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  1. #1
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    video camera pays for itself - success story

    i should probably share this, as a success story... full details are in the video description. the short version: if i didn't have cameras, i'd be the one paying for this bad driver's screw-up.



    so now i've had video successfully used to get several prosecutions/convictions, including one case that was challenged in traffic court (after one guy decided to fight one of the two tickets he got), and now also used successfully in a civil case to recover damages.
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  2. #2
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    don't understand why the car tried to pass you at all there was no where to go with the traffic ahead, they would have been better off just staying back
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  3. #3
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Some people have this knee-jerk reaction to anyone on a bike. When they see a cyclist they automatically think they have to pass, even when it makes no sense to do so. Even more dangerous are the one's that pass you and then try to turn right in front of you. I couldn't tell from the video, did the car hit you? I couldn't hear a bump.

    In the state I live in there is a 3ft. law stating that a motorist must give a cyclist at least three ft. when passing. Probably less than 20% of all motorist even know of the law. ( I just found out about it last year ). If that kind of thing happened in Maryland ( and you had a video ), that driver would be in deep do-do.

    Some months ago I had a thread going about video bike set-ups and a couple people really couldn't see the need. I was just mentioning that I'd like to get some kind of set-up. I'd really like to see what kind of set-up you have. Interesting that you had the forethought to include a video shot from the side. I can see now that a side view can come in real handy. Thumbs-up on making the buggers pay.

  4. #4
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Fortunately, it looks like you and the bike weren't too badly hurt (at least you were able to get up and keep going).
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  5. #5
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    I took a second look at the video. Correct me if I'm wrong, the guy passing you didn't hit you. You fell after hitting the car in front of you ( being distracted by the passing car threatening to push you off while blaring his horn at you. ) While a certain amount of fault can be found by the stupid motorist trying to push you over it doesn't explain why you didn't just swerve to the left as there was ample room to go around the car in front of you. To me, avoidance of collision always takes highest priority ( even when you have legal right-of-way ). Since your bike is equipped with video this event could easily be interpreted ( or misinterpreted ) as someone looking to gain monetarily from a civil suit. Not saying that's the case here but it is one possibility. The person passing has to take some fault for driving in an overly aggressive way but regardless, the cyclist still has to try to avoid a collision at all cost.

    Whether or not your collision was a "flop" or not is not something easily ascertained by viewing the video. ( * I'm not making judgements here just commenting on what I'm seeing ).

  6. #6
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
    I took a second look at the video. Correct me if I'm wrong, the guy passing you didn't hit you. You fell after hitting the car in front of you ( being distracted by the passing car threatening to push you off while blaring his horn at you. ) While a certain amount of fault can be found by the stupid motorist trying to push you over it doesn't explain why you didn't just swerve to the left as there was ample room to go around the car in front of you. To me, avoidance of collision always takes highest priority ( even when you have legal right-of-way ). Since your bike is equipped with video this event could easily be interpreted ( or misinterpreted ) as someone looking to gain monetarily from a civil suit. Not saying that's the case here but it is one possibility. The person passing has to take some fault for driving in an overly aggressive way but regardless, the cyclist still has to try to avoid a collision at all cost.

    Whether or not your collision was a "flop" or not is not something easily ascertained by viewing the video. ( * I'm not making judgements here just commenting on what I'm seeing ).
    Hard to tell from the video but it looks like the driver side swiped the trailer causing the bicycle to veer right.

  7. #7
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    Video helped the cyclist in court. A better success story would have been no collision and no need for court.

  8. #8
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    don't understand why the car tried to pass you at all there was no where to go with the traffic ahead, they would have been better off just staying back
    Must Get In Front. MGIF.
    some motorists see a bike, and their brain just shuts down... they go into a zombie-like trance and focus on one thing only: Must... Get... In... Front...
    TBF, some cyclists suffer from MGIF, too, and inappropriately filter past other vehicles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Athens80 View Post
    Video helped the cyclist in court. A better success story would have been no collision and no need for court.
    yes, but... that would require more proactive and assertive policing, among other changes which are arguably out of scope in a thread about video... nonetheless, i do work towards those ends, too, through other channels.
    really, this may be the world's best driver. but at the time of the crash, he was driving without due care and attention, and his carelessness caused me to suffer a collision and financial loss. **** happens.
    sometimes, the best you can do is be "made whole" and/or "teach 'em a lesson".
    without video, the driver would NOT have received a formal warning from the police, and would NOT have paid any reimbursement to me. read the video description to get insight into the motorist's perspective of what happened. i don't think he was "lying", as such, just not paying attention; he honestly believed that he did everything right and i did everything wrong; video, and nothing else, led the court to disagree with his version of the story. anyway, because of the consequences of having it on video, i'd like to think he'll be more careful, next time. if not, he won't get a 2nd warning from the police...

    Quote Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
    Some months ago I had a thread going about video bike set-ups and a couple people really couldn't see the need. I was just mentioning that I'd like to get some kind of set-up. I'd really like to see what kind of set-up you have. Interesting that you had the forethought to include a video shot from the side. I can see now that a side view can come in real handy. Thumbs-up on making the buggers pay.
    nothing extraordinary - http://www.flickr.com/photos/6366944...7627407231030/

    the rear camera is angled away from the curb. usually, that's where interesting things happen.

    due to my own stupidity, i forgot to charge the cameras the night before. the front camera ran out of steam a few minutes before the crash, and the rear camera a few minutes after. luckily, the footage from the rear camera "sealed the deal" in the civil case: the motorist did NOT overtake me, as he maintained. he pulled alongside me, and pushed me towards the curb. as that part of the video played, the driver just slumped in his chair, nearly going limp. right there, he lost the case and we all knew it.

    Quote Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
    I took a second look at the video. Correct me if I'm wrong, the guy passing you didn't hit you. You fell after hitting the car in front of you ( being distracted by the passing car threatening to push you off while blaring his horn at you. ) While a certain amount of fault can be found by the stupid motorist trying to push you over it doesn't explain why you didn't just swerve to the left as there was ample room to go around the car in front of you. To me, avoidance of collision always takes highest priority ( even when you have legal right-of-way ). Since your bike is equipped with video this event could easily be interpreted ( or misinterpreted ) as someone looking to gain monetarily from a civil suit. Not saying that's the case here but it is one possibility. The person passing has to take some fault for driving in an overly aggressive way but regardless, the cyclist still has to try to avoid a collision at all cost.

    Whether or not your collision was a "flop" or not is not something easily ascertained by viewing the video. ( * I'm not making judgements here just commenting on what I'm seeing ).
    there may have been contact between his wing-mirror and my hand. there may have been contact between the side of his car and my pannier bag. the "tell" is in the slo-mo, when there's a subtle "nudge" as the bike and the car get close.
    as the mediator in the disputes tribunal pointed out, it doesn't matter if he hit me or not; even if he didn't hit me, his driving caused me to partially lose control of my vehicle.
    and that was my horn
    for a few seconds prior to the crash, my brain was focused on the car to my right, pushing me towards the curb. there could've been a marching band behind me, and i wouldn't have noticed. in my head, part of my brain was saying "SWERVE LEFT!", but it was vetoed by the part of my brain that said "you can't swerve without a shoulder-check, and there's no time for that; just keep the bike upright, bleed of some speed, and prepare for impact." the feasibility of a shoulder check was also challenged by my effort to keep the bike upright, with forward momentum. avoidance of a collision is a priority at all reasonable cost. sometimes, the risk of a small collision has be balanced with the risk of a bigger collision, and there's less than a second to make that calculation.
    if i swerved while another bike (or a moped!) was coming up behind me on the left, it would've been worse.
    in hindsight, with video, yeah... i could've swerved left and likely avoided the collision... but at the time, i couldn't assess that as being a safe(er) option.
    all i can say is that the motorist caused the collision, and once he started pushing me towards the curb (which arguably puts him at primary fault, and i think the civil court found him to be exclusively at fault), my options quickly became limited.
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  9. #9
    Senior Member 009jim's Avatar
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    I've frequently noticed that "must get in front" mentality. It particularly astounds me when all that is in front is a red light. "must get in front so I can sit for longer at that red light"!! It also happens to pedestrians & cars. Some people are just pillocks.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smasha View Post
    ... so now i've had video successfully used to get several prosecutions/convictions, including one case that was challenged in traffic court (after one guy decided to fight one of the two tickets he got), and now also used successfully in a civil case to recover damages.
    Glad you're having fun with that. In 40+ years of riding (on and off) I've been lucky in avoiding any situation where a video would have been helpful.

  11. #11
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smasha View Post
    ....there may have been contact between his wing-mirror and my hand. there may have been contact between the side of his car and my pannier bag. the "tell" is in the slo-mo, when there's a subtle "nudge" as the bike and the car get close.
    as the mediator in the disputes tribunal pointed out, it doesn't matter if he hit me or not; even if he didn't hit me, his driving caused me to partially lose control of my vehicle.
    and that was my horn
    for a few seconds prior to the crash, my brain was focused on the car to my right, pushing me towards the curb. there could've been a marching band behind me, and i wouldn't have noticed. in my head, part of my brain was saying "SWERVE LEFT!", but it was vetoed by the part of my brain that said "you can't swerve without a shoulder-check, and there's no time for that; just keep the bike upright, bleed of some speed, and prepare for impact." the feasibility of a shoulder check was also challenged by my effort to keep the bike upright, with forward momentum. avoidance of a collision is a priority at all reasonable cost. sometimes, the risk of a small collision has be balanced with the risk of a bigger collision, and there's less than a second to make that calculation.
    if i swerved while another bike (or a moped!) was coming up behind me on the left, it would've been worse.
    in hindsight, with video, yeah... i could've swerved left and likely avoided the collision... but at the time, i couldn't assess that as being a safe(er) option.
    all i can say is that the motorist caused the collision, and once he started pushing me towards the curb (which arguably puts him at primary fault, and i think the civil court found him to be exclusively at fault), my options quickly became limited.
    OMG! That was your horn? Well...that helps explain some things. If one hand is working an air horn button I doubt that same hand can work a brake lever at the same time. Whatever it sure didn't help matters much.

    I am confused about what you said about the front camera "running out of steam" unquote.
    You have video of the bike taking the fall from the front, how is it that the camera ran out of steam? I agree with the ruling of the judge in that what the driver of the car did by pushing you over made him accountable for the incident.

    On the other hand ( and as a fellow cyclist ) I think you need to rethink your defensive riding skills. I'm perhaps a little prejudiced on the issue because as a professional driver I've been formally trained to drive safely on the road. One important rule for driving on the road that I've been taught ( from the Smith System Driver safety course ) is "Always leave yourself an Out". This principle is even more important for cyclist because as everyone knows, " 2 tons of rolling metal trumps 25lbs of rolling bike ( regardless of who has legal right of way ). IMO you were too intent on keeping your right of way. This in effect caused the fall because you held your ground when it would of been better to veer off. If you did this in another situation it could of cost you much more than a minor fall. Consider that food for thought. Better to be pushed off the road with all your skin still attached than be dead because you didn't bail when you had the chance.

    This is where we disagree most, if I see a car getting too close to me while cycling I will move away and bail to the side if I have to. While I'm doing this I will scream my bloody head off and make as much noise as possible in hope that I will catch the drivers attention. If I bail to the shoulder I'll take the chance that it's clear because I know there is little chance that anyone would chose to pass me in such a confined space. In your case I think your "Auto pilot" just did the wrong thing. Glad you weren't seriously hurt. Stay safe my friend and keep that video rolling.
    Last edited by 01 CAt Man Do; 06-29-13 at 07:33 AM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    don't understand why the car tried to pass you at all there was no where to go with the traffic ahead, they would have been better off just staying back



    Quote Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
    Some people have this knee-jerk reaction to anyone on a bike. When they see a cyclist they automatically think they have to pass,

    ^^^ This..... See a bicyclist in front of you, must pass at all costs attitude is prevalent with a number of motorists.

  13. #13
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
    OMG! That was your horn? Well...that helps explain some things. If one hand is working an air horn button I doubt that same hand can work a brake lever at the same time. Whatever it sure didn't help matters much.
    when it was appropriate to use the horn, i used the horn. when it was appropriate to brake, i braked.

    the driver looked straight at me while i was blowing the horn, and DIDN'T CHANGE COURSE. he just kept swerving towards me! most drivers, even bad ones, would've taken the hint and backed off at that point.

    Quote Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
    I am confused about what you said about the front camera "running out of steam" unquote.
    You have video of the bike taking the fall from the front, how is it that the camera ran out of steam?
    the front-facing video is from the helmet-cam, not the front-cam mounted on the bike.


    Quote Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
    On the other hand ( and as a fellow cyclist ) I think you need to rethink your defensive riding skills. I'm perhaps a little prejudiced on the issue because as a professional driver I've been formally trained to drive safely on the road. One important rule for driving on the road that I've been taught ( from the Smith System Driver safety course ) is "Always leave yourself an Out". This principle is even more important for cyclist because as everyone knows, " 2 tons of rolling metal trumps 25lbs of rolling bike ( regardless of who has legal right of way ). IMO you were too intent on keeping your right of way. This in effect caused the fall because you held your ground when it would of been better to veer off. If you did this in another situation it could of cost you much more than a minor fall. Consider that food for thought. Better to be pushed off the road with all your skin still attached than be dead because you didn't bail when you had the chance.
    there's always room to monday-morning-quarterback after an incident. FWIW, i've got about half a million miles of experience driving motor-vehicles, with no crashes or tickets. i've done a few defensive driving courses, including emergency-service driving courses that aren't available publicly.

    could this incident have been handled differently? of course. maybe those different ways of handling it could've turned out better... or maybe not?

    if i was in the EXACT same situation again, there are things i'd probably do differently... but these types of situations evolve dynamically, they never happen the same way twice, and we have to make split-second decisions with limited information.

    that said, another "good" thing about video is the opportunity to analyze what happened. looking at it from an "incident review" perspective, we can come up with multiple "what would you do differently, next time" scenarios, and learn from each others m̶i̶s̶t̶a̶k̶e̶s̶ experiences.
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  14. #14
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    Glad you're having fun with that. In 40+ years of riding (on and off) I've been lucky in avoiding any situation where a video would have been helpful.
    I'm extremely happy that video cameras have reached a point of being more compact, affordable, and with a high enough resolution and storage capacity to make it feasible to regularly video one's daily commutes. I'm now have a much more calmer reaction and ride with a less frustrated attitude when I do happen to have an incident with a motorist, since I have a better chance at reporting the incident with more accurate information.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 009jim View Post
    I've frequently noticed that "must get in front" mentality. It particularly astounds me when all that is in front is a red light. "must get in front so I can sit for longer at that red light"!! It also happens to pedestrians & cars. Some people are just pillocks.
    What mystifies me are the ones that will sort of hang back and follow you for a while, missing all kinds of safe passing opportunities, then decide to make their move just as you're entering a curve with parked cars, bad pavement (restricting your ability to move over), a steep downhill, etc. WTF are they thinking?

  16. #16
    Rocketship Underpants Dwayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    I'm extremely happy that video cameras have reached a point of being more compact, affordable, and with a high enough resolution and storage capacity to make it feasible to regularly video one's daily commutes. I'm now have a much more calmer reaction and ride with a less frustrated attitude when I do happen to have an incident with a motorist, since I have a better chance at reporting the incident with more accurate information.
    I've noticed the same thing since I've strapped a Contour to my helmet several weeks ago. Where before I would get bent out of shape, now I react somewhat calmer because if something goes down, I've got video backup. For example, the driver of the contractor pickup truck that yelled at me to get on the sidewalk (illegal in GA) and buzzed me. Rather than trying to catch up and retaliate, I grabbed screenshots from the video showing the driver, the company logo on the truck, the license plate number, and emailed them to the president of the company. Received an apology email from the president (who said he is a cyclist himself) two days later. Much more satisfying to me.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metaluna View Post
    What mystifies me are the ones that will sort of hang back and follow you for a while, missing all kinds of safe passing opportunities, then decide to make their move just as you're entering a curve with parked cars, bad pavement (restricting your ability to move over), a steep downhill, etc. WTF are they thinking?

    I wish I received a dollar for every time this has happened, some of my gear/accessories would have been free.

  18. #18
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwayne View Post
    I've noticed the same thing since I've strapped a Contour to my helmet several weeks ago. Where before I would get bent out of shape, now I react somewhat calmer because if something goes down, I've got video backup. For example, the driver of the contractor pickup truck that yelled at me to get on the sidewalk (illegal in GA) and buzzed me. Rather than trying to catch up and retaliate, I grabbed screenshots from the video showing the driver, the company logo on the truck, the license plate number, and emailed them to the president of the company. Received an apology email from the president (who said he is a cyclist himself) two days later. Much more satisfying to me.
    Some where in my video archives, I have a similar incident. When I made a phone call to a company's officials, I was surprised that I was proceeded by a few others concerning one of their driver's poor driving habits, but I was the only one able to give a truck number and an accurate description of the driver.

  19. #19
    I am a caffine girl colleen c's Avatar
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    I"m glad you came out of this situation escaping injuries. I recall an article elsewhere stating that video camera is the cyclist "Black Box" and it seem so true in this case where the drivers words were so different from what I saw in that video. The video help greatly with those "You said" vs "I said" claims.



    Quote Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
    OMG! That was your horn? Well...that helps explain some things. If one hand is working an air horn button I doubt that same hand can work a brake lever at the same time. Whatever it sure didn't help matters much.
    I have my Airzound horn button right next to my brake lever where my thumb activate it while the rest of my hand are on the brake lever. I can press the horn button while applying full braking power to the lever at the same time. It is harder to set it up that way and did require the use of the Topeak bar extender to do it but it sure came in handy many times. I seriously think it saved me from becoming "T-Bone" entree with cars at the intersection on several ocassion. It just like what everyone has experience where they see you at the intersection and they just have to get in front of the cyclist no matter what. That include where I was already in the the intersection and made eye contact with the car that is still behind the line of a 4 way stop. Suddenly they come roaring out like a car race from the starting line almost T-boning me. This is where I apply full braking force while activating my Airzound. They usually stop instantly. I think it is the sound of my horn that startled them to stop.
    "Difference between a well dressed cyclist riding a two wheeled bicycle and a badly dressed cyclist riding a Recumbent is only a-tire"
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    Some people got their head so far up their butt such that the only thing they hear is muffle when trying to explain anything to them! I only wish they take it out sometimes to smell the roses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    Glad you're having fun with that. In 40+ years of riding (on and off) I've been lucky in avoiding any situation where a video would have been helpful.


    Yes, defensive riding is even better than defensive documentation. Take the lane when you need to, move to open space when motor vehicles force you, and stop short of running into stopped cars ahead of you. If there's still a collision, use the video.

  21. #21
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colleen c View Post
    I have my Airzound horn button right next to my brake lever where my thumb activate it while the rest of my hand are on the brake lever. I can press the horn button while applying full braking power to the lever at the same time. It is harder to set it up that way and did require the use of the Topeak bar extender to do it but it sure came in handy many times. I seriously think it saved me from becoming "T-Bone" entree with cars at the intersection on several ocassion. It just like what everyone has experience where they see you at the intersection and they just have to get in front of the cyclist no matter what. That include where I was already in the the intersection and made eye contact with the car that is still behind the line of a 4 way stop. Suddenly they come roaring out like a car race from the starting line almost T-boning me. This is where I apply full braking force while activating my Airzound. They usually stop instantly. I think it is the sound of my horn that startled them to stop.
    Yep, something that can generate the noise equivalent to what you might hear from a truck horn is usually going to precipitate one of these reactions...
    in the following order; > > >

    I tip my hat and bow my head to all the cycling folk who have had confrontations with "the stupid motorist" and have come out on top. What I wouldn't give to see the look on the people's faces who get someone who brings into court a video of them being stupid-dangerous. Kind'a like that show "Cheaters".

  22. #22
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    Hopefully, both motorist and cyclist learned something from this incident. Both made serious mistakes.
    Maintain your equipment. Plan your routes well. Practice stoppies often. Keep your head on a swivel.

  23. #23
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athens80 View Post

    .......defensive riding is even better than defensive documentation.
    For me, that's a no brainer, with my cameras only to be used for after the fact, not to be relied on for anything other than for back up information, and not to replace good collision avoidance skills.
    Last edited by dynodonn; 06-30-13 at 10:16 AM.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Don't know what to say - but the idea of "needing" a video camera to assure satisfaction while riding a bicycle doesn't seem likely in my future.

    I think it would be cool if a police department sent out 'decoy" cop cyclists - that ride around town using cameras to enforce traffic safety in heavily cycled areas.
    Sorry about my comments - I thought you wanted honest feedback.
    2003 Lemond Wayzata - 2002 LeMond Malliot Jeune

  25. #25
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
    Don't know what to say - but the idea of "needing" a video camera to assure satisfaction while riding a bicycle doesn't seem likely in my future.

    I think it would be cool if a police department sent out 'decoy" cop cyclists - that ride around town using cameras to enforce traffic safety in heavily cycled areas.

    Cameras cannot assure my "satisfaction" in riding a bike, but as I said earlier, I have a calmer reaction and ride less frustrated after having an incident with a motorist, that there is worth the price of the cameras alone, since I'm able to give more accurate information to law enforcement when I feel that the incident warrants it. I now consider cameras as a useful item, such as a mirror, since they have helped me adjust my riding style in ways to avoid certain incidents, and after numerous video reviews, make it shown that not every motorist is out to get me.

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