A concerned taxi driver's association rep has warned cabbies of cyclists' "sneaky" cameras costing professional drivers fines and penalty points.
Speaking to TAXI Newspaper, a publication of the Licensed Taxi Driver's Association (LTDA), LTDA executive Lloyd Baldwin urged drivers to avoid being "tempted to pick up your mobile phone", not because of the danger a distraction could cause other road users, but because of those pesky cyclists with their helmet cameras.
Telling the tale of one member who received a fixed penalty notice for six points and a £200 fine, Baldwin explained how the driver requested a copy of the video footage which he then forwarded on to the LTDA.
"He didn't remember any such incident and had not been approached by a police officer," Baldwin explained. "I advised that it was probably a report from a cyclist or possibly a member of the public and suggested that he contacted the police explaining that he didn't know of any incident and to ask them to email him the evidence against him.
"I told him to relay to the police that he didn't want to plead not guilty, then attend court only for the police to produce evidence which showed him making an error he was unaware of. The police agreed and sent him a video.
"The member emailed the video to me. What I watched showed just how sneaky these cyclists can be."
Explaining what happened, the LTDA rep says the cyclist struck up a conversation with the driver so he could get footage of his law-breaking.
"Picture the scene. Our member is sitting in Sloane Street traffic, northbound at the lights with Knightsbridge," Baldwin continued. "A cyclist drives past and has a look through his driver's window. The cyclist saw that the cabbie had his phone in his hand. The cyclist carried on, but then reversed back and started a conversation with the cabbie about how a car had stopped in the cycle box.
"Obviously, the cabbie showed no interest and gave him a look of 'so what?'. Little did he realise, the reason for the conversation was so the cyclist could film the member up close and report him to the police.
"Of course, the cabbie was unknowingly guilty and will have to face the consequences, but it goes to show you can never be too careful. I may sound like a broken record and friends of mine suggest I write about something else (they are happy to tell me how boring I am), but I know what damage these six points can do to a cabbie.
"So please be careful. In my experience, 90 per cent of reports made to the police are from cyclists."
Reports to police of law breaking and dangerous driving on Britain's roads are on the rise, with a 25 per cent increase in video submissions reported in the first three months after last year's Highway Code changes.
Regular readers of this website will no doubt be familiar with CyclingMikey, one of the cyclists regularly reporting drivers using their phones behind the wheel, and who also uploads videos like the one below to his YouTube channel.
Last week an Edinburgh cyclist, driven off social media by abuse from trolls, said he would not give up on reporting dangerous motorists he captures on his helmet camera.
Speaking to road.cc, Edinburgh-based cyclist Deacon Thurston argued that the "societal acceptance" of anti-cycling attitudes – strikingly evident in the recent campaign against him, which saw one Twitter user invite others to join him on a "hit-and-run" – is a key barrier to coaxing people out of their cars and towards more sustainable modes of transport.
Thurston began regularly reporting and posting videos of law-breaking drivers on Twitter and YouTube just over a year ago, after being involved in an altercation with a motorist that the police couldn't pursue due to a lack of evidence and witnesses.
"Two days later I became GoPro's newest customer and I've recorded every ride since," he told us.
"I report as much of the bad and dangerous driving to the police as I can possibly manage, the rest has tended to find its way onto Twitter and YouTube to raise awareness of just how widespread this behaviour is."
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.