Requesting CCTV footage of yourself

For those of you that watch my youtube channel, you may have seen a video I posted where I included the CCTV footage from the bus of an incident I had with them.

This wasn’t the first time that I had tried to get CCTV from a bus company, nor the first from this company. The other times there were issues with the companies processes and the timescale for which they keep CCTV footage. However, this time was successful. Several people have asked how I did this, and if I can offer some kind of template. This post will be for that.

I built my template mostly off of the information on the ICO website about right of access.

First you will need to find out where you need to send this to, e-mail is probably best. Go to the companies website, in this case Arriva. You’ll want to find the privacy section of the website, most likely there will be a link in the footer. You will need to read or search through this page for information about who to contact with regards to data. This may come under terms such as; subject access request, sar, data protection, gdpr, personal information, access. In this case it is under a section about data protection and an e-mail is provided.

Subject: Subject access request – CCTV
 
Dear Sir or Madam

Subject access request

Please supply the data about me that I am entitled to under data protection law relating to external CCTV footage of [Bus route] on [date] at around [time] traveling north on Vauxhall Bridge A202 at the junction with Millbank. The numberplate was LC67AHO, other markers on the bus were N119 and HV387

I was the cyclist to the right of the bus going through the junction with Millbank, I request all external CCTV from the bus that includes me in it. Attached is a screenshot of my video to prove it was me at that location and that I am entitled to this data.

If you need any more data from me, please le me know as soon as possible. It may be helpful for you to know that data protection law requires you to respond to a request for data within one calendar month.

If you do not normally deal with these requests, please pass this on to your Data Protection Officer, or relevant staff member. If you need advice on dealing with this request, the Information Commissioner’s Office can assist you.

Gaz

They actually came back the next day in the morning. Which based on my previous experiences was very quick.

Re: SAR [reference]
 
I am in receipt of the below, exercising the right of access to personal data under Article 15 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
 
So that we may accurately identify you and locate the information you require, please provide the following:

Description of clothing worn on the date in question
A recent photograph 
 
In order for us to progress the request, please also forward  a proof of identity document. This could include a copy of your birth certificate, driving licence, passport or utility bill. Please send these documents to the postal or email address listed below, ensuring that the reference number is included within the correspondence.  
 
Until we have received this information, please be advised that your request will be put on hold.
 
Should you have any questions in the meantime, or feel that there is additional information that may support your request, please contact me quoting the above reference number.

Arriva

I had a bit of to and fro with them on why they needed some of this information. I provided pictures of my bike, the clothes I was wearing at that time and my helmet so they could match it up. But they wanted something with my address on it, and some information that is quite personal. I ended up giving them a restricted copy of my utility bill and mentioned that I would make a request in the future for my data to be deleted.

They didn’t explain why they wanted this at first, but it made sense in the end. As the process of making sure the CCTV is only visible to people who have the right to see it means that they sent me a DVD in the post to my home address with the footage burned on it, that was password protected. The password was sent to me via e-mail.

As Arriva said, under article 15 of the General Data Protection Regulation, data subjects have the right to know what data is held on them. They must reply to such requests within 30 days, however with CCTV processes from buses usually delete data after 14 days. It is key that you make your request as soon as possible and chase up any requests after a week if you haven’t heard back.

For UK (not including Scotland) citizens, you can use the Information Commissioners Office website as a good reference guide on your rights and how to request data.

If the company is storing and processing data on you, they must give it to you when you request it. This includes CCTV from onboard cameras or dash cams if the data is kept for any period of time. If a company tries to deny your subject access request you can ask them about how they process the data you are requesting. If they fail to comply at all, then you can let them know you will contact the ICO about them failing to comply to a subject access request, then penalties are listed online.

My knowledge of GDPR is only based around what I have read and experienced, I’m sure there are many different scenarios I haven’t covered. I will assist where I can.

A response to the LTDA, Taxi and Kamil

On the 30th of October 2018 issue 430 of Taxi was published. A ‘newspaper’ published by the LTDA for its members. Page 17 of that issue contains comments from taxi members, we will be looking at the comment from Kamil.

GIVE CYCLE GAZ THE SLIP
I was recently involved in altercation with Gareth Williams [pictured] known as CycleGaz on YouTube. I want to alert and warn other black cab drivers about him. It’s so easy to be trapped by his video recording tactics, and the lengths this individual will go to give us a bad reputation on the road. His videos can easily go viral should a driver interact with him.
In my case, I saw him on Brixton Road. Gareth was wearing a face cover in an attempt to disguise himself so he could not be recognised. The moment he attempted to get close to me, I drove off. He has a video hidden in his head gear and it’s not visible. He attempted to get close to my window in order to converse with me and get my face shot, while revealing the contents of my dashboard. As you will see if you watch the video, but I never gave him the chance.
I just wanted to raise awareness of CycleGaz’s activities and his vigilante cyclists. Also, with him were two other cyclists.
He reported me to the police. The police watched the footage and found nothing. As result no further action was taken.

watch the video

kamil

When I first read this I chuckled, as clearly from the description Kamil gives it isn’t me, as I don’t fit that description or behaviour type. Then I watched the video and it links to one of mine! This was the incident that sparked me to get a helmet camera again.

I was cycling through Brixton and was passing Kamils cab, he was holding his phone in his right hand just below the door line, looking down at it and interacting with it. This is just before sunset, and there is light rain. He has a passenger on board. I called him out on his phone use and that was that. Further down the road the lane merges and he is clearly being an arse over it and won’t let me merge. Very professional driving, but what do we expect from someone that was just caught using his mobile device whilst having a passenger on board.

Kamil is correct that the Met took no action, I did report his phone use and what I would call intimidating driving to them. I believe their response is fine, the evidence I recorded on that day was not sufficient for them to take further action and as a result of that I got another video camera that I use on my helmet to get video footage of drivers using their phones. So thank you Kamil for spurring me on to get a helmet camera again.

What’s interesting is that the incident description that is published in Taxi issue 430 does not match the video footage it links to.

  • You can clearly hear my voice, so unlikely I’m wearing a face cover (I never cover my face anyway).
  • I didn’t attempt to get close to him.
  • I don’t have video in my head gear that is hidden.
  • I didn’t attempt to get close to his window to get his face shot (the cameras I had at the time are attached to my bike) or go near his dashboard (remember his phone was in his right hand when I saw it, not on has dashboard).

Taxi also published a name ‘Gareth Williams’ and an apparent picture of me. Now that name isn’t hard to find, it’s a name that has been used by the media when quoting me. Is it my real name? Maybe, maybe not. It could be described as the ‘John Smith’ of Wales. The picture posted is not one of myself, but of another cyclist who is based in Manchester. How would Kamil know that it was me anyway? As according to him I had a face cover.

Kamil drives a nice Vito Taxi and with that he has the Taxi Witness system installed, he has a sticker saying as much in his rear window. Why hasn’t Kamil released footage from his cab that backs up his statement? Why didn’t he use it as a reference to aid him in my description? Is it because Kamil has the three camera system that includes a camera in his cab that points at him? Incriminating him self isn’t such a good idea, so I can see why he hasn’t released that.

Why has Taxi published this? Why haven’t they spent the time to review it? They didn’t contact me first despite publishing what they believe to be my full name and a picture of me. As a result of this I’ve had numerous tweets and messages from Taxi drivers who want to find out more information about me. Some have threatened to run me over. Some have lied about previously having ‘dealings’ with me.

The underlying message of this piece in Taxi is fine and should stick, the method is all wrong. There are many cyclists on the roads who film, just like I do. Many of us will report you to the police if we see you breaking the law. Remember you are professional drivers who drive people around as a service. You must behave and take peoples safety seriously. I’m not starting fights, I’m not looking for issues, I’m not a vigilante. I’m just reporting what I see. I am CycleGaz

Turning the corner

British Cycling launched the campaign #TurningTheCorner. A campaign to simplify the rules around turning at junctions, to make it safe for cyclists and pedestrians and to reduce casualties.

I can’t fault the idea of making the roads safer. I’m 100% behind that. However I am concerned with how this is actually going to be implemented. If we look at countries which already have such rules in place, they usually A. have better infrastructure. B. the rules have been established for a while C. More people cycle, more people know people who cycle and generally cycling is more accepted, as such people are more aware.

I can just see now a stream of cyclists going northbound on CS7 past Clapham Common on approach to Rookery Road and a vehicle waiting to turn left, they will be there for one hell of a time. Approach speeds can easily be greater than 20mph and I would struggle to trust a driver to not turn across the path of the cyclists.

And I have many more examples of exactly the same at this junction.

We have a real life example of how a change to the road can fix this. A few years ago I witnessed a truck overtaking a cyclist at Oval and turning left across her, it very nearly resulted in her going under the wheels of said truck. Read about that case.

The junction as it used to be, cyclists going straight had to share a lane with motorists turning left.

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-22-37-59

The junction now is very different, cyclists are separated from motor traffic and turning cars have a different phase of light.

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-22-37-24

 

One way the dutch do it (when space is available) is fantastic. The turning traffic is 90 degrees to the cyclists, and as such do not need to rely on their mirrors to see cyclists, they look out their side windows and windscreen. Cyclists in this situation have priority and cars can only go when it is clear for them to do so.

To summarise. Changes need to be made, and London has been making some fantastic changes recently that has resulted in an increase in people cycling. But we need to improve the areas that don’t have such facilities and the rest of the country. I know that personally I would be cautious of passing a left indicating vehicle on the left, even if the law states that they must wait for me to pass.

Why are Professional drivers getting away with this?

A few months back TrafficDroid posted a short video of him being knocked off by a Taxi in London. Recently an update has been posted with the results.

So the basics of this is the cyclist was travelling in a straight line, thought the overtake was too close so sounded his horn. Driver stopped whilst moving to the left in an attempt to block the cyclist, cyclist carries on, driver passes again this time much closer, moving left and knocks the cyclist over and in between parked cars.

The results of this are 6 points on his license and a £700 fine + court costs.

Some might say, good result. But if I’m honest, I’m disappointed in our system. This was clearly a purposeful act and yet he only gets done for driving without due care, 6 points and a £700 fine.
Because Taxi drivers are self-employed, it is hard to say how much one earns. It’s often thrown around that they are tax dodgers. I don’t think the £700 fine is that much.

But lets put it this way. A professional driver purposefully used his vehicle to knock a vulnerable road user over and into some parked vehicles. If anyone in any other occupation did something comparable, they would be fired from their job and struggle to work in the same field again. Yet when it comes to professional drivers they are let off, back into the street to do the same to the next cyclist that doesn’t agree with him.

Why does our legal system allow this to happen? This sort of driving is not by mistake and it’s clear from his response of “what are you doing?” And not “oh my god are you ok? I’m so sorry” that he did this on purpose.

I won’t even mention the false witness statements that other taxi drivers who didn’t witness it are willing to put forward to help their buddy.

Lorry Blind Spots – Exchanging Places

Exchanging places is a scheme run by The Cycle Task Force of the Met. A fantastic scheme that gets cyclists into HGV’s and shows them the blind spots! It’s a real eye opener, I was shocked when I first when in and I throughly recommend everyone to do it when they get the opportunity.

Some very wise words where said in the video and I don’t think they where highlighted enough.

You know you’re safe because you’ve made eye contact and he has seen you

Whilst it’s not strictly true that eye contact makes you safe, I always think it’s a good idea to do. A. your body movement to look behind should be eye catching to the driver. B. If you can see the driver then you know you are not in his blind spot!

Avoid at all costs going up the side of a HGV at lights

As the driver went on, he mentioned on approach to the lights as well. This is important, when filtering you need to be careful and doing so when there is no escape route or time for you to get in front then it can be a recipe for disaster. Remember that getting to the front should not be your goal when approaching red lights, keeping safe and visible to other road users should be. And that means not filtering up the side of HGV’s

The more room a lorry has left you, the more likely it is going to turn left. The more tempting it looks, the more dangerous it is.

A fantastic comment that could easily be missed. Reading the road is a very valuable tool, and seeing that space on the side of a vehicle of such a size being so big should be a big indicator that it is going to attempt to turn at the junction. Remember we must engage our brains whilst cycling and try to read every situation as we approach it. If the possibilities of a vehicle turning left are high, then stay back, stay safe!

As the pair summarise, it’s team work that we need. Both parties need to be a bit clearer with what they are doing and don’t be so brash to pass each other when approaching a junction.