VIDEO

More cyclists fitting bikes with cameras to collect evidence

Mr Dennis Cheong, 44, started using an old smartphone to record his journeys about six months ago. He places it on a pouch at the back of his bicycle and plans to put another handset on the front. -- ST PHOTO: ROYSTON SIM
Mr Dennis Cheong, 44, started using an old smartphone to record his journeys about six months ago. He places it on a pouch at the back of his bicycle and plans to put another handset on the front. -- ST PHOTO: ROYSTON SIM

Recording devices are used to collect evidence in case of an accident

You have heard of dashboard cameras in cars. Now, it is the turn of the bicycle-cam.

Bikes fitted with video-recording devices are becoming an increasingly common sight on Singapore’s roads.

Riders use them to gather evidence if they get into an accident – amid an apparent rise in the number of bicycle-related insurance claims.

Research fellow Dennis Cheong commutes by bike every day from his Toa Payoh home to his office in Buona Vista. He started using an old smartphone to record his journeys about six months ago.

The 44-year-old fixes it to the rear of his bicycle and plans to put another handset on the front.

“This is to collect evidence, in case I need to show proof,” he said. “If a car honks at me, I can play back the recording to find out why.”

However, he said the most important thing was for cyclists to ride defensively, anticipate potential dangers and avoid them.

First Principal Financial chief executive Mohamed Salim has also mounted a portable camera on his bicycle. He said he started doing so for “security, in case something happens”. Several of his cyclist friends have bought cameras for their bikes as well.

Mr Mohamed – who manages BikInsurance, an insurance scheme for cyclists – started using a camera after his son was sideswiped by a car while riding on Nicoll Highway.

The 18-year-old suffered bruises, but the culprit was arrested after a bus driver who saw the accident offered to provide video footage from his vehicle.

Over the past few years, cycling has grown in popularity as a sport and a mode of transport.

At the same time, the number of accident claims involving bicycles appears to be rising. Insurer AIG handled 156 cases last year, more than double the 77 it dealt with in 2010.

Fatalities are also up slightly. Sixteen cyclists were killed on the road last year, compared with 15 in 2011.

Mr Simon Wong, director of international sales for GoPro distributor Streamcast Asia, said the number of cameras sold had risen by 300 per cent a year since 2011.

GoPro cameras are used by riders and these can be mounted on the helmet, body or bicycle.

Retiree George Wong, 58, who uses a GoPro occasionally, said: “It’s a bit like a black box. If you get out of an accident alive, it corroborates what you say.”

roysim@sph.com.sg