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  1. #26
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
    My $0.02. I think the bigest benefit of a helmet cam is as a deterrent. I am all for mounting the camera to the helmet where is is very visible. First it takes care of the issue of covert recording. Second, seeing a camera, I am sure, will make a lot of people behave much better than they otherwise would.
    I'm for the polar opposite, I prefer the covert approach, and in letting motorists be their candid self, and not in trying to find ways to circumvent my video recordings. At speed, most motorists are unlikely to be aware of any cameras, regardless of where they are mounted, but I have noticed that motorist behavior at stop lights and stop signs did change considerably when I mounted video cameras on my bike. It seems that a number of motorists are perceptive to the fact of a camera lens is pointing back at them at those locations.

  2. #27
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smasha View Post
    the deciding factor for me was a road-rage incident (no one got hurt), after which i filed a formal complaint. police wouldn't do anything, since they've got nothing but "he said, she said". at first i thought it was anti-bicyclist bias, but then as i cooled off i realized the same rules apply when motorists clash... without "evidence", there's really nothing police can reasonably be expected to do.

    it's not too often that i drive a MV these days, but when i do, i always put a gopro on the windshield with a suction-cup mount.

    i say it all the time... cameras are an asset to good drivers/cyclists and a liability to bad drivers/cyclists.

    every now and again on BF someone gets hit going through an intersection. both sides always say the other person went through a red light. too often, police issue a ticket against the bicyclist, even without any witnesses (except the driver who hit them, who is an adversarial witness, NOT an impartial witness) or physical evidence. that's another "worst case scenario" where video is invaluable.
    Where video recording is concerned, Maryland is a two-party state, while Virginia and DC are one-party. I have been told by local LEOs'(in Montgomery County at least), that they had to see a close pass. Local LEOs have also told me, there are more important things for them to go on a call about. While I understand that felonies and misdemeanors are of a much more serious nature, cyclists' are further marginalized. Because, A motorist will be taken seriously when reporting road rage, even if their vehicle has not been hit in some way. But a cyclist in the same exact circumstances will not be taken seriously around the region.
    Last edited by Chris516; 12-08-13 at 12:29 AM.

  3. #28
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
    My $0.02. I think the bigest benefit of a helmet cam is as a deterrent. I am all for mounting the camera to the helmet where is is very visible. First it takes care of the issue of covert recording. Second, seeing a camera, I am sure, will make a lot of people behave much better than they otherwise would.
    When I am finally able to get a helmetcam from GoPro, I will put it in a Chest Harness.

    From the links I previously posted, the overriding detail I read in both one-party and two-party states, is the expectation of privacy. So, Video recording seems to be okay. Also that the law seems to be directed at those in the PI field, not those recording on the road. Because, Then the police would need some sort of exemption for their dashcam videos. But still check with an attorney.
    Last edited by Chris516; 12-08-13 at 11:42 AM. Reason: Adding thoughts

  4. #29
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
    My $0.02. I think the bigest benefit of a helmet cam is as a deterrent. I am all for mounting the camera to the helmet where is is very visible. First it takes care of the issue of covert recording. Second, seeing a camera, I am sure, will make a lot of people behave much better than they otherwise would.
    Not for me. My route is almost all 60 MPH roads. By the time someone wanting to do something to me saw the camera, it would be embedded in their windscreen.

    Also, even when I have my helmet on walking around, people don't know what it is. I've been asked.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  5. #30
    Senior Member seafood's Avatar
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    One thing that occurred to me to try at some point is a vest or a something on the bike that clearly states that a camera is recording. Would be interesting to see if there's a difference in behavior.

  6. #31
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seafood View Post
    One thing that occurred to me to try at some point is a vest or a something on the bike that clearly states that a camera is recording. Would be interesting to see if there's a difference in behavior.
    At low closing rates, motorist might be able to read your vest, as long as the letters are large and the words are few, one just has to look at posted yard sale signs similar in size to a vest, to realize how difficult it is to read small print or a lengthy message at most posted speed limits.

  7. #32
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seafood View Post
    One thing that occurred to me to try at some point is a vest or a something on the bike that clearly states that a camera is recording. Would be interesting to see if there's a difference in behavior.
    I take it you don't ride in too many urban neighborhoods where the local gentry may not appreciate a stranger, not from the neighborhood, advertising himself as a snooper/snitcher, photographing their activities.

  8. #33
    Senior Member seafood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    I take it you don't ride in too many urban neighborhoods where the local gentry may not appreciate a stranger, not from the neighborhood, advertising himself as a snooper/snitcher, photographing their activities.
    We'll see how it goes For now I'm still making little adjustments to the setup and my routine. The warning/disclaimer sign isn't part of it yet.

  9. #34
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seafood View Post
    One thing that occurred to me to try at some point is a vest or a something on the bike that clearly states that a camera is recording. Would be interesting to see if there's a difference in behavior.
    don't bother, unless you need to meet a legal requirement for disclosure - High vis clothing doesn't make cars pass you more safely, says new study

    He sometimes also wore a vest that said he was video-recording his journey, or a vest modelled on a police jacket but with “POLITE” printed on the back... The vest that mentioned video recording persuaded drivers to pass a little wider on average, tallying with anecdotes from helmet-cam users that drivers behave better when they know they are being recorded. However, there was no difference between the outfits in the most dangerous overtakes, where motorists passed within 50 cm of the rider. Whatever was worn, around 1-2% of motorists overtook within this extremely close zone.
    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    Also, even when I have my helmet on walking around, people don't know what it is. I've been asked.
    what kind of camera? people often see my cameras on the helmet and/or bike, and they stop and say "oh cool! a gopro!"

    when i stop at intersections, it's not uncommon that people behind point and wave at my rear cam (a gopro).

    when i had a contour on my helmet, people thought it was a light.
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  10. #35
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    Not for me. My route is almost all 60 MPH roads. By the time someone wanting to do something to me saw the camera, it would be embedded in their windscreen.

    Also, even when I have my helmet on walking around, people don't know what it is. I've been asked.
    I often see them on the helmets of motorcyclists traveling 60, sometimes in the opposite direction. I worked for a construction company that built stores for 7-Eleven, and I found out a couple of things about them that should be pretty obvious. Attempted armed robberies of them has plummeted in the last twenty years or so, for a number of reasons. Time lock safes, encouraging LEO's to use the restrooms, and very visible video surveillance all play a part. As far as people not knowing what they are; maybe now, but that is changing fast.
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

  11. #36
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smasha View Post
    what kind of camera? people often see my cameras on the helmet and/or bike, and they stop and say "oh cool! a gopro!"

    when i stop at intersections, it's not uncommon that people behind point and wave at my rear cam (a gopro).

    when i had a contour on my helmet, people thought it was a light.
    I had a GoPro at one time, but I'm not willing to ride with what for me is an inferior camera so that people will recognize it. I don't really believe that it changes behavior at all, and honestly I've been riding in the area for 10 years and I don't think I've ever experienced a single incident of someone behaving badly towards me intentionally.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  12. #37
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    I had a GoPro at one time, but I'm not willing to ride with what for me is an inferior camera so that people will recognize it. I don't really believe that it changes behavior at all, and honestly I've been riding in the area for 10 years and I don't think I've ever experienced a single incident of someone behaving badly towards me intentionally.
    While agree, that a motorist's visual observation of a helmetcam, won't change their behavior, I would still use the helmetcam. Except, When I am able to get one, I will put it in the accompanying Chest Harness. Because, I want to catch motorists', without forewarning them. It is a motorists' responsibility, to drive responsibly. So if I catch them on camera, so be it. There loss, not mine.

  13. #38
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    While agree, that a motorist's visual observation of a helmetcam, won't change their behavior, I would still use the helmetcam. Except, When I am able to get one, I will put it in the accompanying Chest Harness. Because, I want to catch motorists', without forewarning them. It is a motorists' responsibility, to drive responsibly. So if I catch them on camera, so be it. There loss, not mine.
    After you "catch them on camera", then what?

  14. #39
    Twilight Requiem AdrianFly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    After you "catch them on camera", then what?
    Wait.. wait! I know the answer!

    You get up alongside them and point to the camera while mouthing the words, "Got you on my videocamera! I got you on my cam!"

    Then when they roll down the window you tell them 50 bucks to settle out of court?


    Do this on a regular basis until enough money is saved to move to Amsterdam! Once there.. write a book on your success!

    The Bearded Fred: Only known cyclist left in the world to be 100% natural and completely free from performance enhancing drugs. Also known for self reliance, amazing talent for satisfying the women and great guitar riffs. Honestly, a full racing kit is absolutely the most ridiculous looking stuff you can wear short of a clown suit."

  15. #40
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    After you "catch them on camera", then what?
    Report them. None of this 'I had to see it' garbage.

  16. #41
    Senior Member the_tool_man's Avatar
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    I have no experience using a video camera while riding. But I present this story as anecdotal evidence for the deterrent value of cameras...

    A number of years ago, my house became a target for "ding-dong ditch", the prank wherein someone rings the doorbell and runs away. When they started doing it at 2:00 a.m., it became particularly bothersome. I had a couple of suspects, and even witnessed one of them running away one night. But I needed evidence, because they had parents that wouldn't take my word over that of their kids.

    I bought an inexpensive, motion-activated video camera, and mounted it so that I could monitor my front door. The camera was somewhat obvious, hanging below the soffit adjacent to the front door. But I imagine a kid might not notice it. My intent was to catch them, not deter them. I reasoned that when presented with video evidence, the parents of the reprobates would have to take action.

    However, following the camera installation, I never had another occurrence of the prank. Not one. The camera has been there for six years now. My neighbors occasionally get pranked, as the old batch of reprobates moves on, and a new crop of poorly parented kids announces their presence. My house doesn't get pranked, though.
    Optimist: The glass is half-full.
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  17. #42
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Whether or not you believe it is a deterrent, evidence and my personal experience says it is. A highly successful enterprise like 7-Eleven would not spend what they do on it if it didn't work. Those cameras are monitored in real time at several regional centers across the country. I am not revealing any proprietary information when I say that big retailers in this country are far more interested in preventing theft, than in catching thieves.
    Last edited by CommuteCommando; 12-09-13 at 02:43 PM.
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

  18. #43
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    Report them. None of this 'I had to see it' garbage.
    Let everybody know how your "reports" of driver irresponsibility work out.

  19. #44
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Let everybody know how your "reports" of driver irresponsibility work out.
    i've got a bunch of successful prosecutions, and one case that went remarkably well in a civil trial after we watched the video. over the last year or two, my rate of successful prosecutions is nearly 100% of formal complaints filed. it would've been 100%, if that one file didn't get lost for a few months.

    i count those prosecutions as an effective use of video cameras. the case that turned into a civil action, the value of the damages was about equal to 1― cameras, so you could say that the cameras are paying for themselves.

    one of the cases, from a few years ago, resulted in a court hearing. the guy got two tickets from one incident. he paid one of the tickets, and challenged the other one in court: we watched the video and he was found guilty.

    Quote Originally Posted by the_tool_man View Post
    I have no experience using a video camera while riding. But I present this story as anecdotal evidence for the deterrent value of cameras...
    my apt building was getting "tagged" about once every few months, when i first moved in. i posted some signs, "THIS AREA UNDER VIDEO SURVEILLANCE". no cameras, just signs. now the place gets tagged once every few years.

    i understand the deterrence value of cameras, or even just signs... but really, 99% of motorists won't spot any of the modern cameras mounted on a bike or rider.

    cameras or not, the BEST way to avoid bad situations is riding defensively, being aware of your surroundings, being courteous and respectful, signalling your intent, etc. use all of that old-school stuff to avoid bad situations... then use video to go after the ass-hats who don't know how to play nice.
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  20. #45
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smasha View Post
    i've got a bunch of successful prosecutions
    Your story is invalid because it conflicts with I-Like-To-Bike's opinions.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  21. #46
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    Your story is invalid because it conflicts with I-Like-To-Bike's opinions.
    Smasha's experiences and success as a cycling informer in New Zealand may be of interest to some, but are hardly relevant to anyone who deals with this issue in the U.S.

  22. #47
    Senior Member seafood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Smasha's experiences and success as a cycling informer in New Zealand may be of interest to some, but are hardly relevant to anyone who deals with this issue in the U.S.
    Why? So far, we have a little bit of evidence of successful use of video, both as a deterrent and as evidence in traffic or civil court. Firstly, this forum is not for the US, but for everyone, so if there's evidence from NZ, there's evidence from NZ. That we don't yet have similar or contrary testimonies from the US tells us nothing about what will happen once we start documenting these experiences in the US. That's part of my intent. I may find lots of success, some, or none. We'll see.

    This stuff takes some money, diligence, and time. Posting on the internet that you don't have what you need is definitely an easier option. I'll consider it upon running out of all others.

  23. #48
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    Report them. None of this 'I had to see it' garbage.
    Oh, you'll still get that garbage if you're trying to get the police to act on mundane traffic violations that they did not personally witness. (It may be more helpful with more serious issues, however -- hit and run, things that rise beyond typical traffic violations.)

    It will help with the "he said, she said" garbage, however, be that what happens after a collision or if a cop says you broke a law and you did not.

  24. #49
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Smasha's experiences and success as a cycling informer in New Zealand may be of interest to some, but are hardly relevant to anyone who deals with this issue in the U.S.
    ILTB...

    i've spent a lot more time living in the US than NZ. overall, the difference in laws, courts, police, etc between the US and NZ is comparable to the differences between two different states, or even different cities within a state. the biggest differences are that some of the words are spelled differently ("while" in the US, "whilst" in NZ). the actual scope and substance of NZ traffic law, and how it's enforced, isn't all that different from any jurisdiction within the US.

    both the US and NZ legal systems are based on british common law. both the US and NZ legal systems deal with distinctly different areas of law such as "criminal offences", "traffic offences", and "civil matters".

    even within a US state, law enforcement, in both theory and practice, varies wildly from one town/city to the next. look at *** laws in NYC vs *** laws in ithica NY... or look at how police approach a domestic dispute in newark NJ, vs how they approach a domestic dispute in the adjacent towns of maplewood, bloomfield, or the nearby town of short hills.

    IME, the biggest factors in whether or not law enforcement pursues a complaint is based on resources, evidence, and motivation. in some areas of the US, racially motivated crimes are not a priority (insufficient police motivation). in other areas, common assaults may be a low priority (often due to lack of evidence, but also resource issues).

    as it relates to traffic law, again, this varies by jurisdiction/locale. in the US, traffic laws are mostly (but not exclusively) state-wide... but cities/towns/counties within a state enforce those laws differently (there are also federal traffic laws, but most people will never deal with them). in NZ, traffic laws are generally (but not exclusively) national, but again there are local variations in how those laws are enforced.

    as a practical guide to people in any common-law country:

    talk to some traffic cops and supervisors IN YOUR AREA. find out what they need to issue a ticket and pursue a prosecution. find out what they can not (and will not!) help you with.

    some examples... NZ has a law requiring overtaking vehicles to operate safely and considerately. the "NZ road code" (sort of like a driving license handbook) says to give 1.5m (about 5ft) of clearance when passing a bicyclist, but the road code is not enforceable as a statute, and there's no statutory basis for 1.5m clearance. this means that police here generally do not prosecute "close passing". i've had a few prosecutions resulting from close passing, but they were pretty extreme, and often prosecuted as "careless driving" or "unsafe lane change". similarly, they can't/won't prosecute based on videos of people using phones while driving. there's a pretty high evidentiary threshold, for that... so i'm told by the police; they say that video of someone using a phone while driving, no matter how clear the video, wouldn't meet the court's satisfaction in finding someone guilty.

    OTOH, if i provide video of a vehicle running/jumping a red light, police here have consistently pursued prosecutions (the local traffic cop boss calls that "crossing a line" that makes prosecution easy). cases where i can legitimately say "evasive action was required to avoid a collision" is another area where they generally find a way to write a ticket.

    part of it is NOT filing formal complaints that police can't/won't prosecute. this creates paperwork and fails to win-friends-and-influence-people. here in NZ we have a system for filing informal complaints, and that's where my close-pass and phone reports generally go. if you don't have a similar system in your area, talk to your local bike advocates group and/or police to see if they can implement something... a way to file an informal complaint and create a paper-trail, while also sending a letter to the owner of a vehicle that basically gives details of the complaint (including time and place) and advises the driver to be more careful. if it's an informal complaint relating to a bicycle, they should also include relevant sections of the state's driving handbook that covers "sharing the road" stuff. these types of complaints typically involve ZERO investigation resources: just a database, a form letter (fill in the blanks) and an envelope. (IIUC, london has a similar system for filing informal complaints, but it often does lead to investigations and prosecutions, after they review videos)

    i'm told that three informal complaints against a vehicle results in a visit from the police, to discuss safe driving practices. the reports are also filed, and can be accessed by police if needed (eg, when they decide whether or not to file charges in later cases). because there's a paper trail that may be used in later cases, i also describe the driver as much as i can, eg male, white, approx 20-30 years old, with tattoos on his arms and a white mobile phone. this helps keep people accountable and preempts the "girlfriend was driving the car" alibi. needless to say, a description of the driver is also useful when filing formal complaints.

    another big thing that's helpful to getting results is knowing how to write police reports. i learned how to write these types of reports when i was an EMT in NJ, but google is a good resource. basically, stick to JUST THE FACTS. if someone said something, put it in quotes (eg: DRIVER OF SUV STATED "I WILL RUN YOU THE **** OVER"). do NOT speculate as to other person's intentions or knowledge (eg, writing "DRIVER INTENTIONALLY SWERVED INTO THE BIKE LANE WHILE PASSING" will get you laughed at, because you're not psychic and you DON'T know that driver's intentions. if they swerved, write that. if they shouted something, put it in quotes. everything else is conjecture, not facts. police like THEIR conjecture, they do NOT like your conjecture - stick to the facts).

    over here, there's a section of the complaint for a bird's-eye view of what happened. i just write: "N/A - SEE VIDEO". police here don't have a problem with that. drawing those diagrams is a time-consuming PITA.

    one other thing that's useful, if you're not sure how bike-friendly the police are... include references that support you being on the road, your lane position, etc. i had a cop here yell at me, after filing my first complaint, that i was "riding in the middle of the road". in the US, the best references to provide to police would be state DOT bicycle handbooks, DOT driving manuals, DOT web-sites that advise cyclists to "take the lane" and stay away from the curb/gutter, etc. some cities have websites that give similar advise. this helps preempt a certain type of foolishness from police.

    i hope that helps...

    oh, and i just remembered that one of my complaints within the last year was not prosecuted - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHdIkR2rFl4

    the police contacted the driver and spoke to her. she had a clean driving history and i'm told she was very apologetic about the incident, and presented herself as taking the issue seriously. in other words, clean record + good attitude (goes a long way when dealing with police!). she received a formal warning for failing to give-way (in the US it would be "failing to yield"). if she has any driving issues in the future, the formal warning will show up, and she's unlikely to get a 2nd warning. i'm happy enough with that.
    Last edited by smasha; 12-11-13 at 08:38 AM.
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  25. #50
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    Oh, you'll still get that garbage if you're trying to get the police to act on mundane traffic violations that they did not personally witness......
    Not necessarily, you can still have a violation documented by calling it in to law enforcement, though I tend to only call in motorist violations/driving behaviors that effect me personally, and that severely endanger my personal safety. If enough road users report similar actions by a certain motorist, a pattern can be established.

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