Bike Friendly Community Corner
Using a Bike Mounted Camera for Safety while Riding
The Bicycle Friendly Advocacy Council (BFAC) is a group of officers from The Villages three bike clubs, Recreation and Parks Department, and local law enforcement. The BFAC goals are safe and fun cycling in The Villages. This article contains observations from BFAC members as well as our friend, Jim Dodson, a bicycle safety advocate, and experienced bicycle accident lawyer. Download Jim’s free Florida Bicycle Accident Handbook, at www.jimdodsonlaw.com
We live in an increasingly risky, crazy age where road rage happens much too often. Some impatient drivers will pass too closely to bicycle riders, groups, or individuals, yelling, or gesturing. One bicyclist described a driver who stopped his car, exited, and pointed a firearm at a group of riders. Another driver battered a rider, causing an injury that required hospitalization. Another screamed, “I hope you get hit!”
Uncivil and even criminal behaviors have increased in our current stress-filled times. What can bicyclists do to help protect themselves? The BFAC suggests a video camera to document incidents. One enraged driver left his vehicle, approached a group of riders in a threatening way, but stopped when he realized the bike cameras were photographing his actions.
Cameras on bikes can be valuable to identify drivers who initiate or commit acts of violence against cyclists. We are especially concerned about hit-and-run drivers who leave the scene of an accident without rendering aid or even notifying authorities. The camera becomes a deterrent to potentially harmful acts when would-be perpetrators know they can be held accountable if pictures are taken of them, their vehicles, and their license plates. While not a guarantee of protection, a camera can be a useful tool for riding safety.
Cameras document events occurring in a crash, particularly where the rider may have fallen and lost consciousness and is unable to recall or describe what happened leading up to the collision. Cameras can identify drivers who buzz riders, pass too closely, and generally menace cyclists on the road. Obtaining the tags and vehicle information from a hit-and-run driver not only holds the driver accountable but may prevent other crashes from occurring.
The Bike Friendly Advocacy Council of The Villages strongly encourages using bike cameras to promote safety.