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And will it do them any good if they are?

Cyclists were the first British road users to use action cams to record their encounters with other road users, and we’ve all seen terrifying footage of Russian road lunacy. Now it seems British drivers are picking up dash-cams in a bid to prove that everyone else on the road is a menace — and especially cyclists.

According to Paul Gallagher and Rachael Kitson in the Independent, sales of dash-board mounted cameras are booming as drivers seek to record evidence of altercations with cyclists and other road users.

Halfords saw a 150 percent increase in sales of dash-cams over Christmas, though it’s estimated that only 3 percent of drivers are using one. A spokesman for Electronics website Digi4u said: "The product is particularly popular among taxi drivers who use it to monitor their on-call drives and use the video as evidence in insurance claims in case of an accident."

And despite the Independent’s initial comment that drivers are using cams to monitor cyclists, it seems that other drivers and insurance are bigger concerns.

Halfords in-car technology manager Alec James said: "Following an incident people are often reluctant to admit guilt and risk losing their no-claims discount. In addition, the surge in fraudulent 'crash for cash' claims is causing genuine concern among innocent drivers. The range of recording devices we now offer means that we can provide drivers with the means to produce evidence."

The police are quite keen on the idea too. Paul Marshall, Suffolk's deputy chief constable, said: "Increasing use is being made by the public of digital cameras to record evidence of offences which can be used by the police to support prosecutions. This is welcomed by Association of Chief Police Officers as quite often the only evidence available is an eyewitness account which is disputed by the alleged offender."

Our tame freelance motoring journo, Jamie Fretwell can see why drivers might want to be using dash-cams though. He said: “Cyclists and motorists have to share Britain's roads, and perhaps drivers have seen an increasing number of cyclists armed with helmet cameras and decided to play them at their own game.

“The only cyclists who will complain about motorists filming them are those who are jumping red lights or breaking the rules of the road. Those who have nothing to hide needn't worry about being filmed.“

So can we expect lots of video evidence helping police nail bad drivers and erven bad cyclists? Drivers relying on dash-cam footage might be in for frustration and disappointment if the experiences of cyclists with helmet cam evidence are anything to go by.

At the end of last week, Chi Yong La was told by the Metropolitan Police that they planned to take no action against the moped rider who allegedly attempted to kick Chi off his bike on January 16, even though Chi had clear helmetcam footage of the incident. Police said a “lack of independent witnesses” meant there was no “realistic prospect of achieving a successful prosecution”.

The police have as yet taken no action against the passenger of a white Audi who appears to have pushed a rider off his bike in Farringdon two weeks ago. Helmetcam footage of the incident from a witness clearly shows the car’s registration, and the rider involved has made a complaint, but a police spokesman said no arrest has been made.

In 2010, the authorities declined to take action against a driver caught on camera threatening to kill cyclist Martin Porter. Martin is also a senior lawyer who blogs as the Cycling Silk, but it nevertheless took two formal complaints about the handling of the incident before a prosecution occurred. The driver, Scott Lomas, was fined £250 and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge as well as costs of £300 after pleading guilty to the offence of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

45 comments

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mowatb [20 posts] 2 years ago
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I have no problem with this. I get disgruntled at bad cyclists too, they give cyclists a bad name & predudice drivers against us.

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Wolfshade [191 posts] 2 years ago
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Increasing use is being made by the public of digital cameras to record evidence of offences which can be used by the police to support prosecutions. This is welcomed by Association of Chief Police Officers as quite often the only evidence available is an eyewitness account which is disputed by the alleged offender.

Worryingly, it is either acceptable evidence or it is not. The Police or CPS should not be able to pick and choose what is and isn't acceptable. If a dash mounted one on a cab is enough to prove liability, why is not a noggin mounted one also not sufficient?

Indeed, it is this sort of double speak that we hear that makes us lose faith in the policing. Or is it a case of one rule for motorists and another for cyclists, after all we don't pay road tax  35 29

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Elcustardo [8 posts] 2 years ago
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" drivers seek to record evidence of altercations with cyclists and other road users."

Such inflammatory language. The majority of drivers have them to prove fault in a collision. That's it. No need for war cries

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Chuck [556 posts] 2 years ago
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mowatb wrote:

I have no problem with this. I get disgruntled at bad cyclists too, they give cyclists a bad name & predudice drivers against us.

I'm sort of with you here, but it still makes me a bit uneasy. I suspect a lot of drivers, and the people who might end up looking at these videos, will basically be ignorant of cycling and so will lump in perfectly acceptable stuff like taking the lane with bad stuff like RLJing. The Clarkson twitter thing and the ASA ruling spring to mind here.

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sean1 [175 posts] 2 years ago
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Another Daily Mail-esque headline ;  37

"Are drivers tooling up with dash-cams to catch naughty cyclists?"

Answer: NO

Are drivers using dash-cams to record accident and collisions for insurance/legal purposes?

Answer: YES

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ThatBritishBloke [21 posts] 2 years ago
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"The police are quite keen on the idea too. Paul Marshall, Suffolk's deputy chief constable, said: "Increasing use is being made by the public of digital cameras to record evidence of offences which can be used by the police to support prosecutions. This is welcomed by Association of Chief Police Officers as quite often the only evidence available is an eyewitness account which is disputed by the alleged offender."

Except when you're being kicked by moped riders?

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georgee [167 posts] 2 years ago
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I read that on the weekend, there is no evidence other than conjecture in that article. It's a pretty shameless attempt by the Independant to stir up the whole car vs drivers debate.

If anything Road.cc should be highlighting the papers useless press rather than the near fictional subject!

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jacknorell [971 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm not quite sure what this means, but take it as them recording their driving while on the meter?:

"The product is particularly popular among taxi drivers who use it to monitor their on-call drives..."

That would be convenient, as they usually keep their lunatic driving for when they're NOT having paying fares in the cab.

Loving the quote from Suffolk's deputy chief constable regarding video evidence, and it being appreciated by the ACPO, "as quite often the only evidence available is an eyewitness account which is disputed by the alleged offender." Could someone clue in the Metropolitan Police?

Overall, I wonder how many drivers' own video evidence will end up nailing them for cr*p driving?

And... you guys at Road.cc, maybe tone it down a bit... Sensationalist headline and write-up.

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newbie roadie [12 posts] 2 years ago
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"The product is particularly popular among taxi drivers who use it to monitor their on-call drives and use the video as evidence in insurance claims in case of an accident."
In my experience, whilst driving and cycling. Taxi drivers are usually the worst offenders, when it comes to bad 'road etiquette'. And while I just try to keep my head down and concentrate on my own behaviour, I can understand how things can get quite heated. Especially after some behaviours I've witnessed during my first year of road cycling. Quite a few times I've had my patience tested.

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Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
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As a lorry driver, hauling for a blue chip company (which are often targets for the "cash for crash" boys) I've been using a dash cam for years. In fact, many trucks have two, one facing forward and one facing the driver. I think they're a good thing, as they can also monitor the road manners of the truck driver, in addition to keeping tabs on what's going on outside the cab. You even find them on some trailers, so you can keep an eye on the vehicle behind you.

There is nothing to fear if you are a good driver.

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spatuluk [27 posts] 2 years ago
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Well.. road.cc took the Independents bait, hook, line, and sinker!

Strange as it may seem, motorists have more problems with other motorists than they have with cyclists. The cams are to catch ALL naughty road users.

They're a good thing, believe it or not. If everyone knows they're being watched, they'll be less likely to drive like morons, which can only be a good thing for cyclists.

But, you know.. don't let that get in the way of sensationalism. I think I'll stop visiting this site now.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1240 posts] 2 years ago
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spatuluk wrote:

Well.. road.cc took the Independents bait, hook, line, and sinker!

Strange as it may seem, motorists have more problems with other motorists than they have with cyclists. The cams are to catch ALL naughty road users.

They're a good thing, believe it or not. If everyone knows they're being watched, they'll be less likely to drive like morons, which can only be a good thing for cyclists.

But, you know.. don't let that get in the way of sensationalism. I think I'll stop visiting this site now.

Can't you just bracket out the sensationalism? Just as one has to with the unique 'spin' papers like the Independent (which is a very different paper to what it once was) and the Mail put on stories?

Anyway, I doubt these dashcams will allow us to catch up with Russia with respect to jaw-dropping youtube driving videos. We just can't compete in that regard.

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ribena [179 posts] 2 years ago
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These cameras mostly seem to be of use in civil claims.

Unfortunately, a lot of the aggression and bad driving doesn't result in a financial loss (close pases, verbal abuse, punching/kicking) so they aren't that useful unless the police prosecute on video evidence, which they don't appear to do.

Hence the youtube shaming...

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twinklydave [27 posts] 2 years ago
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It's a good thing surely?

The cameras will record any poor road use, irrespective of who is doing it...even if that person be the driver of the car with a camera in, thus promoting sensible driving, hurrah!  1

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nod [68 posts] 2 years ago
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It's the fucking Daily Mailism in people today. The "red light jumping is breaking the law!" moaners are the same jobsworths who won't serve you an egg mcmuffin at 11.05am but think making a short phone call while driving is okay.

Look at pedestrians - they shouldn't be crossing the streets away from crossings or when the man is red, but they do! So, where's the campaign against them?

As for cameras, I'd use a camera to protect myself against dangerous driving, not so I can report them to the teacher like we're back in primary school.

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levermonkey [669 posts] 2 years ago
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Pedestrians like cyclists are "By Right" users of the public highway (i.e. they do not require a licence). Why shouldn't a pedestrian cross where and when he likes? Provided he has carried out checks and does not endanger anyone by his actions, why not?

It doesn't matter in my opinion who is doing the filming. The more cameras the better. Maybe if the moped rider who kicked the front wheel of a cycle had been filmed by a second person maybe there would be a prosecution.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1240 posts] 2 years ago
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nod wrote:

Look at pedestrians - they shouldn't be crossing the streets away from crossings or when the man is red, but they do! So, where's the campaign against them?

Pedestrians are perfectly entitled to do either of those things. As long as they look before stepping out and use at least a minimal bit of sense. Perfectly legal, and I definitely wouldn't want a situation where people on foot had to 'know their place' and stick to marked crossings at green.

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ron611087 [349 posts] 2 years ago
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Bring it on!

I use a camera, and there is one thing drivers will learn. They record their own behaviour as well as everyone elses, and if they are crap drivers they will incriminate themselves. Remember Richard Nixon?

For that reason I would love to see every motorist compelled to carry a camera.

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oldnslowly [8 posts] 2 years ago
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More cameras are good. Thinly of the joy, you've just been wiped out by a car, you pick yourself up and hear the shout from behind " that was outrageous mate, I've got it on video....."

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Argos74 [408 posts] 2 years ago
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No problems with cameras in cars. I managed to get seriously fed up with serial cash-for-crash scam artists/solicitors, and their lousy attempts to phish for information. Drivers are getting fed up as well, and it's worth the trade off for the cost of the camera against protecting their no claims discount.

No problem with being filmed either, as long as I get royalties if it's used it as a instructional video for aware, defensive riding.

Make 'em compulsory? Now there's a thought.

"Hello hello hello. Driving licence, insurance documents and dashcam hard drive please."

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paulmcmillan [97 posts] 2 years ago
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They'll have footage of a lot more law breaking motorists than law breaking cyclists.  41

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oozaveared [941 posts] 2 years ago
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Elcustardo wrote:

" drivers seek to record evidence of altercations with cyclists and other road users."

Such inflammatory language. The majority of drivers have them to prove fault in a collision. That's it. No need for war cries

I agree entirely. Anyone buying a cam and going to all the trouble of using it, just to vid a cyclist being naughty has issues. If there is an upsurge it's because what used to be straightforward insurance claims now get extremely litigious because of the money some people want to make as an earning opportunity and because of the wild claims they make in order to muddy the waters on blame. The tiniest little shunt and people claim whiplash. They rear end you and claim you pulled an emergency stop. Stuff like that. £200 for a cam is money well spent.

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Cauld Lubter [135 posts] 2 years ago
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"Lack of independent witnesses"?
Odd that; otoh, a polis speedometer is taken as a witness when they want to bust you for footing it along the road. Strange are the ways of the Law.

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MartyMcCann [240 posts] 2 years ago
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Betteridge's law in action, Road.cc?

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Cyclist [295 posts] 2 years ago
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Ref cam footage, a precedence has been set, any good solicitor will now get it thrown out.. And as we have no plates wear helmets and shades etc you prove it is '?' Whoever on grainy footage, Christ you can try and kick someone off a bike with a number plate on your back and they aren't interested so numpty cyclists have nothing to worry about at all. Annoyingly.

Q has to be asked though about the old bill that are wearing shoulder cams that are the same cams as most cyclists use. The police are giving people lots of ammo to throw back at them.... Silly silly plod.

Car cams they can fill their boots, because I will use it against them if they drive like twats.

Works both ways.

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oozaveared [941 posts] 2 years ago
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mowatb wrote:

I have no problem with this. I get disgruntled at bad cyclists too, they give cyclists a bad name & predudice drivers against us.

It may also serve to educate some motorists. I have in mind the Clarkson leaning out of a car to video a cyclist (quitr rightly) talking the lane, and the nonsense with the ASA last week. It might be quite amusing to be a fly on the wall at the police station as people wander in to deliver damning video evidence of cyclists obeying the highway code. A code with which many motorists are about as familiar as they are with the novels of Proust.

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Gordy748 [110 posts] 2 years ago
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Really, really poor example of journalism, Road.cc. The kernel of truth in your article lie in the third and fourth paragraphs. Insurance and liability for accidents is often challenged in court, where if one cannot provide supporting evidence, then you're often out of luck.

Besides, the chances of using on-dash cameras to prosecute cyclists has a fatal flaw; how can you identify one pair of black lycra-clad buttocks from another in a line up?

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ironmancole [322 posts] 2 years ago
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Given the reluctance we've just read about for the CPS to prosecute the murderous attempts of the moped rider all caught on camera will there be a specialist department set up to deal with the hours of footage that will no doubt swamp them and can they be arsed to act anyway?

My own experiences have left me in little doubt that the roads are one of the last bastions of utter lawlessness in the UK with a wild west approach of every man for himself.

Cameras should be a permanent fixture in every car with tamper proof recording accessible in the event of 'an accident' or as I like to call them, a completely avoidable incident for want of common sense, decency and patience.

Have to laugh at cams being bought to monitor the cyclists, as ever the twigs are focused on and victimised whilst the great boughs come crashing down doing the real damage completely unchecked.

How will the CPS deal with the inevitable challenges to so called evidence anyway, the legal companies specialising in keeping the nutters out there on the road will present such an obstacle that the CPS will no doubt throw the case due to the likely drawn out cost stating it's 'not in the public interest' or similar.

Result = the roads stay filled with lethal people freshly reminded that they can do pretty much whatever they want.

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MrGear [87 posts] 2 years ago
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Elcustardo wrote:

" drivers seek to record evidence of altercations with cyclists and other road users."

Such inflammatory language. The majority of drivers have them to prove fault in a collision. That's it. No need for war cries

Exactly. It's not usually about cyclists, but about scumbag drivers. Example here: http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&f=70&t=1226016&mid=6643...

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Sedgepeat [93 posts] 2 years ago
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This is utter rubbish and reveals the two mindsets. Cyclists seem to have adopted head cams to video others transgressing.

Drivers have adopted them for protection and defence.

Two main events have caused this. 1) The crash for cash scam and 2) The most important, careless driving by fixed penalty. We are advising all drivers to fit them now. If it wasn't careless before, how does FP suddenly make it so? FPs had never ever been used nor were they intended for subjective issues. Careless driving on the subjective whim of a PC with the usual coercive offers of no points providing we accept the charge & hand over cash to some firm running dishonest courses?

So film everything and your recorded comments prior to and immediately after the event are very good evidence as is any conversations with police.

But never accept these tickets. Make the police prove it every time and make this type of FP an utter failure.
Where does the Indy get its ideas?

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