Category Archives: featured

legal

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.

Conclusion

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.]

clapper

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.

police2

Reporting Videos to the Police

Got a video of a particularly dangerous driver putting you or someone else’s life in danger on the roads?
Want to report it to the Police but don’t know how?

You may think it isn’t worth reporting poor drivers to the police. In some areas it may not be worth reporting the slightly poor ones but dangerous road users should be reported to the police, especially when you have video evidence of how dangerous they are. Your police service may not be used to it but don’t let that stop you. That dangerous driver could kill or seriously injure someone if they are not spoken to by the police.

General Tips

  • Don’t give up – you may get turned away by the police but keep at it.
  • Avoid talking to officers at reception about your incident – just ask to report a Road Traffic Incident (this is usually requires you to fill out a form, which is sent to a traffic unit). The desk officers will be opinionated and may not like cyclists, it just isn’t worth your time talking to them.
  • Be prepared to be let down. The Police will only push a case for prosecution if they believe the CPS will take the case. This usually means only the most serious incidences will ever see court action. A talking to by the police or a letter is a good result in most cases.
  • If a driver gets out of their vehicle and physically touches you, that is assault and should be reported as such. Assault is taken much more seriously than traffic incidences.

Hungary

You can find all the contact details of every police station here. Send a link of your video with a brief description and your details (name, date and place of birth, address etc..), the licence plate is not a must but things go a lot faster if you have all the numbers and characters.
Once this is done you will get a subpoena in the mail soonish to give a testimony at the station. Police will make a CD/DVD of your video, no need to burn it.
The whole process takes about 3 months if no hiccups occur.

Thanks to sajatzsiron for this information

United Kingdom

Avon and Somerset

Avon and Somerset police do have an online form which goes to the Roads Policing Unit. However this appears to be for general questions rather than reporting of incidences.

Thanks to Redvee2002 for this information

Hampshire

Report to the local police station, the traffic unit will look into it and see if they can use the video footage as an independent witness. They ask that you keep the footage off of youtube etc.. when reporting it to them. As they can’t use footage from the public domain as evidence. Technically that isn’t true, we have had cases go to court where the footage had over 15,000 views on youtube.

Thanks to Monkreadusuk for the information.

Kent

Kent Police only look into an incident if it could go to the Crown Prosecution Service, so no letters or visits from police officers. Otherwise it is automatically closed (without looking at the footage). Helmet camera footage isn’t seen as an ‘independent witness’.

Thanks to maidstoneonbike for the information

London / Greater London

Reporting general incidences

In London we are lucky enough to have the RoadSafe London reporting system. A simple web based form which goes straight to the Road Crime Intelligence Unit which is staffed by experienced traffic officers. They have the capability to view youtube videos and will watch videos submitted to them via the form. This form and unit is not aiming for prosecutions, if the incident is particularly bad then it is best to do the paper form method mentioned below.
RoadSafe London look to educate people in a simple way, by sending them letters. This has a noticeable impact as a few video camera cyclists have seen offenders a few weeks later and their driving has been near perfect the second time.
Reports are recorded on a database so repeat offenders are easily spotted.

Reporting serious incidences

These will need to be reported at a Police station, it can be done at any station in London or Greater London. Fill out form 207 Road Traffic Collision form, burn a copy of the whole incident on DVD or CD and take it and the form to a police station. Some of the form may not be applicable, just leave it out. I was advised by a traffic officer from RoadSafe London to fill out form 207 with this incident which resulted in the owner of the vehicle being prosecuted.

[Do you have more information about RoadSafe London or how to report incidences in London?]

Northumbria

In Northumbria they cant view videos at there call centres, not sure of the police station never used it. however they always send an officer round to view the video and the officer normally comes round the next day or the night of reporting it. Normally sorted in a few hours unless when they knock on the drivers door they dont get an answer. The police force round me is great.
easy to contact using 101 number or email.
10/10 for my police force

Thanks to PilotInCommand100 for this information

Sussex

Operation Crackdown is run by Sussex police and allows you to report anti-social and dangerous driving online.

Operation Crackdown will only take action against drivers that are reported more than once.

Thanks to SheffieldCyclist for information on Operation Crackdown.

[Do you have more information about Operation Crackdown or how to report incidences in Sussex?]

Surrey

Drive SMART allows road users in Surrey to report road incidences to Surrey Police.

[Do you have more information about Drive SMART or how to report incidences in Surrey?]

 

Have we missed your area? Do you have information on how you can report incidences in your area? Get in touch with us and we can update the post.

Guide

Guide to Buying a Helmet Camera

Mark Schulze, a Director of Photography and ow...
Image via Wikipedia

The popularity of helmet cameras has exploded over the past few years, hundreds of cyclists across the world are using cameras to record and tell their stories. Thousands of road users are also doing the same. With this increase we see more and more asking which camera they should buy, this guide to buying a helmet camera should help you find out exactly what camera fits your needs.

So you are in the market for a helmet camera? But where to start? Follow this guide and hopefully you will be in a position to make a choice about which camera is best for you.

Budget!

Your budget will be the biggest factor in choosing which camera to go for. The general rule is that the more you spend the better quality camera you get. Be it HD, better mounts, better quality parts used and more features.

Quality?

A huge decision is going to be quality. HD is a great thing to have but comes at a cost, greater than £100 for a good camera with a HD chip. HD isn’t everything, you can still get a good picture without HD by choosing a camera which uses a good quality sensor. HD does often give a clearly image and has a wider lens angle, all positives.

Lens Angle

The lens angle makes a huge difference to what is captured by the camera. A wider lens angle will pick up more footage but it has it’s downsides. Wide angle lenses often create a fish eye look and elements on the edge of the film will often be further away than they actually are (making close passes look further away than they really are). It also makes judging speed on film a little bit harder.
I use a 1080p camera but run it at 960p, why? Because the 1080p mode uses a smaller lens angle and zooms the image in. I would much rather have a wider lens angle and a taller image to get the most footage I can, it makes a huge difference.

Body Format

Helmet cameras come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from bullet to cubes. When choosing what you want it is wise to take into consideration where you are going to mount your camera (It doesn’t have to be on the helmet). Square cameras look a bit silly on a helmet when you compare them to bullet format cameras but the square cameras seem to look and fit better when fitted to the handle bars. Slimmer cameras, such as the veho muvi, can also fit into the vents of your helmet, making them a bit more discrete.

Mounting

It is a good idea to look at what mounting options there are with each camera you are considering. The more expensive cameras usually have more professional looking mounts and a wider selection. If there isn’t a specific helmet mount or if you choose to make your own then it is a good idea to take into consideration how secure it is going to be. The specific helmet mounts are designed with some sort of give in it, so if you are involved in a collision then the camera will come away from the helmet and not cause added damage to your head by causing the helmet to crush more than it should do. I would suggest not to zip tie your camera to your helmet.

If the camera comes with a 1/4″ screw thread then the possibilities for mounting are pretty much endless. RAM offer some amazing options which a few of us take advantage of and mount our cameras to various parts of our frames and handlebars.

What is in the box?

It’s a good idea to check what comes with the camera before you purchase it. The accessory that you want may be excluded or in the case of the Contour cameras the vented helmet mount is not included and i know this has caught a few buyers out. So it’s important that you check and factor any additional items in the total cost of the camera.

Memory Cards

Pretty much all cameras use some form of SD card, be that standard or Micro. Most cameras come with a memory card but often one small in size. You will probably need to get a bigger memory card, but how big depends on how long you want to ride between visits to a computer or a memory card swap.

Battery

Not all cameras have a removable battery, limiting your time on the road before you have to visit a computer or wall plug. Some of these can be modified to charge of a AA battery. Other units have removable batteries, so if you are on a long ride then you can swap out the battery when one dies and continue.

Features

Some models of cameras come with some added features which can be nice, from lasers and small screens to bluetooth and GPS. Some features can be handy to have where as others are just additions which you never use. Think about which ones you need and which ones you don’t as they do affect the cost of the cameras.

Reviews

It’s worth looking at reviews of the products and see what others thing about it. Just search the camera name + review in a search engine like google. Point Of View Cameras has reviews on all the major cameras and Magnatom has done a view of some cameras and compared them against each other. Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

Example Footage

Pretty much each camera type is already used by a cyclist online, so search for the camera on youtube and see if someone has some footage of it in use. This can make the difference in your choice. If you see another camera cyclist on youtube that has good footage, ask them what camera they use and they are more often that not happy to let you know what they use. Although it would be worthwhile looking on their channel and see if the information is displayed there or if someone else has already asked.

Which brands make good cameras?

  • Contour / Vholdr
  • GoPro
  • Veho
  • Drift Innovations
  • V.I.O POV

Where to buy cameras?