How to Listen to Music on a Motorcycle



Listening to music on a motorcycle can be both a joy and a safety hazard.

Being able to hear everything happening on the road is crucial when it comes to safety, but who doesn’t want to listen to some tunes on their bikes?

This article will talk about the safety tips, legalities, and methods of listening to music on a motorcycle.

By the time you’re finished reading through this, you’ll know all about speakers, earbuds, Bluetooth headsets, and the pros and cons of listening to music while riding.

Is it safe to listen to music on a motorcycle?

Generally speaking, it is not safe to listen to music while riding a motorcycle unless proper guidelines are followed. Studies prove that listening to music can lower attention span, making it difficult to concentrate on the road.

Additionally, listening to music with both earbuds in or at a volume above average when several noise stimulants are present can be detrimental during a motorcycle ride.

However, specific laws and following some guidelines can make listening to music a safe experience for you and those on the streets around you.

Is it legal?

The laws regarding this question vary from state to state in the USA. For instance, in some states like California, listening to music during a motorcycle ride with only one earbud is permitted. This would ensure that your ears aren’t entirely covered up, which would have otherwise rendered the motorcyclist oblivious to their surroundings. 

Read motorcycle headphone laws for every state.

In some states like Missouri, bikers are allowed to wear headphones, albeit being advised against doing so. For other countries like the UK or Canada, rules are dependent on the Highway or Traffic Rules set by the local authorities. 

Furthermore, the music that is being listened to should not be loud, and there should be no device used that requires the insertion of a CD or USB that might need to be changed during the drive. Drivers are highly advised to use earbuds, preferably wireless/Bluetooth earbuds, instead of traditional wired ones. 

Even with all these precautions, if the traffic police feel that the rider’s capabilities are affected by the music, they could levy a fine.

To prevent this from happening, take a thorough look at your state or country’s traffic or highway codes to fully understand the laws regarding listening to music on a motorcycle.

How can you listen to music on a motorcycle?

There are various options to listen to music when riding a motorcycle. Let’s explore some of these devices and their functions:

External speakers\system:

External speakers mainly include Bluetooth speakers but can also refer to the speaker system installed in some motorcycles. These systems only need a music library nearby, which can be connected via Bluetooth or USB, and then you are good to go for the rest of your bike ride. 

However, a massive downside to listening to music this way is that everyone in the vicinity can hear the music. It can cause an overall feeling of annoyance and may distract those in the surrounding vehicles.


Using earbuds is the preferred way of listening to music virtually everywhere. It is convenient since you aren’t bothering everyone around you with your playlist. 

That said, the wired buds can prove hazardous if they end up entangled with the driver’s arms, so wireless Earbuds are preferred.

You’ll find hundreds of decent to excellent wireless earbuds on the market; we recently covered this in our best earbuds for motorcyclists article.

Bluetooth headset:

Bluetooth headsets are the most popular types of wireless earpieces to listen to. Once the Bluetooth connection is established with the music device, the device can be placed back inside the pocket.

The only downside of using a Bluetooth headset is that it needs to be charged, but that is a small price to pay for such high-quality and safe entertainment.

Bluetooth Helmet:

You can buy a helmet with an integrated system. We covered the best Bluetooth motorcycle helmets here.

Helmet speakers:

Helmet speakers cater specifically to those who want to listen to music in the safest possible way while riding a motorcycle. These speakers have buttons installed on the exterior which can be used to pause, play, increase or decrease the volume, among other things. 

The helmet needs to be connected to your phone or any other device.

The music from the built-in speakers is at an optimal volume, loud enough for the listener to enjoy the music while still being alert to their surroundings.

Noise cancellation

It is safe and legal to listen to music at a low volume with one earbud in almost every country in the world. However, certain boundaries should not be crossed for the safety of the driver and those around them.

Wearing noise-canceling headphones falls in this category of a no-go area for motorcycle drivers.

We all know that the most important thing to do when driving any vehicle is to remain alert of one’s surroundings, whether on a highway or a small street. 

Noise-canceling headphones go against this by completely cutting off the driver’s ability to perceive the surroundings and possibly dangerous situations.

So, word to the wise, do not use noise-canceling headphones while riding a motorcycle under any circumstances.

Pros/Cons of listening to music when riding

This section takes a look at all the pros and cons of listening to music while riding a motorcycle.


  1. Like how music helps some people study better, the same goes for listening to music while riding a motorcycle, music that’s uplifting can help keep the mind refreshed and alert.
  2. Music can help eliminate the loud sounds generated by the motorcycle, giving the rider’s ears a break from the noise and making them enjoy the audio more.
  3. Combining music with a long drive on a motorcycle in the middle of a bad day might significantly improve mood.


  1. Listening to music on a motorcycle may cause distractions and possibly lead to dangerous situations.
  2. Listening to music on a stereo or speaker may cause annoyance to others.
  3. Listening to heavy metal or music that is too loud may cause agitation when combined with a taxing task like riding a motorcycle.


Is it illegal to listen to music on a motorbike?

It is not illegal to listen to music on a motorbike. Specific laws in each country set guidelines about the safest way to listen to music while riding a motorcycle.

Do AirPods work on motorcycles?

AirPods work very well on motorcycles since they are wireless, thus preventing entanglement. Bluetooth earphones or headsets, in general, are preferred over wired earphones when listening to music on a bike.

Do noise-canceling headphones work on a motorcycle?

Noise-canceling headphones are capable of doing their job no matter where they are used. However, these headphones are highly discouraged when riding a motorcycle since they eliminate noise from the surroundings and fail to alert the driver to possible hazardous situations.