Technology is helping bicyclists hold negligent drivers accountable for accidents. A number of handlebar and helmet mounted mini video cameras are available to capture footage of the accident, giving cyclists “black box” evidence to use in court.
An article in The New York Times today featured Evan Wilder’s experience with one of the cameras—his was helmet mounted:
One morning on his way to work, Mr. Wilder was sideswiped by a pickup truck that then left the scene of the accident. He did not have time to get the license plate number, but his camera caught it on tape.
Evan Wilder, who commutes to his job in Washington, was hit by a driver who cursed at him. But the video camera Mr. Wilder had strapped to his head caught the whole episode. After watching a recording of the incident later, Mr. Wilder gave the license plate number to the police and a suspect was eventually charged with leaving the scene of an accident.
“Without the video, we wouldn’t know who did it,” said Mr. Wilder, 33, who was bruised and scraped in the crash.
As more bicyclists use these videos and cases like Mr. Wilder’s are made public, motorists will be more watchful and respectful. And having video footage of an accident will be valuable evidence to use in cases where there is a question of fault.
Attorney Fred Pritzker and I recently won a $2.4 million verdict in a case where a tractor-trailer ran over a bicyclist. The police report stated that the bicyclist was at fault, but using accident reconstruction specialists, we proved that the truck driver was at fault. The case was extremely complex and having video footage would have been helpful.
The New York Times article points out that the bicycle video cameras may also deter motorist harassment. One cyclist recounted his experience:
Gary Souza, a cyclist in Sacramento, said something like that happened to him. He 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.
“Even though it’s insured, if anything happens I figured I wanted to get it on camera,” said Mr. Souza, who works in information technology for the state of California.
A couple of months ago, Mr. Souza said, a motorist became upset after the cyclist crossed in front of his vehicle to make a turn. The driver got out of his car to confront Mr. Souza, who pointed to the camera on his head.
“I said, ‘Don’t be stupid,’ ” Mr. Souza said. “He quickly ran back to his car. I’m certain I avoided a couple blows.”
I am available for a free consultation if you would like to discuss your bicycle accident with me. If you hire me, you will not have to pay anything unless we win your case. You can contact me now by submitting our free consultation form.
Eric Hageman is one of our lead attorneys for our accident litigation cases. He has been given the highest rating by Martindale-Hubbell for an attorney, AV Preeminent, and is a member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Interstate Trucking Litigation Group. All of our bicycle accident lawyers have significant experience litigating accident cases. Our law firm is a national law firm with offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Attorney David Szerlag has offices in Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island.