Cruising the highway listening to your favorite tunes…there’s nothing quite like it and North Carolina happens to be one of the states that allows unrestricted use of headphones and earbuds for motorcyclists. It’s not against the law to wear earphones while riding but there are safety issues to consider. Some bikers feel it’s just as safe or safer to wear earbuds and headphones because it cuts down on wind noise and ear fatigue for those who are on a long ride or traveling at high speed on the open highway. On the other hand, police and safety organizations recommend against it. Here are a few factors to consider when deciding whether to use earphones or not.
Many bikers use in-helmet Bluetooth systems to listen to music. Some riders choose to ride and listen to music at a high volume. Others use minimal volumes so they can also hear what is happening around them more easily. Still other riders just use the earbuds like earplugs to lessen wind and engine noise. Finding an appropriate volume is an important safety factor. Many bikers turn off their audio completely when in congested traffic so they can pay attention more easily to sudden moves without being distracted while others keep their volumes at a level where they can still hear horns and sirens in traffic.
Bikers rely on their eyes more than their ears when riding of course, but some bikers are very attuned to audio cues while riding. Anytime a biker uses earbuds on the road they should pay closer attention to their surroundings and make sure to always comply with all traffic laws. If there is an accident involving a motorcycle, the fact that a motorcycle operator was wearing earphones or listening to loud music during the accident will probably be included in the case evidence and could be a reason for insurance companies to argue contributory negligence against the motorcyclist.
One of the primary safety concerns when using earbuds and riding is reaction time if a motorist in front makes a quick brake or other movement at a high rate of speed. It is important to respect speed limits and get out of congested traffic when possible. It is also advisable to lengthen the following distance considerably when on the open highway, which is when most motorcyclists enjoy their earbuds most.
Although they make a long ride more enjoyable, wearing earbuds may diminish a rider’s ability to respond properly to highway changes. As you might have figured, police and driver safety organizations advise against wearing any earphone device because it could compromise the rider’s awareness of surrounding traffic conditions. In the end, using earphones while riding is a personal preference. Be sure to choose whether to wear headphones or not wisely and experiment with the volume levels that are right for you.
If you, a friend or loved one are involved in a motorcycle accident in the Carolinas, turn to Bob Karney and the Karney Law Firm in Charlotte. We’re CAROLINAS' BIKER LAWYERS™ for a reason - ‘WE’VE GOT YOUR BACK!.’ Call (704) 376.7982 for a complimentary consultation to see what we can do for you.