Are Bone Conduction Headphones Legal While Cycling in Florida?

Video Transcription:

Hi, it's Jim Dodson, the Florida Bike Guy. Are bone conducting headphones legal in Florida? I got this question this week from Chris Schmidt, who's the President of the Villages Bicycle Club and honestly, I did not know about bone conducting headsets, and I did not know the answer and I cannot tell you definitively the answer, but I want to talk to you about the issues a little bit.

So. what we what we're running into is Florida Statute 316.304  says that no person shall operate a vehicle, and remember on the road, a bicycle is a vehicle, while wearing a headset, headphone or other listening device, other than a hearing aid or an instrument for the improvement of effective human hearing.

So that's the statute. Now they have some exceptions to the statute. It says it doesn't apply to any person using a headset in conjunction with a cellular telephone that only provides sound through one ear and allow surrounding sounds to be heard with the other ear. Okay. So I don't own a set of bone conducting headsets, and if you don't know what it is, um,.These are devices that bypass the ear canal. So you're not hearing through the ear canal, you wear them right on the side. They actually sit right in front of your ear. And they actually, the, you know, the vibrations of sound are transmitted directly to the bones of the skull, bypasses the ear and goes directly to the hearing within the inner ear.

So the purpose of the statute from my review is that we're not to ride our bikes wearing headsets because we can't hear ambient sound. We're not aware of cars approaching, sirens and all the things that we need to be aware of when we're on the road. These devices, according to the literature on the, um, I looked at one brand called AfterShokz, A F T E R S H O K Z. AfterShokz. Got a great website. They seem to be one of the leading brands. They run between $80 and $150. It looks like depending on what you want to do with it and what the features are that you want. Um, but they, they do not interfere with your hearing ambient sound, according to what they say on their website. And I'd love for someone to comment on this program and talk to me about this because I'd like to see how effective it is. And I think what I'm going to do is order a set myself. And I'll give you a report back.

But if in fact, you know, when you're using a product like for bone conducting hearing and this particular brand, uh, says that you can hear the ambient sounds while you're listening to them. To me, it's sort of, doesn't violate the spirit of what the statutes designed for us to do. We want to be able to ride our bikes hear, but still listened to ambient sounds around us so that we can react to our environment. The problem for us is when you’re wearing them and they have the headset sits right on the front, but wraps around you here, like a typical headset and goes right where beneath the back of your helmet, probably, um, to a police officer, it may look like you're wearing headsets. So it, you may end up getting stopped and you know, this is a noncriminal infractions. It's an non-moving infraction. Uh, you could get cited for it. Uh, then you'd have the issue of, do you want to contest it in court? And I'd be very fascinated by, by that. Uh, it depends on how important it is to you.

So, Chris, I can't say yes, they're legal, but to me, they seem to be within the law because they don't violate the spirit of the law. Even though, you know, one might argue, you know, you can get some pushback on it from somebody who really wanted to push the subject. But to me, I think that they probably should be okay. Um, so I, again, if you have experienced with this, I'd love to hear about it. If you use them, I'd love to see how they work. I'll report back to you when I get a set and we'll see exactly what I find that they do.

So I'm Jim Dodson, The Florida Bike Guy. Um, I have a special emphasis in our practice on helping cyclist across Florida. It doesn't matter to me if you've been injured on the bike or you've been injured in a car accident that matter may where you are, I'm there to help you. If you need me, I will be there. You have a question, concern or issue related to cycling. Let me know, and I'll do my best to give you an answer. Um, let's be safe. Okay. And ride safely, take care. A stiff. And Jim Dodson, The Florida Bike Guy. Bye.


Jim Dodson
Connect with me
A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.