When biking or running in Indianapolis and other Indiana cities, it’s not unusual to see a number of people using mobile devices with headphones. It seems innocent enough; likely, these people are enjoying their day with a little added music in their ear to make their trip more enjoyable. Modern day products are being designed and sold specifically to be compatible with running, cycling, and other forms of exercise. We all enjoy music, and it’s hard to tell bicyclists not to listen to music while they ride, particularly because music helps motivate so many people to push harder during their workouts.
That being said, there are certain safety concerns that arise when a cyclist uses headphones. Clearly, that person cannot hear his or her surroundings as well as they could if they were not using headphones. This may make it more difficult to hear passing motorist traffic or the famous “on your left!” warning when another cyclist is passing you on the Monon Trail. While hearing is an important shield against danger while cycling, your sight is probably more important. Make sure you are keeping your eyes peeled at all times for traffic or unexpected obstacles, particularly if you are cycling with headphones.
The Law in Indiana
But what is the law in Indiana regarding headphone usage while biking? Simply put, the Indiana legislature has not yet addressed this issue, and there is no law restricting or banning the use of headphones while cycling currently in effect, although other states, like Florida, have completely banned the use of headphones while on a bike. Therefore, the bicycle injury lawyers at Caress Law Group encourage cyclists who want to listen to music while biking to wear “open air” headphones that do not completely seal the ear. Although these will still impair your ability to hear your surroundings, they will not completely block off sound like an earbud headphone would.
If you are in an Indiana bike accident involving a pedestrian, another cyclist, or an automobile, and you wish to pursue a legal claim to be compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium, your ability to recover such expenses may be negatively impacted if you are wearing headphones during your bicycle accident. This is because Indiana is a modified comparative fault state. This means a percentage of fault is assigned to each party (you and the motorist, for example). Once the percentage of fault is assigned, it is applied to the damages, or compensation, available in each case. For example, if you are rear-ended by a car while riding your bike, the fact finder may attach 95% fault to motorist and 5% fault to you. If the total damages in the case were $50,000, you would recover 95% of that amount instead of all $50,000. Wearing headphones can potentially cause more fault to be assigned to you, making it more difficult for your Indiana bicycle lawyer to recover rightful compensation you deserve.
The Indiana bicycle accident attorneys at Caress Law Group are always privileged to provide you with up-to-date bicycle news and legal interpretations. If you have a question about this post or any other question about Indiana bicycle laws or comparative fault, please feel free to call Indiana bicycle lawyer Lance Worland at any time at 317-255-5400 ore-mail at Lance@CaressLaw.com. Please remember to be safe when riding your bicycle this spring, and enjoy your next ride!