Fed-up cyclist Joby Spragg is waging a one-man war against rush hour roadhogs by secretly filming them as he rides his bike to work.
The 33-year-old was so angry at being cut up, clipped, and forced off the road by thoughtless drivers during his 13-mile journey, he fitted a spy camera to his helmet so he could get pictures of them in action.
Now Mr Spragg is naming and shaming the motoring menaces he falls victim to every day by putting videos of their antics on a website in the hope his local council will introduce new measures to make cyclists’ journeys to work safer.
Already he has filmed a bus driver jumping a red light, a mini-bus parking illegally in his cycling lane and a BMW car cutting across him to avoid heavy traffic.
Mr Spragg, a company analyst of Hyde, Greater Manchester, has reported bus drivers, taxi drivers and a council worker to their employers but has received little response – with only one letter of apology.
He said: ’I don’t want people to get convicted, or to lose their licences – I just want people to realise how they are driving and how dangerous it is for cyclists.
’A lot of drivers just seem to think cyclists don’t pay road tax so they don’t pay any attention to us. But I also put cyclists that break the law onto the website, because it’s not fair to only target drivers – not all cyclists are good either.
’The highway code says that if you are over-taking a cyclist you have to be at least three feet away.
’But people don’t, especially at this time of year – people just want to get home from work. In the summer, people seem to be more relaxed.
’I just want to highlight to people how terrible some driving is, and to shock people and teach them to be better drivers.
’There are lots of selfish drivers out there who risk their own lives and others just to take a few seconds off their journey.’
Dastardly driving: Footage filmed by Mr Spragg shows various offences taking place
Mr Spragg began cycling to the 13 miles to work in Manchester city centre from his home a year ago to lose weight through the Cycle to Work scheme.
He said, ’The first time I went out, I had to bump up onto the pavement a lot because the driving was so scary and because I wasn’t that confident.
’But as I got more confident and was using the road more, I was becoming more of a target for people that don’t like cyclists.
’They drive in cycle lanes, they drive over cycle lanes, they drive at you, they drive within an inch of you and then when you confront them they tell you to pay your road tax and get off your bike.’
After he was clipped again by a car near Denton roundabout two months ago, fed up Mr Spragg got a 5cm wide camera for £55 from eBay to fit to his helmet and film the drivers.
’When I looked through the footage, it just showed how bad some of the driving was. I was looking through my videos yesterday because I was uploading some new material to the website and there were 14 things on one journey home!
’The whole journey home is really bad, I work in the town centre and the whole route home is bad.’
Now Mr Spragg uploads the videos, with the registration plates blurred out, on his website www.fightbaddriving.co.uk to shame drivers who break the law and to provide evidence to local councils and the Highways Agency.
Black spot: Mr Spragg wants a permanent camera installed at Denton roundabout, Greater Manchester, where he says motorists frequently drive through red lights
Mr Spragg, who has lost four stone since he began cycling a year ago, is now considering attaching his camera to the front of his car to capture bad driving from another angle.
He also wants a permanent camera to be installed at Denton roundabout, the black spot of his journey, to prevent a fatal accident.
And despite heated arguments with drivers while out on the road, he says he has received wide support online for his efforts.
Mr Spragg, who is married to wife Louise, said, ’I’ve reported bus drivers to their bosses because one of their buses nearly killed me it was so close. Just one sent a standard letter saying they were very sorry.
’The council have had a word with one of their tipper-truck drivers because he overtook me at less than a foot away at about 50mph.
’I want to get a camera installed at Denton roundabout, because it’s the worst spot and somebody is going to get killed there soon if nothing is done about it – people just jump the red lights.’
A Tameside council spokesman said: ’We have not yet heard from Mr Spragg but if he hands over any material he gets as part of his investigations we are more than happy to take a look at it.’