Look Mum! I’m On TV!

Just as I have been planning various filming projects for RevelatorAlf on YouTube, I am reminded of a growing incidence of road accidents, many involving motorcycles whereby the accident…or at least one particular view of the accident has been caught on camera.

Over many years there has been growing development and use of filming equipment to capture a motorcyclist’s riding prowess or antics either from remote or onboard filming equipment. Since the dawn of home movies, someone…somewhere has been taking footage of riding or driving and whilst capturing an accident on film has not been the motivation for filming, nonetheless many incidents have been caught on film as the cameras continue to roll during the ensuing chaos.

Certainly over recent years with the development of the affordable sports cameras, many riders are taking onboard footage and uploading it online to ‘show all’ their ride and more recently many riders are recording their rides so that, in the event, of an accident, they may have footage that can demonstrate culpability.

The ‘YouTube’ generation of film makers do provide countless examples that the ‘viewer’ can access and form their own opinions and stir varying emotions. Some footage can be educational and instructional or something that falls on the other end of the spectrum, however they do, at times, serve to feed a certain voyeuristic appetite.

Many times we can look at these videos and thank our lucky stars that we were not involved in the incident that we are watching, or even easily condone what we are seeing with a ‘wow’ or a snigger, when probably  most of us would likely condemn the actions in the ‘real world’

Easy to search are the examples of riders who film their speedometer and who attempt to achieve their bike’s top speed on motorways or country roads, and those who film overtaking or filtering (lane splitting) at very high speeds, and let us not forget the riders who film their own stunts…wheelies or stoppies, etc. 

Although we can get footage of an accident, it is very rare that we as viewers get access to footage of what happens next! The injuries or fatalities and the whole emergency response and hospitalisation and months of treatment and therapy. For this reason, most of the viewers are disconnected and not emotionally attached to what they are seeing on screen, or are not invited to consider the potential repercussions.

This is not necessarily a bad thing as it does protect the viewer from certain horrific realities, however it also does perpetuate this disconnection and does not promote ‘responsible film making’

I am not saying that these movie clips should not be made, or even censored…far from it! I am merely saying that when a viewer chooses to watch these they may wish to consider beyond the footage. Likewise, the film maker may wish to consider the consequences of their riding actions and also how this footage may be perceived by others. I know!…This all sounds rather ‘holier than thou’ but it certainly isn’t meant to be. 

Many accidents over recent years, and this is potentially a growing trend, have involved motorcycles or motorcyclists that have sports cameras either mounted to the bike or helmet. As discussed, many motivations are to capture the ‘thrill of the ride’ and whilst no link has been proven that the act of filming is causing accidents, however there might be a link between the motivation for filming and the monitoring of filming.

For example; if the reason to mount a camera was to film riding at very high speeds on a public road, then there is a certain increase in probability that the rider will either lose control under high speeds or under hard braking or will not be able to take avoiding action to prevent an accident. 

There is also a higher probability that the rider will be distracted from their riding actions because they are considering whether their riding will look good on film…‘The Director Effect’ if you will! The rider, now does not ride fast…for the ride, but now rides fast for the film, hence the psychology has changed.

Similarly riders who mount cameras just in case they are involved in an accident, may inadvertently be engaging in a self fulfilling prophecy. E.g. a rider may approach a junction and a car may emerge from the side road into the path of the motorcycle. The rider may take the avoiding action, but may also be considering; ‘I’ve got this taped’… ‘I can prove you were in the wrong’, which leads to split attention which can create a scenario whereby the rider does not take adequate action to avoid having a collision with the car, hence the psychology has altered the ability of the rider.

Is this stretching the accident causation somewhat? Well, maybe a little! However riding and distraction is never a good combination and there have been countless accidents whereby the riders were filming for a particular reason or for a ‘new stunt’ that they were recording.

If the motivation for filming was absent, would the motorcyclist still ride in a particular way, at a certain speed, on a particular road, etc. The question is whether the rider would still have had the accident even if they had not mounted a camera and wanted to film a ride. That is the Matrix!

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