As cities become more bike friendly, commuters are turning to two-wheelers as their primary mode of transportation. At face value, these sustainable people movers are great for the environment; they have, however, also led to a spike in bike-related accidents and avoidable traffic deaths as cars learn to deal with more pedestrians sharing the street.
In an effort to keep motorists accountable, countless bikers are turning to bodyworn cameras to act as “black boxes” in the event of accidents.
More often than not, the onus of an accident is on the person driving the car; either through reckless driving, opening a door without checking behind them, or general inattentiveness. Helmet cams are offering bikers the opportunity to provide an after-the-fact true account of what actually happened in the event of a collision.
Evan Wilder, a New York City cyclist was recently in an accident with a car that then fled the scene. Without the camera attached to his head, Wilder would never have had the invaluable footage of the car’s license plate that was later used to bring the driver to justice.
Not only are these cameras great in the unfortunate case of driver recklessness, but they’re also key in keeping the biker in check; oftentimes cyclists are (unjustifiably) stereotyped as disrespectful of the road.
“I know my actions before and after some event are going to be recorded if I’m the one being a jerk,” Wilder said. “It makes me want to be careful.”
Helmet cams have been used for years, especially by extreme sports enthusiasts, to have a recorded memory of their best runs. For the first time, these bodyworn devices are serving a legal purpose.
With surprisingly high numbers of deaths and injuries associated with bicycling (over 600 killed and over 50,000 injured in 2009 alone) these first-person accountability cams could be the catalyst needed to promote not only safe biking, but also safe driving when in the presence of bikes.