Bicycle accidents and aggression against cyclists by motor vehicle drives are nothing new on Florida roads, though there has been some increase for the simple fact more people are riding. However, there is one element that has dramatically shifted the dynamic of these encounters: Cameras.
An increasing number of bicyclists are donning GoPro cameras or others like it, mounted to the cyclists’ helmets, filming every moment. Cycling cameras were first sold primarily for recreational riders as a means to allow them to capture images of their journey. However, they have been more often cropping up on social media sites, showing just how badly drivers are behaving. The footage may not shock some who ride on a regular basis, but they are grabbing the attention of the public and law enforcement. They are also being used in an increasing number of both criminal and civil cases.
Cyclist-versus-car crashes were often he-said-she-said ordeals in court. These cameras are changing the game.
For example, the Huffington Post reported on a case involving a cyclist and her son (in a cargo bike) struck by a driver in Washington, D.C. several years ago. The driver didn’t stop as the 35-year-old mother crawled over to her son and cradled him on the pavement. Three witnesses saw the crash, but none could agree on the make and model of the vehicle or even the color, nor could they remember the plate number. She and her son survived, though she is still unable to fully straighten her leg. That, she says, was the last straw. She now wears her GoPro camera every single time she rides.
Some refer to these cameras, which are available in an impact resistant “black box” that can record the ride. Not only do these devices capture evidence, but our Fort Myers bicycle accident attorneys recognize they may actually serve as a deterrent. Drivers take note of the cameras and may be more cautious, less inclined to harass a driver, act recklessly or keep on driving after a collision.
The most recent data on bicycle accidents in the U.S. from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are that 726 cyclists were killed in 2014, accounting for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities. Seventy-one percent of those killed in collisions with motor vehicles died in urban areas in collisions with vehicles.
Cycling advocates say the recorded images also serve to document reckless driving, identify repeat offenders and also dangerous roads and intersections. One such site is the Close Call Database. In Florida, a recent map shows 15 recent close calls in the Fort Myers area and 10 in the Naples area. This information in turn can be used by public officials in drafting policies and projects that could help make protecting cyclists more effective.
Overall, injury lawyers know this type of video evidence can be extremely helpful to clients in not just identifying the driver but proving causation of injuries. It’s rare in any motor vehicle accident that there is actual real-time footage of it happening, and that can be very compelling in a courtroom.
Call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.
Do cycle cameras make the roads any safer? Aug. 31, 2016, By Claire Bates, BBC News Magazine
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Negligent Security and Wrongful Death at a Florida Condo Complex, July 31, 2016, Fort Myers Bicycle Accident Attorney Blog