Video Evidence

Question

Kenneth asked: I’m a daily 25-mile bicycle commuter. I try hard to lead by example, wearing full safety equipment and lighting, following all traffic rules (including full-stops at stop-signs) and generally be a courteous road sharer. Despite this, I am daily shocked at the stupidity, aggression and overt hostility of many drivers. 

On-Bike camera technology now exists to record video and audio in ultra-high definition, along with time/date stamps, GPS location and speed data, and in come cases, even radar/ultrasonic closure rates and parallax angles to determine clearance of passing cars. 

Is any of this data/evidence of actionable value to law enforcement or admissible in a court for traffic code enforcement? I don’t want to sound like a whinny tattletale, but for most folks a “gentle reminder” from police that there is video of them breaking the law and endangering peoples lives, and what the laws are, would go a long way. Most folks are decent, if clueless. 

Thus far, it appears 3rd party video evidence seems only to be used in accident/deaths in criminal case.

Before I drop $500+ on such a system it would be nice to know if it could be useful for something other than documenting my death.

Answer

I’m afraid that the information garnered would not be accepted by law enforcement or the courts unless it is used to actually document an incident under investigation, either criminal or civil violation.  As you seem to be aware, those incidents only seem to warrant police investigation when a crash or other such action occurs.

Another use for video evidence is to document activities for presentation by the media.  I am aware of one such case in which video made the news about drivers habitually running stop signs in a community.  I don’t know if it produced any meaningful results.

One of the problems with using video and other data for enforcement purposes is that the equipment used must meet certain standards, such as calibration, to be useful in court.

Please see this post on the subject, particularly Dwight’s comment.

2 comments on “Video Evidence
  1. Steve says:

    I have been riding with a GoPro for quite some time. I have had three incidents that required the police to be called. 1st Fort Lauderdale, a motorist hit me when he passed. That officer watched the video and spent most of his time trying to figure out where I was on the roadway as in not as far right as practicable. I would give him no help only to say I was riding in the roadway. After 10 minutes and with him never saying a word to he motorist that hit me, he asked me what I wanted him to do. I said write a ticket for violating the 3ft law. 2nd was in Wilton Manors same thing happened that officer handled it totally differently she looked at the video and wrote the offender a ticket for the 3ft law. 3rd was a week ago I was riding along RIverWalk in Fort Lauderdale and saw a Range Rover with a dock parking permit parked on the riverwalk sidewalk he had been parked there the last time I road by. I said your car is blocking the sidewalk and it is not a parking space. This guy was wound so tight he jumped out of his boat said about as many profane words as he new and chased me down with a hose wetting me, my bike and phone. I called the police and the officer looked at what transpired and said it was assault or disorderly conduct but it would be up to the state attorneys or district I forgot witch to file charges. I said no but maybe you could give him a ticket if he parks there again. That officer took a video of my video and said he would be having a word with the guy. My advise ride with a camera you never know when that video might come in handy. For me, I ride with it so when I am hit and may not be aware or around there might be a video to tell the story.

  2. phil Leinbach says:

    The best thing any cyclist can do is have a camera (or 2) on their bike. I started doing this after a motorist waved a gun in my face after I told him it’s illegal to block a cross walk. The Pinellas County sheriffs was not interested in persuading this matter based on my word alone nor are they interested in ticketing motorists for this violation even though I’e been complaining for 12 years. Cyclists are second class citizens regardless of their economic status.

Leave a Reply