CVE Founder Presents to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition

The Silicon Valley Bike Coalition recently invited CVE Founder, Craig Davis, to speak on the use of cyclists’ video evidence in bike safety.  The topic was later changed to the role of video surveillance in bike safety, which was unfortunate because, as a staunch privacy advocate, CVE is fundamentally opposed to persistent surveillance.

Simply stated: cyclists’ video evidence is not surveillance.

In the video below, Craig begins by deconstructing and contrasting the elements of cyclist video evidence as completely distinct and separate from the elements of surveillance.  He then shares how cyclists and communities can use cyclists’ video evidence to proactively change dangerous drivers’ behavior before collisions occur.

Our thanks to the SVBC for hosting this important panel discussion.

If you support our work to help create safe, shared streets, please add your thoughts and comments below and donate to help sustain our self-funded organization.

13 Comments

  1. Kitty Goursolle on May 24, 2022 at 9:45 am

    I was extremely sad to see that CVE was not accepted in court. This was a few years ago when Joann, a woman cyclist from Castro valley had recorded an incident on Dublin Canyon Road where someone struck her with a tennis ball from a car moving 50+ miles an hour. She had the whole thing on video. But came to finding the people guilt who did it and charging them with the crime, case was dismissed! After learning of their dismissal I became extremely discouraged with the idea of recording cyclist video evidence.

    • Craig Davis on May 24, 2022 at 10:49 am

      Hi Kitty,

      JoAnne is a CVE member and I worked as her advocate on that case. Her video evidence was accepted, and the Alameda County Sheriff submitted assault charges for all three assailants to the Alameda County District Attorney as documented in our 11/29/17 article. Our 3/27/18 article explained in the title: Assault and Battery Case Dismissed in Felony Armed Robbery Plea Deal. The case was dismissed as part of a felony gun possession plea deal but the cyclists’ video evidence was accepted and served as the basis for the assault and battery charges.

      Everyone should be inspired by this case to always ride with a camera and to submit all of their incident reports to our free Incident Management System.

      Thanks for your comment and please ride with a camera. Nothing would have been charged without the cyclists’ video evidence!

    • JoAnne Lauer on May 25, 2022 at 6:56 am

      Hi Kitty,
      Please take heart that my case set much-needed precedent that the DA charged three people with assault sheerly based on the video evidence collected from my camera. Despite the fact that the adult in the case was subsequently charged with armed robbery and the assault charge was dropped in a plea bargain, the precedent stands – the Alameda County DA pressed charges based on video evidence. And even though the assault charge was dropped, the person did jail time. Please consider this a confirmation that video evidence IS helpful. That cyclists NEED to ride with cameras and report incidents on the CVE free Incident Management System. Craig was super helpful in pushing my case forward, making the entire process much easier for me as the victim. And, every report of accidents or as little as near misses or drivers violating the 3-ft law creates data that can be used to substantiate grant requests to improve cycling infrastructure locally and more broadly. CVE works! And my case was absolutely evidence of that. I highly encourage all cyclists to ride with cameras and report any incidents on the CVE website. Thank you so much for your compassion.

  2. Rob Waring on May 24, 2022 at 10:12 am

    Every law enforcement professional and traffic safety planner needs to see this, especially if they are policymakers. It offers excellent ideas to increase safety, which would encourage more people to cycle. Please send the link to those in your community.

  3. Mark Ward on May 24, 2022 at 11:37 am

    Very happy to hear this conversation taking place. I’ve submitted videos to CVE and very much appreciate Craig being there advocating for us. The times I’ve been actually hit by cars I did NOT have video cameras on my bike and very much wished that I had. For the incidents I did post to CVE (extremely close passes, cars traveling in the opposite direction in my lane as they were overtaking a bike on a blind corner) I did not expect those drivers to be charged but I believe the cycling community needs to build up this database of incidents to give us more weight in these discussions with the community and the law. Every road cyclist has had these frightening experiences – let’s document them!

  4. Bruce Dughi on May 24, 2022 at 4:19 pm

    Concise and thorough analysis as usual. We need cooperation from law enforcement and DAs in order to change dangerous driving behavior before serious injury or death. Police have so much empathy for drivers that they allow drivers to endanger cyclists with impunity. It is soooo frustrating. With elections around the corner, it is time to try some new Sheriffs to enforce laws that already exist.

    I love your comment that collisions are a lagging indicator and a catastrophic failure of all cycling safety measures implemented at the time of the collisions. That really stuck with me as I have recorded so many warnings in the form of dangerously close passes and clear harassments. You know the driver buzzed you intentionally when he honks and then goes out of his way to follow you and then stops in order to confront you. Yet CHP did nothing in this case. They did nothing for several other videos where drivers honk and yell before they execute their dangerous behavior.

  5. Steve Lubin on May 24, 2022 at 4:36 pm

    Thank you Craig for continuing to press policy makers and police to take the safety of cyclists seriously. I am fed up with having my reports of assault and reckless driving ignored.

  6. Glenn Kirby on May 24, 2022 at 11:08 pm

    Why is it that cameras mounted on homes in neighborhoods and cameras mounted on car dashboards are readily accepted as evidence while cameras mounted on bicycles are somehow not seen as credible evidence? Why is it, that when asked about this distinction, law enforcement professionals won’t address the issue directly, but instead say that bicycle video is not a substitute for on-view requirements for officers to issue citations. Or, that surveillance cameras are extremely valuable and are somehow more reliable. The institutional bias against cyclist video evidence and the belief that District Attorneys will not pursue these cases results in inadequate investigations and incomplete reports of incidents involving cyclists, including those involving great injury and death. The result is that even if a DA is persuaded to look at these cases, there is usually not enough detail in the report to prosecute. This was certainly the case in my incident.

  7. Matt Turner on May 25, 2022 at 9:53 am

    As the body of evidence mounts, it is clear that current policy places a low value on the lives and safety of cyclists. A component of the early work on this brought up the idea of jurisdictional risk on the part of cities and agencies who do not give equal protection under the law to cyclists. We are being killed, maimed, and terrorized while those who are responsible for ensuring justice and safety appear to be asleep at the wheel. I suspect that it will take significant punitive legal action on behalf of our community to make real change.

  8. Elaine Salinger on May 25, 2022 at 3:44 pm

    Craig does an excellent job outlining why law enforcement needs to enforce existing laws. I hope everyone will watch Craig’s presentation starting 5 min into the meeting and learn! And then start using a video camera when you ride and start letting law enforcement know when there are violations, with or without injury. Check back and make sure they did an investigation. If not, post it here or contact Craig. But make some noise! Please!

  9. Glenn Kirby on May 25, 2022 at 6:04 pm

    lt Steve D.suggested there were civil resources available to us. Due to the lack of law enforcement support I suggest that CVE finds an activist law firm, such as Dolan Law to partner with to take direct civil action against aggressive drivers. We may be able to work with them to send letters to vehicle owners for evidence of criminal near misses and we should file civil actions against clear criminal actions resulting in harm to cyclists or their survivors. We should also inform law enforcement and DA’s of our intent to pursue civil remedies in lieu of lack of criminal filings for what we consider to be.a pattern of bias against cyclists. If we get a few of these cases before judges and us as a part of our defense that law enforcement is failing to enforce existing law and that our only re purse is through the civil side, perhaps we can make som progress toward enforcement or for strengthening the law in our favor.

    • Craig Davis on May 27, 2022 at 7:32 am

      Hi Glenn,

      We disagree with any strategy that lets law enforcement out of their sworn duty to enforce the laws and somehow transfers that responsibility to the anyone else. We have to hold law enforcement accountable and demand they enforce existing laws for cycling safety.

      My CHP: “Riding a bike on the road is like riding a bike in a shooting range” article explained that insurance companies paid Joy’s young son $6.5 million while the SMCDA refused to charge the driver who killed Joy with anything. Insurance companies do everything in their power to deny claims, yet they accepted the driver was at fault by paying such a huge settlement.

      In the comments of the same article, I explained that I previously worked with the attorney who authored the article discussing civil remedies that Lt. Donoahoe referenced. His name is Josh Cohen. In his article, Josh explained why civil action is a waste of time and limited to those who can afford attorney’s fees.

      We do not need to win civil cases to demonstrate law enforcement is not enforcing the laws. We can simply show their refusal to do anything in all the cases we’ve submitted over the last two years, including your San Bruno assault, reckless driving and hit and run case.

  10. John Scheuerman on June 1, 2022 at 10:30 am

    This is a very informative and helpful video. I highly recommend it for cyclists and policy makers.

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