Honk If You’re Going to Report This On the Internet

My first “Transport” column is up over at It’s about websites that comment on peoples’ (typically) bad driving. Familiar ground, yes; future columns will be less auto-centric.

One thing that that cut from the piece for space, just after the discussion of Jeff Frings filming his bicycle rides, is the idea of filming one’s ride for possible legal reasons. For instance, check out the video below, from motorcyclist Dawn Champion. It shows the following event:

On my way home from work Friday afternoon, a Honda Civic lost control in the HOV (Carpool) Lane. I was in the #1 (Fast Lane). The Honda Civic spun around on the freeway and came at me. No one knows yet why the Honda driver would lock the brakes, swerve out of control, and never try to correct it. If you watch the video though, you do see him accelerate at first towards the white car ahead of him. He doesn’t get that close to the white car – he still had at least a car length – but for whatever reason he slammed on the brakes, resulting in the locking of the wheels, burning/smoking tires, loss of traction, loss of control, etc. . I end up in the #2 lane. His vehicle is almost turned around 180 degrees in the wrong direction, completely across the #1 lane and into the #2 lane. His left front headlight/front panel T-boned the left side of my bike. This accident occurred on the 55NB/Dyer at 3:18 PM in Santa Ana, California. This is a 4 lane freeway with a HOV lane.

As she put it, “how many times have things happened to you and it became a ‘he said/she said’ situation and you just wished you had recorded it so you had proof?”). I’m not actually sure how often this sort of thing has been used in court; I do know DriveCam, which records the interior/exterior view of a drive, has been. But given the vagaries of crashes and crash investigations, not to mention eyewitness testimony (when it’s even available) — all of which is often slanted against the “vulnerable road user” — one wonders if wearing a camera is not being overly paranoid.

This entry was posted on Saturday, May 2nd, 2009 at 3:04 pm and is filed under Bicycles, Cyclists, Etc., Traffic safety. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

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May 19, 2009
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Metropolis and Mobile Life
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May 2009

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