It makes no sense for earbuds to be illegal if ridiculously loud stereos in cars are not. Think about this: in most states where helmet use is mandatory on a bike, it's illegal to wear one in your car! You are as aware and safe as you are willing to put the effort into. I run my buds at a level where I can still hear ambient noise, like my bikes engine and the tires of passing vehicles. Have never had a close call or idiot moment from not being able to hear something. Have had them for other reasons though.