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Expect carnage and more danger...Mr Loophole rants about Highway Code changes to talkRadio's Mike Graham

Nick Freeman, the lawyer notorious for obtaining not guilty verdicts for celebrities charged with motoring offences, slammed the changes as "ill-conceived"...

Nick Freeman, often know by his Mr Loophole nickname, made an appearance on Mike Graham's talkRadio show this morning to slam the new Highway Code changes, and warned of "carnage" on Britain's roads.

Freeman, who regularly makes headlines for getting celebrities off driving charges, was highly critical of the changes which come into effect on Saturday 29th January, particularly the Hierarchy of Road Users.

Under this, road users most at risk in the event of a collision are at the top of the hierarchy and should receive priority over road users that are less vulnerable. Pedestrians are at the top of the hierarchy, followed by cyclists.

Speaking on 'The Independent Republic of Mike Graham', Freeman predicted "carnage" and warned "our roads are going to be much more angry and much more dangerous."

"It's well-intentioned but ill-conceived," he said. "The whole point of this is to increase safety. We're all in favour of trying to make our roads safer. Safety doesn't equal priority. I fear it is going to be carnage. Particularly for the most vulnerable people.

"Pedestrians and cyclists have this sense of entitlement, and they're now going to have the force of the Highway Code behind it, which will only increase this sense of entitlement. It seems to lack common sense. Wouldn't it be more sensible to say to those who are most vulnerable 'you have to share this responsibility as well?'"

> Press misrepresents Highway Code changes – just days before they come into force

Under the changes cyclists have a responsibility to reduce danger to pedestrians in the same way the less vulnerable driver has a responsibility to both.

On the issue of road positioning, Freeman was characteristically outspoken, saying the advice for cyclists to ride in 'primary position' (in the centre of the lane) in certain situations "would not end well".

The Code will tell riders to adopt primary position on quiet roads (but to move over when road users approach from behind), in slower moving traffic, and approaching junctions where overtaking is dangerous.

Freeman said this would "infuriate motorists, increase frustration and lead to many incidents because motorists are not going to want to sit behind a cyclist. You can see how this is going to unfold, and it's not going to unfold well.

"I think what the government needs to do is let everybody use common sense, and that tends to work because most people have common sense.

"What they're trying to do is control us, take that away, by putting these rules in place it is going to have the reverse effect. One wonders who is advising the government. Who are the people saying this is a good idea?

"There needs to be a balanced, sensible approach which works for everybody not just for a tiny minority, that's what we've got here. Cyclists need to play their part. I saw a picture of Chris Boardman cycling the other day. He wasn't wearing a helmet or a hi-vis jacket. It doesn't send out the right message."

Freeman went on to echo a sentiment expressed by the AA's head of roads policy Jack Cousens over the weekend, warning the lack of publicity, and polls showing many road users are unaware of proposed changes is worrying.

> Government slammed for not informing public of Highway Code changes aimed at protecting cyclists and pedestrians just days before they come into effect

"The other very alarming thing is that nobody knows about it," Freeman explained. "It's coming in on Saturday but the polls suggest a significant amount of motorists don't even know there is going to be a change, and of those, some are saying 'we're not even going to look, we don't care', which isn't healthy as motorists obviously need to be educated."

The discussion also included criticism of the Code's guidance on cycle lanes, with host Graham asking "if cyclists are now being told they don't have to use cycle lanes what was the point of butchering the road system to put all those cycle lanes in at a significant cost to the taxpayer?"

Freeman replied: "They never had to use them anyway. They're spending hundreds of millions of pounds on cycle lanes but it was never a mandatory requirement that they use them. So what is the point? Either have them and say they're there for a reason or let's not bother at all."

With the lawyer off the call, Graham ended the segment with a rant of his own, calling the changes "absolute and utter madness". 

"I'm not going to mince my words here this is not to do with cyclists vs drivers or pedestrians vs cyclists, this is to do with road safety for everyone. And what these measures say to me is that there will be a lot more accidents, a lot more injuries, a lot more deaths on the road, and that is not really a very good idea, is it?"

For an in-depth look at the full changes which will come into effect from Saturday, check out our guide to the Department for Transport's proposal...

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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