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Helmet cameras could benefit bikers in case of accident, but lawyers warn of potential pitfalls

Posted Feb 25, 2014 12:50 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Concerned about the risk of accidents, a number of bicyclists in the Chicago area have begun wearing helmet-mounted cameras to record potential evidence for a criminal or civil case.

That may be a good idea, lawyers tell the Chicago Tribune, but they offer several caveats.

Video evidence can backfire on those who are themselves violating the law, points out principal Thomas Pakenas of Illinois Bike Attorneys. At best, "If you know you're recording it, it makes the bicycle rider more motivated to act in a safe manner because, you know, the tape can go both ways," he tells the newspaper.

And it is better to take video footage without audio, because of the possibility that recording others without the consent of all parties could be found to violate state law in Illinois, said Chicago attorney Gerald Bekkerman.

Meanwhile, even if useful footage shot from a helmet cam exists, it is up to the judge to decide whether to admit it at trial.

See also:

ABA Journal: "Good Cop, Bad Citizen? As Cellphone Recording Increases, Officers Are Uneasy"

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