Saturday, 1 October 2011

What's that camera doing on your head (Part 2)?

It has been nearly 15 months since I last answered this question.  Since then I have filmed two incidents that have resulted in prosecutions in the Magistrates' Courts (neither yet concluded) and have some footage of a collision which could be useful in the event that liability for the damage becomes an issue.  The camera, modest as it is, has served a useful purpose.
Alas, I did not have my camera when I was assaulted on a Sunday club run but I read from The Dartford Messenger that as a consequence of helmet camera footage, the man who assaulted a cyclist in Bexley has been convicted and punished.  This follows the conviction of a motorist in Manchester of assaulting a cyclist and driving without due care as reported in The Manchester Evening News.  There is no doubt that neither criminal would have been brought to justice without helmet camera footage.  Incidently the Bexley case leads me to nominate for judicial hero of the year District Judge Roger Ede who commented that:
“Cyclists are very vulnerable and they feel exposed and feel threatened when a car comes too close to them.  Car drivers need to respect cyclists and understand that.”
 Using a camera does though court a degree of controversy, even amongst the odd fellow cyclist.  Some argue that those with cameras go out 'looking for trouble' or that they 'bring trouble on themselves', or that their expectation that the laws there to protect them be obeyed and enforced is insufferably self-righteousness.  Others claim that they avoid all trouble through their superior riding skills and calm state of mind.  I find it difficult to accept that any cyclist would look for trouble; there is simply too much at stake, and I am frankly astonished at how ready some people are to  blame cyclists for any dangerous driving or other aggression that takes place around them.  We surely want more people to take to cycling and they will, by definition, start off as inexperienced.  How many will persevere in the face of experiences like the following?

It is impossible to convey how intimidating this is without camera footage and I defy anybody to explain how this is the fault of anybody but the lorry driver's, or how calm acceptance on the part of the cyclist (that's me) of current conditions on the roads would have helped prevent this.
I do not see how it can be anything but good for all cyclists to have this standard of driving brought to the driver, his employer's and the police's attention.

UPDATE 19.01.12.  Since I wrote the above both the Magistrates' Court cases mentioned above have been concluded.  Scott Lomas was convicted of a Public Order Offence committed near Hounslow and charges were dropped against Christopher Bootle for (alleged) inconsiderate driving in Staines because on review of the file it was discovered that the necessary notice of intention to prosecute had not been served.

1 comment:

  1. Sadly, I regard a camera as vital safety equipment, on a par with my lights and helmet. When I am wearing my camera I ride with the confidence that I am no longer subject to the laissez-faire attitude of "it's your word against his" should an accident happen. This is not to be confused with going looking for trouble. And on one occasion, the presence of the camera has deterred a driver's verbal threat from becoming a physical one.