A motorist who nearly hit a cyclist then claimed to police that he had not been driving the vehicle has been jailed thanks to video footage taken by the rider.
Police discovered that the person Kyle Walsh said was behind the wheel during the incident in Sunderland on 19 April 2019 could not possibly have been driving it at the time – because he was on remand in prison at the time.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that the cyclist was riding on Suffolk Street in the Hendon area of the city when a VW Passat went past him at high speed on the wrong side of the road.
When he reviewed the rear-facing camera footage afterwards, he saw the vehicle weaving in and out of traffic, with the driver almost causing a crash.
He submitted the footage to Northumbria Police, who have posted it to Facebook here, and who identified Walsh as being one of the named drivers on the policy under which the vehicle was insured.
They sent the 33-year-old a fixed penalty notice, but he returned it claiming that an associate of his had been driving – despite that individual being on remand when the incident happened.
Reviewing the footage, police identified Walsh as being the person at the wheel, and interviewed him under caution.
On Monday, he was jailed for six months at Newcastle Crown Court after being convicted of dangerous driving and perverting the course of justice. He was also banned from driving for 12 months, beginning with the date he is released from prison.
Chief Inspector Mick Hall from Northumbria Police’s Motor Patrols Department said the case highlighted the importance of submitting dashcam and other video evidence to the police.
“This footage speaks for itself,” he said. “The driving on display was appalling and it is by luck, not judgement, that nobody was injured.
“Walsh was travelling at high speeds and into oncoming traffic on what was a minor road in an area where there is a high number of pedestrians.
“But when he was reported for his offences, he refused to take responsibility and tried to squirm his way out of a criminal prosecution.
“Ultimately his lies have seen him put behind bars and that would not have been possible without the cyclist in this case submitting his head-cam footage.
“His vigilance has taken a dangerous driver off the roads and, if that driver had not been stopped, then it could have been a matter of time before someone was seriously injured or killed.
“If you have a head-cam or dash-cam, and capture dangerous or reckless driving, then please send that footage to us,” he added. “This case shows we will take action.”
As we reported last week, the National Police Chiefs’ Council has urged police forces throughout England & Wales to adopt seven principles relating to how they process video footage submitted by members of the public, with the aim of achieving consistency across forces, underlining the role that such footage can play in reducing road danger.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.