Use helmet camera footage to punish bad driving, police urged

Small amount currently used due to quality of evidence rules

The CTC are pressing the police to produce guidelines so helmet camera footage capturing bad driving can be used to punish antisocial motorists.

Chris Peck, campaigns and policy coordinator at the cycling charity, said they knew a large volume of footage had been submitted to the London Metropolitan Police's RoadSafe programme - which allows the public to flag antisocial driving in the capital - but that only a small amount has been used in prosecutions.

Helmet camera footage may be rejected because it fails to meet quality of evidence rules. Either because it's submitted late, it doesn't show events or the people involved clearly, or doesn't reflect how an incident unfolded.

With numbers of cyclists wearing helmet or bar mounted action cameras increasing, Peck said the CTC urged the Met "several months ago" to draft guidelines so cyclists could upload video footage that complied with rules governing quality of evidence. Despite repeated reminders, they're yet to see a draft from the Met.

Peck told BikeRadar: "We would really like to see police accepting some of these reports of careless driving caught on helmet cams and doing something about them."

On-the-spot fines with little enforcement

Last month, new rules came into force giving police powers to hit motorists with on-the-spot fines for careless driving practices including close overtaking and pulling out at a junction without care. But both the CTC and the Police Federation said declining numbers of traffic police meant the rules would be hard to enforce. Helmet cams could offer some mitigation for there being fewer police officers on the beat.

Peck added: "We have asked them [the Met] about this particular issue about Fixed Penalty Notices coming in and so far they've said they've said they don't think they're going to be able to accept helmet cam footage.

"We will continue to work to try and persuade them that this the way of dealing with some the most egregious cases."

BikeRadar have asked the Met for an interview or statement but they have yet to respond.

Steve White, vice-chairman of the Police Federation, which represents more than 120,000 officers nationally, said helmet cam footage could be a useful tool in the fight against antisocial driving.

He said: "The rules of evidence are there and they're pretty clear in terms of use of best evidence. If there is clear photographic evidence – whether videos or stills of offences - then yes of course the police need to use that and they assess it and they use it appropriately.

Helmet cam footage can backfire on the cyclists who capture it. In early August, a video emerged of a helmet cam-wearing Nottingham rider who was knocked off his bike by a car whose occupants – on their way to a funeral – got out and started shouting at him and asking if he had a death wish. The Guardian later reported that police told the cyclist he was at least partially to blame for the incident.

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