Handlebar Camera vs. aggressive a-hole

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ajbooth
Participant
#

Don’t know how else to put it…

I was in Mt Lebanon on Friday, almost home. The classic “tailgate a cyclist, rev your engine, pass closely, then cut back in front” a-hole did exactly that. I threw up my left hand in a “WTF?” gesture. A-hole slams on the brakes in front of me and screams out the window, something about fornication. I yell back, he drives off.

I was pissed. I called 9-1-1 and reported it. The officer who responded was very helpful. He gave me his card, and had me send him a video clip, on which he could clearly read the license plate. Here is his message to me from earlier today:

“I will file the charges on him and let you know when the hearing will be. That is very good quality video. I will use it in court. Thanks for your help.”

We talked at the scene about careless or reckless driving, depending on what he saw in the video. He said he is leaning toward reckless, based on the revving of the engine and the closeness of the pass.

I’ll update the board when I learn more.


jonawebb
Participant
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Wow, thanks for making the streets safer. Really makes me consider getting a camera.


Pseudacris
Participant
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1) Glad you were not hurt

2) Awesome work @ajbooth!

3) Thanks, cops, for taking this seriously.


ajbooth
Participant
#

Psuedacris, #3 was the main point of my call to the officer after I got the e-mail. He took it more seriously than any other officer I’ve encountered.

I think the reason I was not hurt was because I saw it coming. I know I’ve preached about this before, but my rearview mirror has kept me from being hurt on several occasions.


Anonymous #

Glad you aren’t hurt and you got footage. It’s awesome that the officer took it seriously.

From my experience, people who don’t ride think that bikes belong strictly on the sidewalk. It’s quite nerve racking.


erok
Keymaster
#

wow. incredible story.


Mick
Participant
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YEAH DUDE!


KBrooks
Participant
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This is reassuring. Have had a couple less-than-encouraging interactions with cops lately.


ajbooth
Participant
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Opposite for me, KBrooks…I’ve had two really good encounters in the past two weeks. Once in Dormont, and now in Mt Lebo. Hope it spreads to the city!


quizbot
Participant
#

Awesome.


Marko82
Participant
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Geat news. Thanks Lebo cops!


sloaps
Participant
#

Fornication – classic comeback… Kinda effed up we have to congratulate you for this, but it’s way better than fund raiser for medical expenses.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
#

++


Pierce
Participant
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He said “Lube your chain!”

On the note of the WTF gesture, I give those pretty often myself, but I think a couple of times they were mistaken for giving the finger


ajbooth
Participant
#

That’s a great point, Pierce. I hadn’t thought about that, but the officer said that the driver claimed I gave him the finger. The officer said he reminded the driver that even if I did, that is legal, but buzzing me with his car is not. And he did that before I responded in any way.

The officer said that despite the fact that I used some colorful language, and on the video you could not hear what the driver said to me, it still all goes back to the initial event, which was him gunning the engine and buzzing me. Everything after that was incidental.

I can post the video tomorrow if anyone wants to see it. Warning though, it is NSFW. As I mentioned, I was really angry.


Pseudacris
Participant
#

This officer sounds awesome. I wonder if he is also a cyclist?

RE posting the video, IMNAL, but if it is getting used in court, you may want to hold off a bit.


Marko82
Participant
#

@aj, I’ve been hesitant to post this since I don’t want to suggest something that you wouldn’t want, nor something that we couldn’t deliver. But wouldn’t it be cool to have several cyclist (with helmets in hand) sitting in the magistrate’s courtroom to show support. I know this is a minor offense as far as the court is concerned, but the possible consequences are not minor from our perspective. Maybe it would let the police know how important this is from our perspective and would encourage better enforcement even without video. Mt. Lebo is just a T-ride away.

We should probably do this for the other upcoming bike related trials too.


ajbooth
Participant
#

I would be 110% in favor of having a presence in the courtroom. I don’t know how minor the offense will be, especially if they charge reckless driving.

Thanks for the idea. I will post the hearing date and time as soon as I get it.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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But yes, please do post the video after the legalities are final.


Mick
Participant
#

If we go to the courtroom, we probably shouldn’t all “BOO” every time the defense speaks and “YAY” for the good guys.

Just sayin’


Anonymous #

Aj and copm both — good job!


Anonymous #

Fantastic! What kind of camera, by the way? I’m looking for a good one.


ajbooth
Participant
#

Joanne, it is the Contour GPS.

http://www.amazon.com/Contour-GPS-ContourGPS-Camera/dp/B00426DQ2W

I got it on clearance last year at REI. It records onto a mini-SD card. I upgraded the card to a 32GB card, and now I run out of battery charge before I run out of recording space. High definition, great quality.


Vannevar
Participant
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it would be cool to have an ongoing tickler-file of bicycle related court hearings that are open to the public. Just one or two cyclists at each, sitting respectfully with their helmets, would be a presence.

Now, I did get some feedback yesterday on the phrase “joint use trail”, please forgive me in advance for “tickler file”


Anonymous #

AJ, good effing job, but watch out for that driver around town, especially if you ride the same route a lot. You never know when he may want to exact some fantastic revenge scenario, and it would be too easy to nail you with a bottle or something un-fun! Just saying…


ajbooth
Participant
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I thought of that, Val. He lives in Bethel Park, a few miles away from me, so he would really have to go out of his way. I will be extra aware, though


quizbot
Participant
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I’d also be wary of posting videos here where cyclists swear at motorists. Some don’t like swearing at them (at least in this thread) and may show up to wag a finger.

You’ll also probably be called out by someone about how you should’ve been taking the lane or something. If there’s footage, it’ll be analyzed ad nauseam.


ajbooth
Participant
#

Good points quizbot…I planned to wait until any legal proceedings are over. Right now I have it privately posted on YouTube, and only the police officer has the link. I could share it via private message if anyone wants to see it.

By the way, I actually did take the lane. I was in the dead center of the right lane. Guy was behind me, then buzzed me as he passed. I’m sure the magistrate will study it pretty closely, and at the end of the day, that’s the analysis that will really matter.


melange396
Participant
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i miss your videos, quizbot. i hope you stopped posting them because you were seeing fewer instances of dicketry on the road, and not because of the nitpicking from your fellow cyclists :(


quizbot
Participant
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Honestly, I have been seeing fewer instances of outright dickery on my commute over the last few months, and really haven’t had anything obnoxious to share.

I really don’t bother though anymore with posting small motorist infractions.

I do think that paint on the road (as opposed to pole signage) is definitely helping with driver conditioning / setting expectations, at least on my route.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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Modern times have caught up with my brain. I find I actually enjoy reading the spam. The disjointed bits of syntax are like some weird abstract poetry. Like reading Steevo’s posts, but less profound.


Anonymous #

One observation I haven’t seen anyone make, deserves fair mention. Though there will never be any one technique or maneuver we execute as cyclists, that pleases all drivers. Taking The Whole Lane is no different. Just as there are some people out there who need a joke or a book explained, some drivers fail to comprehend why you’re taking the whole (damn) lane. It sounds like that close-pass was a byproduct of such an intellect. The Moral to this Story? I (PERSONALLY) only ever take the whole lane, if I judge it to be a relatively high threat situation. I generally consider those to be wherever a Maneuver or Line of Sight Hazard exists, etc. Just my two cents.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

[from probably soon-to-be-deleted spam post, above]

… I’ve met so lots of people, I’ve produced a number of new friends, lost some associates, remade old friendships, made a lot of individuals hate me, identified a new enjoy, …

I myself would love to identify a new enjoy and meet so lots of people.

[yep, gone]


sarah_q
Participant
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I’m coming around to thinking that a camera is a necessary accessory for commuting in the city. I am thinking of getting one for my kid too.


ajbooth
Participant
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Val, my non-scientific research, consisting of observations since I started taking the whole lane, tell me that it is safer and less prone to close calls. This particular driver was aggressive–he tailgated me, revved his engine, and then passed very close. The only intellect involved in his actions was aggression. If he did not understand why I was taking the lane, and simply switched lanes and yelled at me, this whole thread wouldn’t even exist. But he took threatening, aggressive, dangerous action against me because I was in his way.


scott
Keymaster
#

this is fantastic. I need to get a camera and start using it asap.


Lenk42602
Participant
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I use a go pro hero 2 every day on my commute in. I usually mount it to the bike (not helmet). 90% of the time I attach it to the seatpost facing rearward at encroaching drivers. If nothing eventful happens that particular day, I just delete the file. I could be wrong, but the prominence of a live HD camera facing at the motorists I encounter really has seemed to keep them in line a bit more than without.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RDAb9gCHcM

Certainly seems like everyone plays nicer when the camera is rolling.


Marko82
Participant
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@len, nice commute.


Anonymous #

@val you are mixing non related issues. That is true that there always be a driver who would not be pleased by bicyclist actions. Nevertheless it cannot be a ground to take or not to take a whole lane. Sorry but there is no moral in your story. One should take a lane if it is safer. And the reason for it is that if one takes whole lane then certain actions are not an option anymore such as trying ti squeeze a car between other car and bicyclist. Or right hookng.


ajbooth
Participant
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Len, interesting idea to have it face the rear. I mount mine forward facing on the handlebar. I don’t think it has any deterrent value for me, though, because it looks more like a headlight than a camera.

I did see something earlier this year on a helmet mounted camera being built that would shoot front and back at the same time. There would not be much hiding from that!

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