Criminal and motoring lawyer Nick Freeman – known as "Mr Loophole" – has called on motorists to "fight back" against "goading” cyclists who post videos of law-breaking drivers on the internet. On an article on motoring.co.uk the "celebrity lawyer" (who has defended dozens of "celebrity offenders" including David Beckham and Jeremy Clarkson) said: “The time has come for motorists to fight back and film cyclists breaking the law or riding irresponsibly.”
Freeman added: “How often do we see cyclists at night without any lights, jumping red lights, cycling the wrong way down one way streets, undertaking, cycling on the pavement or simply cycling down the middle of the road etc? Plenty! And these illegal actions challenge road safety by becoming a danger to themselves, to other road users and to pedestrians. Motorists can be easily identified by their registration plates, but cyclists are relatively anonymous.”
Motoring.co.uk asked Carlton Reid, executive editor of BikeBiz.com, to respond to Mr. Loophole and the website published Reid's rebuttal:
“I’m surprised that a lawyer specialising in transport could be so ignorant about the various Road Traffic acts and the Highway Code," said Reid.
"It is not illegal for cyclists to undertake and to ride in the middle of the road. In fact, the Department for Transport has produced posters telling cyclists to take up such a position on the road for their own safety.
“And safety is why some cyclists are now riding with helmet cams. Prior to such technology the police often didn’t believe people on bikes when they said they were hit or intimidated by people in motor cars – ample evidence is now available, leading to prosecutions.”
Reid added: “I think many cyclists would welcome motorists fitting dashcams – should a motorist do something stupid the cyclist could ask the police to look at the motorist’s video footage. Many of the videos on YouTube showing motorists breaking the law are, in fact, uploaded from the dashcams from fellow motorists.
“Mr. Freeman should welcome anything that makes our roads safer for all road users.”
The video that had so enraged Mr. Loophole was the sweary one that's now had 3 million views on YouTube in a matter of days (the video where Reading's Mr Angry takes a pratfall). Reid told motoring.co.uk:
“It’s interesting that Mr. Freeman has chosen this video as an example of ‘cyclists goading motorists’ when the footage quite clearly shows a man with anger-management issues and who broke a number of laws – he was not driving with due care and attention, he was not driving with a seatbelt, he exited his vehicle and assaulted the cyclist. This, you’d think Mr. Freeman would recognise, is a motorist who should be banned from driving – he is a danger to all road users, not just cyclists.”
Reid added: “Mr. Freeman’s point about registration plates assumes that cyclists would be somehow more law abiding if they had them fitted. If registration plates were so effective Mr. Freeman would be out of a job because motorists wouldn’t dare to break the law for fear of being identified.”