With police numbers in the UK at a low these last few years, some cyclists have taken the enforcement of road traffic offences into their own hands. Or at least the collection on evidence and reporting via online police portals so that offences don’t go unpunished.
A few weeks ago I attended a Bikeability course with a local instructor in Oxford. During the course, we chatted about local cycle infrastructure and how effective it was and sometimes how dangerous it could be. When I left Sam, my instructor, I was intrigued by the conversation that we had and I went and stood by a busy junction in the city with an Advanced Stopping Line – a green box where cyclists can wait in front of other traffic and wait for the traffic lights to change.
I stood there for ten changes of the lights which took around 15 minutes. In that time I observed 7 vehicles enter the space meant for cyclists whilst the lights were on red. This alone is an issue, and one which I believe carries a fine and points on your licence, but another offence which I observed sent a chill down my spine. People using their mobile phones to text while behind the wheel. Not only can this carry a £200 fine with 6 points on your licence. But many of us will have heard of lives lost due to this behaviour that it is hard to believe how commonplace the practice still is.
All my family cycle – my wife, 9-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. The thought of someone driving into the back of them whilst they were selfishly updating their social media profiles whilst driving is the stuff of my nightmares.
Armed with mounted cameras and a keen eye, a growing number of cyclists are turning the tide on drivers breaking the law at the wheel. Not only are they submitting evidence to the police who in a great many of cases are prosecuting, but they are also posting this evidence to social media, via the likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, which highlights the fact that driving dangerously is socially not acceptable.
Here are a couple of these COPS – ‘Cyclists On Patrol’ and their YouTube Channels.
Is this the future of enforcement?
I keep meaning to get a camera for my bike, but up until now have been putting it off. The amount of drivers who I see on phones whilst driving each day is alarming and that with the close passes and other offences, it’s clear that a group of committed observers and reporters could make a real difference to local road safety.
Just imagine if all cities, towns and villages had a healthy band of volunteers doing this throughout the country. Would we see a reduction in driving offences?
I would love to hear your views. Has CyclingMikey and CycleGaz inspired you to don a camera on your helmet and take to the streets?
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