Police crackdown on helmet cams

helmet cams - NSW police

Riders have been advised to fight fines for having a camera stuck to their helmet in the wake of a crackdown on helmet cams in NSW.

helmet cams
The Stokmans’ Harleys

Harley Fat Bob rider Chris Stokman, 54, of the ACT, was one of those fined $311 and 3 demerit points last week by NSW Highway Patrol between Kempsey and Coffs Harbour for having a helmet cam.

“That’s a fairly hefty penalty, especially when he could have just given me a warning,” she says. “My husband (Terry) and I do thousands of kilometres a year on our bikes around eastern Australia and have never encountered an issue before,” she says.

At least one expert says this is an example of police misinterpreting the Australian Design Rules.

Australian Motorcycle Council spokesman and expert in helmet laws, Guy Stanford, says the laws are very complicated and are interpreted differently in each state.

READ ABOUT THE LAWS IN EACH STATE

The cause of the concern is that the design rules stipulate a helmet cannot be modified with anything that sits out more than 5mm from the shell. However, Guy says a helmet cam or Bluetooth unit that is stuck on is a temporary accessory, not a permanent modification of the helmet.

GoPro helmet cam
GoPro

A permanent modification would require the shell to be tampered with such as drilling holes in it to secure a helmet cam or any other device such as a Bluetooth unit. In Chris’s case the camera was attached via velcro. Attachments can also be via double-sided tape, a suction cup or clamp that does not pierce the outer shell.

NSW police have been emboldened in their interpretation of the law because a GS rider fined in October agreed to admit guilt in return for having no conviction recorded, no fine and no cop demerit points. Guy says his admission has set a dangerous precedent.

Chris says the officer who issued her fine suggested she appeal on the grounds it is a little-known law.

Guy has written a pro-forma letter to the NSW police that can be used in an appeal against the fine. He says he will write similar letters for riders in other states. It reads:

Dear Sirs,

I was issued with Infringement Notice No XXXXXXXXXXXXX on the basis my helmet is not in compliance with NSW Road Rule 270. 

NSW Road Rule 270 requires a rider to wear “an approved motor bike helmet” NSW Gazette of 5 November 2010 at Page 5402 carries the definition for “an approved motor bike helmet” for purposes of Road Rule 270. 

This definition provides for “approval” through a sticker attesting compliance with a nominated standard.

helmet cam
Infringement notice

My helmet continues to bear the approval sticker as required.

A camera is an accessory. Many accessories are available for helmets. Accessories are distinct from a modification.

Removal of an accessory returns the helmet to original condition, while modification of a helmet does not.

There is no NSW regulation that provides for revocation of approval of a motor bike helmet.

My helmet was “approved” prior to purchase and it is because it was approved for use on NSW roads that I purchased it.

 The standard referenced in the definition of Page 5402 of the Gazette of 5 November 2010 is not a regulation and contains no regulatory subject matter that provides for approval or revocation of approval.

The referenced standard is not a NSW in-service regulation. Without doubt, I was and continue to wear an approved helmet. The presence of an accessory camera is irrelevant.

This Infringement Notice is not based on NSW regulations and I request that it be withdrawn.

Yours, etc

We are still waiting on a legal interpretation of the law and advice for riders from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and a statement from the NSW police on their blitz. Stay tuned for more on this developing issue.

Meanwhile, read the stories below which give some background on this complicated issue which could be resolved at a coming Standards Australia forum into helmet laws and safety certification in Sydney next year.

READ ABOUT THE FORUM HERE

37 Comments

  1. I’m about to buy my first bike, I’ll be mounting my gopro to the bike rather than the helmet. Surely, although not unsafe,a camera mounted on the helmet would effect the aerodynamics, particularly when mounted on the side.

  2. I always ride my motorcycle with Drift Stealth mounted on the helmet and in my opinion riders and drivers should use commuting cameras. My friend once had a small accident, which wasn’t his fault and thanks to the footage he could prove that. Such cameras nowadays are not expensive, Stealth costs less than $200.

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  4. What about helmet cameras being increasingly used on pushbike riders, some Army personnel, Country Fire Service volunteers, SES volunteers and even some in police SWAT teams have helmet cams. Obviously they will be receiving fines and demerit points for having a helmet camera attached.

  5. Good on the hwp. All you wannabe you tube movie makers pay more attention to you crap cams than you do on the road!!!

    Just ride and remember it. I couldn’t think of anything more boring than watch the same stretch of road from the same view that I rode.

    Its good to see our tax payers money is being used on finding idiots with dumb cameras, fishing rod holders that are never used and ridiculous bullbars.

  6. “Almost all of the 80-plus motorcycle police have added helmet-mounted cameras to their arsenal as they ride Queensland’s roads, the majority of the time on their own.”

  7. WA undercover motorcycle police use Contour Camera’s on their helmets to catch motorists using their phones whilst driving. I think you just struck it unlucky with a power tripping highway patrol cock.

    1. Wearing of high vis vests sets precedents and if the powers that be make it law it puts the onus on the rider to be seen removing the need for drivers to open their eyes to motorcyclists . After an accident the drivers can say he wasn’t wearing a hi vis vest so I didn’t see him, therefore it’s his fault not mine . I do not want this situation to come true so please don’t push hi vis clothing or they will make it a law. Wear it if you want but be careful what you push for.

  8. Use a Contour camera instead of a gopro. They are better and don’t stick out, in fact WA police bikers are using them themselves. Cant go wrong if the cops have them! I love mine, never had a problem with police seeing it on my helmet

  9. parasitic legalised hoons = NSW Highway Patrol,
    needs a broom through it, and a psychiatric evaluation for every officer, some are just narcissistic twits

  10. There is some evidence stemming from Michael Schumachers skieing accident that helmet cams can reduce the effectiveness of a helmet. Cameras that mounted with adhesives can also weaken the outer shell over time. I would stick to mounting them on your bike.

  11. We all know there is no safety compromise here, it’s just “TOTAL REVENUE RAISING” that’s the way they work. It’s the same with speed cameras. It’s just another Money Grab. Besides that, they don’t want you catching them out when they’re in the wrong!!!

  12. I bet the hwy patrol guy between kempsey and coffs was the wanker from south west rocks who books people for having D shackles on their car with no load rating printed on them

  13. I doubt that a camera mounted with velcro or 3m style adhesive tape would compromise any helmet it would tear off faster then the decals on the shell.
    The police want control of what information can be relayed to the public it is as simple as that.
    What is happening to our country?
    The police have cameras on their helmets and so they should,there is no reason Joe Citizen shouldn’t.

  14. I have a SJ4000 camera attached to my helmet. Looks like a GoPro, same form factor. 3M sticky mount, mounted to side of my helmet. Have never had any issues at all with police here in Townsville, North Queensland, however most of the police have cam’s.

  15. In Queensland there was a recent story in the paper, almost all of our motorcycle police now have helmet cameras (80+ of them), so I don’t think this will be too much of an issue up here.

    1. And the Qld Police Minister has actually recommened that cyclists have helmet cameras to provide evidence in the event of a crash, so he would look a hypocrite if they chased motorcycle riders for the same thing!

  16. Get a go pro chest mount harness on ebay $10 to $20 its better than having it on your helmet also you can see if the red light is on ..
    They cant say shit …see how long before they say you cant have that to …..
    Also there is a wrist attachments for go pro ..as well good luck riders…with your court case

    LIVE FREE AND RIDE HARD ….

  17. I wear boots, leg gaurds, gloves, jacket and a helmet with 2 cameras on it. All my gear is for a motorbike rider and legal.

    I have had the cameras on the helmet for over 7 years and been stopped at least 10 times for random checks breatherlisers etc. only 1, also on a motorbike asked me about the cameras and how they work.

    In March I was booked for having cameras on my helmet. After a pre hearing in October where I pleaded not guilty, it goes to court on the 4th of December, 10am in Frankston, VIC.

    What I want to know is, is it ok for riders to wear only a helmet, shirt, shorts or dress and sneakers or no footwear/high heels ( scooter riders )?

    I know who will walk away more often from dropping a bike to minor / major accidents, and I have the film to prove it!

    1. Mick, the law says you have to wear a helmet.
      That’s it.
      Please don’t worry about what everyone else is wearing there are enough rules to be interpreted by bureaucrats with no idea and even less interest.Don’t encourage the parasites.
      Good luck with your court case.

    2. A point not made in this thread is that the helmet for impact provisions is usually defined only above the test line (at least that was the case) so anything BELOW the test line is undefined.. As i have not shelled out 700$ for a copy of th e current Standard(s) I have no way of knowing if there has been a change in the standard that extends protuberances to BELOW the test line. Have a look Max or get you lawyer(or Morris blackburn) to do so.. if that is still th case a helmet attached below th test line is not covered in the helmet approval at all , accessory or not

  18. There are rumors that the helmet cam on Michael Schumacher ski helmet may have stopped the helmet from working as it should. It would be good for helmet manufacturers to have a bit of say on the matter? Maybe an approved attachment system in a non-vulnerable location on the helmet?

    1. This is not about the attachment to the helmet, it’s about a systematic attack on those members of our community who chose to ride motorcycles. Motorcyclists are representative of a group of individuals who are independent thinkers. Independent thinkers are not compatible with the plan’s of the new world order!

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