Over the years a debate has raged about who is at fault on the road when a bike and a car come to blows. The driver of the car will claim the cyclist was doing something wrong, whereas the cyclist will claim that the driver was being inconsiderate and (for example) driving too fast or too close.
Because of the fact that the bike rider will invariably (almost certainly in fact) come off worse in a collision unless the car loses control and hits a tree or wall, cyclists have been the first of the two age old enemies to adopt a method of catching proof of driving idiocy. This proof comes in the form of absolutely indisputable evidence provided on video. It has been a number of years now that cyclists have been riding round with helments on – their first line of defence – and not long after they showed up, “helmet cams” started to appear on the market. The idea being that a cyclist straps a camera to their helmet and whichever way their head is pointing, the camera will be making a video. These have grown hugely popular with cyclists and also (incidentally) motorcyclists, who, due to a lowering standard of driving causing many deaths and serious injuries on our roads, have had to seek extra protection in addition to clothing for self preservation.
Youtube and google are crammed full of videos of drivers operating their cars in stupid and carefree ways which often contravene road safety regulations and rules. Taken by the cyclists, these videos portray just how dangerous life has become for the road using health concious cyclist. With boy racer types revving their engines and blasting their horns to unnerve cyclists, often for no reason other than to provide the driver with their sadistic pleasure fix for the day.
It can be said at this point that we are clearly in favour of cyclists judging by the article sofar – however it has to be said that some of them bring bad incidents on themselves aswell with their own haste to get through traffic lights, not signalling correctly or in good time, taking chances in wet weather/poor road conditions. Hence the ongoing debate as to who is fault.
Car users are now striking back at their adversaries with the car camera. Some people use the term dash cam aswell, but these are not physically placed on the dashboard normally, instead they are fixed to the glass windscreen of the owners car and generally point forward, recording the road ahead. You can get lots of useful and helpful information at the “car cam warehouse” – a website which provides detailed insights in how drivers can use the car camera to their benefit, and how the cameras are placed in cars have different features which help drivers catch out other road users.
Above is a typical car camera in use by drivers. You can see it has a suction cup to fix it to the windscreen. This particular one has a screen on the back so the driver can face it exactly where they want it the be as it displays the lens view in realtime.
Cyclists beware – there is more to these car camera gadgets than meets the eye!
Not only is this little gadget making videos of you as you pedal your way down the road avoiding obstacles such as pedestrians and grids (and other roadside debris) it is also recording the speed of the vehicle and its location via a built in GPS reciever. So in addition to recording what you are doing, its also recording your own approximate speed.
Unlike the helmet camera, the footage captured can be shown on the screen – helmet cams tend to be too small to have a screen, so imagine arguing the rights and wrongs with a police constable in tow, before you know it the driver has pulled out his dash cam and is showing the footage to the law right in front of you.
Basically at the end of the day, the cameras are great for both cyclist and car user, and either can easily get caught out by the other. The best bet by far is to ride your bike safely and hope that vehicle owners are doing their bit too by giving careful consideration to you.