Throughout the day, many of us undoubtedly reach for the ear buds. Maybe we want to zone out on the trip home or psych ourselves up for a long cycling trip. Either way, it’s a habit that could cost Californians dearly in the weeks to come. As ABC7News reported in early January 2016, there are ear bud laws on the books and cyclists are among the group of people they’re meant to target.
Ear buds have obviously been around for many years now but they’re not without controversy. People worry that the tiny accessories will either block out the sound of oncoming traffic or cause hearing damage. This is primarily a concern with cyclists who turn the volume up on their mobile devices beyond recommended levels. Plus, the buds may serve as a distraction or pose an entanglement risk too.
As a consequence, California lawmakers have made it their mission to dissuade cyclists from using them altogether. And as a domino effect, the new laws may also influence future accident cases. For example, if a biking accident victim was wearing ear buds at the time of impact, will the courts see his or her actions as contributory negligence? And further, will he or she still be fined for violating the law?
Currently, our state recognizes what’s known as the Pure Comparative Fault Rule. So yes, the courts will take the fact that a cyclist was wearing ear buds at the time of the accident into consideration. However, it will not be the sole, influencing factor in biking accident cases involving ear buds. In addition, the cyclist could very well still face punitive costs for breaking the state’s ear bud laws.
To learn more about how ear bud use may impact biking accident cases going forward, please contact attorney Gary Brustin today.