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Ohio Motorcyclists Could Soon Be Allowed To Wear Earplugs

Red motorcyle on parked on street at sunset
Cody Monser

A bill to let motorcyclists wear earplugs while driving has been sent to Gov. Mike DeWine for his signature after clearing the legislature.

Up to now, motorcyclists have not been allowed to wear earplugs. Republican state Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) says the reasoning was that drivers need to be able to hear emergency sirens and other important sounds.

But he says scientific evidence doesn’t support that.

“The decibels at which a motorcycle operates and the wind blowing past your ears primarily operate, those often times can cause some severe hearing damage to people," McColley says.

The bill would allow motorcyclists to wear hearing protection but would prohibit them from playing music or other noise through the earbuds. The legislation easily passed with strong bipartisan support.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.