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Mr Loophole’s cyclist ID petition “gathers momentum” says BBC – except it closed last week

Solicitor to the stars Nick Freeman will now get response from government – but we already know what the answer will be

“Gathers momentum” are the words used in a BBC News headline to an article published yesterday referring to the petition launched back in June by solicitor Nick ‘Mr Loophole’ Freeman calling on cyclists and e-scooter riders to be required, among other things, to wear hi-vis tabards with identification numbers – the only problem being that the petition actually closed last week.

And while, as the BBC correctly points out, the number of signatures it attracted means the government will have to give a response to the petition, we already have a strong hint of what the answer will be thanks to a question asked in the House of Lords back in June.

In its article, the broadcaster said that the petition aimed to “crack down on nuisance cycling” – even though the changes to the law being called for by the Manchester-based solicitor, who has helped celebrity clients including David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson secure acquittals on motoring-related offences, would apply to anyone riding a bike.

Like all petitions published on the Parliament.uk website, the petition ran for six months. It was posted in June, ran for six months, and it closed last Tuesday 7 December having amassed 10,498 signatures.

It broke the 10,000-signature threshold above which the government is obliged to provide a response – due within the next nine days – with less than 24 hours to go until it closed, despite Freeman repeatedly taking to print and broadcast media, including The Telegraph and BBC Radio 4, to urge people to support it.

Posted under the heading, Introduce new requirements for cyclists/e-scooters: visible ID, licences, etc, Freeman wrote:

The Government should require cyclists and e-scooter riders display visible ID, require that cycle lanes be used where available, and introduce a licensing and penalty point system for all cyclists and licensing system for escooter riders.

Roads are now shared with more cyclists and e-scooters than ever. Yet cyclists and e-scooter riders aren`t currently held accountable in same way as drivers.

Cycle lanes can be safer yet are often not-used. A licence scheme and penalty points system should ensure responsible cycling and e-scooter use.

"Without some kind of registration scheme we have no idea who might be riding a bike or an e-scooter,” Freeman – who in 2007 got Jeremy Clarkson cleared of a speeding charge because the prosecution had been unable to prove that the then Top Gear presenter had been driving the car in question at the time of the alleged offence – told the BBC.

“Those who use them can recklessly flout the law with impunity – say, jumping red lights, weaving on and off pavements and even knocking down pedestrians,” added the solicitor – who has previously called for pedestrians to be forced to wear reflective clothing at night after a driver he represented was convicted of causing the death of a rabbi through careless driving.

> Make pedestrians wear reflective clothing, says ‘Mr Loophole’ lawyer who defended killer driver

And as for what we expect the government’s response to the petition to be, at least insofar as it relates to cyclists?

Well, at the end of June – three weeks after the petition had been posted and Freeman had made his initial rounds of the media to promote it – Lord Berkeley, patron of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling & Walking, posed a written question to the government in the House of Lords on the issues it raised.

> Minister repeats there is no prospect of requiring cyclists to be licensed as ‘Mr Loophole’ lawyer Nick Freeman continues to push his petition

In a written question, he asked the government “what assessment they have made of the possible (1) advantages, and (2) disadvantages, of introducing a licensing system for cyclists.”

Responding to the Labour peer, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, said: “The government considered this matter carefully as part of the cycling and walking safety review in 2018, and has no plans to introduce such a system.

“Cycling brings many benefits, particularly in terms of health and the environment, and the government is keen to encourage rather than restrict it.

“Cyclists must respect the rules of the road as set out in The Highway Code and enforcement of cycling offences is a matter for the police.

“The introduction of a licensing system would be likely to deter many people from cycling and the costs and complexity of introducing and administering such a system, would be likely to outweigh any road safety or other benefits,” she added.

Earlier this month, Freeman was set straight by Surrey Police’s road policing unit on Twitter after he posted a video in which he suggested – incorrectly – that a group of cyclists riding two abreast ahead of the vehicle he was travelling in on a winding road were breaking the law.

> Mr Loophole fury at perfectly legal two abreast cyclists "riding with impunity" (+ Surrey traffic cops aren't impressed)

And while his petition may, at the 11th hour, have gone over the 10,000 signatures it needed for the government to have to respond, it secured barely a tenth of the 100,000 needed for it to even be considered for a House of Commons debate by the Backbench Business Committee.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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43 comments

Avatar
joe9090 | 2 years ago
2 likes

duh, Mr Poophole

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festina | 2 years ago
2 likes

Fkit bring it on. I want to see all those entitled drivers faces when the police treat their complaints of cyclists "holding up traffic" or "jumping redlights" in the same way that i get when i report drivers actually trying to run me off the road (i.e. 'yeah, we'll look into it' and never contact you again).

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wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
8 likes

If Nick Freeman is now really interested in road safety, after years of working very effectively at keeping dangerous drivers behind the wheel, has he had a road to damascus moment? OR  is he simply looking to increase the number of prosecutions is thie essentially a marketing strategy?

Has he heard that a number of wealthy famous people also road bikes, so there is a market for a celebrity cycling defence lawyer? 

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Steve K | 2 years ago
12 likes

Almost 600 petitions have reached the threshold to get a response.  I wonder how many of the others the BBC have deemed as newsworthy. 

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HoarseMann | 2 years ago
5 likes

When the world is full of autonomous cars and with a lack of draconian cycling/scootering laws, he could perhaps use his skills to offer late homework excuses to the children of celebrities.

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Mungecrundle replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 2 years ago
13 likes

She has been previously.

In the interests of road safety and all that, he helped her avoid a penalty for use of mobile phone whilst driving.

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Awavey replied to Mungecrundle | 2 years ago
1 like

Whilst now also calling to treat mobile phone use in cars the same as drink driving with a 12month driving ban, but it's the cyclists right https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/12/04/mr-loophole-calls-mobile-pho...

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Mungecrundle | 2 years ago
4 likes

And don't forget he also lost one for her (not that his losses seem to get reported much) when his much vaunted "escape the paparazzi" defence wasn't bought this time. I really must check the loophole in the law which he is exploiting there which isn't just hoping the magistrate is starstuck. 

As for the phone one, the defence won, not on her initial defence that she was using her perfume bottle and losing control of her car and not her mobile and losing control of her car, but on they told her then she was being prosecuted but apparently didn't tell her by letter. 

I'm pretty sure that apart from "Shitting myself" Fergie, all his other clients have been done multiple times before and since he might have got them off once. Yet still people laud him as a Road Safety Campaigner. 

 

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brooksby replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
7 likes
AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

Yet still people laud him as a Road Safety Campaigner. 

No.  People don't.  Our Nige does, but that's about it...

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wycombewheeler replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:
AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

Yet still people laud him as a Road Safety Campaigner. 

No.  People don't.  Our Nige does, but that's about it...

 

and the bbc apparently  

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
2 likes

Whilst I believe Boo has signed the petition multiple times, one for each of his personalities, I don't think 10.5k times. So yes, "People don't" but Arseholes and Journalists do, the latter of which do articles like the above without asking the questions I keep on mentioning or others like:

Do you give some of your wealth to road safety charities who campaign for victims of speeding and distracted drivers, most of which seem to be your clients?

Being as the majority of your clients are guilty of speeding in the majoritry of which you never deny the speeds in court, why haven't you ever launched a petition to get the two week limit of notification dropped? Afterall that was brought in when most people were caught there and then and not by Cameras or filmed which can delay the process. Or a petition to remove telling the public where speed camera are located on sat-navs or giving notice on where mobile ones might be based? Afterall the speed limit is the same whether the camera van is there or not!

 

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Jetmans Dad replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 2 years ago
15 likes
Garage at Large wrote:

For all you Nick Freeman fans out there, the legend himself will be commenting on the Katie Price case on LBC tomorrow morning at 9am. Please note, Ms Price is not a client of Mr Freeman.

Why would anyone be interested in his opinions on the case of a woman who has now been banned from driving 6 times, and on this occasion admitted driving under the influence of drink and drugs, while already disqualified and without insurance (notwithstanding that her disqualification would presumably have invalidated her insurance anyway)?

Exactly the sort of driver lifetime bans were invented for ... such a pity they are never actually used. 

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jh2727 replied to Jetmans Dad | 2 years ago
1 like
Jetmans Dad wrote:

on this occasion admitted driving under the influence of drink and drugs, while already disqualified and without insurance (notwithstanding that her disqualification would presumably have invalidated her insurance anyway)?

Do you have any link to her being already disqualified on this occasion - I thought she was, as she received a 2 year ban in October 2019 - but apparently she managed to get this reduced to 18 months on appeal.

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Hirsute replied to jh2727 | 2 years ago
3 likes

Price, of Dial Post, Horsham, pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified, without insurance and while unfit through drink after rolling her BMW at 6.20am on September 28.

 

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/19788617.katie-price-police-consider-app...

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OldRidgeback replied to Hirsute | 2 years ago
2 likes
hirsute wrote:

Price, of Dial Post, Horsham, pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified, without insurance and while unfit through drink after rolling her BMW at 6.20am on September 28.

 

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/19788617.katie-price-police-consider-app...

I think she needs psychiatric help. She lives a chaotic life. But I agree, she's the sort of person lifetime driving bans were meant for.

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Muddy Ford replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 2 years ago
2 likes
Garage at Large wrote:

For all you Nick Freeman fans out there, the legend himself will be commenting on the Katie Price case on LBC tomorrow morning at 9am. Please note, Ms Price is not a client of Mr Freeman.

Nick, I think you meant bellend not legend. 

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giff77 | 2 years ago
11 likes

Have always puzzled over the irony of when motorists demand licensing, registration and insuring of cyclists. It's not like any of those three areas have really reduced traffic offences committed by motorists. 

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David9694 replied to giff77 | 2 years ago
0 likes

I'm sure the world is a slightly better place for having those things.  Drivers want us all to suffer/ suffer them equally.  Windshield bias and a way to remove the simplicity, accessibility and spontaneity of cycling.  
There's a dual personality thing, the self-styled "innocent motorist" and "what corner cutting (everyone else does it) can I get away with today?" Layered with the many expenses and hassles of running a car - a roller-coaster of whizzing along comfortably one minute, then a jam and nowhere to park the next. 
 

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Rik Mayals unde... | 2 years ago
15 likes

Mr Freeman said: "We are all delighted with the results of the petition since something must be done to make road space safer for everyone.

But it's OK for this dickhead who makes a fortune getting dangerous footballers amongst others off the hook, thus ensuring that road space is kept dangerous by letting lunatics keep their licenses.

Hypocrite, fuckwit, dickhead. 

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Rik Mayals unde... | 2 years ago
9 likes

Anyone offended by the BBCs one sided story, make a complaint to them, it takes five minutes. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/contact/complaints

Copy and paste this link to the story.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-59649900

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Benthic | 2 years ago
11 likes

"Cycle lanes can be safer yet are often not-used."

Where is the danger coming from, Mr Freeman?

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Mungecrundle | 2 years ago
16 likes

Freeman has not even qualified the actual problem he is attempting to address. If road safety was a genuine concern* then cyclists would be way down the list of priorities. Licencing, tabbards, MOTs, hi viz, helmets, insurance and the other crap are simply ways to make cycling such a hassle that no-one will bother. I don't even think that this is Freeman's ultimate motive. He simply uses cycling as a lightning rod to ensure his continued visibility in the media.

*That Freeman is rolled out as any sort of road safety campaigner is an utter travesty given his chosen line of work.

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swldxer replied to Mungecrundle | 2 years ago
10 likes

He is the same as a lot of my ex workmates who didn't like cyclists. They all wanted no music, no radios, compulsory helmets, hi-vis on hot summer days and loved it when it rained.

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quiff replied to Mungecrundle | 2 years ago
10 likes
Mungecrundle wrote:

I don't even think that this is Freeman's ultimate motive.

I think I have posited before that, having seen a surge in cycling, he may actually be going after cyclists as a new client base: "yes m'lud, that is my client's registration tabard, but the prosecution can't prove that it is my client wearing it". But most likely he just hates us.  

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nikkispoke | 2 years ago
16 likes

I did submit a complaint to the BBC for the biased and inaccurate manner in which the article was written. It seems in general the BBC shows bias against cycling as a means of transport or allows reporters to introduce such a bias and gives up with fair or reasonable reporting. It is difficult to know what Mr Freeman is trying to do other than create publicity and discontent his proposals will have no meaningful impact on road safety but risk the opposite. He offers no basis in fact or evidence but through hs legal work should know a licence is no regulator of behaviour. On average 42 pedestrians are killed each year on pavements by licenced drivers in registered motor vehicles. How is road safety improved by wasting rescources and time on a form of transportation that leads sadly to about 3 people being killed a year with unknown fault and on any part of the highway. He writes cycle lanes can be safer so who decides which are these lanes and why, is he raising a campaign to improve those lanes that are not safe ? Then why should a license system improve the safety of those lanes ? About 220 people each year are killed by knife attacks is he suggesting everyone walks around by carrying a visible number plate to make them be identified easier ?

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wycombewheeler replied to nikkispoke | 2 years ago
5 likes
nikkispoke wrote:

About 220 people each year are killed by knife attacks is he suggesting everyone walks around by carrying a visible number plate to make them be identified easier ?

by pedestrians?

Because any crimes commited by someone who happened to have a bike with them would be laid at the door of cyclists.

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0-0 | 2 years ago
12 likes

"Cyclists must respect the rules of the road as set out in The Highway Code".

What about?
Members of Parliament must respect the rules of the land as set out in the Ministerial Code".

I thought not. Well, fuck it. I'm not going to wear my seatbelt whilst cycling then.

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Flintshire Boy replied to 0-0 | 2 years ago
0 likes

Great stuff. That's a really, really adult reaction. [NOT - just in case there was any doubt.]

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chrisonabike replied to Flintshire Boy | 2 years ago
5 likes

Are you banking on Rendel having the day off?

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Rendel Harris replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
5 likes

Foolish if so - like Pinkerton's, "We Never Sleep"!

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