Video from helmet cameras will not only provide evidence of an incident but should make roads safer by encouraging compliance with the road rules by both riders and drivers.
The comments were made in South Australian Parliament by Peter Treloar Member for Flinders (LNP) who was speaking to the Road Traffic (Helmets) Amendment Bill which seeks to make helmet cameras legal.
The Private Members Bill was introduced in June by Shadow Minister for Police, Emergency and Correctional Services, Stephan Knoll.
There is a state election early next year and, if the LNP win, they should make helmet attachments legal.
However, as SA Road Safety Minister Peter Malinauskas (ALP) points out, the states are already working on a national rule “so riders know exactly where they stand” on the issue.
Use of cameras for evidence
The debate in SA Parliament last week was therefore fairly pointless, but it did bring up some interesting points about the use of helmet cameras.
Treloar says the type of evidence produced by helmet cameras will also help to reduce “spurious or vexatious claims of road rule offending”.
“Police are also beginning to roll out body-worn cameras,” he says.
“There is commentary most weeks in the media about how those body-worn cameras are assisting police in their work, particularly when evidence is needed and prosecution is made. In fact, police are also beginning to use helmet-mounted cameras for the same purpose.”
Michael Pengilly, Member for Finniss (LNP) said it was “just ridiculous that we should even have to bring this sort of legislation into the house”.
“There is clearly some confusion in the motorcycle and bicycle community with regard to the wearing of cameras on motorcycle and bicycle helmets, and this is an attempt to clear that up.”
Riders have been fined in South Australia, NSW and Victorian for using helmet cameras while there is no ban in Western Australia or Queensland where a previous Police Minister actually encouraged their use and last year the ACT ratified the legality of helmet cameras and Bluetooth units.
In fact, in February 2017 Adelaide rider Eric Aria received an official police warning about wearing an “illegal” helmet camera when he went to a police station to submit video of drivers cutting him off in traffic.
NSW has been nominated by the other states as the lead legislator to trial new helmet camera legislation before it is introduced nationwide.
Malinauskas says they prefer the national approach to the issue, rather than a “hotch-potch” of state rules.
“While we welcome the Opposition’s support for our effort, we think it’s got to be done in a way that doesn’t compromise the safety of motorcyclists,” he says.
In a final note on the debate before it was adjourned, Pengilly said people “have to be responsible for their own actions and their own safety”.
“You cannot expect legislation to cover everything. I just find it ridiculous. We are over-legislated and over-governed, and we are making people weak between the ears as far as I am concerned,” he says.