A moral dilemma …

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So here’s a dilemma.

I found a helmet camera lying on the trails today and I’ve just finished going through the footage to see if I could find out who the owner is …
I was expecting it to be from some cyclist and was hoping to pull off an image or two of their bike, car or cycling companions to post up on facebook (the accolades for my honesty were already ringing in my ears), but instead I found two short clips on it which showed it was owned by a motorcyclist.
Just for the record – I have my motorcycle licence and my younger years were spent riding around the bush on my motorbike (responsibly) so I’m not biased against motorcyclists in the least – in fact many say I love myself far too much.
Back to the story … the  footage showed these guys doing wheelies down a bitumen road and speeding down nearby tracks … I stress it was nothing illegal (well if it was it was marginal), but it was borderline on my moral scale.
It was certainly the sort of riding that could cause both track damage and accidents with other users.
Compounding my dilemma, although the footage was of areas outside the reserve, I found the camera itself in the reserve … but balancing that, I also noticed there were signs indicating that 4WDs could go through the reserve, and well … I have been known to ride through a reserve or two in my time where it was less than clear whether this was the right thing to do.
So here’s where I’m at … I think based on the footage that with some searching on google earth, or reporting it to the police (there was a car number plate on the footage) I could find where they live, drive out there and return the camera (goodbye a few hours of my time) and legally it seems like the right thing to do … I mean who am I to judge a person based on five minutes of video footage? … and if it was me I’d want someone to return my camera to me.
But, but, but … I’m just feeling like I’d prefer to pretend it is all too hard to do that, throw it in a corner and forget about it. 
And that’s my moral dilemma … to do or not to do.

What would you do?


Postscript (19 May 2014): After all the feedback I drove out after work tonight and took the camera back to the young owner.  He was initially cautious when I knocked on the door and asked if he rode a motorbike, but when he said yes and I pulled out his camera … you should have heard the joy and gratitude in his voice.   It was worth the effort …


  1. Hand it in to the cops and get them to call the owner of the camera and if they want their camera back they can collect it from the station where the cops are awaiting questioning. Just a scare of course 🙂

  2. Hand in to the Police and let them handle it. Over here if a item is handed in and not claimed for a month ( I think ) then the finder can go and get it, full proper legal ownership. I still have the penknife my mum found in the Brecon Beacons.

  3. It seems to be the consensus … but I think our police have enough to do (remember these are the same police that won't even take a statement when you almost get run over by a car). As to keeping the camera … I already have a contour GPS helmet camera and a GoPro … neither of which gets any use so I can't see me using this one.

  4. How on earth did you find him? I know you have his License plate number but I have no idea how you got his address from that. I would have thought it was private information.

  5. It wasn't his licence plate number – the footage on his video camera showed him driving out of the bush and down a street into his driveway – his house had a distinctive fence and I could see the colour of his roof. Guessing he lived in Risdon Brook area I just scanned around using google earth and google street view and found it using those pieces of information … nothing illegal – just a bit of basic detective work and publically available information … which is kind of scary.

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