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

Categories: Bicycle Culture
berkeley crash grab.jpg
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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My Voice Nation Help

I watched the entire video, this is what I observed of these "typical" bike riders:
Failed to stop for stop signs on two occasions - stop sign violations (2) there's no such thing as legal  rolling stops.
Biker on left is driving over yellow line into roadway on several occasions. Not keeping close to the side of the road. Toward the end riding side by side leaving no room for vehicles to pass and fully aware of the parked vehicles making it extremely dangerous to drive over the right white line into the traffic flow.  Never observed rider looking back towards traffic, numerous times vehicles were forced into other lane of traffic to avoid the riders.  these are the typical practices of the riders in my area that create their own dangers and risks through their riding behaviors. The cameras hopefully will show the risky behavior of the riders and their contributory negligence in civil litigations.   


Did anyone notice the parallel road grates at about the 2 min mark? As a "victim" of a road grate vs. road bike encounter (3 surgeries, 6 plates, and 27 screws in my jaw), I want to alert all riders to these hazards. I agree with Evan though. I did notice the rolling stops at intersections. That doesn't diminish what happened though, it just notes the fine line we ride.


I have recorded several near misses with mine to include a a crash leading to a concussion and twenty minute loss of memorie. Search you tube for texoma cycling if you want to view it. Thank God for these little non forgetting gadgets.

Benoît Joossen
Benoît Joossen

If case the camera is damaged by the crash, and all you get is a corrupt video file, you can use a free preview web app to see the content of the file:

Oliver Pollard
Oliver Pollard

I believe the Go-Pro's have massive potential in areas like this. Due to their ability to be affordable and adaptable, it's enabling the public to get views and angles which would have been impossible before. On the other hand, this is a misuse of the phrase 'safety device' because its not preventing the incident from happening, only finding the drivers AFTER its happened, nonetheless, good turn out in the end. Follow me @OHPollard:disqus 

Evan Aube
Evan Aube

Not to be insensitive, I am a cyclist as well and it hurts to see a fellow two-wheeler run-down, but these two dont appear to be model shared-road-users. They rolled a stop sign without slowing down at the beginning, and the rider in front never looked over his left shoulder once, not even when going from the bike lane into the lane of traffic around vehicles parked on the shoulder. These recording devices will certainly offer some closure and aid police in finding hit and run drivers, should they happen to catch a glimpse of the plate.

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