Helmet cameras are the latest piece of equipment to be used by cyclists to capture evidence of bad driving on the roads. It is unfortunate that cyclists feel it is necessary to go to such lengths to secure evidence necessary to pursue a civil claim or a criminal prosecution.
As a Personal Injury Lawyer with many years experience helping people with cycling accident injury claims, I deal with numerous cycling accident cases where bad driving or "road rage" has been caught on film by helmet cameras, and often the evidence is very helpful if for example one pursues a cycling accident compensation claim. The film is your property and you are free to post it on your Facebook and/or on YouTube. This should not prevent a prosecution taking place.
Without sight of the film I cannot comment on the likelihood of securing a conviction. In the criminal courts the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have the burden of proving the offence beyond all reasonable doubt. In the criminal courts cyclists have produced helmet camera film to good effect.
A recent example of this is the incident in which Martin Porter QC, a well-known London Personal Injury Lawyer and keen cyclist, caught evidence of road rage on his helmet camera. A passing motorist hurled insults at Mr Porter through his open window including threats to kill. Mr Porter lodged a complaint with the Met Police (MPS). After the MPS informed Mr Porter that no further action would be taken he complained to the CPS and to a senior police officer. Mr Porter`s persistence finally paid off when the driver was brought before the West London Magistrates on 18th January 2012 and pleaded guilty to breaching the Public Order Act by using threatening words or behaviour. He was fined £250, ordered to pay Mr Porter £15 and costs of £300. Further information about this cycling incident is available on Mr Porter`s blog, "the cycling silk" and in the London Evening Standard on 24th January 2012.
In parallel with a criminal prosecution you may also bring a civil claim against your assailant and claim damages for your cycling accident injuries and financial losses.
The burden of proof in the civil courts is on the balance of probabilities. This is much lower burden of proof compared to the criminal courts. The motorist`s vehicle insurers are obliged to deal with your claim if the vehicle was used as a weapon.
If the motorist assaulted you after stepping out of his vehicle this would not be covered by the motor insurers. In that scenario it would also be possible to lodge a claim with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The CICA provides compensation to victims of crimes of violence under a tariff scheme.
Paul Kitson is a Senior Personal Injury Lawyer, a keen cyclist and Slater and Gordon’s Principal Lawyer for the CTC, the UK's national cycling charity.
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See related blog: The Consequences of Lack of Respect for Cyclists.
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