Adding a Camera to Your Safety Equipment
There are many things you can do to help keep you safe when riding a bike. Combined with safe riding habits, wearing helmets, visible clothing, bike lights, etc. you can ride knowing you've taken the necessary precautions to keep yourself safe. The reality is, however, that the streets are still a dangerous place for cyclists, especially in a city. The other harsh reality is that there is still a long way to go in our transportation culture before cyclists are fully accepted on the road.
If you’re a cyclist, you’ve probably experienced a close call with a driver who was either driving recklessly or intentionally using their vehicle as a weapon to try to scare and intimidate the rider. You might have felt helpless as they sped off, oblivious to the danger they had put you in, or laughing about it. You may have even reported the incident to the police and had little or no response.
Many riders have started riding with small cameras mounted on their bikes. If this practice continues to become more common, drivers will have to take more seriously that any cyclist on the road might be recording their actions and be ready to use that recording as evidence against them. As technology progresses riders have more cheaper and lighter options available for cameras that can record high quality video both for sharing their biking fun, and to use as evidence if needed. Some even combine a camera with a bike light.
Even if you don’t capture video of an incident, you should still report it, including the license plate of the car if possible. A single report likely will not result in any action being taken against the driver, but most aggressive drivers are repeat offenders, and if multiple police reports are filed it becomes more likely that future transgressions are taken seriously. By reporting an incident and providing as much evidence as possible, you may ultimately play a role in removing a dangerous driver from the road, which could save another cyclist’s life. There are also web sites like the Close Call Database where cyclists collaborate to track dangerous drivers.
The end goal is not to punish individual drivers. Rather, the goal is to make the roads safer for all cyclists by changing the (too often correct) perception that drivers can endanger cyclists without risk of repercussion. This is not something any one person can accomplish on their own, but if enough cyclists do their part we can collectively create a world where motorists know they can’t get away with assaulting people on bikes.