Walking around Philadelphia, you may have noticed a growing trend among cyclists: GoPro helmet cameras. While some of these riders are compiling footage for video projects or training, others are using the cameras for another reason; to develop evidence. To Joe Piscitello, a cyclist and a lawyer who specializes in handling bike-related accidents, that camera on your helmet will provide excellent proof of what went down when a cyclist is hit by a car — and help in the collection of damages to the cyclist and the bike. Just don’t record over it. In the event of an accident with a motorist, these cameras have proven invaluable in proving the negligence of other parties in court.
Cyclists' "Black Box"
As early as 2012, The New York Times reported on the rise of helmet cameras among American cyclists. Citing bicyclists' "rocky coexistence with motorists and pedestrians," that profile found that helmet cameras were not only effective in documenting road accidents and crimes, they also helped diffuse volatile road rage situations.
"It's kind of like insurance. You never need insurance—until something happens," Illinois injury lawyer Thomas Pakenas told The Chicago Tribune in a similar 2014 article, adding that cameras even help bicyclists self-police themselves. "If you know you're recording it, it makes the bicycle rider more motivated to act in a safe manner because, you know, the tape can go both ways," he added.
"Nexus Of Intersecting Trends"
The Chicago Tribune piece attributes the rise of bicycle helmet GoPros to a "nexus of intersecting trends." Camera technology is being utilized in a number of different ways to help police the public, including traffic cameras (that detect speeders and those who run red lights) and police body cameras. That kind of footage is likely admissible in court and provides hard, often irrefutable evidence of what happened during a particular incident.
Simultaneously, we've seen big efforts in major metropolitan areas to encourage biking and make urban commuting more bicyclist-friendly. Philadelphia is among these cities and just recently announced that The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission will bestow $7.6 million for 11 new construction projects, including connecting the popular biking routes of the Circuit Trails.
Are GoPro cameras an actual legal asset for cyclists when an accident occurs? Frequently, yes they are (if the motorist was at fault). These cameras have offered valuable evidence in negotiations with insurance companies and disputed injury claims alike. It's highly advised that, if you are not using GoPro when you cycle through the city, you look into purchasing one.
Are you a cyclist that's been hurt by a motorist on the road? At Piscitello Law, our firm offers unique insight into the specific challenges cyclists face when trying to assert an injury claim. Our Philadelphia bicycle accident attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for past clients and are ready to help you assess your injury claim options today.
Ready to take action? We're ready to hear your story. Call our offices to speak with our team.