Do you think the mounted camera and light on the helmet is safe?
If we check the helmet's documentation, there's guaranteed to be some legalese text in there similar to:
modifications to the helmet will void warranty, and may decrease the effectiveness of the helmet. Do not modify your helmet.
Or words to that effect. A helmet has three main components
- A foam inner, to absorb impact and "lengthen" a collision, to decrease the peak G forces applied to the wearer.
- A strap/retention system to hold the helmet on.
- A smooth outer shell to protect the somewhat vulnerable foam inner, and to prevent the foam from shredding/splitting on impact.
When you attach things to the helmet, they could interfere with that last function. Hypothetically your camera, light, or visor could "snag" on the road surface during an accident, and apply a torque to your neck.
Additionally, an impact directly onto those items could act like a nail punch focusing an impact on a spike and not spreading that impact over a wider area. This is reputed to be what exacerbated Michael Schumacher's skiing incident, when a gopro mount impacted a rock, effectively acting like a pickaxe.
Specific to your setup:
- The visor is a factory part, and is flimsy. So any impact it will simply bend and shatter. At worse you'll get chunks of plastic around.
- Your light appears to be in a Y shaped yoke, which should allow the light to fall off under impact. Downside here is the yoke itself is a spike aimed at your skull.
- The camera looks to be firmly attached with double-sided foam tape, and some kind of rotating lockring. I could be wrong, but there's no weak breakaway point visible. Plus it is relatively forward on the helmet.
Imagine you've had a fall, or recall any significant falls you've had in the past. I find they fall into ~4 main sorts
- Minor ones where your head never touches the ground - helmet irrelevant.
- Sideways - a washout, pedal strike or similar has caused you to go down sideways. Your shoulder hits the ground, and potentially the side of your helmet hits the ground.
- Superman - You've done an endo or an OTB and you're hitting the ground like a landing airplane. Your hands instinctively go down to break your fall, but your chest and face are going to take a hit. Along with your forehead of your helmet. This is why helmets should cover some of the forehead.
- Really bad events. For you to hit the top or rear of your helmet on the ground, something's gone quite wrong. These would be the least common places to hit a helmet, and probably the most damaging overall.
I can imagine the camera/light catching passing branches, so occasionally they might cause a problem too.
Upshot - by putting things on the outside of a helmet, you risk impairing the sliding function.
Personally - I've tried a gopro in the same spot and it had the best view along with good targetting, but the weight was unpleasant and caused a surprising amount of neck fatigue. It was also nauseating to watch this footage.
A MTB ride seems to work well using a chest harness, or if you wear a backpack then there are mounts that go on the shoulder strap.
For road usage I use mine mostly on top of the stem (allows me to steer it when stopped) or on one bike it lives in front of the head tube. The low height is not ideal, but it is workable.
I've done a lot of testing with lights.
- Used one battery pack that hung below the foam, very near the head. Great for brightness, but a side fall could have crushed that into my head.
- A normal rear light that was secured to the straps at the back - same issue. But being high up was much more visible from a distance. Swelling battery killed that one.
Now I use a manufacturer's accessory rear light that fits inside a rear vent it is not as bright which is disappointing. I also use a top light similar in shape to yours, but its mounted in a lower-profile fitting and centered further aft on the head.
I've weighed the benefit of a bright needle light under my direct control, vs the risk as discussed above, and chosen the light. You can assess the risks and benefits yourself and make your own decisions.
Safety is not an absolute. The transition from Safe to Unsafe does not happen immediately. The state of the helmet is probably considered not safe, compromised, but not unsafe. Much will depend on the fitting strength - are those attachments going to break away quickly with little additional force on your neck or will they hang on until well after your neck is broken?
Also the use of the helmet is important - if it's an art piece never to be worn (I presume not) then it's not unsafe. If you're planning to commute with that helmet, compared to riding XXX downhills, where does that leave us? Are you an experienced rider and martial artist (with skills in falling), or a novice rider?
I don't think there would be much dispute without fittings on the helmet, it is safer than with those fittings. But it could be argued that without the light, you cannot see where you are going, so the light makes you less likely to fall, making the helmet less safe, but riding safer.
Personally, I think essentials like lights to see where you are going (thinking MTB night riding in the forest, not urban commute in well lit street) are a compromise that improves overall safety. I believe non-essential attachments, such as cameras, compromise the safety of the helmet more than increase the safety of riding (but I am a MTBer, not a roadie - some roadies/commuters will disagree on this).
No, this is not safe.
- The light very likely will blind/dazzle or at least annoy oncoming traffic or pedestrians. I do not know how strong yours is, but if I shine mine directly into the face of an oncommer they will be blind for a few seconds, especially in darkness.
- Related: You won't be able to adjust the light on the fly in a safe manner.
- You won't get advance notice of the battery of the light running low, possibly ending you up in pitch black darkness on the trail.
- The weight of the two devices will possibly give you either a headache or stiff neck muscles.
- If you go through denser single trails either device may catch on a twig and pull your head back sharply.
- If you land on the top of your head (maybe unlikely, but not unheard of, depending on which kind of jumps you do) the whole impact force will be concentrated in the tiny surface area of the respective attachment points and can probably do bad things to your skull, or add major rotational forces.
The light can go on the handlebar, and the camera onto your chest - those locations have been proven to work very well and are perfectly safe and practical.