As technology advances, the ease with which we can record everyday events increases.

The national news now often features photos or videos submitted by someone that was actually present as the story unfolds; this weekend there has been footage from the Costa Concordia cruise liner aired that was filmed by one of the passengers.

It's also now a common site to see people who have paid money to go and see their favourite band play live, but choose to watch the event through a small screen whilst holding their phone aloft to film the performance.

Cyclists and motorcyclists are also benefitting from the advances in camera technology and more of them are wearing helmet mounted cameras to record events as they ride.

A friend of mine was a very early adopter of this technology but he had to ride with a full camcorder in his backpack along with extra batteries to power the "bulletcam" that was attached to his helmet.

We also used to use this technology to film mountain biking trips to Wales and make short films for our entertainment, whereas now the footage is often taken whilst commuting or riding in traffic and is used for defensive or evidential reasons.

Have a look on YouTube and you may be surprised to see how many channels exist purely for footage captured whilst cycle commuting.

Whilst I am yet to take the plunge and buy a camera, although I am getting very tempted, I take quite a lot of interest in the experiences of these "helmet cammers" and watch quite a few of the videos.

One thing that has become apparent is that a new language is appearing that is specific to cycle commuters and that most people, and in particular drivers, may not have a clue what we are going on about, so here is a quick guide to cycle commuting slang!


This is a Red Light Jumper, doesn't matter what form of transport you are in.


A cyclist without lights, normally wearing dark clothing as well.


A derogatory term for an inexperienced cyclist who rides with their whole body causing the head to nod.


A driver trapped in their metal cage that is a car!




Silly Commuter Racing, this is when you see a rider in the distance, or get overtaken by another rider, and just have to beat them!


It's an acronym for "Sorry Mate I Didn't See You", a phrase often used by drivers who are not paying attention and pull out in front of cyclists, perform "left hooks" etc.


Another acronym that indicates a deliberate "SMIDSY", it stands for "Sorry Mate I Don't Give A..."

Primary/Secondary Position

The primary riding position is in the centre of the lane, the secondary riding position is about a metre to the left of moving traffic, but not closer than 0.5 metres to the edge of the road.

While the terms 'primary' and 'secondary' aren't defined precisely in road traffic law or in The Highway Code, they are widely used in all recognised manuals - most notably the book Cyclecraft, endorsed by The Department For Transport and the CTC (Cyclists' Touring Club).

The primary position is generally the safest for the cyclist, the secondary being an option available to you that helps traffic behind see ahead and overtake you. These positions are also known as "taking the lane".

Door Zone This is the space next to parked cars where cyclists are at risk of being hit by an opening door, take primary or secondary position to avoid this.

Left Hook

A vehicle overtaking and then immediately turning left often before completing the overtaking manoeuvre. This is very dangerous for cyclists and is generally caused by impatience or a SMIDSY.

Brake tester

Someone who overtakes and then cuts straight in causing the cyclist to brake sharply to avoid riding into the back of them. This often happens when the motorist is desperate to reach the back of the queue of the stationary traffic just a few metres ahead.

Hot Potato

This was new one on me a couple of weeks ago and is named after some motorists reactions when caught illegally using their mobile phone whilst driving and realising that they've been spotted; the phone gets dropped like a hot potato!

There are lots more, but these are some of the most common and some that I've seen used by cyclists in discussions with motorists who just end up looking confused!

Based on information supplied by David Brown.