Video cameras being made to monitor cyclists

Video cameras are being developed at Carleton University, designed to monitor the before and after behaviour of cyclists in select spots across Ottawa.

The cameras are already being used on a pilot basis at Stewart St./Waller St./Mackenzie King Bridge, said city spokeswoman Jocelyne Turner.

“We do it to check things out,” said transportation committee chair Marianne Wilkinson, adding it helps solve cycling issues.

“You can actually see the problem happening, so then you can identify more easily what needs to get done.”

The cameras are good news to cycling advocates.

“You can set up all the infrastructure you want, but unless cyclists know how to use it …” said Alex deVries, Citizens for Safe Cycling vice-president.

“Cyclists should follow the intended infrastructure.”

But the footage from cameras might also be used by police when investigating collisions.

“These are not being developed for that purpose,” said Wilkinson.

“Obviously, if there is a collision, the police use every technique they can.”

And privacy doesn’t seem to be an immediate concern.

“Already, in the city we have a lot of cameras that monitor behaviour, so I’m not sure that these would be any different,” said deVries.

“The city does that for all vehicles, and bicycles are just another vehicle.”

Wilkinson said the new equipment will operate like traffic cameras, and may be moved to various locations.

Based on the assessment of the pilot project, more could be added, said Turner.

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