By: KGD Law
Share This Post
Bluetooth Helmet Communication Options
Some people consider riding a motorcycle to be an escape from everyday life. However, that escape doesn’t mean you don’t want everyday life’s luxuries. Bluetooth helmet communication options bring those luxuries to your riding experience. Instead of disconnecting from life, riders benefit from access to their smartphone and each other. They can communicate and be entertained while riding. The options for Bluetooth communication are plentiful, so get ready to consider multiple factors when you pick the one for you.
One of the biggest factors for any shopping choice is cost, and costs vary for Bluetooth helmet communication options. A basic but quality communication system will run a little over $100, but a high-end one can cost upward of $300. Integrated helmets generally cost a couple hundred more.
Integrated or Stand-Alone Unit
The next option you have to consider for Bluetooth helmet communication systems is whether you want the Bluetooth to be integrated. This means it is actually part of the helmet.
An integrated helmet is a benefit because there aren’t any bulky items outside of the helmet. Stand-alone units attach to the exterior of the helmet. This can create a “sail” effect because the aerodynamics of the helmet are changed. The accompanying turbulence can create noise as well.
Integrated helmets don’t have attached parts. The buttons are streamlined with the helmet’s design. The wires are tucked away within the shell of the helmet, so there are no comfort issues. However, a stand-alone unit can be removed and installed on a different helmet. They also tend to be less expensive.
Bluetooth Helmet App Options
Setting up your Bluetooth helmet communication option is another consideration. Installing the helmet involves attention to detail, so the wires are not uncomfortable. However, it also involves installing and connecting the Bluetooth to an app on your phone. Check out the app before purchasing the product to make sure it is user-friendly.
Does Your Bluetooth Option Have Rider-to-Rider Communication?
Not all Bluetooth options are really communication systems. Some only give you audio access to music and GPS. Others give you general phone use with voice features. On the most complicated systems, you can get rider-to-rider communication.
Rider-to-rider communication has been a godsend for group rides, but it is not without faults. There are a limited number of riders that can be connected at one time, but some options offer connection to 8 or more riders, so that isn’t always an issue.
The more common issue is rider drop-off. This means that one rider strays too far from the group and gets disconnected. On some Bluetooth helmet communication systems, this means that other riders become disconnected as well. If you don’t want this problem, purchase a system that creates a network for riders, so they aren’t disconnected due to a different rider.
Lastly, pay attention to the range limitations of the Bluetooth system. It should be about a mile. You don’t want your group riders riding unsafely to maintain a connection. A mile or more provides enough flexibility for traffic conditions.
Battery Life of Bluetooth Helmet
If you are a person who rides regularly for extended periods of time, battery life can be a huge issue. There are systems available with 27 hours of battery life. Systems that only have 12 or 18 hours may fall short of your wishes. This is especially true if you are going on a cross country trip.
Buying a cheap Bluetooth helmet communication system may be tolerable, but it isn’t likely to be waterproof. Even if you live in an arid region, moisture happens. Don’t risk the life of your Bluetooth communication system by buying one that isn’t waterproof, or you’ll be buying another soon.
Sometimes large speakers are a plus because you can get better sound, but you need room in your helmet. Make sure that you have cutouts for speakers. If you have a snug-fitting or racing helmet, speaker size may be an issue. All riders should consider helmet comfort as well as function in order to enjoy their rides.
Controls may not seem like a big issue with Bluetooth helmets. However, it can make a big difference in your satisfaction with your product. Controls should be simple. If the communication product uses buttons there should only be a few. A dial is another option that might be available. Make sure you understand the controls before purchasing your unit.
In today’s day and age, your sound equipment should be noise cancelling. Road noise and the wind should not interfere with your listening pleasure. If the system is voice-enabled, make sure that the mic is in a position to avoid picking up outside noise. The whole reason to get a communication system is null and void if noise is an issue.
Bluetooth Helmets are a Safety Concern
Despite the effectiveness of today’s Bluetooth helmets, they are a safety concern. Being able to hear some road noise (such as honking horns or sirens) is actually a benefit to riders, so they can avoid hazards. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a Bluetooth helmet. They can be very helpful for navigation and communication. In this way, they can enhance safety. But there are two sides to safety, and the Bluetooth helmet takes away your ability to hear hazards. As a result, the rider who uses a Bluetooth helmet must remember that they cannot hear. This means paying even more attention to the environment, so your safety risk is reduced.
Is Not Being Able to Hear Negligent?
Being deaf doesn’t prevent you from legally riding a motorcycle. Therefore, it is perfectly fine to listen to music and use your Bluetooth helmet as intended. However, using a Bluetooth helmet does not eliminate the negligence that can be attributed to an accident.
If a motorcyclist causes an accident because of distractions caused by the Bluetooth helmet, the courts will hold him or her liable. It is just like eating a burger while driving isn’t against the law. If it causes an accident, the courts will hold you responsible.
For the motorcyclist, eating a burger and driving is a different story and completely unadvisable. However, Bluetooth can be just as distracting. This is because conversations can be distracting as well as music. If you feel you need to move to the beat or get into a heated debate over the phone, this may act as an impairment.
What do you do about this potential for negligence? Don’t allow it to happen. Listen to music that doesn’t deter you from safety. Don’t get into heated debates while driving. If this means hanging up or turning off your phone, so be it. Make sure you keep a clear head. You can listen to music and drive safely in most cases, but only you can evaluate this.
Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means the courts can hold you or another party partially liable for an accident. This means the court will reduce your awards by that amount.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact the Law Offices of Kirshner, Groff, and Diaz for a no-obligation consultation about your case.