Black boxes for bicyclists

July 20th, 2012  |  Tags: ,

This NYT article poses an interesting solution to an ugly problem: if helmet cameras become ubiquitous, cyclists will be able to document the actions of malicious or negligent motorists — perhaps even to the point where our characteristically bike-indifferent (or bike-hostile) criminal justice system will be forced to take victims seriously. But I fear that point remains distant. Consider one of the example cyclists profiled in the article, who

[…] wears a camera on his helmet during his 50-minute commute each way between his home and office. He began riding with the device this year after buying a $7,000 velomobile, a three-wheeled recumbent cycle with a shell around it.

Let’s imagine a pretty clear-cut case: the victim’s attorney (or a prosecutor) presents impeccable footage of a driver hitting a cyclist because he was distracted while putting puppies and kittens in a blender; goose-stepping towards the victim while screaming offensive epithets; and, finally, driving away without providing insurance or contact information. The victim’s case would be doomed immediately upon cross-examination. Can you imagine an American jury finding in favor of someone once they learned that he captured the incident from a helmet camera while riding a $7,000 tricycle?