Cyclists mounting cameras on bikes for their protection

By Josh Rojas, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, March 25, 2015, 9:35 AM EDT

Many Bay area cyclists are mounting cameras on the front and rear of their bicycles to capture video of road rage drivers as evidence for police, according to Mark Yeager, the owner of St. Pete Bicycle and Fitness.

"More and more cyclists are going to get cameras," Yeager said. "It’s a growing trend."

Yeager said he was one of a group of cyclists who were riding across the Sand Key bridge in Clearwater a couple of weeks ago, when a bus tried passing and got way too close. Another cyclist caught the incident on video and posted it on YouTube.

"I was just surprised to see this bus in the other lane... trying to pass the group of cyclists," he said. "He ended up squeezing into quite a few guys and then continued to pass us again further down the road."

John Thompson, 47, wishes he had cameras mounted on his bicycle when he and a friend, Rebecca Lerant, 44, were struck from behind by a hit-and-run driver on Saturday during the Ride to Recovery. Both cyclists suffered broken bones and were hospitalized.

Police are still looking for the driver of the gold Chevy Trailblazer that witnesses said struck Thompson and Lerant on Pinellas Point Drive in St. Petersburg.

"If it was looking back, it may have done some good," Thompson said. "But looking forward, I don’t know if it would’ve captured anything because I was absolutely blindsided."

Yeager said that's why it's best to have two cameras on a bicycle.

"They’re mounting them on the front of their bikes and on the back," he said. "So, they can get obviously two views of coming and going and it’s been effective."

Thompson said when he recovers from his injuries, he'll likely hit the streets again with cameras mounted to his bicycle.

“I think it’s probably a great idea. Especially, for a hit and run," he said. "I think any evidence that we can give the police to work with would be absolutely fantastic."

“It keeps everybody in check," said Yeager. "If drivers know that cyclists do have these cameras, I think they’re going to be a lot less likely to do the things that they do."