Flashed on the motorcycle. Will the driver remain unidentified?


Motorcyclists are often not clearly recognizable in speed camera photos. Nevertheless, they do not always get away without a ticket.

Legal question of the day:

Speed limits apply to motorcycles just as they do to cars. Anyone traveling too fast must expect a fine. But how can motorcyclists even be recognized in speed camera photos?


If the sun is shining and the roads are dry, many persons on two wheels may speed too much. Since many speed measurements take pictures of vehicles from the front, motorcyclists can be lucky. Because the license plate is at the back. Photos taken from behind can also make it difficult to identify the rider. Nevertheless, motorcyclists do not enjoy carte blanche.

Is the owner liable?

In Germany, the driver is always liable for traffic offenses. The owner cannot be held liable for a red light violation or a speeding violation committed by another person. In some of our neighboring European countries, the situation is different. There, the owner can also be held liable for the misconduct of another person. However, in Germany the owner has a certain obligation to cooperate. If he cannot be identified as the driver, he must provide information about the person who was using the vehicle at the time of the crime. If he fails to do so, he may be threatened with a driving record in the case of more serious violations. In the case of motorcycles, however, identifying the driver is difficult for two reasons. The motorcycle helmet often makes the driver unrecognizable on a speed camera photo. If the photo was taken from the front of the bike, the license plate cannot be documented.

Speed measurement from the front:

A wide variety of devices are used for speed measurements. For example, there are laser measuring devices or those that work with radar beams. What many measurement methods have in common is that the measurement is actually made from the front. In the case of motorcyclists, this means that the license plate on the rear is not visible. Accordingly, the owner or driver cannot be identified.

Unrecognized, but…

Nevertheless, no motorcyclist is absolutely safe from fines. For example, there are measuring systems that take a photo of the rear as well as the front. The authorities can use the license plate number to identify the owner. This does not mean that they have the driver on the hook. However, it does narrow down the group of people who can be identified. You must also remember that there are usually fewer motorcycles of the same type in a registration district than cars. The fine authorities can compare the measurement photo with the registration office. Special individual motorcycles in particular will then naturally stand out.

Helmet hides the face

However, this is aggravated by the fact that the helmet often makes it impossible to clearly identify the driver. This is crucial because under German law, it is not the owner of the vehicle who is liable. Only the driver can be prosecuted for speeding violations. Even though the face is usually not easily recognizable through the helmet, identification is still possible in some cases. In addition, the stature of the driver can be recognized quite accurately on the motorcycle. This is rarely the case in a car. Special features such as conspicuous motorcycle clothing, an individual helmet or damage to the motorcycle can contribute to the conviction of the perpetrator.

First flashed, then stopped

The surest way to catch speeding motorcyclists is to measure them with a police post afterwards. In laser measurements, a police officer measures with a laser gun and reports the speeding motorcyclist to his colleagues. They wait a little further down the road and fish out the motorcyclist in question. Especially on popular motorcycle routes, bikers should expect this possibility. Ultimately, of course, every motorcycle fan should also adhere to the specified speed limits in his or her own interest. These also serve their own safety.