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BBC lab test give helmet-mounted action cams safety green light

As skiers and snowboarders rush to buy the latest equipment for the 2016 ski season and other outdoor adventure sports, new research from TRL (the Transport Research Laboratory) reveals that helmet cameras may not be as dangerous to wearers as previously feared.

The research, commissioned by BBC Safety, sought to investigate the potential effects that mounting a camera, such as a GoPro®, may have on the safety performance of helmets. Following a comprehensive testing protocol, TRL reviewed a range of commonly used climbing helmet types (hardshell, hybrid and EPS foam), with cameras mounted at the front, side and top of these helmets using either sticky mounts or straps.

Energy transference to the ‘head’ was measured during standardised impact challenges, in line with a number of European standards. Further injury thresholds, defining a less than 50% chance of either a fracture to the skull or loss of consciousness for less than one hour, were also identified from scientific literature to provide further comparison.

Results indicated that all climbing helmet-mounted camera configurations investigated may be mounted to all three helmet models, and at all three impact locations, without increasing the risks of head injury beyond current legislative performance requirements or published injury thresholds.

Richard Cuerden, Chief Research Scientist at TRL, shared his thoughts: “Concerns have been raised about the safety implications of fixing cameras to helmets, so it’s encouraging that the configurations tested still meet the required safety standards. But while the results are promising, it’s important we don’t assume the outcome will be the same for all helmet and camera configurations. Other variables not tested could result in different injury outcomes, so further research and testing is required before we can confidently say that all helmets, scenarios and designs will achieve the same result.”

He continued: “More needs to be done by manufacturers and retailers to give consumers increased confidence in what has fast become a trend among those interested in fast-paced, active and adventure sports.”

More information about the project can be found on the BBC Safety website, while the full research report can be found at:

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