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Highway Code changes: video submissions made to police rise as cyclists urged to report law-breaking drivers

“The police can’t be everywhere all the time, but the public can be,” says national road crime lead DCS Andy Cox

Submissions to police of video evidence of poor driving have risen since the Highway Code was updated at the end of January according to dashcam manufacturer Nextbase, which also operates the portal many forces use to allow people to upload footage.

Meanwhile, Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Cox of Lincolnshire Police, who is the national lead on fatal collision investigation reporting  at the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) says that “the police can’t be everywhere all the time, but the public can be” – and is urging cyclists to use cameras on their helmets or handlebars to catch law-breaking drivers.

Our own Near Miss of the Day feature now runs to more than 750 articles. Not all of the videos we have shown in the series have resulted in action being taken against the driver, but many have – including some cases where footage has been re-examined after being highlighted on road.cc.

Speaking to Telegraph.co.uk, DCS Cox – who also raises funds through charity runs and bike rides for the road collision victims’ charity RoadPeace – said: “It’s an individual choice, and it’s a choice to report any footage that they may capture. 

> How can road violence against cyclists be stopped? DCS Andy Cox on episode 7 of the road.cc Podcast

“But the feedback I have from cyclists and drivers, who find some of the driving standards unacceptable and are deeply frustrated by it, is that they welcome the opportunity to provide footage for us.”

Bryn Brooker of Nextbase told the newspaper that submissions through its portal had risen since changes to the Highway Code – including a Hierarchy of Road Users aimed at protecting the most vulnerable, and motorists being advised to leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists – were introduced in late January.

He said that whereas drivers who put other road users at risk “just got away with it,” the availability of footage from dashcams in cars or through videos shot by cyclists mean it is now easier to bring law-breakers to justice.

He added that Nextbase is “really aimed at dangerous drivers, not drivers who made a simple mistake.”

Police forces across the country have faced a funding crisis since the Conservative and Lib Dem coalition – which also scrapped targets to reduce road casualties – came to power in 2010.

As a result, many roads policing units throughout the UK are under-resourced, making third party footage captured by motorists and cyclists an essential tool in combatting poor driving that puts others in danger.

Cycling UK policy director Roger Geffen told Telegraph.co.uk: “I wish cyclists didn't feel the need to have helmet cameras. The world would be a better place if they didn't feel the need to do so.

“If we want to normalise cycling, not just for the battle-hardened, Lycra-wearing stereotype of cyclists but as a normal thing that grandparents and grandchildren alike can do as a way of getting from A to B, then we need to take dangerous drivers off the road.

“If dashcam and helmetcam footage is part of the means to do that, in the absence of proper road policing, then so be it,” he added.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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