Coincidence & the Rideye Black Box Camera

Oh hi there, Commute by Bike readers. As you are probably aware, the prolific and entertaining Ted has started a new job, justifiably gloated about his new bike commute, and stepped away from regular posting here at Commute by Bike.

Not that anyone can take Ted’s place, nor do I intend to, but I’ll be stepping in here at Commute by Bike on a somewhat more regular basis. I’ve posted the occasional review and/ or rant here, and I’ve been working on our sister site Utility Cycling for a number of years now. But now, you’ll have to deal with me here more often.

I’m pretty excited to mix it up a bit and do some writing here, but the funny thing is, I don’t commute by bike. Ok, ok, don’t get me wrong. I do commute by bike. But I’m currently working from home, so my bike commuting is currently limited to running errands and getting around town. My daily commute, on the other hand, basically involves walking up and down the stairs for a fresh cup of coffee. And unfortunately, that’s not as exciting as it sounds…

So. What does that mean for you as readers? Or maybe, what does that mean for me as a writer? I guess it means that I’ll have to be a bit more clever to generate good bike commuting related content.

Well, here goes. My “first” post is dedicated to coincidence and the general interconnectedness of the cycling community.

Only very recently, I’ve been reading some of the emails sent to Commute by Bike. As I was perusing said emails, one popped out. No, not for the content, I must admit, though the content is worthy, and I’m going to share it with you in a minute. But it stuck out because it was from someone I know. Yeah, yeah, it’s all about who you know, right? Right.

So anyhow, I read back through the email and learned that a guy I’d gone to school with at the University of Arizona and a fellow UA Cycling Club member, Cedric Bosch, was launching a Kickstarter Campaign for a product called Rideye: The Black Box Camera For Your Bike.

According to Cedric, “I started Rideye after my friend Will was seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident last year. I wanted to find a way to make cycling safer for everyone.” Rideye was inspired by the black box on airplanes that records information about crashes. The Rideye camera is that exact concept applied to cycling accidents.

Rideye is designed to keep cyclists safe on public roads by continuously recording HD video of your ride. It has crash detection sensors to save critical video files, and a battery that will last a full month given an hour-long daily commute. Rideye features one-touch operation and records in a never-ending loop, saving the last hour of video, so you never have to worry about the memory being full.

The Rideye is currently a prototype, and the hope is that they will be able to move into production if the Kickstarter Campaign is successful. And after only just a few days, it looks like they are well on track to funding.

There’s definitely a growing interest in this type of thing, especially for bike versus car accidents, where cyclists are often marginalized by the legal (and media) system. If this little black box can successfully capture an incident with enough information for the authorities to get the most accurate and objective data possible, then it might even be possible to start turning the tide away from favoring motorists in bike vs. car accidents.

On the other hand, there’s a small part of me that wonders if the thought of always having a camera recording that possible altercation might be a bit of a hard pill to swallow for some? Then again, I’m just commuting to my kitchen and back these days, so maybe I’ve grown soft. But there’s definitely an interesting psychological component to this product.

All that aside, I think the Rideye has a lot of potential to be an important piece of equipment for many cyclists, and I do hope the Kickstarter campaign is successful. Check it out here. And good luck to you, Cedric!

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to writing here again soon.

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10 thoughts on “Coincidence & the Rideye Black Box Camera”

  1. Joel says:

    Dear Melanie,

    Thank you for getting into the batter’s box and swinging at some pitches in lieu of Ted moving onto a better position.

    I always try and be the best model commuter I can be. Once in a while, I can do better, but in most cases, I try to be the type of bicycle rider that car drivers respect.

    This box could be very significant only because in two years plus of commuting year round, I came upon my first serious “almost hit” situation.

    I was riding my morning commute in darkness at about 6:00am the other day. I was within about 15 feet of a car pulling out from the right in front of me when I had the right of way. This is an intersection that I have successfully and quite mundanely passed without incident for more than two years.

    I swerved with a hard brake ready to come to a complete stop as the car stopped its acceleration. The driver stated through an open window, “I did not see you.”

    I was in shock, furious, and puzzled with his comment. If he had said, “I was not paying attention because I was looking at my phone”, I think I could have understood the mistake. I drive, I make driving mistakes. What really infuriated me was his attitude of it was my mistake that he did not see me.

    I have a 410 Cygolite on high with a Bell secondary white light on constant blink during darkness. These light are visible for almost 2000 feet at a minimum. I was wearing a full ANSI reflector vest, bright lime, with almost 144 square inches of 3M reflector tape visible to the front. I have an additional 122 square inches of reflector tape on my frame topped off with a Planet Bike Red Light and a Cygolite Rear Hotshot light to the rear.

    If I was about 1,000 feet higher in altitude, most people would have thought that I was a helicopter coming by.

    I stopped, picked up my bike, rotated it and yelled, “What more can I do, you should not be driving if you cannot see me!”

    In such a case, I would need this device to defend myself.

    I never joke about what I have said in the past. I used to say, “I have this awful premonition about seeing my on my bike in the street on the ground with all of these lights on and blinking, my vest and reflectors shining in the police strobes, and hearing how the driver tells the police, “I did not see him.”

    Very scary to say the least.

    1. Joel, yes, I totally agree with you. The “I didn’t see you excuse” is so common. Right dear driver, you didn’t “see” me, because you weren’t looking. My husband just told me a story the other day of a driver going through a school zone and nearly running over the principle who was standing in for the crossing guard that day. The driver nearly hit the principle, who was in the cross walk, so the principle hit the car with the stop sign. The driver was super freaked out and apologetic. Still, that driver simply wasn’t looking, and in a school zone no less. So yes, the camera could be incredibly useful in those situations, because they are indeed scary. Glad you were ok after your incident.

  2. Matt H says:

    Welcome, Melanie.

    My commute is about as long as yours… I feel your pain (and guilt… well, not that much)

    I love this bicycle “dash cam” concept. Apparently it’s very popular in cars where the authorities and other drivers are less than.. how should we say?…transparent? I’ve seen some pretty hilarious – and shocking – videos as a result.

    But seriously, this sound like a product whose time has come. Too bad.


    1. Thanks, Matt. Yes, the time for the cam has come indeed. That’s unfortunate, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

  3. BluesCat says:

    Melanie – I’ve always enjoyed your articles and reviews. I’m glad to see Ted found somebody as competent as you to step up. And I’m glad you have the time to do it!

    I have a theory about the whole “I didn’t even see you” thing. I think it’s absolutely true: motorists really DON’T see bicyclists because bikes don’t pose a threat. As they cruise around in their cocoons of steel, drivers know instinctively that a collision with a silly little bicycle rider is going to, at most, scratch some chrome or put a little bitty dent in a fender.

    And it doesn’t even have to be a bicyclist: motorists “didn’t see me” all the time when I was riding my motorcycle. When I’m driving my wife’s little Honda Civic, people in big, full sized SUV’s and pickup trucks are pulling out in front of me all the time; I know it is because they “don’t see me.” They NEVER pull out in front of my son when he is driving his full sized Ford Bronco with the big tires and the lift kit (it looks like a monster truck which has escaped from a show).

    So, the theory is: if they’re bigger than you, they’ll never see you.

    1. Thanks, BluesCat! No kidding, right? I feel like my little car is invisible sometimes too. People have tunnel vision when they drive. They just don’t look. There have been studies on where people look when they’re driving, and the huge bulk of drivers don’t use their peripheral vision very much. This probably applies to many cyclists, humans in general, as well. Still, it’s important to be aware of the phenomenon in any case.

  4. K Don says:

    This seems like a good idea, rather than having to turn over a GPS device showing or not showing a slow-down and a heart rate decrease etc. This way every “jersey stop” one might or not might do is not handed over and shown as a 7mph roll through. It might even encourage those of us who ride without any other electronic recording devices to ride a little more responsibly.

    I would love to save some clips of particularly poor driving behavior and share them with traffic cops on a weekly or monthly basis. Not that the cops could really cite everyone who drives like a jerk around cyclists, but my wife would have a pool of likely candidates to start with if I’m FORD (Found On Road Dead).

    That said, I could get a go-pro to fulfill those options, but I’d rather save that money and get another bike or two.

  5. norm says:

    Definitely a “shut up and take my money” moment – off to Kickstarter! Your friend’s idea is fantastic, and I hope they get a product on the street pronto. I want one!

    Also, Melanie, this is my favorite biking website because of the range of topics covered for a wide spectrum of cycling interests. I find commute-biker shaped holes in most other coverage. Keep up the great work!

  6. Doug says:

    Two thoughts:

    1. There should be a button that one can press to permanently save the last 5 minutes or so. That way, as K Don suggests, one can archive poor driving behavior that does not result in an accident.

    2. I would suggest the actual casing be more inconspicuous. I would want to maximize the chance of the video being saved in the case where the bicyclist gets knocked unconscious. If an unscrupulous at-fault driver notices the bright big “RIDEYE” letters next to an unresponsive fallen bicyclists, that could trigger the thought of the incident being caught on film and perhaps induce the driver to destroy the evidence.

  7. john says:

    Don’t waste your money on a Rideye camera. They are total crap. I am now on my third one, the first two having been returned and replaced.

    The cameras will just quit working. You will get mixed help from their service department. Some will be polite, other times it will be patronizing.

    I wish this camera worked because it has exactly the features I want. But it doesn’t.

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