Motorbike owners ride on in-vehicle camera trend

Mr Dinie Abubakar has been riding a motorbike for the past eight years and has installed cameras on the front and back of his bike.
Mr Dinie Abubakar has been riding a motorbike for the past eight years and has installed cameras on the front and back of his bike.ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

More installing devices on their bikes as protection in case of accidents

It is not just cars that are getting in-vehicle cameras. More motorcyclists are also getting an electronic eye to record their trips.

Retailers said sales of such devices, which can be mounted on motorcycles or on helmets, have gone by up to 30 per cent in recent months. And this is a good thing, according to insurance companies and road safety experts.

Insurance giant NTUC Income even offers a $100 discount on insurance premiums when policyholders submit video recordings that help settle a claim, regardless of which party is liable.

It said that about five per cent of all motor insurance claims it currently receives are accompanied by video, up from about three per cent a year ago.

Its vice-president of motor insurance Peh Chee Keong told The Straits Times: "Video evidence can be useful in reducing discrepancies in statements between parties. It can also assist us if fraud is suspected."

Unique Motorsports, which sells four camera models costing between $329 and $599, said it started seeing an uptrend in sales early last year. Since then, sales have gone up by about 5 to 10 per cent each month. Wow!Gadgets, which started selling one model for $398 only in July, said sales have been increasing by a fifth every month.

Motoworld, another motorcycle servicing and accessory company, sells two cameras which cost $300 and $480. It said sales have been going up by at least 20 per cent annually over the past four years.

"Most of the time, motorcyclists are blamed for accidents. With cameras, there will be evidence when cars don't give way or fail to check their mirrors and blind spots," said Motoworld sales executive Alex Ooi.

"It will be an advantage to motorcyclists to have rear cameras, in the event they get hit from the back," said Singapore Road Safety Council chairman Bernard Tay.

Singapore Safety Driving Centre operations manager Gerard Pereira also supported the use of cameras "as long as it doesn't impede the vision or the judgment of the rider".

Cookie shop owner Dinie Abubakar, 28, who has been riding a motorcycle for eight years, installed cameras to the front and back of his bike 21/2 years ago "to protect myself in case of an accident", he said. "Drivers may not check their blind spots properly and can be impulsive in terms of changing lanes... Some tend to bully riders on the road."

A recent survey on motorcycle safety conducted by local automaker Alife Air Automobiles found that nearly three in four riders have got into an accident before. Motorcyclists who participated in the survey attributed most accidents to their own doing - from poor judgment calls to tailgating and cutting off other vehicles.

Recent Traffic Police figures show that the number of fatalities from motorcycle accidents fell by almost 30 per cent over the past three years, even as the number of registered motorcycles has remained constant at around 144,000.

There were 78 such deaths last year, a decrease from 80 in 2012 and 106 in 2011.

The total number of traffic violations committed by motor- cyclists, however, increased from 21,032 in 2012 to 26,640 last year.

amirh@sph.com.sg