Cyclists call on police to take action based on riders’ own footage of danger drivers

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CYCLISTS are calling for police to prosecute careless drivers from footage caught on riders’ headcams.

Traffic police launched a crackdown on motorists overtaking too closely and snared dozens of drivers using a plainclothes officer equipped with cameras on a bike.

A still from head-cam footage of a car overtaking a cyclist too close

A still from head-cam footage of a car overtaking a cyclist too close

But now cyclists say there should be a system in place for them to submit all such recorded instances and have them reviewed by the force.

Today The News publishes stills from footage of too-close overtaking captured by riders on daily commutes. The force’s current policy means that although it notes reports of such incidents, it is unlikely to take action unless there has been an injury, repeated bad driving or links to other crime. In comparison, West Midlands Police said it has prosecuted more than 250 drivers based on such footage.

Ian Saunders, chairman of Portsmouth Cycle Forum, said: ‘They should accept video evidence for incidents.

‘West Midlands have proved that it can be done, so like the close pass initiative, it should be rolled out across the country too.’

A van coming too close to a cyclist

A van coming too close to a cyclist

But he added cyclists should submit their footage and reports to police so the force can act on intelligence.

‘We need to give the authorities the data and therefore they should be advertising they accept it,’ he added.

Cyclist Freddie Lewis, 63, of Gosport, has reported a number of incidents of drivers overtaking too closely.

In the latest on April 5 in Elson Road, Gosport, Mr Lewis recorded a van coming close on a GoPro camera but was told no action would be taken.

Cyclist Freddie Lewis, 63, of Gosport

Cyclist Freddie Lewis, 63, of Gosport

Police viewed the footage, classed the incident as an assault, but said they would not be investigating further.

Mr Lewis said: ‘I’m absolutely disgusted. As cyclists we’ve got less rights or protection than a dog. If somebody is going to run over a dog they’re going to come after you if you record it.’

When the close pass crackdown launched this month, police said drivers could be prosecuted for careless driving if they were too close.

In a similar incident on September 4 in South Street, Gosport, police told Mr Lewis: ‘Current policy within Hampshire Constabulary is that the majority of collision and driving complaints where no personal injuries are reported are not formally investigated.’

Another still captured by a cyclist's helmet camera

Another still captured by a cyclist's helmet camera

The letter added: ‘The rationale for this approach will be that rather than prosecute the average person that happen to be involved in a one-off incident, police will target those individuals that pose an ongoing risk to either themselves or others.’

A Hampshire police spokesman said reports are recorded so if the incidents can be connected to other reports then action will be taken.

He said: ‘We work regularly with the cycling community to help make our roads safer.

‘This includes the efficient reporting of information that can enable road traffic offences to be investigated thoroughly and fairly.’

He added: ‘Police officers and staff apply a consistent standard to deciding whether video footage can form part of an investigation. This depends on several factors such as the circumstances and types of suspected offence, whether any video evidence is suitable to be used, and the age of any footage.’

Further close-pass operations in Portsmouth are planned, he said.