Motorists in and around Los Angeles aren’t permitted by law to wear headphones or earbuds in both of their ears. CVC 27400 makes that clear. The statute states as follows: “A person operating a motor vehicle or bicycle may not wear a headset covering, earplugs in or earphones covering, resting on, or inserted in, both ears.”

The Legislative Intent

The rationale behind this statue is that legislators wants anybody who is on a roadway to be able to hear so that they might avoid any immediate approaching danger. Bicycles and e-bikes are vehicles under CVC 21200, bicyclists can’t use headphones or earbuds in both ears either


The California legislature did create five exceptions to the general headphone rule. Those exceptions follow:

  • Operators of authorized emergency vehicles.
  • Operators of special construction equipment or highway maintenance equipment.
  • Refuse collection equipment personnel for purposes of hearing protection.
  • Those who are wearing personal hearing protection for purposes of attenuating injurious noise levels that don’t inhibit the wearer’s ability to hear sirens or horns.
  • People who are using hearing aids.

There is nothing in the statute that might operate to prohibit a motor vehicle operator or bicyclist from using a single headphone or earbud in one ear. Stay legal by keeping one ear open. Los Angeles Bicycle Law represents injured bicyclists in personal injury claims and lawsuits. We’re bicyclists ourselves, and we limit our practice to bicycle accident victims only. By doing so, we’re able to render exemplary legal services. After being the victim of a bicycle accident that was caused by the negligence of somebody else anywhere in Los Angeles or Southern California, contact us at your earliest possible convenience. We can talk about what happened to you and how it might be approached at no cost to you at all.