Nick Freeman, famous for getting the likes of David Beckham off speeding offences, says cyclists are goading drivers into reacting badly and posting it on YouTube

A lawyer famous for getting celebrities off driving charges has called on motorists to stand up against cyclists who goad them into losing their temper before posting the videos on YouTube.

Nick Freeman’s words come after a video of a motorist in Reading chasing a cyclist before falling to the ground went viral on the internet.

Mr Freeman says that he is not against cyclists using headcams, but is fighting against riders becoming vigilantes or riding provocatively to goad motorists into heated responses.

“The time has come for motorists to fight back and film cyclists breaking the law or riding irresponsibly,” he told Motoring.co.uk, adding: “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.”

“I’m not against cyclists and motorcyclists using headcams, far from it. But what I am against is provocative and dangerous cycling, which is designed to goad motorists, knowing full well the responses will be captured on video and then uploaded on to the internet.

“Motorists can be easily identified by their registration plates, but cyclists are relatively anonymous.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PFRdEUN240
Warning: this video contains swearing from the start and throughout

Mr Freeman is famous for finding technicalities in motoring law to get his clients, such as footballer David Beckham and comedian Jimmy Carr, off driving offences.

In response to Mr Freeman’s comments, Carlton Reid of BikeBiz.com pointed out that the lawyer’s understanding of his own specialist subject was a little off the mark.

“I’m surprised that a lawyer specialising in transport could be so ignorant about the various Road Traffic acts and the Highway Code,” he told the website. “It is not illegal for cyclists to undertake and to ride in the middle of the road.”

He 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.”

  • I read an interview with him once and it was quite illuminating. He was under no illusion that his clients were innocent and he said the only reason they got off was the incompetence of the police. Who he thought needed to get their act together.

  • When I was a kid we got a taxi to train station at 6am one morning. The driver drove the thankfully empty road all the way along the dashed line in centre of road. He was pissed.

  • robear40

    Couldn’t’do agree more with DourScot about this deluded lawyer. Car drivers are not “victims”. Remember driving is Not a sanctioned Competitive event. Only inflated egos make it seem so!

  • FPCyclist

    Yes!

  • TeaKay

    When you make a career out of removing the consequences of driving dangerously you are hardly in a position to make any statement on road safety.

  • PA78

    Mr Freeman needs to learn the law before he pursues this venture. Undertaking traffic as a cyclist is not a crime and is a necessity. Riding in the middle of the road is encouraged in the Highway Code in certain circumstances and is often a manoeuvre performed by a cyclist who is discouraging the driver behind them from overtaking unsafely.

  • Noel Boyd

    Mr Angry

    Who is he? What is his name? It is as good as it gets when Mr A loses it completely and does a swallow dive onto the tarmac. Talk about self harming, he gets 10 out of 10 for originality.

    He needs a lesson in English, as he cannot express himself. He also needs some help with anger management. This was not the first time he has gone nuclear nor will it be the last, if he has no help.

    How did the cyclist view the incident from different perspectives? There must have been at least two people filming.

    Cars have had control of the roads for a very long time, and as a starting point cyclists should have full control of Richmond Park. The cars have near total control of everywhere else. Cyclists deserve 10.8 kms to themselves.

  • RobTM

    Because eventually my flashing front light caused a visible reflection, then I heard him. The point is, it’s NOT just drivers affected.. it’s not “them and us”

  • Mark Webster

    If ninja stealth riders in black are so hard to see, how did you know they were there if you couldn’t see them?

  • Mark Webster

    The real question should be “why do some think it is so dangerous to cycle on the road that they’d rather risk getting caught breaking the law riding on pavements ?”

  • JJ

    Nicely put, Mr_K.

  • JJ

    Already happened, Ade – some time ago a bloke whizzing along the pavement knocked a pedestrian over, & pedestrian died from his injuries…near misses on pavement cycling happen a lot – not all cyclists should be allowed out, & the cops don’t even stop them!

  • Darren Barratt

    Lawyer gives adivce making it more likely that people will need lawyers, shocker.

  • RS

    I know nothing about what Thames Valley Police did and have no opinion on it.

    However, you are wrong on several points. First, “that does not mean the motorist could not deny passing the cyclist closely” does NOT imply that “the motorist could deny passing the cyclist closely.” The fact that the motorist chose not to deny passing closely tells us nothing about whether he passed closely or not.

    Second, my comment regarding the motorist being innocent and subject to an unprovoked attack refers to the events up to the point where the cyclist caught up with him and started telling him off. There is nothing bold about that. There is no evidence of any misbehaviour by the motorist before that point.

  • Philip Lo

    its not an easy problem to resolve.. you have some cyclists taking up a whole lane when the courteous thing to do is move left for a car to pass.. then you have the impatient drivers that don’t wait for the cyclist to move left and just pass dangerously close to the cyclist.. if both parties did the decent thing, there’d be less of these incidents

  • RS

    The “door zone” is something of an irrelevance, since there were no cars to the cyclist’s left during most of the overtaking manoeuvre. Strangly enough though, when the cyclist decided to take off full pelt down the foot path, the “door zone” was no longer a consideration.

    Re “It says knock you ***s over!” That does not mean the motorist could not deny passing the cyclist closely. It means the motorist had passed safely and was annoyed at being chased by and shouted at by what turned out to be a self-righteous hypocrite. The motorist was innocent and being subjected to unprovoked attack. Under such circumstances he did not feel any need to justify himself or deny anything.

    Re “you can see how close the car was to the cyclist from the video.” OK, then. How close was the car? What sort of lens did the camera have? The speeds of the car and bike are unknown and the distance between the car and the cyclist is unknown. All you’ve got is a film showing a harmless looking overtaking maneouvre and the word of an angry cyclist, who is known to go around seeking confrontations with motorists.

  • The Awakening

    NickGendler,

    RE: “…he explained why he drove fast.”

    The ANGRY man in the car shouted a lot. With regards to an explanation about why he drove fast, with reference to the Highway Code, which the cyclist referred to, the ANGRY man in the car stated;

    “It says knock you c####s over!”

    The ANGRY man in the car could not deny he had passed the cyclist closely and probably didn’t understand anything about the ‘door zone’, which the cyclist referred to twice. When an ANGRY man in the car has the mindset, that the Highway Code allows him special dispensation;

    “It says knock you c####s over!”

    That ANGRY man in the car, has the self belief, that he is above the law.

  • The Awakening

    RS,

    RE: “I think it’s impossible to tell how close it was from the picture.”

    Actually you can see how close the car was to the cyclist from the video. Watch the footage from the rear camera. I agree with NickGendler on this point.

    It is what I personally term, as an ‘overtaking manoeuvre at the last moment’. The cyclist is passing parked cars out of the ‘door zone’ (his own description). Watch the line of the near side portion of the car, as it approaches the cyclist. The car only moves out to over take at the last moment, which is what startled the cyclist to react, with the comment…

  • RS

    I think it’s impossible to tell how close it was from the picture. It didn’t look particularly close to me. Also, the engine revs tell you next to nothing since you don’t know what gear it was in. And I think you can safely ignored everything the driver said, given his comment on the highway code.

  • Neilo

    I hardly think it requires a laboured or pedantic analysis of anything to see that this lawyer is neither showing a sociopathic mindset nor advocating physical threats or abuse. Anyway, good day to you too.

  • Jon

    Oh dear indeed! I don’t think a laboured and pedantic analysis of people’s comments is conducive to a constructive discussion. Good day to you sirrah 🙂

  • NickGendler

    It looked pretty clear to me that the car was very close as it passed the bike, the engine was revving quite high, and when the cyclists confronted him he didn’t deny he was driving fast, he explained why he drove fast.

  • RS

    Why makes you think that the motorist did drive dangerously though? I couldn’t see any convincing evidence of dangerous driving in the video.

  • RS

    Not at all. It doesn’t interest me particularly and it’s none of my business anyway.

  • Neilo

    Oh dear. Read what the lawyer said. Then read what “dourscot” wrote. Then explain which argument of the lawyer “dourscot” is referring to and what he specifically disagrees with.

  • Jon

    Just a guess, but maybe the insults are because people on the receiving end of this kind of behaviour from certain motorists are understandably angry. If you have your life put in danger, then get threatened and abused when you dare to suggest they could drive more carefully, anger is a natural response.

    I’ve experienced similar behaviour and I don’t chase drivers round with a camera. There are some nasty pieces of work on the road who either think somone else’s safety is less important than saving 20 seconds on their journey, some who deliberately swerve in towards cyclists and some who shout abuse. I make every effort not to hold up traffic and still encounter this from a small minority of drivers.

    Urging drivers to ‘fight back’ encourages these individuals to feel justified in their behaviour, and makes the roads more dangerous for other road users. A better approach would be to work towards more awareness and consideration from all road users and marginalise the problem ones, rather than stirring up tribal conflict based on the vehicles people happen to be using.

  • Jon

    I agree, it is clearly the lawyer’s argument from the context, given that it and the counter-comments by Carlton Reid are the only discernable ‘arguments’ within the article. You’d have to be pretty dim not to work that one out.

  • RobTM

    lol Next you’ll say the driver was wearing a seat belt to!

  • RS

    You can do what you want. However, if, after someone has passed you safely, you chase him round the block, stick a camera in his face, and then shout “way to close mate” in that patronising tone, you can expect him not to be too pleased.

  • RobTM

    Exactly! People should be asking “Why is this X doing that?”. Lorries may move to the right to turn left, cyclists be in centre of road to avoid car doors and so on.

  • RobTM

    Actually there can be good reason to ride on the middle of the road. I’ve done so once due to black ice ( steep crown made normal position dangerous), avoiding pot holes is common.
    Also see commuters on bikes passing stationary lines of traffic.

  • RobTM

    Really? So you can’t tell someone they passed too closely?
    That is “obnoxious” and justifies a torrent of abuse and threats.. Police seem to disagree with you, the motorist was cautioned, no action taken against the cyclist

  • Neilo

    The evidence would suggest you imagined wrong.

  • NickGendler

    Nick Freeman is opportunistic and self-serving but I have some sympathy for the broader point about vigilante cyclists. I wrote about it on my recent blog http://www.themamil.wordpress.com . There’s a growing trend of cyclists with cameras out to create something to film in order to anger drivers. I’m not saying in this case the driver was innocent. He drove dangerously and people like him need to stop doing that. I just think that as cyclists we need to try to educate not provoke with the intention of putting up the film on YouTube as further evidence of “those wicked drivers”.

  • lee

    I find it absolutely astoundingly bad that s.1 in a vehicle weighing about a ton AND CAN KILL can have the upper hand in law, and the indirect allegiance that is elevated towards it never ever fails to amaze me.

    I’ve never met a violent driver whilst in a petrol station.. You’d think they’d have the arse too be soo cocky there too! Strange what 3mm of glass and metal can do innit.

  • lee

    When ja ever see a car driver letting on to another…who they don’t know..

  • BullfrogBlues1

    The lawyers argument ,I would imagine.

  • RS

    Cos it’s not that cyclist’s cycling that is the issue here but his obnoxious behaviour after he decided the driver had committed the heinous crime of passing him “too close”.

  • RS

    I was recently almost taken out by a dozey couple on bikes who rode through red while I was out cycling recently, so it isn’t just pedestrians who need to worry!

  • The Awakening

    Neilo,

    RE: “Was anyone going to get beaten up though? There is no way of knowing, since the motorist tripped up before anything happened.”

    Watch it more closely and you will see the running motorist actually kicked the back of the bike. The kicking of the bike (back wheel?), caused him to lose his balance.

    So the running motorist didn’t trip and lose his balance, he kicked the bike and then lost his balance.

    So the fact that the running cyclist kicked the bike, suggests the cyclist was perhaps/maybe going to get a kicking…

  • NF

    Maybe you should learn to read and/or think before commenting. Your second paragraph has nothing whatsoever to do with what Mr Freeman said, yet you chose to insult him nonetheless. Why?

  • Alan_Peery

    There is a difference between persistent questioning of illegal and usually dangerous behaviour and goading. The videos I have seen show the cyclists doing the former, not the latter.

  • Neilo

    What argument are you referring to? What do you disagree with specifically?

  • Neilo

    Was anyone going to get beaten up though? There is no way of knowing, since the motorist tripped up before anything happened.

    Anyway the whole business has little to do with cycling or driving, reckless or otherwise. The motorist passed the cyclist safely. It was only the cyclist’s subsequent actions that, understandably, made the motorist angry.

  • Kevino Daviessss

    Provocation or not you cannot chase after anyone to beat them up.
    Mr Loophole is obviously looking to make more money now so many more motorists are being charged by the Police.
    Any transport mode driving recklessly deserves to be fined regardless, but having people taking the law into there own hands needs to be stopped and reported.

  • Ade

    I have to say, in Central London, cyclists routinely go through red lights, and most don’t stop at zebra crossings. It’s not drivers that this lawyer should be worried about but pedestrians. I won;t be surprised if in the near future, someone is seriously injured having been run over by a bike.

  • Brian Brenda

    Ah, the old “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?

    So that makes it ok for aggressive Neanderthals in death boxes to intimidate all cyclists, law abiding or not? Mr Freeman, you sir are a feckless loser. Learn the law, then practice it yeah? Now jog on.

  • dodgerking

    More like 1 in 10,000 that do not break the law.

  • dodgerking

    It is. But he wasn’t riding down the middle of the road. He was riding down the middle of the lane, which is not illegal. There is a huge difference between riding down the middle of the road vs middle of the lane. I don’t recall ever seeing anybody ride down the middle of the road in my entire life.

  • dodgerking

    “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!”

    Cycling down the middle of the road? Never. Cycling down the middle of the lane? Often, as this is what they should be doing.

    Other than that LEGAL action this cyclists was doing, why bring up the other
    things as they are completely irrelevant in this case?

  • graham

    I have been the victim of motorists driving badly as much as the next person, why is it that they always quote cyclists going through red lights my experience, admittedly not in London, is that far more motorists go through red lights than cyclists. I must say however that having watched quite a lot of online videos posted by cyclists it is clear that in many cases its six of one and half a dozen of the other. Indeed it seems that some cyclists go out of their way to antagonise motorists. This is in no way a defence for bad driving which is rife but we can do without so called cyclists deliberately making the situation worse

  • Roland Lawrence

    Indeed, this guy has a point. I think there should be mandatory cameras fitted to cars. That way we could expose all this dangerous use of the road. Of course its going to pick up the very occasional motorist breaking the law but im sure will only be 1 in 10,000 like hes suggesting.

  • Roland Lawrence

    I think if you asked to put cameras in cars the motorists would be up in arms as they would not be able to get away with speeding, driving on the wrong side of the road, over taking at zebra crossings, come on it was orange for sure, i never saw them – style of driving.

  • Al E

    I didn’t know riding in the middle of the road was illegal?

  • Nigel Welsh

    This lawyer has got is all wrong. Its not about fighting back or fight/arguing full stop. It should be about learning to live together and sharing the road. There are good and bad road users in all forms of vehicle. This lawyer is simply inflammatory and drumming up business.

  • RobTM

    The ninja stealth riders are a danger to cyclists to; I’ve had narrow misses with them on bikes. They seem to think, if they can see you, you can see them.

  • Half Back

    I’m all for rooting out bad drivers, bad cyclists, bad dog walkers etc etc. What we don’t need is bad lawyers getting bad drivers/cyclists/etc off the hook because of technicalities. Fit every car with a camera, great! and use it as evidence when there is an incident. The majority of times i’m sure the evidence will show a vulnerable road user being put in danger but if it exposes irresponsible or dangerous cycling in the process then maybe it will help. The worst I see at the moment is the ‘hoodie’ brigade at night using mountain bikes as their chosen transport, no lights and riding on pavements, roads (many times on the wrong side). The police just ignore them completely!

  • NitroFan

    What about motorists that verbaly attack us and use their vehicles to intimidate or worse when we are doing nothing but riding along minding our own business abiding by the highway code? Which make up about 99.999999% of all attacks upon cyclists.

  • dourscot

    A self-serving argument typical of the sociopathic legal mindset – nobody is compelled to physically threaten or abuse someone, car driver or not.