Cyclists, pedestrians and motorists have shaky relationships. All are trying to use the same space to get to where they want to go. Non-bicyclists often accuse cyclists of being confrontational and acting as if the rules don’t apply to them. Cyclists often charge that motor vehicle drivers go out of their way to make riding a bicycle on the streets of New York even more difficult. Each side blames the other for bike accidents.
Determining who’s correct when an accident happens often boils down to “He said, she said,” with witnesses hard to find. However, bikers have taken matters into their own hands, strapping cameras to their heads to record license plates and other evidence.
The number of bike riders with cameras is growing, and videos from these cameras are playing an increasingly important role in policed investigations of accidents around the United States. The cameras cost around $200, but the price is expected to come down as more cyclists realize the benefits of riding with the cycling equivalent of an airplane’s black box.
A former Olympic cyclists, Bob Mionske, said, “It’s a fact of life that on American roads that you get punked, cut off purposely, harassed, not once but on a regular basis. If motorists start to hear about bikes having cameras, they’re going to think twice about running you off the road.” Mionske is now an attorney who represents bike riders.
Cameras can record not just an accident, but its aftermath. Cyclists and motorists often get into confrontations. Having a camera that records the actions of both sides can keep conversations more civil and less likely to degenerate into fights.
Source: New York Times, “Cameras Are Cyclists’ ‘Black Boxes’ in Accidents,” by Nick Wingfield, July 20, 2012.