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  1. #1
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    Illegal to attach to bicycle helmet?

    Illegal to attach to bicycle helmet?
    I wanted to attach a homemade turn signal indicator to my bicycle helmet but I saw someone in a video (ironically about attaching a homemade signal indicator to your bicycle helmet) say "Never attach anything to the outside of your bicycle helmet."

    I'm trying to find exactly why they said this. Is there a legal issue involved in this? Does it just void the warranty on the helmet? Is it a known danger? All of the above?

    I see people who have attached cameras and headlights to helmets, even some specifically designed to be put on helmets. Why would they say that?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    AFAIK it's not illegal.

    If you believe a bicycle helmet will help you in the event of a crash (which can be debated), there's a possibility that anything on a helmet could hurt you. For instance, my light mount could reduce a light mount shaped dent in my skull; or a wire-mounted mirror might lead to the wire piercing the wearer's head. In either event, you'd have to hit your head just right (or just wrong).

    I suspect the maker of your video is engaging in amateur CYA lawyering. But I'm not going to tell you to attach anything to the outside of your helmet, either!

  3. #3
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    If you do attach it to your helmet, attach it in such a way that it will brake away if it needs to.
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  4. #4
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    The stuff people find to worry about!

    Even if it was illegal to do so (which I strongly doubt), the likelihood that you'd get a ticket for it is basically zero.

    ===============

    Quote Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
    ...there's a possibility that anything on a helmet could hurt you...
    A manufacturer (or the guy in the video) has no idea what people are considering attaching to their helmets. It's much easier/safer for them to say "don't do it" than it is to keep the issue open.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 01-10-14 at 12:25 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Turn indicators on a helmet are not going to be very effective. They're too close together to be clear to drivers and since bikes generally do not have turn signals drivers will not expect to see them; instead, they will think it is just another blinking light.

  6. #6
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    Yes, its illegal. You will be arrested and fined. Find something else to worry about.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    If you do attach it to your helmet, attach it in such a way that it will brake away if it needs to.
    Well, I kind of used zip ties to attach it. Maybe I should use glue? But then I'd have to break off the battery housing to replace the battery.

    Here is a video I made of the set up:



    What do you all think?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lhendrick View Post
    Yes, its illegal. You will be arrested and fined. Find something else to worry about.
    Wait...It is illegal???

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    Quote Originally Posted by chillspike View Post
    Well, I kind of used zip ties to attach it. Maybe I should use glue? But then I'd have to break off the battery housing to replace the battery.

    Here is a video I made of the set up:

    What do you all think?
    That's interesting.

    It looks like no turn signal that any driver has ever seen.

    That is, it might work to be noticed but it likely work poorly as a turn signal (drivers will have no idea what it means).

    Quote Originally Posted by chillspike View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by lhendrick View Post
    Yes, its illegal. You will be arrested and fined. Find something else to worry about.
    Wait...It is illegal???
    Let me help you.

  10. #10
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    If you're not even legally required to wear a helmet, how can it be illegal to attach stuff to it?

    Your helmet was only tested as shipped, so it's possible that it would not meet certification if you attach things to it. Doesn't stop anyone though.

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  11. #11
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chillspike View Post
    Well, I kind of used zip ties to attach it. Maybe I should use glue? But then I'd have to break off the battery housing to replace the battery.

    Here is a video I made of the set up:


    What do you all think?
    I think it looks sharp, very Tron like. Turn signal, I don't know. Drivers might not be able to see it from behind and at certain angles, or might not see it as a turn signal. And if you're moving your head around, seems possibly problematic. But try it out, and to be sure, ask random drivers if they understood it. Politely that is.

    I wouldn't use glue, but get some industrial strength velcro tape. It will hold that, and would be easy to take off when you feel like riding less flamboyantly.

  12. #12
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
    Turn indicators on a helmet are not going to be very effective. They're too close together to be clear to drivers and since bikes generally do not have turn signals drivers will not expect to see them; instead, they will think it is just another blinking light.
    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    That's interesting.

    It looks like no turn signal that any driver has ever seen.

    That is, it might work to be noticed but it likely work poorly as a turn signal (drivers will have no idea what it means).
    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    I think it looks sharp, very Tron like. Turn signal, I don't know. Drivers might not be able to see it from behind and at certain angles, or might not see it as a turn signal. And if you're moving your head around, seems possibly problematic. But try it out, and to be sure, ask random drivers if they understood it. Politely that is.

    I wouldn't use glue, but get some industrial strength velcro tape. It will hold that, and would be easy to take off when you feel like riding less flamboyantly.
    Seems to be a recurring theme.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    I think it looks sharp, very Tron like. Turn signal, I don't know. Drivers might not be able to see it from behind and at certain angles, or might not see it as a turn signal. And if you're moving your head around, seems possibly problematic. But try it out, and to be sure, ask random drivers if they understood it. Politely that is.

    I wouldn't use glue, but get some industrial strength velcro tape. It will hold that, and would be easy to take off when you feel like riding less flamboyantly.
    Thanks. If not as a turn signal, I'm looking at it as just an extra degree of safety lighting.

  14. #14
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
    Seems to be a recurring theme.
    We might be wrong though. Or if we're not wrong, maybe he just needs to extend the lights out further on the helmet. The only way to know is to try it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    If you're not even legally required to wear a helmet, how can it be illegal to attach stuff to it?
    ???? You aren't legally required to drive a car either but your car all sorts of legal requirements and restrictions.

  16. #16
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    We might be wrong though. Or if we're not wrong, maybe he just needs to extend the lights out further on the helmet. The only way to know is to try it.
    Maybe we're wrong. Maybe they'll get smucked by a car who had no idea they were turning. Is it so hard to signal with your arm? How about blinking lights on your left glove to make your signal more obvious?

    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    ???? You aren't legally required to drive a car either but your car all sorts of legal requirements and restrictions.
    Apples and oranges. Since there is no legal requirement to wear the helmet there are no regulations on the consumer regarding alterations to the helmet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
    Apples and oranges.
    It's the same sort of thing. And, in some places, helmet use is mandatory (for some riders).

    Quote Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
    Since there is no legal requirement to wear the helmet there are no regulations on the consumer regarding alterations to the helmet.
    This is wrong. There's no barrier to creating a law restricting the modification of a helmet.

  18. #18
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    This is wrong. There's no barrier to creating a law restricting the modification of a helmet.
    Then cite me the law.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
    Then cite me the law.


    Cite the law that restrictions on modifcations on a thing is only allowed for things that are required to be used!

    Helmets being optional has nothing to do with whether there could be a law restricting how they are used.

    There are all sorts of examples where something is optional but, once you do/use that optional thing, there are restrictions on that use.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 01-10-14 at 02:17 PM.

  20. #20
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chillspike View Post
    Wait...It is illegal???
    Seriously all you need to worry about is the color of the light. Check local vehicular code for allowable colors. Whoever said in the video "never attach anything to the helmet" is acting like an idiot or thinks he's talking to idiots.

    If this works for you, maybe you can combine it with elbow band turn signals (I've been tempted myself). I'd activate it with a mercury switch, swing the elbow up the blinker turns on.

  21. #21
    Rod & Judy gracehowler's Avatar
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    Well, I like the idea, I'd just prefer it would attach to my "outstretched" arm, so my signaling intent would be more visible!
    R

  22. #22
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    If you attach stuff to it, it may not be a certified safe helmet any more.

    But so what? Then it's just a hat. There's nothing that says you have to wear a helmet and can't wear a hat.

    You can't SELL something in the US that claims to be a bicycle helmet unless it meets CPSC standards, but you can wear whatever the hell you want as long as you're not violating vehicular code (like having a flashing blue light on your helmet or something).
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  23. #23
    Senior Member sk0tt's Avatar
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    I read this recently, not a bicycle but a motorbike.
    http://www.3aw.com.au/blogs/3aw-news...220-2zoyo.html
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by sk0tt View Post
    I read this recently, not a bicycle but a motorbike.
    http://www.3aw.com.au/blogs/3aw-news...220-2zoyo.html
    Not saying it's not relevant but I'm in the US and that incident was in Australia. Also, it really appears that Australian police department is concerned with cameras specifically. Notice the officer asked if the motorcyclist used a camera in his car as well. I highly suspect that police department. Maybe some officers careers were put in jeopardy in the past because a civilian had a camera with their vehicle and now they are trying to crack down and rid the roads of all local cameras. Or perhaps it's just a revenue thing. Whatever it is, I don't trust their excuse for cracking down on helmet accessories.

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