Vigilante Cyclist Targets UK Motorists
The Law Of… driving motorists up the wall
A London bus driver has gained notoriety as 'Britain's most hated cyclist' for his campaign of filming motorists allegedly involved in dangerous or illegal driving practices.
Patrick Campbell, a Motoring Offence Solicitor at Simpson Millar, examines the actions of this self-appointed two-wheeled guardian of the highways.
It seems you can't drive anywhere nowadays without the spectre of Big Brother peering over your shoulder, checking you are not engaged in activities that might invite a slapped wrist. You've got Bobbies on the buses, spying from above. You've got speed cameras in bins, spying from a dystopian future. And then you've got a London bus driver, who spends his journeys to and from work – you've guessed it – spying from the saddle of his bike.
Posted To YouTube And Twitter
The cyclist, who records what he judges to be dangerous driving with a 3 camera setup rigged to his helmet and bike, has gained something of a reputation on the streets of Harlow, where he pounds his 'beat' during the daily commute.
Christened by some the 'vigilante cyclist', his actions, which entail posting his video clips to YouTube and Twitter, have led to both verbal and physical abuse from irate drivers. His evidence is also sent to the police and has so far secured 70 convictions.
The crusade began after the cyclist was involved in an accident himself, one that he says the police refused to handle as it was a case of his word against that of the driver who allegedly hit him. Spurred on by this, he set off on a road that has since seen him gain a modicum of fame, with newspaper articles and television crews documenting his activities, while his YouTube and Twitter accounts continue to publish the footage and images of people not yet convicted of any crime.
What Happened To Innocent Until Proven Guilty By A Court Of Law?
"Whatever the rights and wrongs are of secretly filming drivers in this manner, it should be left to the police to handle such matters. For a member of the public to do it and post images and licence plate numbers on social media, when there has been no offence prosecuted and certainly no conviction, is unfair. And let’s not forget this individual isn’t equipped with the knowledge to know whether an offence has been committed or if it can be proven in a criminal Court. More importantly, the more the police accept and rely on such evidence, the more the actions of vigilante, would-be police officers is encouraged"
"The cyclist claims that after he was upended from his own bike by a motorist, he started doing the filming for his own protection. An understandable reaction. But what began as something perfectly reasonable, appears to have warped into this self-righteous crusade, with the bicycle-powered bus driver actively seeking out behaviour he, as a member of the public, deems to be wrong. Behaviour he then, by publishing the details online, acts as judge and jury over."
"Innocent until proven guilty is one of the core tenets of our justice system, yet the proliferation of social media with its legion of camera-toting vigilantes, threatens to place people in the pillory without so much as an opportunity to put their side across. One driver even lost his job as a result of the 'naming and shaming'."
"With cyclists like this and the more covert tactics of law enforcement now targeting motorists already facing increasingly punitive penalties, it is more important than ever that if you do find yourself accused of committing an offence behind wheel, you do not admit responsibility."
"To improve your chances of getting your case dismissed you should seek legal advice from a motoring defence solicitor, with a proven track record in successfully handling cases that allege driving offences. Doing so could not only save you a hefty fine, but also your livelihood."