I would like to have continuous camera coverage while commuting on city streets, in order to have evidence in any collision. I have been experimenting with an ATC3K mounted on the pannier rack, facing backwards. At 15 fps on a 2Gb SD card, the maximum it can use, it provides about an hour to 90 minutes of footage. I manually stop and start it at the beginning and ending of each ride.


  • The picture quality is adequate at 640x480.
  • It cost about $100


  • The chain and freewheel clatter mask any other sounds. The control screen is hard to see and the buttons, which are under a water-resistant rubber cover, are hard to press. As a result, it takes about a minute of button mashing to erase the SD card.
  • Fairly narrow field of view.
  • Full coverage would need two cameras, and twice the amount of fussing, before and after each ride.

What cameras and mounting arrangements might be better?

  • +1, great question! I remember seeing a lot of people posting about cameras in this gadgets forum. You might consider crossposting or posting a link there. Commented Sep 19, 2010 at 20:22
  • I was thinking the same thing earlier this week - great question! Commented Sep 20, 2010 at 12:50
  • 3
    I'm thinking this is a lot of trouble to go through just because you might possibly get in a collision. Where are you biking that you are that worried about being in a collision? When I think about getting in a collision on my bike, the last thing I would worry about is having photo evidence.
    – Kibbee
    Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 0:19
  • 1
    @Kibbee: Actually, I've been thinking about getting one of those - my city is getting increasingly bike-hostile (despite its own propaganda) lately. Not every city is Delft, NL (or San Francisco, CA, for that matter); bikers are second-class road users here and we sometimes need every scrap of leverage we can get. Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 12:52
  • @Kibbee is right. Moreover, unless you have wide angle, high resolution, low-light sensitivity coverage from front and back (two cameras), you'll likely miss the details you need. Photography is hard enough even under ideal deliberate set-ups. Capturing the right images under uncontrolled conditions is very hard. Also, you'd be surprised how little cooperation police may give even when presented with photographic "evidence".
    – Angelo
    Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 14:02

9 Answers 9


I've had good success with the Go Pro cameras for whitewater kayaking. We generally mount them on our helmets. They stand up to quite a beating and you can get more on a card than the camera you ask about above.

If you can mount it on your helmet then it will be pointing where you look and I think you'll have better success getting shots of any collision since you're often looking at it as it happens.

Here's a blog of someone doing the same thing on his daily commute. http://cranks-on-cam.com/ Looks like he's using a Drift Inovation (http://www.driftinnovation.com/x170-action-camera.php) and there is a video of his mount on the gear page.

  • 2
    A camera on the helmet, especially a robust one, may be dangerous though: When you impact on something with the camera between helmet and the impact area, the camera can concentrate the forces to a small part of the helmet effectively splitting it, and the proceed to do bad things with your head. Bike helmets are typically not designed to protect against impacts of small size. Commented Sep 18, 2018 at 20:15

I tried the GoPro for a while and there were several things I didn't like about it, or where I felt it fell short.
I'm now looking at buying one of the "tough" cameras produced by almost all of the major camera manufacturers which have several advantages over something like the GoPro or the ATC3K.

Things I didn't like about the GoPro are...
- The weight on my head when used on the helmet (could cause my helmet to shift).
- No screen, so you can only review footage once transferred to the computer. Transferring also takes a long time. You can get an add-on screen now, but this will add bulk and weight.
- No zoom, so for instance the wide angle cannot even show red-light runners, as the lights on the far side of the intersection (perpendicular to my direction), are too far away to show up on the video.
- Menus are difficult to use and you have to remember the abbreviations they use.
- The square shape is bulky. I didn't try it strapped to my arm because it would be too uncomfortable whilst cycling.
- The handlebar mounts are kind of bulky and can be fiddly to fit.
- It interfered with my wireless speedo when mounted right next to it (the speedo numbers went haywire).
- Enclosure can fog up requiring the purchase of, and fiddling with, anti-fog inserts.

Olympus, Panasonic, Sony, Canon, Nikon, Fuji and Toshiba all produce "tough" cameras that are resistant to water, shock, dust and so on to varying degrees.
Of course the models vary but typically they have these advantages over the GoPro or ATC3K

  • HD video (either 720p or 1080p)
  • Screen! Particularly important for reviewing before transferring to a computer (which can take a long time), but also for framing the shot!
  • The screen also means you can use the camera for other things such as holidays, snorkelling etc. The GoPro is limited in that sense.
  • Optical zoom (not the Toshiba)
  • Optical image stabilisation (each model differs).
  • Far greater customisation of shooting settings (except for lower end like the Toshiba).
  • Usually slimmer form factor. Not so bulky. No need for external enclosure that can fog up.
  • Longer record times (than ATC3K). (check each model for differences).
  • Typically better lens, sensor and image processing quality from the larger photographic companies. (this is a bit of a blanket statement, so make your own judgements about quality, or check trusted reviews).
  • Quite a few have GPS now if you're interested in Geotagging or mapping.

I haven't bought one of these yet (but I will be) so check the reviews and specifications and make your own decisions of course. I may post a table of comparison specs here if I do my own comparison table. The come for a variety of budgets from about $100 for the Toshiba, up to $400 or more for the Panasonic.

My interest is for problems with motorists but also recording interesting stuff while touring. It is not always possible to stop and take photos or video. Another application is for contributing to Open Cycle Map which is a whole other topic in itself, but is a brilliant project. Check it out!

Next is, how to mount it to the bike? I found http://www.rigidmount.com/ which have some mounts that allow you to mount a standard digital compact to your bike using the tripod mount found on almost all compact digital cameras. They also have some general information about what to look for in a camera, how to edit video and remove shake etc. See the "Information" menu on that site.

  • Unless I'm missing something here, this doesn't seem to answer the question. Are you recommending the Olympus cameras? (The first half of this seems like more of a comment to curtismchale's answer.) Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 0:25
  • The question as far as I can find is, "What cameras / arrangements might be better" (than his current setup). I gave my personal experience with GoPro, and my plans on what I might do next which "might be better". I can remove the brands or links if you prefer. I was just giving an example of a compact weather proof camera. Having not tried them I am not recommending them. I also outline what I think are the advantages of that type of camera over the GoPro (since that was mentioned in a previous answer and I have tried that)
    – Jason S
    Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 0:29
  • The original post and first answer, both mention particular products. I am just saying I've tried the GoPro, it doesn't suit me for the reasons mentioned, and I'm looking at the weather proof compacts, as a better option, for the reasons mentioned.
    – Jason S
    Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 0:40
  • You do have a point that the mounting aspect is a part of this question. What about the camera mounts on rigidmount.com is particularly noteworthy? Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 1:04
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    @Neil Yes because they offer bicycle mounts that fit a standard tripod mount on a digital compact camera. So if I was to go with the digital compact (which I will borrow a friend's soon), I will look at those mounts. I've clarified my answer on rigidmount now. I'm not connected with any of these sites / products btw. I'm just trying to suss out what is the best way of recording video on a bike. I covered many general advantages / disadvantages to look for as well, not just products.
    – Jason S
    Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 1:12

I have been down this route several times.

  • Camera on the handlebars - works well, the view is low though and its a but less likely to see over things that the rider can see over. Tts a little wobbly because every steering change alters the view. However the camera looks where your front wheel is pointing, compared to:
  • Camera on the head tube - Excellent stable position, but does not look into a corner so you miss things. Even lower than handlebar view. Brake cables can get in the way too. Most aero location.
  • Camera on helmet - This is the most versitile viewpoint, its the only one that shows where the rider is looking. Downsides, it makes your helmet feel weird with the weight, and in a collision could focus an impact through the helmet rather than being dispersed by the helmet. Michael Schumacher's skiiing injury in 2013 was exacerbated by his helmet cam.
  • Wristmount - excellent if you retain the presense of mind to point the camera at the target, which may mean releasing one handlebar and subsequent decrease in control. Image is always crooked too, and bounces a lot.
  • Chestmount - similar to helmet. Your arms will block the view to the sides, and any impact on the chest will break ribs at best.
  • Shoulder mount - Only on one side, the view will be obstructed by your face. Plus these get in the way if you want to look behind you.
  • Rear view - seatmount I;ve seen this on roadies bikes because its really aero, and shows things that the rider didn't see. This can be a good place for a second camera.
  • Drone - a follow-me drone might sound crazy, but if the environment allows it (no trees or obstructions, open space) then a drone that is set to fly 5 metres behind and 3 metres above you could be awesome. These tend to have short battery life, perhaps 10-20 minutes at best.
  • Balloon - a lighter-than air balloon towed by your bike may do the same job as the drone, without the battery probs. However there will be a string in the way.
  • Another cyclist, or a support vehicle - not practical unless you're in a race.

As for cameras - my $100 Kaiser Baas was better than my $500 gopro 3 because it was capable of snapping a licence plate of a car going the other way at 100 km/h (say 150 km/h differential speed) whereas the gopro does too much compression, and all you see is mush on the plate.

The gopro models have better performance in low light, and you can get a heap of aftermarket cases to suit them.

All in all cameras are good, but they won't stop the bad things happening. Anyone who stops being bad because they've spotted your camera is balanced by those who get more aggrivated by being on camera. Instead cameras help prove what happened after the event.

  • Should I expand this answer with example photos of positions?
    – Criggie
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 23:39

Here's a recent example of why it may be pointless to go through the trouble of maintaining a camera for video evidence. Perfectly good video and even an independent witness who observed the driver intentionally swipe the cyclist: NO CHARGES FILED.


Perhaps try a ChaseCam? http://www.chasecam.com/ Used by a lot of auto racers. Might work for cycling too.


There is a product designed specifically for this use, the Cerevellum: a bike computer with a crash recorder, which hooks up to a rear-facing camera. It's not cheap, but it is designed to do exactly what you want.


I would try below handlebar (possibly attached to the stem) and seatpost just below saddle nut. Stem would allow to turn quickly the handlebars after any non-falling-over evento so as to capture better evidence.

Cushioning the clamp would certainly dicrease mechanical stress and improve sound quality.


I agree with some fellows that it might be too much trouble for possibly nothing, not to mention that leaving home with a conflicting mindset might make you nervous and more prone to accidents or discussions than to take proper care on the road ahead.

Also, worrying if the camera is working or not is a time-consuming and distracting activity during the ride.

But I totally agree with you that bike unfriendliness can be so extreme as to prompt this kind of attitude. I ride in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and we sometimes are exposed to so much unnecessary risk (neglect from speeding drivers, mostly), you become really frustrated.

Some groups I participate have already made some progress by doing constant and intense pressure over traffic authorities and our city's major. On the long run, this is the only action that really pays itself off.

Take care, and good luck!


I am currently looking at the CycleSight startup. They device looks attractive because it also contributes to safety before the crash, by providing rear view for the cyclist. Of course, it is possible to say it may be too many things on the handlebars but I have seen people putting they mobile phone there, also the mirror has comparable size, so why not the rear viewer instead. And, yes, this device also records (and this recording may be legal (source, page 10) if done with intended purpose and sane mind).

Unfortunately, CycleSight is only about to start the production and there is even some doubt if the will. I am not affiliated with them but I think guys are doing a good job.


I haven't yet used it, but Rideye seems to be a good and inexpensive system:


  • the cheaper version costs $99
  • waterproof
  • ~10 hours battery life
  • full HD resolution
  • can store 1.5 or 5 hours of video (depending on the memory size)
  • ready to go out of the box, no tinkering needed
  • 170º field of view
  • designed specifically to serve as a "black box" for your bike
  • @DavidRicherby I've added some details; please tell me if there's anything I can add to further improve the answer Commented Sep 18, 2018 at 11:59

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