The Legailty of Camera use

I’m sure we have all had comments on our videos about how displaying number plates is against the law or breaking people’s privacy, is it either of those?

Vehicle number plates are publicly viewable and identifies the car. We can use these to complain about the drivers behaviour. What we don’t know from the number plate is any information about the driver.

Data Protection Act and UK Law

I know in the past, that magnatom asked the information commissioner of Scotland what the position was, legally, of doing what he does. The response that he got, was that it’s fine for us to do and it’s not breaking any data protection laws.
Magnatom has always stated that he isn’t sure if this applies to the England as well.

So to confirm where I and other helmet camera users stand on the matter of legality of posting videos online, i contacted the information commissioner in England and asked the following questions;

  • Is recording bicycle journeys made in england and posting footage on youtube breaking any laws? This includes posting footage of number plates of dangerous drivers that put cyclists life in danger and in some cases the faces and conversations with these drivers.
  • are there any restrictions to it, such as is advertising that you have a camera against the law e.g. a sign saying ‘video recording in operation’ on the cyclists back.

A few weeks later i got a response. As magnatom’s response, i was also told that the videoing and posting videos would fall under section 36 of the data protection act. Which states

Personal data processed by an individual only for the purposes of that individual’s personal, family or household affairs (including recreational purposes) are exempt from the data protection principles and the provisions of Parts II and III.

This exemption means that individuals do not have to provide fair processing information to data subjects and so signs will not be necessary in a situation such as the one described. Equally, however, it would not be illegal to display such signs that warn of a camera.

European Convention on Human Rights

It was once raised to me that this was breaking EU Human Rights Legislation, so lets take a look at that.

Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights

Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

Martin Porter wrote about just this, what is more important, the right to privacy or the right to live? Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights states

Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.

The European Convention on Human Rights only applies to a state and not an individual member of the public. Let’s also not forget that the roads are a public place and there should be no expectation of privacy on them.

The Human Rights Act in the UK applies the acts from the European Convention on Human Rights to all members of the public in the UK and not just the state. But again the question is what is more important, life or privacy? The Human Rights Act states

You have the responsibility to respect other people’s rights, and they must respect yours.

I would like to think that someones life is more important than someones privacy.


Everything we are doing is perfectly legal, after all we are not posting personal information and we are filming in a public place. There is no expectation to privacy in a public place, if people are worried about being shown to the world on youtube, then they should think a little about their behaviour behind the wheel.


[Do you have information about the legality of using cameras in your area? If so get in touch.]

Video camera cyclists tips

Some of us have got a lot of experience in using cameras and making videos, here are some top tips from some of the well-known users.

  • Subscribe to all other video camera cyclists. Watch their videos and comment on them. This will help others get to know you, they will subscribe back and watch your videos. In turn giving you feedback and helping your channel grow.
  • Test your camera set up before you hit the road. Too much sky or too much road will leave out vital detail and can affect the quality of your video.
  • Brush up on your cycling skills. Read CycleCraft or take a bikeability course. You are openly displaying how you ride and you can affect people’s opinions of cyclists and video camera cyclists.
  • Learn from your mistakes. You are in a unique position to replay what happened without your memory affecting it. Learn from your mistakes and don’t make them again.
  • Take constructive criticism from others. With other video camera cyclists watching your videos, they may pick up on something which is unsafe / best avoided and they may comment on that.
  • Don’t take stupid criticism. Some people know nothing about the road network, or how to ride a bicycle on it. They usually spout off about riding as close to the pavement as possible etc.. These people are best ignored / deleted and blocked.
  • Try to keep your head still. A still video is more watchable than a bumpy one. Securely fastening your camera and using a wider lens angle can help with this. Obviously shoulder check and look around were needed.
  • Try to keep your temper and anger under control. Whilst it is understandable that when someone has almost collided with you and nearly knocked you off your bicycle. It can make us look bad and the aggressor in the eyes of the public. The police will understand if you swear as the incident happens, that is after all human nature. If however you continue to use foul language and they may choose to prosecute under section 5 of the Public Order Act.
  • Avoid confronting motorists. Remember you have the incident on video and can report it to the police. You have no idea what kind of person the motorist is, they may have a weapon close to hand and be ready to use it.
  • Call out number plates as the camera may not pick it up.
  • Avoid the muvi clones, they are generally rubbish (poor battery life, not weather proof and a narrow lens angle)

With thanks to 4ChordsNoNet, growingvegetableMaidstoneonbikerfrst and SkrzypczykBass

Do you have any tips for video camera cyclists? Let us know in the comments below.

Semi-Result from Collision with RJ05EFO & NC04LXG

For those of you that can’t remember the collision that iuckcan had back in September 2011, here is the video.

The driver of the black Golf RJ05EFO has pleaded guilty and received 6 points on his license and a £230.

The driver of the silver Ford NC04LXG has pleaded not guilty, even after seeing the video. The court case for this has been delayed till September 2012.

I’m not 100% sure what the charges are, probably Careless Driving for both of them.

Note that the court case was delayed due to the file format being a .mov. So it would seem that the police have the footage in a digital format. From my own experience of using video footage in courts, the best option is to provide the police with a DVD that is playable in a standard DVD player. That way the footage can easily be managed by the police, copies can be made etc.. and the footage can be played in court.

The initial result for the first driver is a fair one going by the other results we have seen from video camera cyclists. We will just have to wait and see what happens with the next one, I suspect it won’t be much higher.