Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Report those close calls at Road Guardian

A few groups have online incident report pages where you can enter information about a troublespot such as a close encounter with a motorist, and the group will log the involved parties (for possible future litigation or as evidence in a future criminal investigation) or even contact the motorist or forward the information to the police.

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, for example, inherited the PenBiPed's incident report tracker. This tracker has been used in the past to track behavior patterns of aggressive motorists. If multiple incidents are logged against a single vehicle, local law enforcement is contacted.

The Missouri Bicycle Federation has a motorist contact letter. Mo Bike Fed will look up and contact the motorist on behalf of cyclists.

In Colorado, you can dial "*CSP" (*277 for Colorado State Patrol) on your cell phone to report aggressive drivers. Motorists who are identified three times through the hotline receive a warning letter and any additional complaints result in a personal visit from a uniformed officer. You need a license plate number for this to work.

Joe Mizereck has recently created a worldwide incident tracker at Road Guardian. This is a tool cyclists can use to report, mark and share cycling incidents and trouble spots. This site’s value and benefit to the cycling world is dependent upon cyclists taking the time to report their cycling experiences: close calls, collisions, deaths, pot holes, harassment, doorings, etc. Joe is the guy who also created the yellow 3 Feet Please (Warning: Obnoxious audio starts automatically on site load) bicycle jersey with huge block letters asking for "3 FEET PLEASE IT'S THE LAW."


  1. And here's one I prepared earlier ;-) is a similar attempt at a global database of bicycle accidents that I finished up late last year. Unfortunately it didn't gain much publicity outside my local area (Melbourne, Australia).

    After completing BikeBingle I discovered there were already several other similar databases in existence. UK cycling accidents Bike Portland's close calls Even more on the How We Drive Blog I'd hope that the creators of RoadGuardian expose some of the back end workings so that one day the information from all these databases will be accessible from a single location.

    Anyway, it's a great idea and I hope it works out well.

  2. Howdy, Fritz--

    A customer came into a shop where I used to work, complaining that the only people who wouldn't slap his "3 Feet--It's the Law" stickers on their cars were shop employees. I pointed out that he probably hadn't even seen my car, as it spends most of its life in my driveway.

    He asked,"So, you'll put one on your bike if I shrink it down?"

    Damn, I thought, check-mate. I had to come clean (not always a good idea with customers). Personally, I don't like rubbing anyone's nose in The Law. I'm no role model (or roll model), so I'm not putting myself out there as a shining example of The Law. That sticker would have made me feel like a narc--"Back off, buster, or I'm calling five-oh."
    Happy Trails,
    Ron Georg