Are Helmet Cameras Legal in The US?

Dashboard cameras have become common among car owners. These devices are fine if used for legal purposes, but for bikers, surveillance is somewhat trickier.

While rear-facing cameras are easy to arrange, front-facing camera options are limited. Are helmet cameras legal in the US? Let’s find out the answer to this.

Is It Illegal to Have a Camera On Your Helmet?

All motorcyclists are required to wear helmets in the District of Columbia and in 19 states across the country.

On the other hand, 28 states have varying partial laws about it while Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire have no laws regarding the issue.

Despite these different regulations, no state law explicitly talks about helmet cameras.

Because of this, the issue has been the subject of debates both in online forums and in real life.

judge law

Regardless, motorcyclists are a subject to the standards established by the Department of Transportation in 49 C.F.R. Sec. 571.218.

Likewise, it does not contain any verbiage that pertains directly to having cameras on helmets. The requirements section, however, states the following:

  • A helmet should not have rigid projections on the inside on its shell. Projections outside a helmet’s shell are limited as required.
  • Modifications are not allowed.
  • Fasten helmet securely.
  • After an accident, return the helmet to its manufacturer for inspection.
  • If the damage on the helmet is sever, replace it.

These mean that permanently modifying the structure of the gear is illegal. Thankfully, that is not the only means of affixing a camera to your helmet.

Configuring A Helmet Camera

Simply put, what the law says is that you are not allowed to create holes in your helmet to accommodate your camera. 

That is also not recommended because you might render the entire thing unusable if you make a mistake, and getting a replacement can be costly.

multiple cameras

If you are thinking of mounting the camera on your helmet with the use of adhesives and Velcro straps, be warned that it is a rather grey area.

It would be best to avoid it, as it can be challenged by an official. 

It truly is unfortunate that the laws did not come prepared for the eventuality that small and portable cameras can become accessible to the general public.

However, do not fear because you can still record with the use of a clip or a strap.

Its application and removal are both hassle-free, and more importantly, the way these equipment work does not alter the structure of the protective gear.

Another benefit is that these accessories are cheap and accessible.

Also Read: Best motorcycle GPS

Using A Helmet Camera Properly

Of course, even if you manage to mount a camera to your helmet, you must make sure that it is for ethical purposes. But where does one draw the line?

The obvious function of a helmet camera is to document your daily commute. If you get into an accident, the recording will be able to show exactly what happened, and how.

When it comes down to providing evidence, it is more reliable than the oral testimony of witnesses because of the infallible nature of human memory.

Aside from capturing accidents, it is also a good way to evaluate driving skills once you get home.

Many people who are against the popularity of dashboard and helmet cameras argue that they want their privacy to be protected.

However, this can be contested by the fact that these cameras are generally activated when one is driving.

Roads and other thoroughfares are generally considered to be public sites and thus should not grant any expectation of privacy.

It cannot be discounted that there are some people who choose to use a helmet camera to create material for their vlogs.

While this behavior is not necessarily criminal, it does pose an additional hazard to both to users and to other people on the road.

Helmet camera or not, make sure to always be responsible on the road.

Should You Buy One for Yourself?

Now that we have established how it can be used legally, the next thing to consider is whether you need one.

At present, motorcyclists are still among the most vulnerable on the road.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that the number of deaths on motorcycles occurred about 29 times more frequently than deaths on cars. 

This alarming statistic can be attributed to the less visible and less stable nature of motorcycles.

This alarming statistic can be attributed to the less visible and less stable nature of motorcycles.

helmet camera

As has been repeated above, having a helmet camera will help you document accidents.

If you bring the case to court, it can be taken in as irrefutable evidence.

When talking about vehicular accidents, it is impossible not to bring up medical care and the corresponding expenses that come with it.

A recording of the accident can serve as additional proof when you claim your insurance and it might even aide medical practitioners when it comes to treatment.

While there might be other options, such as mounting it on the handlebars, many drivers prefer the helmet cameras for a number of reasons.

These include the fact that it often provides a more stable recording than when placed on the body of the vehicle itself, and how its position allows the user to be able to record multiple angles or views.

It might be a good idea to get a helmet camera in addition to a number of fixed ones if you have money to spare, but budget constraints are perfectly understandable because these devices do not exactly come cheap.

While all motorists have different preferences, it is a recommended move to ensure your safety while on the road.

As the old adage goes, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Check out: Best motorcycle helmets and brands

Wrap-up

Possessing a camera mounted on your helmet is becoming popular among motorcyclists for a good reason.

The documentation can be used for a variety of reasons that generally benefit the user.

As long as you make sure to secure the camera using a clip or strap, you should be fine.

Access to a helmet camera will indeed help a motorcyclist after his involvement in accidents, but prevention remains ideal.

Always follow the basic road safety precautions and make sure to drive responsibly.

Are helmet cameras legal in the US? Whether they are or not, always wear your helmet when driving.

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