Do police motorcycles have cameras and what are their benefits?
The answer to this question depends on the state that you live in, but as a general rule, apart from speed radars, motorcycle cops don’t have cameras on their bike, at least in the US. Things are quite different in other parts of the world since in Australia, for example, almost all motorcycle cops have added helmet-mounted cameras to their arsenal.
In the US, the use of body-worn cameras is a very sensitive subject and only nine states have passed legislation specifying where and when these cameras can be utilized, while similar bills are now pending in more than a dozen states.
There are 37 states that restrict recording where privacy is expected, and many law enforcement officials feel concerned that their officers will be distracted if they have to remember to turn the camera on and off during a chase so that they do not violate the law in their rush to respond.
In the case of motorcycles, there is also the fact that there is just not enough space available to mount cameras on the vehicle. This is the problem that the Florida Police Department encountered and they had to turn to the same body cameras that are worn by police officers in the U.S.
There are many advocates of using cameras since they provide indisputable evidence in criminal cases and they can also help shade light in cases of officer misconduct. On-body cameras are expected to produce similar benefits as the dashboard cameras in patrols cars, a technology that became widespread in the late 1990s.
In fact, many are of the opinion that on-body cameras are far more useful than dashboard cameras could ever be since they can go in more places as well as provide a much better point of view. These cameras are expected to produce additional benefits such as a civilizing effect on both the citizens and the officers.
Complaints from citizens and fellow motorcycle riders are also bound to be reduced when they are aware that the incident is being recorded. Not to mention that cameras can also help expedite the resolution of lawsuits and complaints, as well as improve the evidence needed for an arrest and prosecution.
There are, of course, some concerns as well, such as the privacy of people that are not the intended target being recorded without their will. Adding cameras to the motorcycle patrol can also prove quite costly, not to mention the need for training and policy development.
As is the case with any new advancements, it is completely normal for people to be wary at first, and they should voice their complaints in order to help legislators write and pass the right laws. While it is not possible to tell exactly how things will evolve from now on, it is safe to say that people should expect to see more motorcycle cops have cameras in the future.
Speed radars on motorcycles
It is not uncommon for motorcycle cops to have a speed radar on their vehicle, and if you’ve ever been caught in the speed radar’s crosshair, we have prepared a list of tips to help educate you on this dreaded radar gun and what to do if you feel that you’ve been wrongfully fined.
Motorcycles are much smaller than a car and there may be instances where the police officer might get fooled by nearby cars and pull over the wrong guy. What’s important to remember about radars is that they indicate the speed of the target that has the largest aspect to it, namely the vehicle that looks largest to it.
It is entirely possible for the radar to get a reading from a truck or car that is behind you going fast enough to register on it, and for the police officer to mistake the information that the radar offers and pull over the wrong motorist.
In situations such as this one, if you are certain that you’re being pulled over and that a radar is offering the evidence, you should take a moment and look around you to see if there are other vehicles in the vicinity. This can prove useful even if you are in the wrong.
Unless you have another friend with you, the only other collaborating witness will be the officer, which is why it is very important to take note of the facts of your situation. Take notice if there was any other vehicle behind, how far behind you estimate the vehicle was, and question the officer if you appeared to go at the speed that the radar showed.
You should also ask the officer if he or she took notice of the vehicle that might have tried to overtake you. If possible, ask the police officer to make a note of these observations since they can prove very useful in court.
As long as you remain polite, calm, and earnest, you can succeed in making him or her realize that the radar reading might have in fact been wrong and let you go without a fine.
Can motorcyclists wear a camera on their helmets?
While dashboard cameras have become a very common device among car owners, and these devices can be used for legal purposes, for bikers surveillance is a bit tricky. Rear-facing cameras do not pose too much of a problem; where things get complicated is if you want to mount a camera on your motorcycle helmet.
In most states across the country wearing a helmet while riding is required, but no state law talks about helmet cameras explicitly. This has caused the matter to be a true subject of debate not only on online forums but in real life as well.
There are laws which prevent a helmet from having projections outside its shell and modifications, but nothing that refers directly to cameras mounted on helmets. Since only in the last years cameras have shrunk enough in size to be a viable option that can be mounted on a helmet, it should not be a surprise that laws have not yet caught up with this reality.
Thus, the law says that you are not allowed to modify the structure of your gear permanently, but there are other ways to affixing a camera to the helmet and you don’t necessarily need to drill holes into it.
The most popular way of getting the camera on your helmet is by using a clop or a strap since the application and removal are hassle-free and they do not alter the structure of the protective gear in any shape or form.
Seeing as motorcyclists are even to this day the most vulnerable on the road, getting a camera on your helmet can help you document your daily commute and give you important details in case of an accident. Furthermore, the footage captured by the camera can also help you evaluate your riding skills once you get home.
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