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This thread in our forum about helmet cams during National Champs got pretty lengthy. Ultimately, USA Cycling Commissaire, Tod Manning, responded to the original situation as well as the current rules regarding helmet cameras and MP3 players in USAC-sanctioned competition. Check it out, and thanks for your response, Tod. -spomer
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In regard to helmet-mounted cameras, after a great deal of discussion during the fall of 2010, USAC will now allow them to be worn. Here is an excerpt from the USAC Technical Director Update sent to all officials in December 2010: "It is USA Cycling’s position that helmet cams are legal, and officials should not disallow them. Of course, any device has to be fixed securely, and a bike or helmet can always be declared a safety hazard if that is not the case, just as it would be with any part of the rider’s clothing or equipment."

Note that the UCI still prohibits the use of helmet cams, so any event run under UCI rules in the United States may still bar their use.

Regarding the UCI and USAC ban on using mp3 players, once again, it is for safety purposes. Riders wearing such devices can't hear "track", "rider down", "on your left", or other warnings that may be yelled at them. Remember, it is not just your safety that is at risk, it is that of all the other participants at the event, too.

As for my decision regarding banning the use of helmet cams at nationals, one of the helmets that was presented to me when the question was raised had the camera hard-mounted (screwed?) into the side of the full-face helmet. That mount plus camera stuck out to the side several inches and was not safe in that it definitely modified the helmet, could have caught on branches while riding, or wrenched the rider's head during a fall.

I am a fan of the sport and love to watch the videos made by riders and think it is good for the sport. In support of that, I allowed riders to use cameras that were mounted on their bikes as well as on chest packs.

During the 24 Hour Nationals, I came to the realization that banning helmet cams, while well intentioned, would also mean banning helmet-mounted lights -- which would be a non-starter for 24-hour racing. I was the one who raised this point when the USAC board of trustees were having their discussions about rule changes.

The goal of officials is to help ensure that all riders have a safe and fair race. That's what guides us. We're in it because we love the sport, and most of us raced at some point in our cycling careers, so we understand your viewpoint. If you don't like a rule that we have to enforce, tell us about it and be sure to tell USAC. Your voice will be heard, and this thread is a great example of your voice being heard.

Sincerely,
Tod Manning
USAC National Commissaire - MTB
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