Helmet-mounted cameras are becoming so effective in combating crime a national cycling charity is telling its 70,000 members how to best use them to assist police prosecutions.
The national cycling charity, CTC, will feature an article on how to best "capture the right type of evidence when making a complaint to the police" in the forthcoming issue of its magazine, Cycle, published in October. The story will be accompanied by a series of camera reviews.
The article, CTC communications manager David Murray said, was prompted "by a lot of things" and follows an attack on a cyclist in Whitechapel, London, that was caught on a cyclist's head-mounted camera and released to media this week.
Hours after the video was published a 33-year-old man turned himself in to police. The altercation is thought to have taken place several months ago.
Of the CTC's motivations' Murray said: "There's been a few incidents lately where footage has been used to help in cycling cases... and the rise in popularity of helmet cameras."
The video that emerged this week showed a woman in her 40s cycling along Sidney Street as a male pedestrian, who has not been named by police, wandered into her path. She is heard telling him, "Please don't try and knock me off". The man tells her to "shut-up", before chasing her to an intersection where he vocally abuses her and shoves her to the ground.
Murray said cameras give cyclists a "sense of safety" and had increased in popularity over the last 12-18 months as the price of the technology halved. A GoPo is now around £250.
He estimated "hundreds if not thousands" of cyclists used the technology in the UK.
While police were quick to announce the outcome of the incident in Whitechapel they did not want to comment on the role the helmet camera played in motivating the man involved in coming forward.
The issue, a Met spokesman explained after refusing to comment officially, was "too wide" with "too many implications".
Helmet camera footage is often uploaded to YouTube by cyclists well before it is given to police suggesting that having the motorist prosecuted isn't always the motivating factor.
A video from Reading last month, entitled "A Clown Takes A Prat Fall" gained over five million hits. The video shows a cyclist confronting a motorist and accusing him of being "too close" when he overtook him. The pair argue for some time and the video ends with the motorist falling to the ground after trying to kick the cyclist's rare wheel while chasing him on foot.
Its videos like this, Ian Taylor of the Alliance of British Drivers, said that show that some cyclists are "self righteous" and "goad" drivers into misbehaving. He said helmet cameras give motorists the impression that cyclists are "out to get them".
Uploading videos of road rage incidents can also lead to the aggressor, usually the motorist, being victimised by the public.
Stephen Perrin uploaded a video in 2013, which showed him being knocked off his bike, and repeatedly punched by a van driver in Birmingham, but later said he regretted doing so. While not charged by police the motorist involved was publicly identified and trolled.
Perrin told The Guardian at the time: "I put the video online because it needs to be seen, but the grief he and his family have got since from trolls and the like disgusts me."
The consequences of the driver's actions got "out of hand" after former Olympic champion Chris Boardman saw the video and passed on the link to his 80,000 Twitter followers, querying why police didn't lay charges. The motorist was made to apologise to Perrin and pay him compensation.
Perrin said: "The driver has a small business and I don't want to see him run out of town because of the abuse he's getting. Obviously what he did that day was his fault and I do feel there should have been criminal consequences for it, but a few idiots online always take things too far."
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