Smile you're on dash-cam camera: More motorists are installing in-car recorders to capture instances of bad cycling and driving

The technology also helps guard against 'crash for cash' scams

Sales of "dash-cams" in cars are soaring as owners record evidence of clashes and crashes with cyclists and other road users. Cycle helmet cameras have been popular for years, but only now are drivers getting their own gadgets as retailers stock up to meet demand and the RAC prepares to launch its own dashboard camera.

Cyclists regularly post footage online following clashes with drivers and the clips are often used as a basis for police complaints. Scotland Yard launched an investigation last week following a clash between an Audi A7 driver and cyclist in Farringdon, central London, which went viral and has been viewed almost a million times.

However, the growth of dash-cams is predicted to herald a new trend of car drivers uploading footage of bad cycling. Halfords, which extended its range of dash-cams costing from £70 to £200, had a 150 per cent rise in sales over the Christmas period.

A filming cyclist is cut up A filming cyclist is cut up Jeremy Clarkson got a flavour of what will happen when he tweeted a picture earlier this month of a cyclist "taking the lane" as he drove behind him in Chelsea in his Range Rover. Clarkson said the cyclist "hurled abuse at anyone who overtook". He later wrote that he received "a cacophony of abuse from people saying that I was somehow to blame, that they had reported me to the police for taking the picture and that I was basically a bastard for driving a car, on a road".

Car owners also hope the accident cameras will help them with insurance claims as many still fall victim to "cash for crash" scams. A new "flash for crash" craze, with seemingly polite drivers flashing an oncoming car to allow them out at a junction before driving into them, has prompted more drivers to consider buying the gadgets.

A London cyclist is attacked by the driver of this white Audi A London cyclist is attacked by the driver of this white Audi Halfords in-car technology manager Alec James said: "Following an incident people are often reluctant to admit guilt and risk losing their no-claims discount. In addition, the surge in fraudulent 'crash for cash' claims is causing genuine concern among innocent drivers. The range of recording devices we now offer means that we can provide drivers with the means to produce evidence."

Online sales are also on the rise. Electronics website Digi4u said sales of dash-cams rose 28 per cent in the last quarter of 2013. A spokeswoman said: "The product is particularly popular among taxi drivers who use it to monitor their on-call drives and use the video as evidence in insurance claims in case of an accident."

Dash-cams are popular in Poland, Japan and the US but have yet to catch on in the UK. They are ubiquitous in Russia with drivers using them to guard against police corruption and insurance fraud.

Although the number of drivers with dash-cams is only about 3 per cent in the UK, new research from the RAC shows that four in 10 owners are considering buying one. Almost 60 per cent of drivers said they wanted the gadget to have a visual record of what happened during an accident. The RAC, which is launching its own dash-cam, said that one in five who already own the gadget said they had bought it to guard against 'crash for cash' scams.

RAC insurance director Kerry Michael said: "As long as they are used correctly they are a valuable record of the circumstances that occurred around an accident. With 'crash for cash' crimes unfortunately becoming more prevalent on UK roads, dash-cams could become the motoring gadget 'must have' of 2014."

Police have welcomed this growing popularity. Paul Marshall, Suffolk's deputy chief constable, said: "Increasing use is being made by the public of digital cameras to record evidence of offences which can be used by the police to support prosecutions. This is welcomed by Association of Chief Police Officers as quite often the only evidence available is an eyewitness account which is disputed by the alleged offender."

Drivers are urging insurance companies to give significant discounts for installing dash-cams, but Ian Crowder from the AA said firms were unlikely to do so. He added: "The key question: will they one day become an insurance requirement or will they be built into vehicles at manufacture? I can't see the former happening while the latter may well result from the technology being applied to new cars."

Caught on camera

Police are still hunting the owner of a white Audi A7 who was filmed allegedly assaulting a cyclist who had remonstrated with him after the driver encroached on the cyclists' box at a London junction. The cyclist was one of several waiting in the box on Clerkenwell Road on 23 January. In footage uploaded on YouTube he wheels his bike back and knocks on the driver's window to tell him he should not have pulled forward into the box.

The driver pulls away before the cyclist chases after the car until both pull up at the next lights. The cyclist then shouts at the driver who gets out of his car and allegedly attacks the cyclist. Among many others, Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine tweeted the incident and said: "Everyone talking about this. Clearly cyclist was foolish to pick a fight, but Audi man is violent and should be caught." A Met spokeswoman said inquiries are continuing.

Paul Gallagher

Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living