Driving For Members

Are car dashcams and cycle helmet cameras legal in France?

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
Are car dashcams and cycle helmet cameras legal in France?

Many road users rely on video cameras to record anything that happens on the road – but use of the devices fall into something of a legal grey area in France


Strict privacy rules in France mean that filming someone in a public space without their consent can prove problematic.

We covered the basics in a recent post on installing doorbell cameras, citing French laws against filming people on the street without their consent.

But do those rules also affect dashboard cameras in vehicles? And what about cyclists who have cameras fitted to their helmets to record their movements, in case of incidents that lead to injuries and / or insurance claims?

That’s not quite so clear.

There is no specific legislation relating to either dashboard cameras, or cameras fitted onto cycle helmets, according to France’s data protection watchdog, the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (Cnil).


 Nevertheless, and because of an abundance of caution, the agency does not recommend using them until such time as the law is clearer about their use.

Therefore, the devices – which are openly sold online and in physical stores across France – are legal, if only because they have not been specifically outlawed. 

And while Cnil has concerns, their use is generally tolerated, as long as other rules relating to privacy are respected. 

It is prohibited to broadcast images of a person without first obtaining their consent - and that would include posting footage from a dashcam or helmet camera on social media. So avoid the temptation of posting a video to illustrate your rant about an inconsiderate fellow road-user.

The same goes for vehicle licence plates, you can’t post films on social media in which they’re legible, or broadcast the video in any other way.

However footage obtained via dashcam or helmet cam may be of interest to insurance companies, the police, or even a judge.

There have been a number of incidents in France in which dashcam recordings have been used to secure convictions, or settle insurance claims – which indicates that, while their use is legally in doubt, they can still be useful. 

Following the fatal collision involving French comedian Pierre Palmade in February 2023, police used dashcam footage from the vehicle of a witness to identify two men who fled the scene of the crash without trying to help.

Dashcam recordings have also been successfully used in court to force insurance companies to payout on claims. Some French motorists have also been caught out after posting dashcam footage that shows them breaking driving laws.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also