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  1. #1
    Fearless Isaiahc72's Avatar
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    Vehicle-cyclist conflicts with no camera. What to do

    I don't really have the money to afford a good camera for recording while I ride. But motorists seem to pass me too close or cut me off kinda often. I can read their license plate numbers fairly easily but with no photo or video evidence of what they did, would it do any good?
    IC

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    Lance Legweak HIPCHIP's Avatar
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    If you can identify the driver, such as you see their face and can recognize it later, obtain the license plate number and head down to the local police station or your local DA's office and advise them of the incident. They may be able to pull up a drivers license photo, and if you can pull the driver out of a photo line-up, then you should be able to make a "Citizens Arrest" where the courts will send the driver a citation. If the driver wants to fight the citation, you would have to go to court to testify about it, then it would be up to the court to decide innocence or guilt. It's a lot of work, but if someone is a real jerk to you, they probably are also to other bicyclists, so it may be worth the effort.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Isaiahc72 View Post
    I don't really have the money to afford a good camera for recording while I ride. But motorists seem to pass me too close or cut me off kinda often. I can read their license plate numbers fairly easily but with no photo or video evidence of what they did, would it do any good?
    If you do not have the money for a basic camera to record motorist malfeacance then, IMO, neither do you have the economic wherewithal to use the court system to bring about a legal confrontations with random drivers that may have transgressed against your right of way.

    H

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    Quote Originally Posted by Isaiahc72 View Post
    I don't really have the money to afford a good camera for recording while I ride. But motorists seem to pass me too close or cut me off kinda often. I can read their license plate numbers fairly easily but with no photo or video evidence of what they did, would it do any good?
    ok you don't have the money for a good camera... how about a basic level camera? you can get one off of amazon for something 20$...

  5. #5
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    by the time I would get a camera out of a pocket and be in a safe way to take a pic, im sure the "bad" guy would be gone

  6. #6
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    What will you do with the photos or video of the close passes? I don't believe that local police departments will appreciate these reports, unless there is obviously aggressive or impaired driving or an actual collision with injury.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Number400's Avatar
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    If it's a one time encounter, be safe and learn from it. If it's someone you see often and there is a pattern of close passes or reckless behavior, then do what you can to document and engage witnesses, file a report, etc...

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    Randomhead
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    I don't call the cops unless it seems to be intentional. I have been told by the anti-cyclist cop around here that motorists are always calling to complain about cyclists. So I have contemplated organizing a call-in for problematic motorists. If complaints are a big deal, then we should probably make our share. It's not like there aren't plenty of things to complain about.

  9. #9
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Draw sketches. They love it in court.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

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    Senior Member
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    well, actually, you don't "take it out"....
    it has multiple approaches to attach...
    - a holder that you can attach to a helmet, which of course adjustable in its direction (up or down)...
    - a clip to attach to clothing or possibly the bike
    - a lanyard to hang around your neck (not sure how that would work on a bike though)

  11. #11
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    Just a side note. IMO a camera won't change anything, except if you had a chronic offender, or in a direct confrontation. Otherwise I doubt you could interest anybody in reviewing your "evidence".

    In any case, what's passing too close? I keep hearing about close passing, and agree that at some point there is a "too close" where there is nearly zero margin for error. But bicycling isn't horseshoes, so close doesn't count. You may feel they're passing too close, but the driver may have properly gauged his vehicle's width and passed with clearance.

    Getting cut off is a different matter, but there again the devil is in the details. Urban cyclists are used to riding in very close proximity to cars and trucks, and experienced riders adapt well. The system works reasonably well.

    IMO it isn't the passing clearance that's the biggest concern, but the speed differential. When I hear a car or truck slow or downshift, I know they've registered me and are adjusting. After that I barely care how close they pass.
    FB
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    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Actually, at least in my state, MD, close calls don't get JACK done.. It has to be contact of some sort..I have chased down offenders (when I am on my motorcycle)got license numbers and reported to the police. Only to be told, there is nothing they can do. On the motorcycle I have been known to bash in a couple doors. Can't do that on the bicycle. On the bicycle, I have caught up with offenders sometimes, and we only mouth off. The main thing is to SURVIVE.. The cages are not going anywhere, and if we are riding on the street, there will be conflicts. Simple as that. Each of us in our own way, must find ways to make us as safe as possible. That is all we can do.. As far as getting car drivers punished, forget that..I could start a "door bashing company".. Could deal out some retribution and make a profit..
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  13. #13
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erick L View Post
    Draw sketches. They love it in court.
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  14. #14
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by niuoka View Post
    by the time I would get a camera out of a pocket and be in a safe way to take a pic, im sure the "bad" guy would be gone
    Mount Two cameras on your helmet.

    Enjoy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0npCFw9TEnA

    Turn the sound down....Couple of F words in there.
    Last edited by 10 Wheels; 12-23-13 at 12:00 PM.
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    Senior Member CrankyOne's Avatar
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    Unless they hit you or run you off the road there is likely nothing to be done without a camera.

    With a camera, you have some other avenues. Most states now have state-wide 3' laws. A camera on your seatpost that includes part of your rear wheel can usually indicate if a vehicle has passed too close. Sometimes you'll need to visit a dealer with a plumb-bob to see where their mirror is in relation to the tire on the road. Determine who has LE authority on the road and then pay them a visit with a couple of photos from your video, a copy of the video, and a rough sketch showing clearance distances. I believe that in most jurisdictions they are required to take a report and take action if you provide enough evidence.

    I've only done this for passes less than about 2' and even some of those I don't bother. Less than 1' always gets a report. Locally we have one county that's really good on this and one thats a bit pro-car, anti-bicycle. Two cities I ride through are great and one only does it because another bicyclist had his attorney call and threaten a lawsuit if they didn't follow up.

    How much good this does or will do I don't know. Overall things have gotten better on my routes over the past several years. Probably no more than maybe one or two cars pass less than 3' away for every 25 - 35 miles (my typical road ride) and most of these aren't bad. I'll do maybe 1 report in 20 rides now. There have been a couple of articles about bicyclists doing this and about the 3' rule which I assume helps.
    Last edited by CrankyOne; 12-23-13 at 11:56 AM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Number400's Avatar
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    ^ Those images would definitely not go in favor of the cyclist. A few bad apples... All fun and games until...

    Some crazy bike handling skills mixed in there though.

  17. #17
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    get a cheap camera. or two.

    be prepared to spend a few cents on a DVD every time you file a formal complaint. beyond that, the only real cost is time, not money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Erick L View Post
    Draw sketches. They love it in court.
    try not to laugh... when i went to court with this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_h0vaPTcEY

    the mediator/magistrate asked about the video of the crash, and how i got it. she said she once previously tried a case with a crash video... the video was a reenactment
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  18. #18
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    Not sure the camera will help much on close passes-close pull ins.
    See what Crankyone says-maybe it helps-but maybe the news reports of bicyclists with cameras does some good?
    I don't think the cops will make much out of a close pass-
    hard to tell exactly how close it is from a handle bar view.
    Crankyone makes no mention of tickets issued because of his videos-so.... guess none issued.

    Now on ROAD RAGE- someone yelling screaming threatening- if you have AUDIO and VIDEO it will help.
    Not sure a plain non audio camera is worth the bother-
    Perhaps if PROMINENTLY displayed?

    Didn't notice-FRAP or Lane Control ?
    Guessing FRAP- LCers say it is uncommon for them to be close shaved-might be true.
    Last edited by phoebeisis; 12-24-13 at 04:52 AM.

  19. #19
    Idealistic Troublemaker bjorke's Avatar
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    Obvious answer: REPORT THEM.

    This may not be the only incident.

    Sometimes the police are happy to go "have a talk" with a troublesome, belligerent driver -- after all, if the motorist is a chronic rager, sooner or later they WILL hurt someone -- probably a citizen of the same town. It's the job of the police to protect. That doesn't always require arresting. Having a police officer remind you of the traffic laws is probably more influential than having a cyclist in the road reminding you.

    Also: STAY CALM ON THE ROAD. Shouldn't have to say it, but easy to say, hard to do without deliberate effort.

    Ride safe!
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by smasha View Post


    try not to laugh... when i went to court with this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_h0vaPTcEY
    forgive me, but maybe I'm missing something. I gather you won in court, but as I watch the video, I see a cyclist distracted by a possibly close pass, and engaged with that driver instead of watching the road ahead. There was both room and time for you to swing to the left of the stopped car you hit.

    I and assure you, that here in New York, where all vehicles have primary responsibility for their front ends, that video would have worked against you. You may have a legitimate beef with the car that passed you, but the driver of the car you hit has a clearer beef with you.
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  21. #21
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    forgive me, but maybe I'm missing something.
    indeed...

    the motorist's actions (regardless of whether or not there was physical contact between us) caused me to partially lose control of the bike, and limited my ability to safely stop. thus any resulting damages are his liability.

    if there'd been damage to the car that i hit, that would've also been the liability of the motorist who caused me to lose control of the bike.

    an extreme case that demonstrates an exception to your assertion: imagine a small car stopped at a red light, in a queue; then a truck or SUV hits the stopped car from behind, and pushes it into the car in front. is the car driver liable for damages? of course not. the liability lies with the driver of the truck/SUV.

    in my case the difference is that the police & court determined that even if there wasn't contact (a point of dispute between me and the motorist, which is ultimately irrelevant in this case), the close proximity of the motor vehicle, and the manner in which it was being driven, caused me to partially lose control of the bike (i didn't fall off, but steering and stopping were compromised). thus the motorist is liable for damages.

    or maybe the police and courts (both, independently) took this opportunity to exercise a pro-bike bias
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  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by smasha View Post
    indeed...

    the motorist's actions (regardless of whether or not there was physical contact between us) caused me to partially lose control of the bike, and limited my ability to safely stop. thus any resulting damages are his liability.

    if there'd been damage to the car that i hit, that would've also been the liability of the motorist who caused me to lose control of the bike.

    an extreme case that demonstrates an exception to your assertion: imagine a small car stopped at a red light, in a queue; then a truck or SUV hits the stopped car from behind, and pushes it into the car in front. is the car driver liable for damages? of course not. the liability lies with the driver of the truck/SUV....
    Laws vary by jursidiction. Citing your example which is the classic chain reaction accident, the law in New York is very clear. If you were the middle car, you would be liable to the damages to the car in front of you regardless of the cause. However, you would have the right to pursue the driver behind, for both the damage to your car, and what you paid to the first driver.

    Of the video showed inevitable loss of control because of the close pass, that's what I missed. But from the video alone it looks like you were stable and in control, and could have swung to the left of the car ahead.

    BTW- this is what I hate about video evidence. It shows a limited view of what happened without showing the big picture which might explain it.
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  23. #23
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    i can't comment on the law in NY, but ultimately, the driver who caused the crash would be liable.

    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    BTW- this is what I hate about video evidence. It shows a limited view of what happened without showing the big picture which might explain it.
    what made that particular video very helpful to me was the driver's testimony. he asserted that he passed me safely, and then i "came out of nowhere" on his left at a "reckless speed" and then crashed into the car in front, through no fault of his. he did nothing wrong.

    this was at odds with my testimony that asserted that he pulled alongside of me, and then pushed me towards the curb. he did NOT safely overtake.

    with that as the primary point in dispute, we watched the video. it was immediately clear to everyone in the room (especially the driver) that he just lost the case.
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by smasha View Post
    i can't comment on the law in NY, but ultimately, the driver who caused the crash would be liable.


    what made that particular video very helpful to me was the driver's testimony. he asserted that he passed me safely, and then i "came out of nowhere" on his left at a "reckless speed" and then crashed into the car in front, through no fault of his. he did nothing wrong.

    this was at odds with my testimony that asserted that he pulled alongside of me, and then pushed me towards the curb. he did NOT safely overtake.

    with that as the primary point in dispute, we watched the video. it was immediately clear to everyone in the room (especially the driver) that he just lost the case.
    Dear God... so... you won... you saw a car overtaking you dangerously and you did not back down. You allowed yourself to smash into the rear of someone elses car at significant risk to yourself. And you are proud of that? SMH. You won because bicycles don't weigh 4,000lbs! Had you been driving something with the potential to do millions of dollars of damage and behaved so recklessly un-defensive you would have shared responsibility with the aggressive driver. As much as 40% responsibility. Enough to financially ruin you.

    I have some good advice for you. Lose the cameras. They make you cocky and arrogant. And unwilling to capitulate. A certain individual by the initials GZ had a device similar in nature to the camera's some vehicular cyclists use to feel protected on the road. Instead of using his head in a crisis situation his "camera" made him cocky and arrogant. He won in court also. But last I heard he was $2M in legal debt. He just sold a painting for $100K so I guess its down to $1.9M... ...

    H (I don't get the camera thing, I really don't. Every time I see a camera video I see where the cyclist could have easily avoided injury and the loss of their bike. Every time)

  25. #25
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    I noticed a pronounced decline in getting "buzzed" when I added a strobe to my left drop bar. I always had one on my rear rack but adding the drop bar strobe had a real impact.

    btw, you can always call the police dept in the area you ride and explain what you have been experiencing. who knows they might do some radar patrols and or park on the roadsides to watch and show their presence
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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