Commuting with a video cam?

It’s not uncommon to see videos posted of bike rides. Most digital cameras have a video feature and now the mounting hardware for handlebars and/or a helmet is easier than ever to find. Any videos I’ve taken over the years have been while I’m holding a camera in my hand (not safe and not recommended) but I have sometimes pondered the need and desire to record my daily bike commute.

The need to record my commute would be to serve as proof of the hazards I encounter regularly –
* the motorist parked in the bike lane
* the numerous potholes that force me to take the lane of motor vehicle traffic
* the cabby that cuts me off to pick up or drop off a fare

But at another level, I sometimes just want to record my daily commute for the exact opposite reasons –
* to show everyone just how convenient bike commuting is
* to prove that I can navigate so easily through otherwise clogged streets of traffic
* to replay a fun commute over and over (not just in my head)

Our friends at our sister site have reviewed video cameras in the past of their mountain biking adventures. But lately the trend seems to be in recording more daily and routine bike activities.

Not too long ago, my friend Dottie from LGRAB posted video she captured of our shared bike ride down Chicago’s lakefront path on a mild New Years Eve.

And Chicago’s very own online biking social network The Chainlink has also been buzzing over the news about how more cyclists are wearing minicams to catch offending road users.

At the moment I have a headlight strapped to the top of my helmet but so many people ask me if it’s a camera. Sometimes I really wish it was!

Lights on my helmet

I wouldn’t mind testing a minicam out some time. I could replace that helmet bike light with a helmet-mounted minicam (sadly not enough space on my already crowded narrow handlebars).

crowded handlebars

A local Chicago bicycle attorney – Brendan Kevenides – posted about how such minicams can provide evidence in the case of a bicycle crash. As he states in his blog post called the Chicago Bicycle Advocate:

One of the biggest challenges in representing bicyclists in litigation against motorists is finding a witness. The motorist and the bicyclist rarely seem to agree on how a crash occurred. Since the victim has the burden of proof in personal injury litigation, if a witness cannot be found to support the bicyclist’s version of events the case may be a lost cause. A handlebar mounted camera could, in many circumstances, tip the scales in the bicyclist’s favor by revealing exactly what happened. Dooring incidents and intersection crashes could be documented by a front facing camera.

The lawyers at Illinois Bike Attorneys told me, “Biking with minicams is a great idea, especially for a daily commuter.” The following reasons were outlined in support of minicams:

Studies show jurors retain 15% of what they hear and 85% of what they see and hear.

Plus, in terms of admissability, minicam video usually is both material and relevant in a case. And it can corroborate witness testimony and act as probative evidence.

What are your thoughts about using minicams for recording daily bike activities (not just mountain bike adventures and such)? Do you find a need or a want to record your bike commute?