Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Getting Inspired at the ExCeL London Bike Show 2013

Levenes Cycle Injury spent the four days of the London bike show talking to the cycling faithful in attendance. Rather pleasingly, the cold and snowy weather had not succeeded in deterring the attendees showing up en masse.

We talked about our free to use Interactive Accident Map and how it is a tool for individual cyclists that can help identify junctions or roads on the commute to work that might need extra care or avoiding altogether. Or for cycle groups and campaigners who want to know where cycle accidents happen in their area, a quick glance at the map will show you if there is a particular junction or road with an inordinate number of accidents.

We had many discussions about headcams and CCTV, the past, present and future of cycling, "that" BBC show cropped up a few times and people were very keen to spend some time browsing their areas on the map as most had a story to tell. The general consensus seemed to be that despite things being far from perfect, cycling is slowly but surely moving in the right direction, and sooner or later politicians and road planners won't be able to side-line us as they have in the past.

Perhaps the most interesting discussions are when someone finds their accident marked on the map and we can use Google street view to jump in to the map as they describe what happened to them. Far from being put off cycling, the passion these people have for cycling to get back in the saddle, talk about their accident and attend bike shows despite being knocked off, is inspiring.


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Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Diary of a New Cycle Commuter - Week 5 - Dodgy Driving Head Cam Videos Galore!

Previous articles in this series can be found here.

The first full week back after Christmas and it seems like everyone is still half asleep. The roads are busier and people are being a lot more impatient.
In the morning there are three bus stops along one stretch of road I take. I overtake a bus at the first, have gone fast enough to keep it behind me at the second and at the third, he overtakes me just to pull over into a bus stop 10 metres up the road. I'm forced to then swing into traffic to overtake the bus once again. Classic example of a MGIF (Must Get In Front). If he'd waited about five seconds behind me, there would have been no need to overtake and he could have safely (for me) and smoothly (for his passengers) pulled into the bus stop. Considering there was a queue at the lights ahead as well, he's saved himself no time what so ever.
(Occurs at 1:23 in the video)

Pretty uneventful Tuesday, except I've now got the downhill commute on the way in down to under 15 minutes and the uphill return journey to under 20 minutes. Which on the way in at least, makes it faster than the tube!

Recorded my first roadsafe worthy event on the way home. The annotations on the video are fairly self explanatory...

I got a letter from PC Walters explaining that the driver had been sent a letter highlighting the youtube clip and stating they have been recorded committing a Road Traffic Offence and the standards of the driver have been highlighted, but on this occasion No Further Action has been taken. I'm happy with that outcome. He obviously wasn't aware that his driving was potentially putting others in danger, and a firm poke in the direction of some video footage will allow him to see it from other road users perspective.

In the morning, another bus on the same stretch of road as Monday, and an excellent overtake from a very patient driver. Unfortunately I can't see his reg plate so the driver's employers can't be informed of the good driving, but well done all the same.

Thursday evening I captured a DGAF (Don't Give A F***). Approaching a junction I know to have a somewhat restricted view, I used my ears to hear a car approaching, and my knowledge from our cycling accident map that a cyclist was injured here in the dark during 2005. Approaching more cautiously I was able to brake to avoid the car who just drove straight across my path.

The importance of using your ears and not having headphones on was very apparent. As well as knowing your route and the potential accident hotspots along the way. Even if you don't change your route, you naturally approach junctions more cautiously if you know someone has been injured there. On this occasion, it helped me avoid a potential collision.

Nothing of note happening on the commute, I spend it wondering if I can cycle to the London Bike Show at ExCeL this week. I decide against it, as we're exhibiting, and it would mean carrying a laptop and bits on my back, as well as not getting home until after 8 at least, and potentially having to do sections of the River Lea cycle route in complete darkness. Not necessarily the best idea!

Previous articles in this series can be found here.


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Monday, 7 January 2013

RoadHawk Ride Head Cam Review + Sample Video Footage

RoadHawk Ride, the one on the top. Ignore the Blackburn light behind it.
The RoadHawk RIDE is a small, high definition Bullet Camera designed to be worn on your helmet. It's supplied with a 8GB SD Memory card that can hold around 2 hours of HD video which can be upgraded to a 32GB card to hold over 8 hours.

Either way, the built-in Li-Poly battery will record for 90 minutes and, you will have to use the cable supplied to connect the camera to an external battery supply for longer recording times.