I was asked this question in a discussion forum recently and it forced me to think about it a bit more. I did this without looking at answers to similar questions in other people’s blogs, so that I could produce an honest answer for myself, which I put down as a list of motivations. I thought it was worth posting that list here:
- Learning – I have found it very useful to look back at incidents and see whether I can learn from them. I have also found it very useful to look at other people’s incidents and learn from them. I have also found it useful to get feedback on my own video clips from other experienced cyclists and learn from them. (Actually, it turns out that this has been by far the most valuable aspect.)
- Retribution – yes, it feels good to be able to name and shame drivers who do bad things to me. (And to show some idiotic things cyclists do as well.)
- Evidence – the way our laws work makes it very difficult to claim redress if needed. (See the lawyer’s comments in this One Show clip and the comments in this law firm’s site.) This was my original reason for getting a camera after I experienced a very serious left hook at about 25mph by a driver who then just drove off. It came in handy when a driver accelerated into the back of me and my daughter as we were waiting to enter a roundabout on 30th September 2013.
- Improving the situation – (admittedly in a very small way) I know of a number of cases of cyclists using video evidence to show the employers of appalling commercial drivers what their staff are doing. This often results in drivers undergoing additional training, often compulsory. For an example of how I’ve been able to improve matters as a result of my use of video, have a look at this page.
- Behaviour modification – there are people who claim that the presence of a video camera has the effect of improving the behaviour of drivers. I don’t really know whether this is true, but it seems plausible.
- Documentation – I have been able to use the material from my video cameras to document routes and particular parts of the cycling environment for use in cycle campaigning, in relation both to infrastructure and to road justice.
There may be other reasons, but these are the ones that came immediately to mind.