Depending on your state laws, you can legally wear AirPods Pros or wear AirPods while riding a Motorcycle. The AirPod Pros are better since they cancel noise and have unique tips that keep them from falling out, but neither is ideal for riding a motorbike, at least not for every rider!
Nothing beats riding the open roads with the wind screaming in your ears and the buzz of your engine beneath. However, excessive riding noise may be unpleasant and even dangerous. Many bikers use in-ear headphones like AirPods to solve this issue. If you have ever wondered if you could get a ticket for wearing earbuds, you are not alone.
Is it Safe to Ride with AirPods?
Our aim is not to discount the significance of hearing when riding a motorbike. However, it is a myth that deaf people cannot drive. Remember that deaf and hard-of-hearing people may lawfully drive everywhere around the globe.
The most crucial sense while riding a motorbike in sight. But don’t listen to music while riding if it distracts you. That’s it! If you like the format, here are some pros and cons to wearing earpieces on a ride:
Pros of Riding With AirPods
- Cancels road noise
- Improve concentration
- Reduce situational anxiety
- Improved riding experience
Cons of Riding With AirPods
- Can be distracting
- It can be uncomfortably worn under a helmet
- Hard to keep attached
- May block honking and sirens
- Prolonged use impairs hearing
Is it Legal to Wear Airpods While Riding a Motorcycle?
The legitimacy of riding with AirPods differs from country to country, and in the U.S., from state to state. Here is where it gets interesting!
AirPods and earbuds are legal in most states, including Georgia and Oregon (allowed in some cities). States like California, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania only allow one earpiece. In Massachusetts, Louisiana, Rhode Island, New York, Maryland, and Colorado it’s against the law to wear any earbud while riding a motorcycle.
You may wear earpieces for navigation and communications purposes only in Alaska and Washington, while Virginia and Ohio riders may enjoy some music from helmet speakers. Internationally, you will find similar restrictions in the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Quebec only and almost nowhere else. Australian, British, and the majority of European riders are left to their own devices (pun intended).
Safety Considerations Before Riding While Wearing Earbuds
When we go on our bikes, we should constantly think about safety. Let’s get the safety issues out of the way first.
- Pay Attention to Traffic. Constantly check your mirrors, blind spots, and lane location to make it difficult for an unseen car to sneak up on you.
- Keep Off Lengthy Phone Calls. Studies show that conversing on the phone may diminish focus, whether hands-free or not, since the brain switches between activities fast but cannot accomplish two things simultaneously.
- Make Sure They Fit Correctly. A well-fitted helmet pinches your cheeks together. Removing, adjusting, or touch-controlling AirPods while motorcycling is difficult and unsafe.
- Protect Your Hearing. If permissible, use noise-canceling earphones (AirPod Pros rather than normal AirPods) or earplugs when riding a motorbike to prevent hearing loss.
- Don’t Interact With Your Phone. Notifications for texts, emails, phone calls, etc., are unnecessary. You don’t want alarms distracting you while biking. AirPod Pros are compatible with Android too but don’t operate your smartphone while you ride.
- Learn to Ride Without Music. Before riding while listening to music, novice riders should learn about their bikes and the streets. You can tell when to shift, when anything is out of tune, by the roar of your motorbike.
- Prepare a Playlist in Advance. Don’t be that guy driving with his phone in his hand. It’s unsafe, and it’s not why you got a bike. Take in the views!
- Keep the Volume As Low As Possible. Don’t do it on the highway if you can’t turn it up that high at home. It’s not suitable for your ears or your concentration. Ride slowly at lower RPMs to enjoy quiet music as you cruise.
Can You Wear Airpods With a Motorcycle Helmet?
Some helmets allow you to use AirPods while riding. But first, be sure riding with earbuds is permitted in your state. If not, other ways to suppress road noise or communicate with other riders exist. Airpods beneath your helmet will work best if your gear is snug and comfortable. Let’s break down the specifics to help you decide before buying a costly pair of earbuds.
Do AirPods Work Under a Helmet?
Not all helmets allow you to comfortably use AirPods, especially if you wear a full-face helmet.
Put on your helmet and check how tight it is on the ears. Airpods are tiny and pleasant when worn alone, but they may be uncomfortable when pushed by a helmet. A snug helmet may create not only discomfort but also ruin the fidelity of sound from AirPods. The sound will be muffled or muted if your helmet presses on your earbuds. This defeats the purpose of wearing them.
The good news is that once you get the helmet over the earbuds, they aren’t likely to fall off while riding. They may also block out road, wind, and engine noise. Loud, repeated sounds may cause headaches and ear damage. Earbuds with noise cancellation, like AirPod Pros, decrease ambient noise and preserve your hearing.
But this is a two-edged sword. You’ll probably need to crank up the level to hear your tunes or GPS instructions if you’re riding with music. This may also create hearing issues since loud music can damage your ears over time. Of course, this may happen with speakers in the helmet or on the bike.
Additionally, earphones block out sounds, and you may not hear horns, sirens, or cars near you. Before you attempt riding with earbuds under your helmet, check your local laws so as not to infringe on the law.
Best AirPod Alternatives to Listen to Music on a Motorcycle
If you must listen to music loud or otherwise while you ride, these are better ways to do it;
- Motorcycle Stereo System: Some bikes have amplified speakers or may be converted to have one. They’re neither cheap nor Hi-Fi, but it’s worth it if music is important to you.
- Bluetooth Helmet: There are now many choices for sound-enabled helmets. Most of them use Bluetooth to link to your phone, so you can listen to music, GPS instructions, or even communicate to a fellow rider, passenger, or someone else, in all weather conditions.
- Helmet Speakers: A hot trend right now, these speakers are compact and fit your helmet under the pads. You can summon them with a convenient power button during the ride.
We wouldn’t recommend riding a motorcycle with AirPods with or without a helmet if you turned up the music. Again, it boils down to personal preferences and an honest evaluation of your brain’s attention capabilities.
Our brains are not wired to parallel process things but rather switch between things fast. So, unless you need a distraction to remove situational anxiety without the risk of zoning out, you should probably delimit the two hobbies.
About the author: Michael Parrotte was the Vice President of AGV Helmets America, and a consultant for KBC Helmets, Vemar Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Marushin Helmets, KYT Helmets, Sparx Helmets. In addition, he is the founder and owner of AGV Sports Group.