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More Cyclists Should Use GoPro Cameras to Document Accidents

GoPro, the popular pocket camera company that has made more than $117 million in the past three years, just had a highly successful Initial Public Offering. The company, which was founded by Bay Area native Nick Woodman, has become beloved in the world of extreme sports, its product championed by X Games athletes and daredevils like Felix Baumgartner, who recently broke the sound barrier by jumping from a balloon 24.5 miles above earth and capturing it all on film.

But despite the impressive profits, camera sales have reportedly dipped. With the IPO, analysts are wondering how the company will reach beyond the adventure niche it has carved out for itself to become an all-encompassing media giant.

Well, I have one idea for how GoPro can make itself invaluable. Here's a hint: It involves cyclists.

Over the past few years, a different, more practical application for these cameras has come to the fore. Cyclists in San Francisco and other cities have begun strapping GoPros on top of their helmets so they can have a record of any bicycle accidents they might fall victim to. By filming their rides, these savvy cyclists have been able to identify license plate numbers of cars that have hit them, in addition to providing accurate documentation of what may have caused a specific crash.

When a cyclist is involved in an accident, they often have to contend with the pervasive attitude that cyclists are generally irresponsible on the road. People are quick to assume that cyclists are at fault - they must have bobbed or weaved at the wrong time, or ran a traffic light, or coasted through a stop sign - in essence, that they deserved to be hit.

Nothing like a GoPro film to quickly dispel (or affirm) premature conclusions about what might or might not have happened.

In a personal injury case, it is always important to have some kind of representation of the accident. Often times, personal injury lawyers commission accident reconstruction specialists to use their clients' testimony and the other information available to come up with a probable scenario for how an accident might have occurred. Cases often hinge on whether a jury finds the reconstruction offered by the defense more plausible than that put forth by the prosecution.

With GoPro footage, reconstructions can be much more informed, or in some instances, they may not even be necessary in the first place. The GoPro can function as a sort of black box for cyclists, serving as visual evidence in the event of an accident. In particularly bad accidents, the footage from these durable cameras can document what a head trauma victim may not even remember.

I seldom go a day now without seeing someone in San Francisco riding a bike with a GoPro attached to it. There is nothing more a bicycle accident lawyer would rather see more than an actual film of the collision, vindicating his or her client! For those of us who ride bikes we are often presumed guilty--not innocent. Remember: While lawyers can help you get compensation for your injuries, you can also be your own advocate. And who knows, maybe in the future, GoPro can find a new niche in public safety and prove all the IPO naysayers wrong.

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