Tuesday, February 02, 2016


If you thought cyclists were just a nuisance, prepare yourself for a shock!...by Alan Fisher

Over the years, we've heard many true stories that at the time we found difficult to believe, but the one involving a Dial-a-Cab driver just before Christmas outside the Houses of Parliament has surely moved to the very top of the list!

It also brings into play a situation that is not just shocking, but in reality puts our licenses and very livelihoods into the hands of our Mayor’s undoubted favourites – his fellow cyclists!

Debbie Hope had been travelling along St Margaret’s Street towards the Parliament Square traffic lights. Soon after – on Christmas Eve in fact - she received a police letter enclosing three stills taken from a video camera appearing to show that Debbie’s taxi had been driven through the lights whilst they were red.

Debbie's tells her story in the lasted Dial-a-cab in house magazine Call Sign. 
“The photos undoubtedly showed my cab going through the lights on red and although I couldn’t understand how I missed them, I obviously did and was prepared to hold my hands up,” Debbie told Call Sign. “The first photo showed me a short distance away from the lights with them showing red and amber, so the next sequence should have been green. But they obviously must have changed straight back to red because the second photo showed the lights as being red again and my cab going through them.”

Continuing with her story, Debbie told us: “Receiving that on Christmas Eve was bad enough, but the police then said that on looking at files, I did not have any insurance and that frightened me even more! So far as I knew, I was insured with Quotax and had never had any renewal problems. But the letter now made me wonder if, and for how long, I had been driving while uninsured? It really did frighten me.”

Debbie phoned Quotax and they confirmed that she was insured and that any police enquiry must have shown an incorrect registration. But she still faced the possibility of three points for what their own photographic evidence proved was an incorrect light change sequence. 

So Debbie then phoned the number on the letter and they confirmed that she was indeed being prosecuted for going through a red light. But what they told her next not only amazed her, but should shock every single taxi driver in London.

“I asked if I had been filmed by a yellow camera because I had never noticed one there. When I was told no, I then asked if it was a police hand-held camera and again the answer came back as no. So I asked where the footage had come from and after a few moments of silence, the voice at the other end said it had been taken by a member of the public!

“My husband, Duncan, took a look at the photos and said that in his view they seemed to be still shots from a video that had been taken by a cyclist with a helmet camera who must have been behind Debbie and passed the footage of a taxi going through a red light over to the police!

“I was still reeling from the shock of what I had been told by both the police and then Duncan, but pulled myself together enough to call the police again and explain that the sequence of lights was obviously wrong and although I admitted going through a red light because the photo showed it, surely the incorrect lights sequence was mitigation enough for the matter to be dropped? 

The voice at the other end said she would look at the footage and call straight back, obviously hearing the concern in my voice. True to her word, she did phone back and confirmed that I had indeed gone through a red light, but went on to add that an incorrect sequence was no defence. She also apologised for the police making a mistake re my insurance, but they were not going to cancel the offence.

“Because I now believed it was probably a cyclist, I asked if that footage was allowed as evidence for something serious enough to carry three points if proved and she said yes! 

"I was truly stunned and several days later when I spotted a policeman in the street, I asked if he could confirm that cyclists’ helmet camera footage was acceptable. He said that he too was amazed and had never heard of it!”

Debbie, who has been with DaC for 15 years, went on to tell the magazine that she now has a camera in her taxi and had contemplated passing over footage of any cyclist that jumped a red light! But she added that with their advantage of not needing registration plates, they all looked the same from behind! And besides, that would probably be a full time job!

“I assume that the cyclist who passed the footage of my cab over to the police just didn’t like taxi drivers and has probably done it before,” said Debbie, “but I doubt that an all-out war between us would do anyone any good. 

However, I’d like to warn all Taxi drivers that with so many cyclists having helmet-cams, this may be just the thin end of the wedge."

Source : Call Sign Feb 2016.



Anonymous said...

The police cannot use this source of camera footage nor footage that is taken from a camera type that doesn't conform to the correct standards that street cameras must conform to in issuing penalty notices. Also the cyclist is not a traffic enforcement officer. Its like me walking down my street taking pictures of illegally parked cars and sending them to the council or the traffic police. The pcn is invalid, the issue on how your insurance was addressed reveals the level of incompetence in the entire matter!

Anonymous said...

Hey isn't a camera used in court meant to be tamper proof? How do they know if the cyclist hadn't photoshopped the lights to look like you jumped them. And wtf anyway.... you should appeal against this... cameras in force are meant to give prior warning that they are there otherwise it's entrapment isn't it?

Anonymous said...

You have been scammed. You phoned the number given to you. Have they asked you to pass your bank details too?

Anonymous said...

Debbie take it from me this will not even get to court as the police are only aloud to use cameras that meat a certain spec I think this cyclets should point this camara at the cyclists who just the light day in day out who give the good cyclists such a bad name

Anonymous said...

Go to court it will be thrown out oh and also try stopping at red lights

Stephen McCaffrey said...


I am a criminal defence and taxi licensing barrister. Can I suggest that the good taxi drivers of London not take legal advice from police officers!!!
1. The camera footage can be challenged.
2. It also needs to be supported by a full statement and specs of the camera.
3. The sequence being incorrect IS a defence although is difficult to prove.


Anonymous said...

The police can accept evidence from a member of public, however, if as is stated the lights appear to have gone Red -Amber-Red instead of Green then they are defective and you would not be prosecuted if you took this to court. I hope you have not pleade guilty and accepted the three points!

Anonymous said...

Are you sure you're not being scammed? I would check the phone number you rang personally as this sounds utter nonsense.

Anonymous said...

This is definitely inadmissible evidence and cannot be used under any circumstances.

On the insurance issue, you can check online to see if your vehicle is on the
Motor Insurance Database (MID). Go to askmid.com and type in your Reg No.
All insurers have to put their insured vehicles on it. Sometimes, through error,
vehicles are insured but not on the database so it is worth checking yourself.

colin said...

The sooner cyclists have to carry insurance & a bike i'd with compulsory helmet wearing the better & how boris bikes are allowed is criminal with no helmet wearing wrong.

Cab Davidson said...

Numerous examples exist of drivers being done on cycle camera footage evidence. I don't recall one where it was because of jumping a red light but in principle there's no reason why not.

There isn't an absolute spec for the camera before the footage is admissible. There's not a legal reason why a cyclist or anyone else cannot use a camera in public.

Anyone may film with anything in public.

Whether the cops decide to go forward with such prosecutions depends on whether they think the footage is good enough and the crime is worth punishing - and thats highly variable from copper to copper and from force to force. But be under no illusions - this happens, and its increasingly common.

Kazium said...

Pretty shocking to see everyone fighting to get this driver off the hook for driving through a red. It's an offense and the driver was caught 'red' handed on video, what's the problem here?

StevieCab said...

Maybe she should just not go through red lights (if that means paying more attention to her surrounds she should remember that as the driver of a motor vehicle that is one of her responsibilities), and worry (and whine) less about who may or may not have caught her in the act?

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea, crazy as it seems... stop at red lights.
All the calls for cyclists to be insured and regulated is just a smoke screen for taxi drivers to hate them. You were insured (phew) and I'm sure you are registered etc, but it didn't stop you did it?

Jolly said...

Watch out... Watch out... The cycling Stasi are about... #GrassWatch

Anonymous said...

I take it that the Camera in Question had the relevant, official CERTIFICATE OF CALIBRATION

Anonymous said...

Not a difficult one for me .... All cyclists have to wear a high vis on the the back instead of silly words like POLITE as a moody for POLICE they should have a registered number slapped on the back.





Anonymous said...

I think that any cyclists that jump a red light and are caught red handed by the police
and they have a driving licence should be given 3 points on their licence.

Let's be honest most cyclists drive cars also.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like photoshop to me, I've never seen a light malphase red/amber back to red. Reasonable doubt must apply to this, not guilty my lord.