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Accountability cameras - where to mount?

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Accountability cameras - where to mount?

Old 05-19-17, 08:32 AM
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nuclear_biker
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Accountability cameras - where to mount?

I'm making a big move from a rural area to a large city. Suffice to say I am looking to mount either one or two cameras (GoPro type, open to other suggestions, although as you will see I'm a bit of a Garmin fanboy so I was thinking VIRB Ultra 30) to my bike/myself.

A rear facing camera is easily mounted under the seat. Some people seem to think this is enough for accountability. I've read that most bikers are hit by the front of a car, most frequently from the side and second most frequently from the rear. Mounting rear facing cameras under your seat is easy.

My main question involves front facing cameras. Ideally, I'd mount it on my handlebars, but as you can see there is basically no room:



I could put it where the light is now, but then there is nowhere for the light to go. It may be possible to put a mount 'under' the climb shifter or around it somehow. I'm open to suggestions.

Other options are a helmet mount. Benefits to this include filming drivers who get out and become aggressive, but there are also safety concerns if you crash (like Michael Schumacher).

Finally: is a front facing camera even really necessary in this context?

TL;DR: Want one or two accountability cameras, under seat rear facing camera is easy but no room on handlebars for front facing camera and helmet mount may comprise helmets during a crash.

Last edited by nuclear_biker; 05-19-17 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 05-19-17, 10:00 AM
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I mount mine on my helmet that way I have a POV camera catches everything I see.
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Old 05-19-17, 10:23 AM
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Helmet; if you wear one:

Here I mounted the cam by the top tube, near the head tube:
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Old 05-19-17, 11:26 AM
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Nut-R Mount





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Old 05-19-17, 12:31 PM
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Bike mounted cameras vibrate like mad. Sometimes so badly that you can barely tell where the cars are, though this depends on the conditions of the street and the type of bike/tire you run.

I have a Contour Roam3 on the helmet (VERY much more smooth and easy to view the video) - I really dislike the GoPro brick format, it's horrible for mounting on a helmet and not very pretty in any situation. On the back I run a Fly6, which is IMO an absolutely ideal rear camera. The only caveat on the Fly6 is that the batteries seem to last about 2 years then they're shot, but I was able to easily replace the battery on my for about $5 and an hour's time.
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Old 05-19-17, 01:51 PM
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I'd say helmet mount. If you hit anything hard enough that it will make a difference, then it will probably be knocked free of the mount anyway.

Also consider drop bar mount like this clever chap for the rear:
https://www.shapeways.com/product/PU...i=user-profile
- this will pick up the edge of you and your leg so that there is some reference frame for close passes.
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Old 05-19-17, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by nuclear_biker View Post
My main question involves front facing cameras. Ideally, I'd mount it on my handlebars, but as you can see there is basically no room:
Another option is to mount the bike computer on the stem, freeing up your handlebars for a light on one side and camera on the other, or perhaps a dual camera & light mount

Or get a combined light and camera device such as the Cycliq Fly12 HD Camera and Front Bike Light.
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Old 05-19-17, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
Bike mounted cameras vibrate like mad. Sometimes so badly that you can barely tell where the cars are, though this depends on the conditions of the street and the type of bike/tire you run.
I think most of the vibration issues are due to the mount.

My GoPro Hero 4 Session vibrated quite a bit with a Garmin mount. This used a large rubber shim between the mount and bar. I've since switched to mount with a hard plastic shim and it has been smooth as silk.

Even mounted to the wheels skewer it is super smooth.


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Old 05-19-17, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by blue192 View Post
I mount mine on my helmet that way I have a POV camera catches everything I see.
[QUOTE=1nterceptor;19595386]Helmet; if you wear one:

Here I mounted the cam by the top tube, near the head tube:

Originally Posted by JonnyHK View Post
I'd say helmet mount. If you hit anything hard enough that it will make a difference, then it will probably be knocked free of the mount anyway.

Also consider drop bar mount like this clever chap for the rear:
https://www.shapeways.com/product/PU...i=user-profile
- this will pick up the edge of you and your leg so that there is some reference frame for close passes.
So you helmet guys really have no safety concerns? I can't find any instances of it being a problem in cycling so it's probably mostly paranoia. I like the idea of helmet mounted because it shows what you see and came follow you when you leave the bike.

Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I think most of the vibration issues are due to the mount.

My GoPro Hero 4 Session vibrated quite a bit with a Garmin mount. This used a large rubber shim between the mount and bar. I've since switched to mount with a hard plastic shim and it has been smooth as silk.

Even mounted to the wheels skewer it is super smooth.


-Tim-
Tim you need to update your value for G to match current CODATA value! The axle mount is interesting and requires further looking, I didn't realize such a thing existed (thus the purpose of this post.

Overall, a lot of interesting mount ideas I hadn't considered before.
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Old 05-20-17, 06:02 AM
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Your body is a surprisingly good shock absorber and the people that have suggested helmet mounting are on the right track. But you need a relatively light camera or it may cause issues is you mount it to the side of your helmet rather than on top. One other issue with helmet mounting is that it does require a bit more discipline in how you hold your head, you have to hold a pretty steady position with regard to level and that is harder than you might realize especially on longer rides or rides with short stretches of intense effort where their may be a tendency to lower your head position. Skewer mounts are used a lot with MTBers.
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Old 05-20-17, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by nuclear_biker View Post
So you helmet guys really have no safety concerns? I can't find any instances of it being a problem in cycling so it's probably mostly paranoia. I like the idea of helmet mounted because it shows what you see and came follow you when you leave the bike.
Originally Posted by WheresWaldo View Post
<snip> But you need a relatively light camera or it may cause issues is you mount it to the side of your helmet rather than on top.
I was about to mention it but Waldo beat me to it. I'd say that you are most likely to land on the side/front/back of your helmet in a crash, and not right on the crown. Top/centre mount the camera and I can't see any realistic problems. If the accident is so bad that it might be a problem then you are probably totally screwed anyway.
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Old 05-20-17, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by nuclear_biker View Post
Tim you need to update your value for G to match current CODATA value!
Was wondering what in the world you were talking about

Than it dawned on me.

Congratulations on being the first on any forum to know what it even refers to.

It is also the title of a song.


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Old 05-20-17, 08:37 PM
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I prefer helmet mounting. Most problems I've encountered in traffic were recorded better from the helmet mount because it recorded where I looked, including brush by passes.

Two disadvantages to helmet mounting:
1. The videos have relatively little vibration but are very swimmy. My head bobbles a lot because of an old C2 neck injury.

2. Battery life. My Ion Speed Pro runs 90 minutes per charge. I need to rig up a small external battery for longer rides. This is easier to do with a handlebar mounted camera.
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Old 05-21-17, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
I prefer helmet mounting. Most problems I've encountered in traffic were recorded better from the helmet mount because it recorded where I looked, including brush by passes.

Two disadvantages to helmet mounting:
1. The videos have relatively little vibration but are very swimmy. My head bobbles a lot because of an old C2 neck injury.

2. Battery life. My Ion Speed Pro runs 90 minutes per charge. I need to rig up a small external battery for longer rides. This is easier to do with a handlebar mounted camera.
A friend used a zip-tie to attach an external battery to her helmet. She said it gave her more recording time but the weight of the battery at the back of her helmet took a lot of getting used to.




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Old 05-21-17, 07:17 AM
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I'd like to point out that the camera in post number 4 is literally bolted to the wheel skewer and has zero vibration as shown in the video.

I don't understand why it is a problem for so many people.


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Old 05-21-17, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by nuclear_biker View Post
So you helmet guys really have no safety concerns? I can't find any instances of it being a problem in cycling so it's probably mostly paranoia. I like the idea of helmet mounted because it shows what you see and came follow you when you leave the bike.
Bell Super 2 helmets include a break-away GoPro mount. I've personally tested it, the camera launched roughly 20ft. Re-attaching the camera was trivial, and I never had it fall off (other than hard crash).
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Old 05-21-17, 02:17 PM
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Tim, I like that solution and used two cameras that way mounted front and rear wheel on my Mountain Bike when I still rode MTB, the footage you get is incredible, with little vibration. A lot of jolts, but that is the nature of MTBing.

Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I'd like to point out that the camera in post number 4 is literally bolted to the wheel skewer and has zero vibration as shown in the video.

I don't understand why it is a problem for so many people.


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Old 05-21-17, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by IndianaRecRider View Post
A friend used a zip-tie to attach an external battery to her helmet. She said it gave her more recording time but the weight of the battery at the back of her helmet took a lot of getting used to.
Yup, I have a couple of small, lightweight USB batteries, not much larger than a pair of AA batteries strapped together. Occasionally I'll fasten those to my helmet with a velcro strap or a couple of elastic ponytail doobies. Works fine.

But it compromises the weatherproof seal, so I don't use it if there's a hint of rain. To attach an external USB battery to the Ion Speed Pro it's necessary to remove the rear cap, which exposes the USB port, HDMI port, media card slot, etc., to rain.


Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I'd like to point out that the camera in post number 4 is literally bolted to the wheel skewer and has zero vibration as shown in the video.

I don't understand why it is a problem for so many people.


-Tim-
Yeah, I get better results from my camera mounted to the handlebar, head tube or fork. There's some vibration that obscures the distant horizon but closer objects including cars and license plates are clear. The Ion Speed Pro mount is nothing special, a nylon clamp across the tubes and a nylon shoe that the camera clips into. It's not even the most rigid mount but it's still reasonably vibration free. It's only noticeable on chip seal and really rough gravel, like some utility easements. But most maintained gravel roads and MUPs are no problem.

But I like having the camera aimed wherever I'm looking, so I go for that compromise. Ideally I'd like cameras front and rear on the bike as well as the helmet. Not just for safety but to occasionally document group rides with friends for sharing on Facebook.
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Old 05-21-17, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I'd like to point out that the camera in post number 4 is literally bolted to the wheel skewer and has zero vibration as shown in the video.

I don't understand why it is a problem for so many people.


-Tim-
I think it would work well for a lot of people. I'd be very concerned about the longevity of a camera bolted hard to the axle on my ride. I don't think it would survive very long with the amount of jarring that my route generates.

I've watched a lot of video and some people have the luxury of very smooth roads. Around here some of the areas look like they've been bombed.
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Old 05-23-17, 09:35 AM
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So it seems like helmet mount is the way to go for forward facing camera so it can see what you see. That said, the idea of adding ~200g to my ~300g helmet doesn't sound super appealing on longer rides (especially since some of those will be mostly on paved trails). So I think I'll try out an axle mount and also grab the vented helmet mount since its so cheap and see which I prefer. Thanks everybody for the feedback!
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Old 05-23-17, 09:57 AM
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Can you clearly see licence numbers on the cars?
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Old 05-23-17, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Can you clearly see licence numbers on the cars?
You can on the lower resolution Cycliq cameras so I assume you can with a GoPro/VIRB.
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Old 05-23-17, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Can you clearly see licence numbers on the cars?
This depends on the situation. In my situation, I've never had a camera (out of 12, including a GoPro) that reliably could get a clear plate image, but I'm talking about cars going past me at 60 MPH. Even at 60 FPS and high bitrate, the plates are just blurs. If I'm in city traffic with 25 MPH cars, it's very easy for even a basic camera to make out a plate.
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Old 05-23-17, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
This depends on the situation. In my situation, I've never had a camera (out of 12, including a GoPro) that reliably could get a clear plate image, but I'm talking about cars going past me at 60 MPH. Even at 60 FPS and high bitrate, the plates are just blurs. If I'm in city traffic with 25 MPH cars, it's very easy for even a basic camera to make out a plate.
Don't the newer cams have 120 fps now? Probably reduces battery and uses a ton of storage but I'd be curious how it would work.
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Old 05-23-17, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by nuclear_biker View Post
Don't the newer cams have 120 fps now? Probably reduces battery and uses a ton of storage but I'd be curious how it would work.
Maybe, but the real problem is bitrate. In high light environments, the shutter speed is plenty fast enough to catch a plate, but you still get a blur because there's not enough bitrate to render a sharp image on every frame. You could be running 1000 frames a second (effectively you ARE if you're in full sunlight - the camera is taking a 1/1000th second image 60 times a second) and you still wont' be able to read the plate if you've got a bitrate like 18 Mbps or something.
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