GoPro On Motorcycle Helmets Confirmed As Legal In Court

Last year, Max Lichtenbaum in Victoria was fined by the police for having a GoPro camera attached to his motorcycle helmet. He took the matter to the Victorian County Court which led to questions around the legality of consumers putting attachments on their helmets. The landmark case has been going back and forth for some time but now motorcyclists and cyclist finally have some clarity over this part of the law.

Photo by Stefano Tinti / Shutterstock.com

When it comes to road rules, there is a lack of uniformity in the law that governs them in each state. The fact that lane filtering is legal in some states and not others is just one example. Last year, when this GoPro court case came to light, the Victoria court was forced to re-examine the legalities around consumers attaching bits and bobs onto a helmet that is used on the roads.

In Victoria and NSW, adding an attachment that protrudes by more than 5mm is seen as voiding the helmet’s adherence to the Australian Standards, effectively classifying it as a non-compliant helmet. But there has been a debate over whether this was a rule that applied only to manufacturers and not consumers.

While Lichtenbaum, who was initially fined $289 for having a GoPro on his helmet, lost the court case late last year, the decision has been overturned on appeal. Over the weekend, County Court Judge John Jordan dismissed the charge and agreed the standards for helmet attachments only applies to manufacturers.

"This puts pressure now on VicRoads and regulatory authorities to recognise what they call at the national level as regulatory harmonisation. We poor motorcyclists simply call it uniform road rules right around Australia and that’s what’s needed," Victorian Motorcycle Council Peter Baulch told the Herald Sun.

The decision is expected to spur legislative changes in Victoria. All other states except NSW have either explicitly legalised attachments on helmets or have no law against it.

Having cameras on helmets isn't just for fun and capturing memories. Much like dash cams in cars, portable action cameras like the GoPro allow motorcycle riders to record footage for insurance and safety purposes.

[Via Herald Sun]


Comments

    Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's smart. Look what happened to Schumacher... I'd stick to a bike mounted camera if I were to want to record my ride.

      The injuries were found to have nothing to do with the camera, and that the camera actually reduced forces on that part of his head by breaking iff and thus absorbing part of the impact.

        Have you sources? I remember having read in papers (I have no source either) that he was wearing a camera on his helmet and that this was the cause of the main trauma
        Now whatever the MS case I think the head is particularly big and exposed in humans, helmets while protecting from some shocks do worsen some other ones, and adding still another object on top (here an action cam) looks increasing the risks.
        Versailles, Fri 16 Sep 2016 18:53:25 +0200

          "Tests were also conducted to see if the presence of his camera on his helmet had weakened the structure causing it to shatter so dramatically.
          But his equipment was not found to be faulty in any way."

    This is incorrect. The charges were thrown out because the motorcycle helmet standards were not available to all. This is different from having a camera on your helmet being deemed legal.

    This is what happens when you cut and paste from heraldsun

      Hi there,

      I think you're disputing that the literal term of legal, which is "permitted by law", vs "not breaking the law"?

      This case now sets a precedent for future cases involving attachments to helmets. Ultimately, this court case has confirmed that you're not breaking the law when you attach a camera onto your helmet.

      Cheers,

      Spandas

        The judge ruled that the Australian Standards for motorcycle helmets were not made available and hence dismissed the charges.

        No ruling was made on the issue of mounting a camera to a helmet and no precedent has been set regarding helmet mounted cameras.

          ... Which still means consumers are not breaking the law when they mount cameras on their helmets...

            Also I did mention the court case could spur legislative changes in Victoria. Hopefully that will lead to explicit legalisation.

    Do you actually ride a bike?
    If i put my gopro on my bike it shakes like shit and the video isn't worth keeping but if its mounted on my helmet my head acts as a stabilizer, i get a mutch better video and it records exactly what im looking at witch would be better evidence in court if im hit from the side as a camera mounted on the bike only captures one direction.

    Good! It's about time. I've had a Drift camera attached to my helmet for as long as I've been riding (5+ years now) and I plan to keep it that way. Never been hassled by the police about it and looks like I never will.

    I record every single ride I make, including my daily commute to and from work. I just leave the camera on CCTV mode so it loops the footage once it runs out of storage. Too many issues with insurance when it comes to motorcycles to risk not mounting a camera in my opinion.

      Since you apparently gathered much experience here, could you tell precisely which camera you use most, how and where you mount it, and what mounting piece you use? TIA,
      Versailles, Fri 16 Sep 2016 18:59:40 +0200

    While it may not be law, I can't imagine that having an object like a camera attached to your helmet does not negatively affect it's capacity to protect your skull in the event of an accident.

      There's hundreds of crash videos on Youtube with camera attached and I've never seen any circumstance in which the camera contributed to an injury. The camera pops off very easily during an accident. My partner crashed his bike recently and the camera popped off the mount even though it wasn't even on the side that impacted the ground. I'm very sceptical of any claim that a bit of plastic glued to a helmet could cause an injury. The plastic would break or fall off before anything happened.

      I can only see an injury occurring if you landed squarely on top of the camera in a perpendicular trajectory but that, to me, is more like a freak accident than a serious safety concern.

    I've had a cam for a year and a half (2 actually)
    Both were top mounted sticking straight up.

    Now i understand the idea.. the helmet/mount acts as a torque point, as you spin/roll/crash a force hits the torque point and applies a force spinning your head/neck with enough power to make an injury.

    In reality this is not the case.
    Gopro can be mounted under the chin and hitting it is almost impossible, drift sticks out only a little and cant create a torque point. Sony action cam (mine) you would need to be flying vertically and about to land on the top of your head while flying forward..

    Ive crashed with it on and no problems. But maybe im lucky? I watch vlogs a lot.. ive seen maybe 1000 crashes with bikes vlogging.. not 1 incident. Most of my friends have crashed with them.. all we got was awesome footage lol.

    So not dangerous.. normally the mount stays and the clip in the mount gets snalled like a twig.. either that of they just stay on..

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