A 60-year-old British motorcyclist has been sentenced to two years’ jail for dangerous driving based on evidence from his helmet camera SD Card.
Robert Hammond was arrested by two Sussex police after he was seen popping a wheelie on his Honda Fireblade and travelling at 80mph (129km/h) in a 50mph (80km/h) zone.
The police seized his motorbike and his camera’s memory card which included 150 clips that led to further offences.
They included many more wheelies, lane splitting, overtaking on unbroken single and double white lines including when traffic is passing in the opposite direction, speeds of 110mph (177km/h) in a 30mph (48km/h) zone and 120mph (193km/h) in country lanes, overtaking at more than 140mph (225km/h) and a top speed of 152mph (244km/h) on a highway. (Those speeds are taken from the speedo in the video, not actual speeds, so they may be a little slower.)
It is not the first time police have seized action camera memory cards and used them as evidence against motorists.
After one incident in Western Australia, the state delegate for the Motorcycle Riders Association, Dave Wright, defended the police actions in confiscating a rider’s GoPro SD card.
“I guess that’s fair. If people are doing stupid things, they should pay the price,” he said at the time.
“Maybe if people know their SD card could be confiscated it might make a few people slow down when they have the GoPro on.”
So while debate rages on about whether helmet cameras are legal, be aware that you may only cop a fine for wearing one, but the SD card could legally be confiscated by police if they have sufficient reason to believe it contains evidence of an offence.
Speeding or otherwise breaking the traffic rules could be deemed reason enough for police to believe your camera may contain incriminating evidence.
If the police wanted to confiscate the camera or SD card of a fellow innocent rider, they may need a court order.
If police do ask you to hand over the SD card or camera, you should politely ask them to make a copy and return the original.