A motorist who landed himself a bill of £4,500 when he turned down an invitation to undergo a driver awareness course after making a close pass on a cyclist got no sympathy from celebrity solicitor Nick ‘Mr Loophole’ Freeman – with the lawyer tweeting that “the driver was in my view, too close re new Highway Code.”
We featured the video, filmed near Bridgend in south Wales, on Tuesday as part of our Near Miss of the Day series, with the driver, who also failed to pay a fixed penalty office, convicted of driving without due care and attention at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court.
The story was picked up by the mainstream media, and in his tweet Freeman said that the motorist had been “Ill advised not to accept the course offered. Drivers should be aware that due care carries an unlimited fine plus 3 – 9 penalty points and discretionary ban.”
The driver was, in my view, too close re new Highway Code. Ill advised not to accept the course offered. Drivers should be aware that due care carries an unlimited fine plus 3 – 9 penalty points and discretionary ban. #cyclistshttps://t.co/1KQteBpYY0
— Nick Freeman (@TheMrLoophole) June 16, 2022
While the incident took place last September, so before the Highway Code changes implemented in January that Freeman referenced in his tweet, at the time drivers were still advised to leave cyclists at least as much space as they would when overtaking a car.
Company director Wayne Humphreys, quoted in the Daily Mail, continues to protest his innocence, however, and said the case had left him £4,500 out of pocket including his own legal fees.
“Taking into account the cyclist and his bike there would have still been at least four foot space,” he claimed.
“I find it absolutely incredible this has happened. I don't know whether to appeal it or not. It will probably just cost me more money.
“This has already cost me about £4,500 with the money for the court and the solicitor.
“It doesn't make sense to me,” added the 77 year old, who has held a driving licence for six decades.
The footage was originally submitted to GoSafe, which co-ordinates Operation Snap on behalf of the four police forces in Wales.
A spokesperson said: “GoSafe received footage of a white Audi overtaking a cyclist on Pant Hirwaun, Bridgend on Wednesday, 15th September 2021, without leaving enough space to perform the manoeuvre.
“The driver, Wayne Humphreys, from Pontyclun, was contacted and offered a course. The What's Driving Us course is offered to drivers/riders as an alternative to prosecution for the offence of driving without due care and attention.
“Mr Humphreys failed to accept this course and later failed to comply with a fixed penalty notice. This resulted in him appearing in Cardiff Magistrates Court on 8th June 2022. He was found guilty of driving without due care and attention. He received 4 penalty points on his license, given a £1152 fine, £620 costs, and a £115 victim surcharge.
“GoSafe regularly receives similar submissions through Op Snap and has worked closely with drivers and cycling groups to develop Operation Close Pass, which looks to educate both drivers and cyclists on how to stay safe on our roads. This includes promoting one of the fundamental things to remember when overtaking a cyclist, to reduce your speed and always leave 1.5 metres between your vehicle and a cyclist, whenever safe to do so.
“Despite this, unfortunately, GoSafe continues to receive regular Op Snap submissions relating to close pass incidents. This outcome shows that these submissions are taken seriously and given the appropriate amount of attention, as we continue to work towards ensuring that our roads are safer for everyone.
“If you have information on close pass incident or other possible road traffic offence, you can submit the details, along with supporting footage, to GoSafe using Operation Snap.”
Dave, the road.cc reader who submitted the footage, told us: “From all of my correspondence with South Wales Police they have been great with dealing with close pass videos.
“They have provided good feedback on most the videos and are quick to respond if they need more information.”
It’s the second Near Miss of the Day video we’ve featured from South Wales in recent days in which a driver opted not to take an awareness course or pay a fixed penalty notice and landed himself with a hefty fine – with the other instance also being picked up by the nationals, including The Sun.
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.