Can You Have A Gopro On Your Helmet In California?

Can You Have A GoPro On Your Helmet In California? It’s a burning question for adventure enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies alike. Whether you’re an avid skier, a motorcycle enthusiast, or a thrill-seeking cyclist, capturing those heart-pounding moments on your trusty GoPro seems like a no-brainer. 

But here’s the twist: California, known for its stringent helmet laws, might leave you wondering if strapping a GoPro to your helmet is legal. Well, fear not! We’re here to shed some light on the matter. So, can you have a GoPro on your helmet in California? 

The short and sweet answer is a resounding No! as direct restrictions apply to helmets containing GoPros in California as they would violate the guidelines that prohibit attachments longer than 5mm.

Let’s dive into the exciting details and get rid of any doubts you might have.

Can You Have A Gopro On Your Helmet In California?

The legality of having a GoPro on a motorcycle helmet in California is a gray area. While there are no specific laws prohibiting it, attaching a GoPro to a helmet could potentially make the helmet non-compliant with safety standards. 

California law requires helmets to meet federal safety standards, and the guidelines state that attachments longer than 5 mm are not allowed. Therefore, it is advisable to consult local authorities or follow the guidelines to ensure compliance.

Understanding The California Helmet Law And Its Implications

All motorcycle drivers and passengers in California must wear helmets while riding on a motorized cycle, or motorized bicycle due to the state’s universal helmet law. This law is applicable to all riders, irrespective of their age. 

The helmet worn must have certification from the manufacturer, confirming its compliance with the U.S. DOT Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. It is mandatory for the helmet to be securely fastened on the head at all times using the chin strap, which should be riveted to the outer shell.

Violating the helmet law is considered an immediate safety hazard and can result in a fine of up to $250 and/or one year of probation. However, it should be noted that private property is generally exempt from helmet laws. Nevertheless, minors are required to wear helmets when riding on a public street, bike trail, or path.

In the case of individuals riding scooters (such as Bird, Uber, and Lime), those who are 18 years or older are not obligated to wear a helmet. However, riders under the age of 18 must wear a properly fitting helmet that fastens appropriately and adheres to universally accepted safety standards.

Studies indicate that helmets played a vital role in saving over 1,770 lives of motorcyclists in 2015. Furthermore, more than 700 motorcycle accident fatalities could have been prevented if the riders had been wearing helmets. Head injuries are the primary cause of severe and fatal injuries among motorcyclists, and wearing a helmet can reduce both the frequency and severity of such injuries by 50 percent.

Analysis Of The ‘5mm Rule’ In Helmet Attachments

The ‘5mm rule’ pertains to a specific regulation regarding helmet attachments. It sets a limit on the extension of rigid projections beyond the outer shell of any helmet, which should not exceed 0.20 inches or 5 mm in length. 

This rule is a component of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218, which is applicable to all helmets designed for use by motorcyclists. According to FMVSS 218, helmets must not have any rigid projections on the inside of their shell as well. This means that attaching a GoPro to a helmet may not be legal, as the protrusion of any such accessory should be no more than 0.20 inches (5 mm)

According to the ‘5mm rule,’ helmets must not have any attachments that could harm the rider in an accident. The rule aims to increase helmet safety by limiting the protrusion of rigid projections.

Several proposals have been made to amend road rules so that helmet attachments cannot exceed 5mm. By implementing this change, approximately half of all helmets in use today would be illegal to use retrospectively. These proposals are aimed at improving safety standards and minimizing helmet attachment hazards.

What Makes A Helmet Non-Compliant In California?

gopro camera with helmet mount

In California, strict regulations are in place regarding the use of motorcycle safety helmets by riders and passengers. It is mandatory for all individuals riding a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle to wear a helmet that complies with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) standards. The helmet should be certified by the manufacturer, indicating its adherence to the U.S. DOT FMVSS 218.

It is important to note that non-U.S. DOT-compliant helmets, often referred to as novelty helmets, rain bonnets, lids, loophole lids, beanies, or brain buckets, do not provide adequate protection. These helmets typically have thin liners and protective padding, lacking the necessary strength, size, and ability to safeguard the rider in the event of a collision. Therefore, they are deemed unsuitable for ensuring the rider’s safety.

Furthermore, it is against the law for a helmeted passenger to ride with a driver not wearing a helmet. This requirement ensures that both the driver and passenger are adequately protected while on the road.

It is vital that a helmet fits snugly around the rider’s head and does not exhibit any noticeable defects like cracks, frayed straps, or loose padding. Additionally, for a helmet to be considered DOT-compliant, it must not have any attachments that exceed 5 mm in length. This includes accessories like GoPro cameras, as they can compromise the helmet’s safety standards.

By enforcing these regulations and standards, California aims to prioritize the safety of motorcycle riders and passengers, reducing the risk of severe injuries and fatalities in case of accidents.

Legal Consequences Of Attaching A Gopro On Your Helmet In California

Having a GoPro camera attached to your motorcycle helmet is legal in California without violating the law. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has established specific helmet standards that must be followed by all motorcycle riders and passengers.

To comply with DOT regulations, helmet attachments must not exceed 5mm in length, including GoPro cameras. Attaching a GoPro camera to the helmet would render it non-compliant with DOT standards. Consequently, if a rider is found with a non-compliant helmet, they may face penalties such as fines and probation.

Given the potential legal repercussions, it is advisable not to attach a GoPro camera to your motorcycle helmet in California. Violations of the helmet law constitute immediate safety hazards and can result in fines of up to $250 and/or probation lasting for one year. It is worth noting, however, that helmet laws generally do not apply to private property. Nonetheless, minors are obligated to wear helmets on streets, bike trails, or paths.



It is not illegal in California to attach anything longer than 5mm to a GoPro helmet; this includes cameras mounted on GoPro helmets. Riders caught attaching GoPros to helmets would face fines and probation if the helmet didn’t meet DOT standards. Using a GoPro camera on a motorcycle in California may result in legal repercussions.

About David Riedel

I am David Riedel founder of Bikerwhizz, I'm a technician at Keystone Harley Davidson with more than 10 years of industry experience. I’m here to help you solve motorbike problems, customizations, tweaks, and easy fixes to enjoy your rides more.

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