Added Info at bottom in red on easy mounting approach….
Unfortunately, over the last few years, the number of incidents where cyclists are getting ‘buzzed’, has been on the rise…..everywhere. With that, the number of us getting hit seems to have increased, too. Maybe it’s awareness, but I can tell you with certainty that the number of hit-and-runs, cyclists been hit and even worse, those losing their lives, has been more publicized than in recent years. The incidents aren’t good, but the reporting IS.
Cycling is inherently a dangerous sport and it seems a constant uphill battle of co-existing with motorists. Until things dramatically change, there ARE things that I HIGHLY recommend you do. The first? Begin to video your rides. I am surprised to read police across the country are accepting ore and more video from cyclists, that has caught motorists buzzing cyclists and even capturing video of the cyclists themselves being hit.
IT’S A BIG DEAL—
Why is video a big deal? Because the 3 ft law (if you state has that) is no different than any other traffic violation; the police officer has to physically ‘see’ the violation before they can ticket a motorist. And we all know how rare it is to have a police officer anywhere near us when we get buzzed or hit. The only piece of real evidence that cannot be disputed (and doesn’t require a police officer to be there) is video. I honestly believe that video will do more to make a dent into the number of incidents across the country.
There are several options out there regarding video camera. Here are my recommendations and what I personally use:
From The Front View: Getting video from the front is critical. Why? Because this view is your best bet to capture the license plate of a vehicle. That information gives the police the highest chance to track down the vehicle, owner, etc. It also captures their actions immediately after you get buzzed or hit. Can’t tell you how many times I have a motorist swerve way too close as they pass me. Catching video of them severely and intentionally swerving and cutting me off clearly shows aggression on their part. Again, video doesn’t lie. There are several models out there but I am only going to spotlight the most popular one and then a great second (far less expensive) choice:
- GO PRO CAMERA: I’m sure we all have heard of the Go Pro cameras. They are great but they are
expensive. Expect to pay $300+ and if you want any additional mounts, etc. then keep your credit card out because it’s gonna cost you. I had the Go Pro 3 Black version and bought several mounting pieces and an additional battery. In total, the accessories cost me over $150.
- SJCAM CAMERA: If your main goal is to use your video camera for your bike, then the SJCAM is a FAR less expensive option. It basically does all the same functions as the Go Pro but at least HALF the cost; actually more than that. With Go Pro, it comes with limited mounts, etc. so if you want others, then you pay for that. With SJCAM, if you buy their ‘Packs’, then comes with all kinds of mounts and that alone will save you $50-$75. Also, additional batteries are only approximately $5 vs. Go Pro’s $20. All around, everything is just less expensive. It doesn’t hurt that this comes in many colors, so you know I went crazy when I saw the yellow. Hey……
Here’s a few things that are really great features, etc. in video cameras (for the bike).
1. Looping: this means the camera will continue to record, even if the memory is full; it just starts recording over old footage. This eliminates you from pulling your memory card out of the camera, plugging into your computer and deleting unwanted footage. The only time you need to plug into your computer is when you want to pull off specific footage. Sort of auto-pilot, so to speak. EASY!!!
2. I highly recommend you but at least one additional battery. The typical record time is 2-4 hours, depending upon your record settings (1080, interval recording, etc). It would defeat the purpose if you only had one battery and it died in the middle of a ride. Carry a backup battery with you.
3. I highly recommend you buying an external charger, too. If not, you will always have to take your camera out of the waterproof case and plug your USB charging cable into the camera to charge the battery. If you have an additional battery, then you’ll have to pull one battery out of the camera and then put your extra battery in the camera to charge. Just a major pain. Remember, if you video every ride (and you should) then charging the batteries will be an ongoing activity. Make it the easiest for you or you’ll be less likely to continue to keep them charged and worse, you’ll stop recording every ride because it just got too much of a hassle to charge the batteries. This is personal experience talking, yet I started out being dead serious about recording every ride. Just saying….
From The Rear View: The value of having video from the rear view is to capture the behavior and actions as they approach you. In other words, if video captures a vehicle abruptly swerving or moving over to the far right just before they approach you, and your front video captures them abruptly moving back over to the left, once they have buzzed you, then this clearly shows intent on their part. Understanding or ‘seeing’ what motorists do as they approach you goes a long way.
- FLY6: The Fly6 came out last year and they have already revised their 2nd model to a much slimmer
and smaller design. Like both front cameras I mentioned above, the cool thing about the FLY 6 is it’s a tail light and a video camera in one. Furthermore, it has the ‘looping’ feature I mentioned, so again, that means the only time you need to pull any footage from your memory card is to download and give to law enforcement to do their job. Hey, it’s simple, easy and a great taillight, to boot.
Program note: Cyclig (makers of the FLY6) are working on a front version that will go by the name of FLY12. It will be a video camera and headlight combo to complete both viewing points. It’s scheduled to be available end of 2015 or 1st part of 2016.
Bottomline, because police can’t be everywhere all the time, having more and more cyclists videoing their rides and turning in video to local law enforcement, can and I believe will begin to make a concerted effort in getting the message out to motorists and how they interact with us.
IT GOES BOTH WAYS—
Now, with that said, cyclists are just as much at fault as motorists. In GA, we have a 3 FT law that states cyclists can ‘legally’ ride 2-abreast but I can count on one hand (and have lots of fingers left over) the number of group rides where this actually happens…and if it does, it typically is not for the entire ride, but only for a short time if someone yells out a reminder. Also, this same law says we are to ride to the far ride….as long as we deem it safe to do so….yet I see cyclists in group rides constantly ride right next to the center line for extended periods of time…for no apparent reason. Hey, if you want to point the finger at motorists and call them out and hold them accountable for endangering your safety, then you as a cyclist have to obey the exact law that you are holding motorists to. If you don’t believe me, then mount a video camera on your bike and then go jump in just about any local group ride and hit ‘record’. Nuff said….
If you look at the image of my setup (top of post), you will see my SJCAM is mounted directly under my Garmin 800…all using the same mount and keeping things nice and tidy. K-Edge sells a combo mount for Garmin computers and Go Pro. Good thing is that the SJCAM uses the same mounts as a Go Pro.