Motoring lawyer Nick Freeman, famous for getting celebrities off driving offences, says that bicycles should carry identification plates and that cyclists should be forced to wear helmets and hi-vis clothing.
Mr Freeman, who goes by the nickname Mr Loophole, sent out a press release about his thoughts on motoring law reform, in which he says that cyclists should be forced to comply with the same rules as motorists.
>> Subscribe to Cycling Weekly this Autumn and save 35%. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<
“Cyclists are incredibly vulnerable and wearing helmets and sporting hi-vis clothing – which will cut down on deaths and injury – should be made mandatory,” Mr Freeman said in his press release.
“In addition there are a number of cyclists who seem to totally disregard the Highway Code and ignore signals and junctions at their own peril. Motorists are easily identified by their registration plates, but cyclists are relatively anonymous.
“The Government must look at introducing a raft of legislation which deals with identification, visibility, compliance with road traffic regulations, insurance, cycle excise licence and compulsory use of a helmet. This list is not exhaustive.
“The goal is to improve the quality of driving and cycling by both parties, thus increasing accountability and enhancing road safety.”
While some of Mr Freeman’s points are valid, and indeed called for by much of the cycling community, such measures as forcing riders to wear certain clothing and helmets would likely lead to a decrease in participation in the activity – Mayor of London Boris Johnson has regularly stated this when the helmet debate is raised.
Legislation requiring cyclists to carry identification has been floated in Sydney, Australia, but affixing an identification plate to all bikes would prove a challenge.
Mr Freeman added that anti-social cycling, such as jumping red lights and mounting pavements, needs to be tackled in the interest of all road users.
“Undertaking when approaching left turns, ignoring red lights, not being visible in low light conditions and mounting pavements are just a small number of practices that are commonplace,” he said.
“Enforcing this kind of legislation is in the best interests of all road users. It will tackle slipping road safety standards head on.
“The Cycling Proficiency test should be made compulsory for cyclists using public highways. To pass it means reaching a certain level of competency and an understanding of the rules of the road.”