How Safe Is It To Ride With A Helmet-Cam?

How Safe Is It To Ride With A Helmet-Cam?

Posted by Mike Werner on Jan 27th 2016

Many of you may remember the accident which former Formula One racer champion Michael Schumacher had when skiing. He had a video camera mounted on his helmet and when he crashed his brains were so badly hit that he remained in a coma (which is still the case today, 2 years later).

A lot has been written since then on the dangers of having helmet-cams (like Go-Pro), especially when riding a motorcycle. But so far, it has all been conjecture. That is, until now. The British Broadcasting Corporation, known for its acronym BBC, commissioned the Transport Research Laboratory in the United Kingdom to find out if this is indeed the case.

Although the original mandate was to test mountain climbing helmets, the safety and testing norms used included the European Regulation 22.05; the norm used to test motorcycle helmets. Which means that the test results are very much of meaning for us bikers.

And the tests surprised everyone! Of the 70 tests they performed on a variety of helmet types and camera mounts (on top or side of the helmet), not a single one showed any problems when the helmet with video camera was subjected to an immediate and hard blow (i.e. a crash). The fact that there was a video camera on the helmet did not hinder the helmet for doing its work properly. In fact, in most cases, the camera broke away as intended from the helmet after the first impact.

But …… if the crash occurs at an angle towards the camera, in other words not head on, then they saw an increase in injuries resulting from the impact force being transferred to the head. Which is bad news for bikers, since these kind of accidents, where the biker slides while hitting the helmet on obstacles, is exactly the kind which we are subjected to the most.

So the results of the research are mixed. In many cases the helmet-cam has no detrimental effect on our safety when riding, but in a case where our head hits an object at an angle, it will make our heads rotate enough to cause serious injuries. The camera might even be forced into our face. Or maybe your camera is too big:


So there you go. It’s not an exact black & white report saying that we should or should not use helmet-cams. But you need to know that there is a danger when using these cameras. At least having a camera mounted to your helmet might just help you in case of an accident to determine who is to blame for a crash.

Source: BBC l’Equipment