Crashes while riding your bicycle are a fact of life. Unfortunately, so are crashes with motor vehicles. The roads are not fair to us. Neither is the “fairness” of police officers investigating bicycle/car accident cases objectively. We all have read articles that seem to suggest the cyclist was at least partly at fault, even when in a legally designated lane, and struck from behind. Police are much more likely to not issue a citation to the motorist, where had both vehicles been motorized, there would not be such hesitation. We all have to be aware that it is not a level playing field when you are hit on your bicycle; you will more likely than not be blamed; and, where it appears you are not at fault, the driver still will not be cited.
What can be done to right this wrong? Education of the police? Sure. Better education of motorists? Sure. But, in the meantime, what you can do to better be able to show you did no wrong? Have the proper gear necessary to prove your innocence. What gear is that? Cameras. Yes, have a video camera on your front bars, and another on your rear seatpost. Make your own evidence, and then hope you never need it. Video mutes almost every motorist’s claim that “he came out of nowhere,” or “he swerved right into me,” or, “the sun blinded me,” or “the cyclist struck me, not the other way around.”
It’s my belief that cameras, front and rear facing, are a necessity if you are going to ride Florida roads. Unlike the driver who just tried to “buzz” you and denies it when asked, the camera documents reality.
There are numerous options: Garmin, Cycliq, Shimano, and numerous others make these products. While not cheap, they can save you many times their cost if you are the victim of a negligent or malignant driver, one who goes out of his or her way to scare, injure, or kill you. The Cycliq products are especially functional, providing not only video and audio, but also accident preventing lights in the same package. This product automatically begins overwriting when the memory is full. It also has automatic save functions if an accident occurs, preventing the valuable evidence from being inadvertently discarded.
I’ve handled several cycling accident cases where the video made the difference between having a case or not. In one current case, the video could prove invaluable in showing the driver didn’t turn on her turn signal until already making the turn, thereby giving no adequate warning to the cyclist before striking the bicycle.
Christmas is not too far away. Ask for the best Christmas gift a cyclist can have this year: cameras for the bike.
Be safe out there.