September 27 2016
Prosecutions based on footage provided by cyclists
West Midlands Police has backed up its words about prosecuting close-passing drivers with action, issuing 14 prosecution notices based on helmet cam footage provided by cyclists.
The force recently signalled a change of tack in a blog post focusing on road traffic collisions involving cyclists. Having analysed several years’ worth of data, it found that in the majority of cycle-related collisions where someone was killed or seriously injured, the cyclist themselves wasn’t to blame.
It therefore concluded that it would be “a waste of our time” to concentrate on cyclist behaviour. “The only way to change driver behaviour and concentrate minds on looking out for vulnerable road users and change driving habits is through enforcement, and the resulting fear of being prosecuted.”
In a tweet published on Monday, the force’s roads policing unit said:
Asked whether the prosecutions had come about as a result of the recently launched initiative in which a cycling officer radios ahead to colleagues after experiencing a close pass, the unit replied: “No these are straight prosecutions from 3rd party camera footage following complaints from cyclists.”
Interestingly this development appears to contrast with the position of the Met Police. Its guidelines relating to submission of video footage of close passes states:
“For prosecution purposes, video evidence can only act as corroboration. This means that you will need to attend a police station and give a written statement and must be prepared to attend court to give evidence in person.
“Videos should not be edited in any way. They must not rely on a perception of distance such as a close pass as the apparent distance will vary according to the type camera and settings.”
West Midlands’ Police’s Roads Policing Unit has also made clear its feelings about the Department for Transport’s new road safety campaign which warns cyclists to ‘Hang Back’ and not get on the inside of a left-turning lorry. 26 Sep