Bicycle Culture

Cycle: Bike-mounted Cameras Become Cyclists' Latest Line of Defense

With the recent rash of cyclists getting hit by local drivers, there's an understandable level of increased concern about personal safety when hitting the streets. But who'da thought that a video camera could become one of the most valuable pieces of protection for exposed pedal pushers?

That was exactly the case recently for a pair of cyclists in Berkeley, Calif. just a few weeks ago when they were side swiped from behind by a driver who hit-and-ran as the cyclists were splayed across the tarmac. Both cyclists were unharmed aside from some nasty road rash.

Fortunately, the handlebar-mounted video camera caught the entire incident in crystal clear HD video, including a nice shot of the assailant's license plate as the auto zipped away from the scene. The driver, who claimed his car was stolen the day of the hit-and-run, was arrested two days later.

Mountable video cameras such as the popular GoPro Hero 2 started showing up strapped to helmets and handlebars to record some wicked descent or crazy trick, mostly on mountain bike trails. Capturing the POV of some insane downhill to play back on YouTube with a crushing metal tune became the MO of huckers worldwide.

Soon the roadies started mounting them up as well, sometimes capturing the glorious escapades of mutlisporters exhibiting their pacelining skills. But the two riders from Berkeley found another purpose for their camera -- documentation of evidence.

Imagine if Shawn McCarty had a camera and recorded Amy Alexander hitting him from behind as her car veered from her lane into the bike lane in March. That evidence could have bumped her charges beyond "driving in a bike lane and unsafe passing of a bicycle."

Forget bike helmets and three-foot laws, mounted cameras may be the best bike safety tool yet.

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Jason Franz
Contact: Jason Franz

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