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Discussion Starter #1
I have seen the AMA list of state regulations on headphone use, and most states do not have any restrictions on their use. However, I looked at the Standard Traffic Ordinances for Kansas Cities from 2013, and Article 14 section 103 says this:

Using Headphones in Vehicles. No person shall operate any motor vehicle on the streets, alleys, or roadways of the city while wearing headphones which in any way interface with hearing of traffic noise or warning devices or signals.

I think you would be hard pressed to show that either ear buds or helmet speakers would be considered legal in light of this statute which is adopted by most Kansas communities. Has anyone been ticketed for headphone / earbud use based on a municipal statute such as this one? On second thought, would helmet speakers qualify as headphones?
 

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Riddle me this...

Why is it even an issue? Don't deaf or extremely hard of hearing folks ride scoots, too? No restrictions on that, that I'm aware of. Ohio does require a (deaf) cage driver to have a right-hand (passenger side) outside rear-view mirror. No other restrictions on bike or car that I'm aware of.
 

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Kansas State law has no restrictions on speakers in helmets. Can a municipality over ride state rules?
In Louisiana, a municipal code can be more restrictive than a state code but not less restrictive.

In Louisiana, a municipality could restrict the use of helmet speakers even if the state has no restrictions.

On the other hand, if the state restricted helmet speakers, a municipality could not allow them.

Not to change the subject but this is a reason why we petition our states to outlaw texting in a moving vehicle. The law is much more effective that way.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Cities override states?

Kansas State law has no restrictions on speakers in helmets. Can a municipality over ride state rules?
Yes. The state has no law, but that does not forbid cities from making their own law. Cities have tons of local ordnances that only apply inside their limits.
 

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<...> On second thought, would helmet speakers qualify as headphones?
A in-helmet speaker is not considered as a headphone.

Now, if you can prove that your microphone was live so you could actually hear, then you're not "interfering with hearing of traffic noise warning devices or signals."

IANAL, but I did stay at Holiday Inns recently.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Interesting

A in-helmet speaker is not considered as a headphone.

Now, if you can prove that your microphone was live so you could actually hear, then you're not "interfering with hearing of traffic noise warning devices or signals."

IANAL, but I did stay at Holiday Inns recently.
It sounds like I can legally use helmet speakers with earplugs, but not earbuds.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Outside sounds

A in-helmet speaker is not considered as a headphone.

Now, if you can prove that your microphone was live so you could actually hear, then you're not "interfering with hearing of traffic noise warning devices or signals."

IANAL, but I did stay at Holiday Inns recently.
Maybe this is an argument for using the Sena 20s which is supposed to have an external mic to allow the rider to hear external sounds. However until it ships it is hard to tell how it will work.
 

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Edited to add: the original post cites the AMA summaries. My less-than-blunt point in the original text below is that those do not mention headphones and general transportation audio stuff, just helmet speakers.

The AMA has a page with a summary of state motorcycle laws. There's a link on it to a PDF one-pager summary table that is a decent thing to stick in your documents folder. A version of it or similar is in the back of the GWRRA Gold Book.

Anyway, one of the columns is "helmet speakers". Arkansas, GA, IL, MD, MN, NY, PA, and VA have comments on that item.

Again, helmet speakers and headphones/earbuds are not the same thing.
 

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To use a quote from another board I have seen.....

"Always listen......never tell....."

:cool:
 

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It sounds like I can legally use helmet speakers with earplugs, but not earbuds.
The law quoted in the first post doesn't state anything about helmet speakers, earplugs, earbuds,etc...it only mentions headphones. If the entire ordinance only mentions headphones, then that's all it applies to. That's always a problem with ordinances like this. They can't keep up with the technology and if they try to, they usually come up with a law that is too broad in scope and can't be enforced.
 

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I have seen the AMA list of state regulations on headphone use, and most states do not have any restrictions on their use. However, I looked at the Standard Traffic Ordinances for Kansas Cities from 2013, and Article 14 section 103 says this:
Using Headphones in Vehicles. No person shall operate any motor vehicle on the streets, alleys, or roadways of the city while wearing headphones which in any way interface with hearing of traffic noise or warning devices or signals.

?
I think you guys missed reading the part of the law I highlighted in red above. The wearing of 'headphones' is only illegal IF it "interfaces" (interferes?) with hearing traffic noise. Therefore the LEO who would be trying to enforce this ordinance (which I would doubt the LEO in that city would even be aware of, unless he reads this forum) would have to PROVE that there was interfering sound coming from the 'headphones'. If ther ide/driver keeps their mouth shut and doesn't admit to playing music loudly, how would a LEO prove that the 'headphones' interfered?

(headphones definition would be up to the Judge for earbuds and helmet speakers, but I think the Judge would rule that the spirit of the law included those devices. A Judge is there to interpret the laws) (LEO = Law Enforcement Officer)
 

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I think you guys missed reading the part of the law I highlighted in red above. The wearing of 'headphones' is only illegal IF it "interfaces" (interferes?) with hearing traffic noise. Therefore the LEO who would be trying to enforce this ordinance (which I would doubt the LEO in that city would even be aware of, unless he reads this forum) would have to PROVE that there was interfering sound coming from the 'headphones'. If ther ide/driver keeps their mouth shut and doesn't admit to playing music loudly, how would a LEO prove that the 'headphones' interfered?

(headphones definition would be up to the Judge for earbuds and helmet speakers, but I think the Judge would rule that the spirit of the law included those devices. A Judge is there to interpret the laws) (LEO = Law Enforcement Officer)
It's a totally stupid law. If one needs to be able to hear "traffic noise, warning devices or signals" as a prerequisite to driving, then deaf people should not be allowed to drive. As far as I know, it is legal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the deaf or hearing impaired to drive. I think on that basis, it would be impossible for any court to prosecute anyone for breaking that law.
 

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I would suspect that this law came about as a result of a police chase, where the defense contended that the defendent didn't hear the sirens chasing him because he had headphones on. Sounds about right to me. He may or may not have won his case but this way, no one else would be able to use that defense again. Just my best guess...
 

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In my 30 plus years as a cop never heard of anyone even considering r concerned about this law. Anyone who wrote a citation for it would need to be a douche.
How would an officer even know you had a headset unless he looked in the helmet and if that were the case he would know what he was looking for and most likely a biker as well.
There are enough idiot drivers out there deserving or a citation without looking for somebody with a headset on under a helmet.
I would not lose any sleep over it, just ride.
 

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:agree: that this is splitting hairs on hypotheticals rather than pragmatic prep for a headphone trap pullover.

In keeping with that spirit, I do think that:

- earbuds are a type of headphone
- ear plugs and helmet speakers are not
- there's a sane difference between prohibiting hearing people from impairing their hearing, and disallowing deaf people from driving. The deaf analogy only goes so far.
 

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Azsandrider will correct me, but you do have the concept of primary and secondary violations.
The primary violation is you were speeding, and took an inordinate amount of time in responding. The cause, in the opinion of the LEO was the cord coming out of your helmet.

Sent from my teeny screen using my big fat fingers!
 
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