Can You Wear Headphones on a Motorcycle?

wear headphones on a motorcycle
Winstein, Kavensky & Cunningham LLC Blog April 30, 2021

Can You Wear Headphones on a Motorcycle?

For motorcycle enthusiasts, nothing compares to riding their bike on the open road. Riders can find peace or a bit of a thrill that frees them from daily mundane tasks and fills them with a sense of control and freedom. Add in listening to their favorite playlist and they can be transported further into their own epic adventure. But, is it legal to wear headphones on a motorcycle in Quad Cities? Well, that depends.  

Since Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline, Illinois, and Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa, are within driving distance of each other, it’s important to note the different state laws regarding wearing headphones, headsets, or earbuds. Here’s a quick read to cover the basic laws of the road for Iowa and Illinois.     

Iowa Headphones While Driving Laws 

Iowa’s motor vehicles and law of the road states that drivers are not prohibited from using headphones while driving. This law may seem counterintuitive as it is unlawful to text and drive in Iowa. 

In fact, texting while driving may be just as distracting and dangerous as wearing headphones while driving a motorcycle. Both actions can pull a driver’s focus away from the road in front of them. It can also limit their situational awareness to their surroundings.  This not only places themselves in danger, but also puts their passengers and other drivers on the road at risk of injury.

Important note: Just because it is legal for motorists to wear headphones while driving a motorcycle doesn’t mean that it is safe to do so. It also does not mean that a motorcyclist cannot be held liable for causing a distracted driving accident. In fact, if wearing headphones contributed to an accident, the driver could face serious consequences.

Illinois Headphones While Driving Laws 

 wearing a headset receiver

Unlike Iowa, driving a motorcycle while wearing headphones—or headset receivers—in Illinois is considered illegal. More specifically, no Illinois drivers on the highways of the state shall operate a motor vehicle while wearing a “headset receiver.” Under Illinois Vehicle Code, a headset receiver is defined as any device (other than a hearing aid) that is worn on a person’s head and enables them to receive electronic communications.

Three exceptions to this law include:

  1. Headset equipment worn by on duty construction workers, law enforcement, emergency medical services, and fire service personnel.
  2. Intercom-equipped motorcycle helmets 
  3. Use of a single-sided headset or earpiece with a cell phone.

Additionally, the only way to legally use a smartphone while driving in Illinois is with the assistance of a hands-free device.   

Important note: If a motorcyclist is found driving with headphones in Illinois, they are susceptible to a $500 fine without jail time. They would also be held liable for any damages caused if there were an accident.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash or car accident caused by a driver who was wearing headphones, our Quad Cities personal injury lawyers can help. you pursue fair compensation for your resulting medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repair costs, and pain and suffering.

Why Wearing Headphones While Driving Is Not a Good Idea

Wearing Headphones While Driving

We’ve touched on a few reasons why wearing headphones while driving is not a good idea. Now it’s time to be even more specific. 

Listening to music, audio tapes, podcasts, etc. through headphones or earbuds cuts off your sense of hearing to your surroundings. This is especially true for those with noise-cancelling technology. You essentially would not hear the horn of other vehicles. You would also not hear sirens from police and ambulances, or warning sounds of mechanical issues with your bike. 

It also distracts your mind to adversely affect your reaction time. If this happens, you could end up following too closely to another vehicle. You may also end up braking abruptly, or miss another vehicle approaching from a blind spot.      

Lastly, if you end up in a motorcycle accident while wearing headphones or earbuds, insurance companies, judges, and lawyers could use that against you. Even if you were not the cause of the accident, you may face partial fault—if not full blame. Furthermore, you may end up declared a negligent rider.  

Injured? Contact an Iowa and Illinois Motorcycle Lawyer 

At Winstein, Kavensky & Cunningham, our personal injury attorneys are licensed in both Iowa and Illinois. Injured in a motorcycle or car accident in the Quad Cities or a surrounding community? Did your accident involve a driver wearing headphones? Then, our legal team can assist you.  

As one of the oldest and most prestigious law firms in the area, our legal team knows how to maximize your chances of recovering the financial compensation you deserve. 

Contact us today by chat, through an online form, or by calling us directly at (309) 794-1515 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation. Additionally, you won’t pay us any fees unless we obtain a financial recovery on your behalf. You can also reach us via LiveChat or by filling out this form.

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.