Use of Safety Cameras on Bikes

Here in the UK we have a universal symbol for a speed camera and for a small price you can buy a patch that looks like this - Pass Pixi. I’ve found this has reduced the number of close passes by >90%
I also run a camera, just to be sure.

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That’s really interesting. In the states, people will go to great lengths to buy the “I Have A Security System” sign for the front of their house without paying for the actual system. It suggests a hardened target. This sticker kinda does the same. Very cool.

Not seen those before, that’s a great idea

If the goal is safety, a camera will do nothing. Stick to the basics: daytime high lumen front and rear lights, bright clothing,***avoiding heavily trafficked roads and/or roads with no shoulder so that cars don’t struggle to pass you. I was living in the city for a while and road the trainer weekdays and drove 45mins to the country to ride on Saturdays.

Camera might provide evidence after the fact, but doubtful anyways because you’ll be struck by a car from behind most likely then crash immediately. The bikes not gonna stay upright to capture the license plate, make or model

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I was at a dinner last week. A person I work with on a very regular basis started complaining about all the bike riders who “slow him down” during his commute. I told him I was likely one of them, but also that most of us ride with radar enabled cameras, recording speed from passing cars.
I know it’s a gross exaggeration. But the look on his face was priceless and I have no doubt that he will be more considerate about bikes. At least for a while.

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I’m curious to hear from you who’ve got any kind of camera on your bike?

  • what’s good in terms of battery life (let’s say 5-6 hours is an acceptable max, I rarely ride over 5h).
  • decent image quality (possible to make out license plates)

I’m not keen on a Varia, I don’t see the point in getting warned if I’m already on the shoulder etc.

That 100k joules isnt quite right. The car definitely has that energy but its only imparting a fraction of that into you in an accident. If a car hit you and the force of that impact stopped the car completely then yes. But otherwise it’s much less. Lets say a car was traveling at 60mph and hit you. And lets say the force of that impact decelerated the car down to 55mph. Then the energy it imparts to you is based on 5mph not 60mph. You would use 5 squared not 60 squared.

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The difference between two squares is not the square of the difference.

i.e. 60^2 - 55^2 is an awful lot more than 5^2

Your fundamental point is sound though.

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WTF :flushed:. I literally wouldn’t ride on road without it. A camera provides 0 safety, only who to blame.

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I tried to ride with Cycliq Fly12 and Fly6 cameras for a season. It’s a great idea, but the products were not reliable and the Cycliq’s support was abysmal, at least in North America. Over two seasons, I had to fight with Cycliq regularly before I was allowed to send two nonfunctional cameras back to Australia for replacement, which took months, and a third was returned to Amazon.com, which briefly sold them, but no longer does, perhaps because so many defective ones were returned. I’ve since been using a Garmin Varia RTL 515 w/o a camera. I won’t ride without the Garmin and likely will pick up the Varia with a camera soon. I hope that Garmin offers a front Varia with a camera soon.

I’m hardly alone. Read through the comments first : Hands-on: Cycliq’s new Fly6 CE & Fly12 CE with Garmin integration and more! | DC Rainmaker

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Someday my luck is going to run out. When it comes down to my word vs somebody else, I’d rather have proof. I run a gopro facing forward. My wife runs one facing backward. Both are in loop mode. We both use external batteries. I think we get 4-5+ hours, but it has been a while since we rode that long.

We both run radar.

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I’ve been knocked off once, I was hit from behind. It was on a quiet straight road, I was dressed in red, lunch time with the sun behind me, rear flashing light and radar. Honestly what more could I have done?

I ride off road mainly now only using roads to get to the trails.

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I wouldn’t “use” that because I didn’t assume/state anything about post-collision velocity or energy transfer, I just illustrated the energy differences. I would also chuckle at the silliness of pointing out that you don’t slow the car down much after it hits you :upside_down_face:

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Last Christmas my aunt was complaining about cyclists. Her husband (my uncle) is not only a cyclist, but he was nearly killed after being hit by a truck.

My Fly 6 and Fly 12 get about 4 hours reliably, a bit more in summer temps. I cannot recommend Cyliq as a brand, however.

I’ve had both cameras replaced under warranty, twice (I’m on the third camera for both), and the mic in the Fly12 is awful. Both Fly6 units died from water incursion. One in a short moderate rain, the other from wet roads after the storm. A friend had the same thing happen post-warranty, and all they would do is sell him a refurbished unit.

The first 12 just died one day, and wouldn’t power on. The second was generating so much RF interference my Garmin would lose GPS lock whenever it was within about 8” of the camera.

As for ability to capture a license plate, it varies. In good light - no problem. At dusk or really cloudy, less so. When traversing bumps, potholes, etc., it’s not good. Interestingly, the flashing of my Varia light is sometimes enough to make a plate readable in low light.

When these die, I will be looking elsewhere for replacements.

-Tim

I believe preventative measures are important of course, that would include lights, clothing, position on the road, hearing (not riding w headphones) to name a few. The radar functionality is surely helpful but I also consider it a distraction of sort, similar how many argue against mirrors as they keep you looking at the mirror etc.

I personally value, in case of a hit or near miss you walk away from, some kind of proof and possibility to escalate to authorities. That’s where a camera is key. Despite the abysmal app of the Varia RCT715 it does seem to offer the currently best battery life vs functionality (ie endless recording overwriting old clips). In case you need to find a recording plugging it into the computer to browse seems to go swiftly judging by some reviews I’ve seen and that’s fine enough for me.

In terms of other action cams it seems most of them only offer ~120 mins recording time and that’s low. I wouldn’t want to be changing batteries mid ride.

Anyone with experience owning the RCT715?

I don’t find it to be a distraction at all. It just beeps and I know there’s a car behind me. It’s far less distracting than trying to hit power targets during an outside workout.

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ah yes! thanks for the catch!

Kinetic energy of a car just isn’t terribly useful to understand the hazard. Two examples pop into my head. The first is Chris Froome hitting that wall in the dauphine and the second is Egan Bernal running into a parked bus. Both of those objects have zero kinetic energy yet the cyclists were badly injured. So clearly there is more than just kinetic energy involved. Generally most of the issue arises when a cyclist undergoes a large change in acceleration in a short time period which is why someone turning left in front of you is so dangerous (another zero kinetic energy scenario). Cars have so much mass and are now so large and rigid that even when they are standing still we are at a disadvantage.

I think the energy the cyclist carries is enough to break things. It depends on what (and how) is hit of the body. You can break fingers easily when applying force the wrong way.
Travelling at 30km/h (~20mph) is already a lot of energy, not for metal when braking, but for body parts. When you fall you want to lose that energy in the most harmless way (e.g. brakes turn it into heat with nearly no deformation of materials).

Also kinetic energy is the square of speed. Meaning that with 20km/h you have roughly four times the kinetic energy compared to 10km/h.