Legal Bike Helmet Headset?

Question

Ian asked: I noticed this new “Coros LINX Smart Cycling Helmet” on kickstarter:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/coros/coros-linx-smart-cycling-helmet-safely-tune-in-to

and wondered whether it would be legal in Florida. Florida bans all vehicle operators (not just cyclists) wearing “headset, headphone, or other listening device”, but has a exception for this type of helmet:

s. 316.304 – Wearing of headsets.

(2) This section does not apply to:

(c) Any person operating a motorcycle who is using a headset that is installed in a helmet and worn so as to prevent the speakers from making direct contact with the user’s ears so that the user can hear surrounding sounds.

So, since the law is clearly written to allow this type of helmet, and this helmet would be legal on a motorcycle, would a court allow this exemption for a bicyclist also, even though the wording only mentions motorcyclists?

Answer

The other applicable sections of the statute are these:

s. 316.304Wearing of Headsets

(1) No person shall operate a vehicle while wearing a headset, headphone, or other listening device, other than a hearing aid or instrument for the improvement of defective human hearing.

(2) This section does not apply to:

(b) Any applicant for a license to operate a motorcycle while taking the examination required by s. 322.12(5).

(c) Any person operating a motorcycle who is using a headset that is installed in a helmet and worn so as to prevent the speakers from making direct contact with the user’s ears so that the user can hear surrounding sounds.

(d) Any person using a headset in conjunction with a cellular telephone that only provides sound through one ear and allows surrounding sounds to be heard with the other ear.

(3) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall promulgate, by administrative rule, standards and specifications for headset equipment the use of which is permitted under this section. The department shall inspect and review all such devices submitted to it and shall publish a list by name and type of approved equipment.

The statute does not seem to permit the use of such listening devices while on a bicycle. I don’t see any claim of legality in the manufacturer’s literature and no indication in their Risk section that it may not meet states’ requirements for use. It would appear the intent of the law is to allow external sounds to facilitate safe cycling, which this helmet seems to accomplish.

I would recommend asking the manufacturer to confirm that it is, in fact, legal, possibly by having the DHSMV rule on the helmet for use in Florida and other states with similar statutes.

Posted in Ask Geo, Bicycle Equipment
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