Urban commuting can be a dangerous business – and all cyclists will have tales of a near-miss. But more commuters are turning to helmet-cams in an attempt to capture bad driving and build evidence in order to prosecute motorists.
London stagehand Ben Porter bought a miniature camera to demonstrate to friends and family how dangerous his daily commute could be.
And the 37-year-old caught a van driver red-handed. Porter banged against the side of the van after being squeezed towards the kerb – only to be threatened by the driver brandishing a wrench.
“I think he wanted to teach me a lesson. It wasn’t very nice, but he didn’t notice the camera,” Porter told the BBC.
Porter took the footage to the police and the driver was found guilty of a public order offence and driving without due care and attention and subsequently fined £300, with costs of £150, and given five points on his licence.
RoadSafeLondon is a Metropolitan Police website – although this is the first we’ve heard of it – set up for road users to report bad driving, with cyclists able to select ‘Cycling near miss’ when reporting an offence.
Simon Robertson, armed with a £20 camera from Ebay, was undertaken by a coach while negotiating a roundabout.
“The driver was in the wrong lane and cut right in front of me from the left, forcing me into the lane to my right. I was just lucky there was no car there – it was terrifying,” he said.
Robertson posted the footage on RoadSafeLondon and the coach driver was fined £150 and given three points on his licence.
And DCI Nick Chalmers, who is in charge of RoadSafeLondon, admits it is easier to convict wayward motorists when presented with clear-cut evidence – but footage does not automatically lead to a conviction.
“The greater the number of cameras covering London’s roads the more likely we are to secure a conviction for what are very serious offences,” he said.
“I think head-cams will help produce more considerate driving but video footage does not always show the full picture and the police will only prosecute if the evidence is clear.”
Admittedly, we at RCUK haven’t noticed a flux of helmet-cams on the streets of London – but their presence is inconspicuous. Do you use one? And, if you’re in the capital, have you uploaded any footage to RoadSafeLondon?