Cyclists Using Helmet Cams to Stay Safe

Cyclists are using their heads to catch hit-and-run drivers. The New York Times is reporting on a new high-tech tool catching on with cyclists: helmet cameras.

The benefits of this innovative device can be seen through the recent story of a Washington bicyclist who was struck by a car while commuting to work. The driver tried to get away, but the cyclist was able to give police all the evidence they needed to find him because a small camera inside his helmet captured the entire accident! The helmet camera captured the car’s license plate number, leading police right to the hit-and-run driver. Our Chicago bike accident lawyers believe that helmet cameras could play a key role in hit-and-run accidents around the country.

Cyclists need to keep in mind that while bicycling is generally a healthful and safe activity, there are still risks involved.

The risk of serious injuries is heightened when bikers are riding at night or when they are under the influence of alcohol.

Bicycle-motor vehicle crashes can happen a number of ways. Either the driver or the bicyclist may fail to yield at an intersection, or stop at a red light. Another common bike accident happens when drivers parallel park and open their doors, hitting the cyclist.

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center reports that there were 618 bicycle/motor vehicle crash fatalities in the U.S in 2010. The number of reported injuries involving bicyclists decreased from 61,000 in 1995 to 52,000 in 2010, but this could be because many bicycle crashes go unrecorded by the police.

Chicago is high on the list of bicycle accident prone cities. The Chicago Sun-Times recently reported that bike crashes in the city have gone up by 38 percent during 2001-2011. It is estimated that more than 1000 bikers suffered “incapacitating” injuries since 2005.

City officials in Chicago are trying to keep bikers safe with a 100 miles of new protected and buffered bike lanes planned by the end of 2015. These lanes will be separated from moving cars by posts or pavement markings. A massive bike-sharing program will begin next spring, making 3,000 bikes available for rental at 300 stations.

Though these new lanes will make likely help make cycling safer, experts note that it is the crash-prone intersections that need the most attention. Simple, low-cost safety improvements such as extending the yellow light beyond its current three seconds and filling potholes could help. Chicago city officials urge cyclists to call 311 if they see dangerous conditions on a bike path.

A lot of regular cyclists have terrifying tales to tell – some were narrowly missed by a bus that overtook them, or car drivers failed to see them. Motorists and pedestrians, in turn, often criticize cyclists for ignoring stop signs and other road rules. The new helmet cameras will help if they can make motorists behave more considerately and make bikers more aware. They will also aid in police investigations in hit-and-run bike accidents.

If you’ve been injured in a bike accident, don’t hesitate to report it. Contact an bike accident lawyer immediately to protect your legal rights.

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