I've heard lots of cyclists complain they submitted their helmet camera video of motorist encounters to the Police who "did nothing". To avoid wasting cyclist's time- and the Police's, I've documented the process I followed to have an aggressive motorist enforced who almost killed me. BTW, I'm myself a former Police Officer, so I understand the rigamarole of the Court process.
This is a master class on bringing dangerous motorists who threaten the lives of cyclists to the Police's attention.
Assess Your Cycle Cam Evidence:
Is the camera's time correct? Incorrect time on the video won't in itself get your video rejected by the Police, but it could be used by the driver to aver they weren't the motorist if you can't nail-down the time of the incident with precision. In such a situation they'd still be obliged to name the motorist or face 6 points on their license and a £1,000 fine here in the UK, but best to avoid any ambiguity. As you're recording video that's being used as evidence in a prosecution, always ensure your cycle camera's time is correct. It's also not a bad idea to just video your watch before you set off on a cycle to validate the camera's clock is correct.
Can you see the motorist's plate clearly? If not, you're wasting your time; Police won't bother considering your evidence. If you can, it might be considered by the Police.
Is the incident recent? Don't wait too long to report as the Police are required to send the letter notifying of their intent to prosecute within (I believe) two weeks. However, I think they need to get the letter out by the 10th day after the offense. Even if your video shows the motorist breaking every law in the Highway code, if the complaint is submitted out-of-time, the Police won't consider it.
Next, determine the SEVERITY of the incident. The video should evidence that it was sufficiently outrageous and not a small technical driving error that merely peeved you. The Police are busy and need to be selective about the cases they pursue, so the incident should be of a certain seriousness. For an example of what is considered "outrageous", here's the (edited) version of the video that I submitted to the Police. It should be clear this was pretty bad.
Was the incident INTENTIONAL? Generally, intent matters in respect to violations of the law. If the incident could be explained away by the motorist as an inadvertent error they made, will be more challenging for the Police to enforce them. Indeed, if a collision almost resulted because a cyclist failed to signal their directional intent, I can understand the Police's reluctance to enforce the motorist. And I'm both a former Police Officer as well as an avid cyclist.
Can you articulate a specific law you believe was broken by the motorist? Being "offended" by obnoxious driving is certainly frustrating, but not an offense. Review these (UK-specific) DRIVING OFFENSES against what your video depicts. If you feel confident that it does- and you're willing to testify in Court if the motorist declines to admit guilt- then you're NEARLY ready to submit the video.
Did you commit any offenses under the law while cycling? The Police are going to scrutinize the actions of both the cyclist as well as the motorist they're seeking to have enforced. The Police will not allow you to give them a convenient clip neatly trimmed to only show the offense committed by the motorist. When I submitted my helmet cam video, the Police wanted me to produce a clip with one minute BEFORE and one minute AFTER the incident to determine if my own actions where to any degree contributory to the dangerous situation. So if you're cycling through red lights, not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks and generally ignoring the Highway code, the Police might still enforce the driver- but so too they will likely enforce you for offenses in the video. Be prepared to have your own actions closely scrutinized by the Police when submitting your video.
Prepare Your Evidence:
- Preparing video evidence: The Police asked me to provide a clip with 1 minute before and 1 minute after the incident. I used HANDBRAKE to create a shortened COPY of the GoPro video. Never alter the original video. If the driver denies guilt, you better have the original copy or the charge(s) will be dropped.
Submit Your Evidence:
It appears that Staffordshire require video from 2 or 3 cameras before they will consider your evidence. Yes, I kid you not. Apparently Staffordshire is open-season on cyclists and can expect no help from the "Police":
Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Hertfordshire
It appears that Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Hertfordshire have pooled their resources for processing digital evidence of traffic incidents reported by the public. The link that I used to submit my complaint & evidence to Herts Police was:
Initially the Police will ask you for the incident details and then an investigator will contact you by email with a link for you to submit your videos & stills (if any).
PLEASE NOTE: The Police will not give you a copy of ANY of the information you submit to them. Probably worth copying the complaint details into a text file to ensure you don't have to rewrite the whole thing from scratch if the browser crashes.
If they are satisfied that the motorists driving was so bad it requires Police sanction, they'll tell you, albeit due to Data Protection they'll give only broad details.
The email I received from the Police was:
Dear Sir / Madam
Thank you for the submission of your footage, we have now reviewed the
footage and will be taking the most appropriate positive action, in
relation to the incident you have reported.
These options include the following:
*Points and fine
Due to the Data Protection Act 2018 we are unable to provide you with
the exact outcome or action that your submission has generated.
Further information about the Data Protection Act can be found at
Digital Evidence Team
Although the Police's response is very generic due to GPDR laws, a retired London Metropolitan Police Officer that I cycle with who viewed the video said the the motorist could expect at the least to receive 3 points on their license and £100 clue. He also said somebody who drives like that probably already has points on their license. And if that's true, the motorist could potentially be at-risk of losing their license. In any event, any points for a moving violation- especially if the charge is "driving without due care and attention" as is likely here- on one's license translates into increased car insurance premiums for 5 years. So the financial sanction could be very material.
And it's still possible that you could learn what action the Police took if the motorist denies their guilt and your appearance at Court is then required. Which of course I'd be most happy to give evidence if asked.
It's certainly VERY possible to have violations of laws made to protect cyclists enforced using your helmet camera video. Indeed, unless cyclists DO report outrageously dangerous motorists to the Police, these murderists, erm "motorists" will feel they have impunity to continue to take risks with our lives. I've got a more detailed page on this which explains how to use Handbrake to process your helmet camera video evidence at: