Headsets While on the Sidewalk
Tom asked: If cyclists have all the rights and responsibilities as pedestrians while riding on a sidewalk or bike path, shouldn’t wearing headphones be legal as long as they are removed upon entering a roadway?
A bicyclist on the sidewalk has the rights and duties of a pedestrian, but the wording of the statute is important. Those rights and duties apply to the circumstances at the time and place.
s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
(9) A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.
The statute does not say ONLY the rights and duties of a pedestrian under all circumstances. Whether in the roadway, a bike path or on a sidewalk, the cyclist is still operating a vehicle, so must comply with statutes that are applicable to the vehicle such as helmets, lights and DUI. Included also would be the statute that prohibits the use of headsets.
s. 316.304 – Wearing 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:
(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 ….