Bicyclists and motorists have long had a contentious relationship. After bike – car accidents, both parties will often blame the other for unsafe practices. Similar bad will exists between bicyclists and pedestrians with each claiming the other is to blame for countless collisions. Cyclists are increasingly turning to technology to defend themselves from charges of aggressive or unsafe biking. Small cameras that can be mounted on bicycles or bike helmets record a cyclist’s ride, providing evidence in the event of an accident. The solution is similar to the black box on airplanes, and can be equally valuable in demonstrating exactly how an accident occurred.
The cameras are far from standard equipment for cyclists at this point, but they could grow in popularity if they are successful in defending the rights of bicycle enthusiasts who ride safely. The cameras could, of course, prove equally valuable to an automobile driver or pedestrian if the cyclist in an accident was violating the law or behaving improperly. That may even help to deter some bicycle riders from engaging in the behavior that gives the entire community a bad name among pedestrians and auto drivers.
The cameras were originally designed for shooting videos of other sports, including skiing and surfing. Now they can help by recording license plates, capturing pictures of driver’s faces and providing other evidence that could be used to get compensation for a biker injured in an accident. It is a simple solution for a problem that has existed as long as bicycles have shared the road with cars.
Source: The New York Times, “Cameras Are Cyclists’ ‘Black Boxes’ in Accidents,” by Nick Wingfield, 20 July 2012