On-board video cameras are increasingly the big witness in bike accidents and bad driving events
As seen through the Peterborough Cycling VideoMap Project, our main interest in bike video is for recording and promoting bike riding in and around Peterborough. Increasingly, however, bike videos are capturing the details of bike accidents and vloggers (video bloggers) use video to record and publicize the actions of bad drivers (be they car drivers or cyclists). In some cases, police or other authorities use the video to lay charges or take corrective action.
One video that hit the ‘net over the past few weeks is particularly scary, although no one was badly injured. Two riders are out for what looks like a normal ride. Traffic moves past them as they cycle along a road that appears to have a bike lane at times. Suddenly, at 2:40 into the video, a car just ploughs into them, knocking both to the ground. The car then leaves the scene. Police later arrest a man for the bike accident and on several other charges including heroin possession.
While not taken from a bike, video did help in bringing charges against a driver who had hit a cyclist when the driver passed a bus on the right. The car driver had not seen that the bus was passing a cyclist. The bus driver then uses his bus to block the fleeing driver, while others move in to assist. Interestingly, the driver is the first to be charged under a new Pennsylvania cyclist protection law that had just come into effect that day!
Closer to home, we have followed Bike View in Ottawa for some time now (in fact, the author helped with advice on getting the VideoMap project started). His website features video captured during his commutes and rides around Ottawa and often illustrates bad driving behaviour and attitudes as well as common driver errors.
The worst video on his blog, from a cyclist’s perspective, is one from February of 2011 where he actually gets bumped from behind by a guy driving an SUV who wants the cyclist out of the way. No matter what has happened before (and the bike rider is not at fault), using your vehicle as a corrective instrument is just insane. While the video is embedded below, take the time to read both the original post and the author’s follow up, where he reflects on the whole event.
The reasons for using small cameras by cyclists is discussed at length here (perhaps too much length), with a hopeful observation that the increased use of cameras by cyclists may improve driver an d rider behaviour.
Of course, it isn’t just car drivers who are at fault. Silly Cyclists is a YouTube user channel that features clips of bad cycling organized into top-10, countdown segments. Amazingly, he is up to episode 38. This vlogger is very prolific and has posted videos featuring all sorts of weird behaviour, both on his original Youtube channel and his newer channel. Here is the best of episodes 1 to 9 of “Silly Cyclists”.
Clearly, video and cycling have a connected future, for all sorts of reasons. If this results in better driver and rider attitudes and action, we are all for it.
ABC (US) News has picked up the story of the Berkeley hit-and-run driver. Here is one article that nicely captures the event and the impact of bike cams.