers riding a bike while wearing headphones to be a dangerous distraction that can lead to a serious accident.
  Riding a bicycle is great fun, but your good time can turn into a disaster if you’re injured in an accident. There are many common causes of bicycle accidents, including but not limited to:
  • Distracted driving, such as texting, talking on the phone, or eating and drinking.
  • Drowsy driving, which is particularly common among commercial truckers.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Aggressive driving, such as excessive speeding.
  • Failure to obey the Florida rules of the road.
As a bicyclist, you need to keep an eye out for anyone who is violating any of these laws and putting your safety at risk. But how alert can you be if you’re distracted too? When cycling, you may be tempted to ride with your headphones on. Not only does this allow you to enjoy your favorite music or podcast, but it also cancels out some—if not all—of the noise around you. But before you hop on your bicycle and put on your headphones, there are two questions to ask yourself:
  1. Is it legal to ride a bike with headphones on in Florida?
  2. Does wearing headphones while riding a bike increase the risk of an accident?
Currently, there are only seven states that have laws against riding a bike with headphones on, and Florida is one of them. The other six include:
  1. California
  2. Delaware
  3. Maryland
  4. New York
  5. Rhode Island
  6. Virginia
While it may be illegal to ride a bike with headphones on in the state of Florida, there are some exceptions to the rule:
  • Hearing aids are permitted.
  • Headphones are permitted when riding in an area, such as a bike path, that’s not considered part of a road. 
  • You can wear one earbud for cell phone use.

 

Why it’s dangerous to ride a bike with headphones on

Man on bike left headphones at home to pay attention to the road
It’s important to stay alert while riding your bike but wearing headphones can distract you from paying full attention to the road and the cars around you.
  What’s the big deal about wearing headphones while riding a bike? While it sounds harmless enough, there’s a good reason why the state of Florida has rules in place to protect against this form of distracted cycling. If you’re listening to your headphones, you may not be paying full attention to the road. Being unable to hear what’s happening around you may make your ride more peaceful, but it’s actually dangerous. You won’t be able to hear if someone beeps at you or if a police car or ambulance is approaching with its siren on. And because of this, you’re more prone to cause an accident that results in serious injuries for you.  Just the same as operating a motor vehicle, there are too many risks associated with having headphones on when biking.

 

How to protect yourself against distracted cycling

Since it’s against the law in Florida, there’s only one thing you should consider doing: leaving your headphones at home. If you don’t have access to your headphones, you won’t be tempted to plug them in, no matter how empty the roads seem. This ensures that you don’t violate the law, while also taking steps that enhance your overall level of safety when out on Florida’s dangerous roads. Always remember this: there’s nothing more important than your safety and well-being.

 

Left your headphones at home but still suffered a bike accident?

Even if you take every step possible to protect yourself, there’s always a risk that you could suffer a car accident. Florida is known for being one of the most dangerous states in the country for bicyclists. For example, deaths among bicyclists over the age of 20 in Florida have tripled over the past 45 years.  Here’s something else to think about: of the 783 bicyclists who were killed in bicycle accidents in 2017, 125 were from Florida. That makes up approximately 16 percent of all fatal accidents.  Should you find yourself injured as the result of a bicycle-car accident in Florida, here’s what you should do:
  1. Call 911 for help (the dispatcher can send an ambulance and police to the scene)
  2. Remain calm as you administer first-aid 
  3. Accept medical treatment both at the scene and a local hospital
Your health is the only thing that matters at this point. A bicycle accident can change your life in many ways, from permanent injuries to the need for long-term medical care. You must receive immediate medical care and make sure to keep all your medical records to use in your injury claim.  As you begin to recover, you can turn your focus to the cause of the bicycle accident, and the steps you can take to protect your legal rights, including contacting an experienced West Palm Beach bicycle accident attorney. Our team at Fetterman & Associates, P.A. can answer your questions, manage your accident claim from start to finish, and take the steps necessary to demand full compensation for your damages. Visit our offices in North Palm Beach or Port St. Lucie, contact us online, or give us a call to schedule your free consultation.