Videoing my ride

September 17, 2013 at 21:03 | Posted in bicycles | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’d been toying with the question camerafor a while – it’s something that is a growing trend amongst cyclists, as evidenced by the endless youtube footage if cars carving up cyclists. Should I get a camera for my bike? The main motivation for attaching a camera to one’s bike seems to be in order to capture bad driver behaviour and, if the worst comes to the worst, to use as evidence. I don’t suffer much from bad drivers, but I was vaguely curious try out a camera.

So I bought one on eBay – a very very cheap one. $20 from China, complete with handlebar clamp and integrated headlight. What’s not to like? Well, the video quality, obviously, but I thought I give it a go before splashing out on something expensive.

So here, ladies and gentlemen, is an entirely uninteresting ten minutes of my commute – it’s the section through Sydney’s CBD on the green bike lanes. Probably the only interesting thing is the cycle cops on duty at Pyrmont Bridge (I spot them and push my bike through that section – it’s about three mins in), merrily giving out tickets to riders without helmets or those who ride through the red bicycle light at that spot (a bicycle light which, due to a wholly inadequate sensor, rarely turns green) whilst ignoring all those scofflaw pedestrians doing exactly the same thing.

copvideo

Oh, you’ll also see me ignoring a whole load of similarly useless bicycle traffic signals that give cars priority (any signal that only gives cyclists four seconds of green per phase is just asking to be ignored, IMO), whilst paying closer attention to those where pedestrians might be crossing. The other strange thing is the camera perspective – it seems to be quite a narrow angle, which gives the impression I am much closer to things than is really the case. At 7.15, for example, you’d think the guy on my right was seriously invading my personal space – it looks like his elbow is right in my face. But actually he was probably two metres in front of me.

I would probably use the camera more, but the battery is pretty hopeless (it only just lasts out for my thirty minute commute), and, more to the point, after I’d had it about a week I dropped it onto my concrete garage floor. It now rattles a lot, and whilst the pretty lights all flash away merrily it no longer appears to actually record any video. Oh well. It was an interesting experiment, but not interesting enough to make me want to splash out on a more expensive camera. Or not until I’ve carpeted the garage, at least.

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2 Comments »

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  1. Can’t believe cops are still wasting their time giving out tickets for not wearing helmets. Especially given Bicycle NSW recent policy change. (I support them stopping red light infringers though, even if the lights are crap.)

    About the camera – maybe its a good thing that the perspective makes things look closer? I’ve heard a problem with some expensive cameras is that the have a fishbow effect or some kind of distancing effect which makes objects look further away than they are, to the extent that cyclists in court have had problem proving that cars cut them off or presented a danger because they look further away than they were…

  2. I’m sorry,but I refuse to where anything on my helmet,be it a bike light or a camera.To me,a camera screams paranoid bike nerd and is just likely to rub motorists the wrong way.These days I just follow my creed ‘don’t go looking for trouble’ (and it won’t come looking for me)

    cheers,

    Ian
    Melbourne


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