March 3, 2012, by Benjamin J. Sansone
Source: Missouri Injury Law Blog
No, not paying someone off to say what you want, but a cycling accessory that tracks your ride and takes video and still pictures. Bike accessory manufacturer Cat Eye has released the “Inou” which is a front facing camera that takes stills and video. Additionally, it tracks your ride and has lots of other cool features other than documenting an accident.
After handling dozens of bike accidents in St Louis and across the State of Missouri and Illinois, one thing is for sure, cyclists get hurt badly and the driver never admits fault. In fact the driver will often blame the cyclist even though though the cyclist was legally traveling on the road and did nothing negligent. It is the nature of most drivers, blame the pesky people riding bikes, getting in the way on the road, and slowing down traffic. More often than not, there are no witnesses and as previously discussed on this blog, no witness is bad news for an injured cyclist. All jurors are drivers but only a few are cyclists, and even fewer are regular cyclists. Who do you think they are going to instinctively relate to and side with?
If you are a regular cyclist you should really consider something like this camera, especially if you ride solo. An example from my experience as a bike crash lawyer.
The 911 caller saves the day: A few years back we had a jury trial on a bike injury case as the insurance company offered nothing claiming the entire time the hurt bicyclist was entirely at fault. See – St Louis Bike Accident Trial. The cyclist was the victim of the “right hook” meaning the driver passed her and then made a right turn right in front of her cutting her off and forcing her to crash into the side of the truck. See Bike Lawyer Article: “Missouri Bike Accident – Caused by the “Right Hook” – Injured Cyclist Hired St Louis Missouri Injury Lawyer After Settlement Negotiations Halted”
Of course the driver of the truck said the bicycle accident was completely the biker’s fault and even the responding police officer opined that it was the cyclists fault, even though he did not witnesses it. In fact, when the injured biker saw the report she called the police to supplement. The officer did, but made comments that he believed she was supplementing the report just for a lawsuit and he believed she was at fault. Statements that were prevented from being presented to the jury at trial.
So, at this point this case is a loser, why? no witnesses! Had this cyclist had a forward facing camera it would have been clear she was cut off. Fortunately, we were able to track down the 911 caller, he testified that he saw the bike versus car collision and it was the driver’s fault. Without this eye witness testimony the only evidence the jury would have had to go on was a driver’s testimony who was covering his own behind and the testimony of a cop that did not witnesses the accident and apparently did not like cyclists.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Buy a camera witness because independent human witnesses rarely see a bike crash. I cannot stress it enough, as time and time again I see police reports written up automatically blaming the cyclist, and investigation and witness interviews tell a completely different story.