Nowadays it’s much more common and often used as evidence in motorcycle collisions and prosecutions. And fixed CCTV footage is exponentially more prevalent than dash cam footage.
However, most dash cam footage does not result in any police interest, at least in England and Wales. This is because for most road traffic offences unless the registered keeper of the vehicle is approached within 14 days, by letter from the police, a prosecution is statutorily impossible.
There are exceptions for the more serious offences but for speeding, failure to comply with a road sign or breaking a white line you’d have to have a very focused police officer who would have received dash cam footage almost immediately, processed it and forwarded on the statutory letter.
Therefore the citizen policeman with his dash cam is not quite the hazard to exuberant riding YouTube might lead you to believe.
Currently I am seeing more fixed CCTV footage from home security systems and video doorbells. In built-up areas these doorbells and cameras are often street facing, their angle is wide and their storage capacities great. It’s also easy to retrieve clear digital footage.
When It comes to a serious traffic incident, such as causing death by dangerous or careless driving, the police can easily do a doorstep sweep for every camera which points onto the highway.
Ironically it is as a by-product of these sweeps for evidence against serious traffic miscreants that evidence of quite naughty riding is also unearthed.
This footage is much easier to source than a witness appeal for dashcam material – law-abiding citizens will provide the police with their CCTV and such evidence is admissible in civil or criminal proceedings.
However, when a motorcyclist is involved he/she is at something of a disadvantage if the police are not on scene i.e. car drivers are more likely to be approached by witnesses, or local residents who will volunteer CCTV footage than a motorcyclist who may well be on the floor and have a cluster of paramedics or concerned citizens around them.
As a matter of basic psychology humans have a confirmation bias, motorcycles are fast, therefore motorcyclists speed goes the internal trope. Wide-angle CCTV footage gives an impression of much greater speed than is realilty but where there is video footage calculating speed from digital sources is straightforward. Tape, not so much.
So, while witnesses may perceive speed and have that perception reinforced by wide-angle digital footage, an accurate assessment of speed, the single most common counter allegation against motorcyclists, can be made and excess speed either rebutted or accepted.
If you are an exuberant rider, common sense, the law and how evidence may present if things go horribly wrong coalesce around this one proposition. In built-up areas, ride sensibly. Where there are houses there are people, cars reversing off drives, kids and CCTV cameras which can hold your pre-accident riding up to examination.
Bike Magazine February 2021