HOUSTON – Many cyclists are embracing helmet cameras because of what BikeTexas.org calls an increasing and disproportionate amount of road rage directed at them.
Most serious cyclists have road rage horror stories.
“(I) get flipped off a lot,” Chris Davis said. “Instead of just getting mad, you know, it’s really funny to tell ‘em like, ‘Hey, call me.’”
Davis, a bike messenger, said he has been hit before, but he wasn’t wearing a helmet cam at the time. He rides about 20 intense miles a day through downtown, working for Mach 5 Couriers.
Davis said he wouldn’t mind investing in a helmet cam. They cost about $300.
“You can see what happened. There’s no he-said, she-said,” Davis said. “In the event that I am killed, somebody will have something to go on.”
Avid cyclist Tommy Ramey said he has also experienced road rage.
“They honk at you. They get up behind you. They rev (their engines). I mean, they get within inches of my wheel. I’ve had stuff thrown at me,” said Ramey.
He is a third generation auto restorer who, ironically, doesn’t own a car.
“I stopped driving five years ago as a personal choice,” he said.
Ramey is not in favor of wearing a camera.
“I don’t think it’d change anything,” he said.
Ramey said there’s a lot of apathy about road rage against cyclists.
“I will flag down the first cop I see and say, ‘Man, this little Camry just ran me off the road,’ he explained. ‘(The officer may say) Uh, well, maybe you should try riding on the sidewalk.’ Cops would tell me this.”
According to BikeHouston.org education director Regina Garcia, bicycles are considered vehicles in all 50 states, with full rights to be on the roads.
To be fair, cyclists are not always the victim. Many drivers complain of cyclists who ride aggressively, running stop signs and red lights and blocking the flow of traffic.
It’s not always the driver and we have to be aware of that too,” said Davis.
Helmet cameras could only record incidents, but would they change attitudes?
“No, it’s an awareness,” said Ramey.
Davis said trading places would change a lot of attitudes.
“Get a bike and ride a mile in my shoes,” he advised hostile motorists.
“I would just like them to bike a mile in our shoes,” he said.
BikeHouston.org offers free cycling defensive driving courses online.