Police bid to ban cameras on helmets dumped after challenge

A COURT has dumped a police charge that could have made tens of thousands of weekend recreational motorbike riders law breakers.

At legal issue was the growing practice of bikers — on-road and off-road — recording their trips on an action camera attached to their helmets.

Max Lichtenbaum, 57, did this while working at a motorcycle marshal at a sporting event last year. He had two cameras.

He was pulled over by police and given a ticket for “fail to wear an approved helmet”. At a Frankston, Victoria, court in September, 2015, he was fined $289 and given three demerit points on his licence.

Mr Lichtenbaum fought the penalty and last Friday a County Court in Melbourne found in his favour. If it hadn’t, all Victorian motorcycle riders with a helmet GoPro or other action camera could be fined. And all 700,000 Australians with motorcycle licences could have been vulnerable.

The crackdown could have spread to other jurisdictions as there is a mishmash of helmet standards among the states.

This would be despite a broad agreement that cameras are useful for road safety reasons, and could record accidents in which cars hit riders — the standard “Sorry mate, I didn’t see you” incident.

Damien Codognotto, spokesman for the Independent Riders’ Group which had supported Mr Lichtenbaum, estimates as many as 30,000 riders a weekend would be out riding in his state, many with action cameras.

“I was disappointed that the road safety benefits from helmet cameras did not get a mention in the County Court. Apparently these subjects were deemed irrelevant by the Magistrate at the Frankston hearing,” Mr Codognotto told news.com.au.

“It seemed to me important that the court heard that Max was behaving in a most responsible way by using a helmet camera to record problems in traffic.

“Police encourage bicyclists to use helmet cameras, though how this effects their helmet standard, I do not know. Pushbike riders have recorded the rider’s view in the moments leading up to a crash. I’m told this footage has been used as evidence in courts to convict road users doing the wrong thing.

“Police use helmet cameras when detecting in-car offences such as failure to use child restraints, seat belts and mobile phone offences. This works particularly well in WA. This use also makes helmet cameras road safety tools.

“The reason the camera is most effective when mounted on the helmet rather than on the chest or on the bike is that helmet cameras record what the rider sees so if you look at a problem you can record it.

“As for helmet integrity, that is weakening its structure, today’s cameras are very small and light and glues strong. Drilling holes in helmets to mount things is clearly a no-no.”


[SOURCE :-news]