As the quality improves, helmet cameras are fast becoming a popular addition to motorcycle helmets for evidence in the event of a car accident. There is no law against using a Helmet Cam, but if you choose to use one, it must be secured to a helmet that meets DOT, Snell or ECE safety standards in British Columbia. Failure to meet helmet safety requirements can result in a fine and seizure of any non-compliant helmet. Failure to produce a helmet for inspection is also an offence. Motorcycle helmets standards are subject to the 194 of the Motor Vehicle Act, R.S.B.C. 1996.
Accidents and Videos
Video can be considered evidence in a court of law and there is a presumption of integrity in the absence of evidence to the contrary, according to s.31.3 of the Canada Evidence Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. C-5. The video must accurately depict the event, however.
Depending where your Helmet Cam is mounted your video may produce a distorted account of the accident. A side mounted camera may only capture the scene from one side. Helmet Cams can have a tunnel affect or make objects appear closer than they really are. If the video footage has been altered due to the camera being damaged as a result of the accident it may excluded as evidence.
Digital video recording systems are starting to become a concern for the courts, according to Jonathan Hak, a prosecutor with Alberta Justice in Canada who specializes in video-evidence related trials. “In some cases, innocent people are being charged, and sometimes convicted, based on video evidence that should not have been presented without competent expert analysis. Because we are now dealing with digital video, which may or may not be accurate, it is not good enough anymore to simply play the video and expect the trier of fact (judge) to be able to adequately interpret the meaning of the evidence.”
A Vancouver motorcycle accident lawyer has the expertise to advise you should you be involved in an accident where video evidence may be presented.
Safety Issues – Do Helmet Cams Decrease or Increase the Risk of Injury?
In a study of over 70 tests on various helmet types in England, it was found that the presence of the camera did not cause the helmet to fail the injury threshold standards. In fact, it was found that helmet cams may absorb some shock in an accident and thereby provide an extra layer of safety.
However, depending on the type of Helmet Cam and where you have placed it on the helmet, the weight of the camera can also create significant wind drag at high speeds, pulling the helmet back or to the side. In the event of a collision you want your helmet protecting all the right places.
Camera mounts are not entirely fail proof. Some studies have found Helmet Cams can fall off, causing a hazard to you or other motorists. In the event that your camera takes flight, your first instinct may be to stop and retrieve it, which could cause you to be distracted and to have liability in a motorcycle accident.
Shooting video and possibly adding audio may also be considered a form of distracted driving. If your purpose for attaching a Helmet Cam is to have the next viral video on You Tube and you have an accident, you may be found to have contributed to your own injuries, which can impact the total amount of your injury settlement amount.
Helmet Cams in Practice
On August 26, 2016, an Ottawa motorcyclist recorded his confrontation with a driver over her lack of attention at the wheel as she was putting him in danger. The police believed there was enough evidence in the footage to charge the woman with texting while driving and improper lane change so she was located and charged with careless driving and distracted driving. The motorcyclist’s Helmet Cam video would have provided substantial evidence in his favor had he been struck and injured by the driver.
In Fraser Valley, a Helmet Cam was seized by the RCMP following a collision along the Lougheed Highway after a bear ran out on the roadway. The Helmet Cam captured evidence that the motorcyclist reached 140 km/hr in about 20 seconds. The driver was taken to hospital and the bear walked away. The police noted distracted driving and excessive speed as causal factors for the BC motorcycle crash.
Contact Taylor & Blair LLP, Vancouver Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured in a car accident, consider consulting with a Vancouver personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. If you or another party took video footage, the video may be considered evidence in your claim, for or against you or possibly both. Contact Taylor & Blair LLP to be your motorcycling accident lawyer in Vancouver at 604-737-6900. We deal with ICBC lawyers in Vancouver routinely.