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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Wear a head-cam to help deter dangerous drivers, police tell cyclists

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yclists should wear head-cams to deter dangerous drivers, according to the country’s top policeman for preventing road deaths.

Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Cox said footage could be reported to police in the same way as CCTV of burglaries or attacks and would help to make the roads safer.

Mr Cox spoke out as he cycled 30 miles around central London with the broadcaster Jeremy Vine, who regularly posts head-cam footage of dangerous incidents as he cycles to work each day, as part of a UK bike ride raising awareness of road danger and raising cash for charity.

During the ride, an HGV was caught on Mr Vine’s head-cam doing a “close pass” of a Met police cycle cop — coming within inches of him, despite the officer wearing a high-visibility police uniform.

Mr Cox said that speeding was the biggest cause of road danger. He told the Standard: “I encourage cyclists to wear head-cam. Head-cam gives an ability for them to be part of the road danger solution. Police certainly can’t solve it on their own.

Det Ch Supt Cox, a former Met roads chief who is the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for fatal collision investigation reporting, said that speeding was the biggest cause of road danger.

He told the Standard: “I encourage cyclists to wear head-cam. I think head-cam gives an ability for them to be part of the road danger solution. Police certainly can’t solve it on their own.

“By galvanising the public, in much the same way as you would report a burglary, sexual assault or violence, [they can come] forward if they have CCTV or dashcam or headcam [footage].

“Drivers, if they don’t see a police car and don’t see a police camera, sometimes might push by [a cyclist] or do something they otherwise wouldn’t do.

“But if they know anybody can report them, I think that will have a deterrent impact and make people think about their driving. Therefore cyclists having headcams is a massive deterrent.”

Jeremy Vine and DCS Andy Cox, second from right, plus RoadPeace supporters prepare to set off from TfL’s Palestra HQ

/ Ross Lydall

Three people have been killed cycling in London in 2022. There have been at least another 12 pedestrian road deaths.

Across the country, an average of five people are killed and 60 injured every day on UK roads.

In 2021/2022, the Met enforced 476,685 speeding offences, 199,105 more than in the previous year – an increase of 72 per cent.

Det Ch Supt Cox, who is raising money for the charity RoadPeace, which works with victims, said: “The vast majority of drivers are safe, sensible and lawful. This is about a hardcore who present risk to other road users.

“Sometimes it’s about their patience. They might be behind the cyclist and think they have an absolute entitlement to get by.”

He added: “Less cars on the road equal less danger, in my view. That is borne out by statistics showing that driving is the fundamental cause of road danger.

“Cycling should be seen to be safe. It’s about changing the driving culture to make people be able to go and enjoy cycling.”

Mr Vine said cycling in London was “getting safer, for sure”. He said: “London is safer than Devon, which is the other place I cycle. It’s amazing the work they have done. But there are some big issues.

“There are dangerous junctions, like Holborn – and you can see that is dangerous from space – and Kensington.

“Kensington [and Chelsea council] have made it clear that they don’t like cyclists. They put in a cycle lane [on High Street Kensington] and ripped it out after seven weeks. Now my commute is more dangerous as a result.”

But he said the CS9 segregated cycle lane in Chiswick had been a “roaring success”.

Mr Vine said: “It’s been fantastic. It means that kids can cycle up their own high street without their parents, almost at any age. It’s taken 10 years to build but that is fine – it is very nearly open.”

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