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Mr Loophole applauds police action against "vigilante cyclists" filming law-breaking drivers

Earlier this month a Bristol cyclist received a Notice of Intended Prosecution after holding up a van driver for nine seconds while filming another motorist using their phone behind the wheel

Mr Loophole, real name Nick Freeman, has praised police for "taking action against vigilante cyclists" who film and submit offences by law-breaking drivers.

The lawyer, notorious for earning not guilty verdicts for celebrities charged with driving offences, weighed in after seeing the story, first reported by us and subsequently picked up by national newspapers, involving a Bristol cyclist receiving a Notice of Intended Prosecution after submitting a video of a driver using their phone.

Tom Bosanquet's offence was holding up a van driver for around nine seconds while he filmed another motorist using their phone behind the wheel of their MOT-expired Audi.

Sharing the Daily Mail's take on the incident, Mr Freeman commented: "The Police should be applauded for eventually taking action against vigilante cyclists who frequently ride without reasonable consideration or even dangerously. And who, hitherto, have been immune to the law.

"And why isn't there a cycling awareness course? After all, good enough for motorists."

In the footage, submitted to Avon & Somerset Police, the cyclist "acknowledged the van with a hand gesture and moved on in a matter of seconds".

However, the police force subsequently issued a notice for cycling "without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other people using the road."

Following the brief delay, the held up van driver then drove through a red light, an action Avon & Somerset Police's representative said was due to "his frustration".

According to the Sunday Times, Mr Bosanquet submitted 500 headcam videos to the police last year and a further 200 so far in 2022, with 95 per cent leading to the police taking action.

Despite the notice, the cyclist remained adamant Avon & Somerset Police is "a leading UK force for dealing with constant road danger", and said it was "just a minor issue within a system that generally works well".

It is not the first time the force has turned the tables on a cyclist reporting footage of law-breaking motorists.

Last February, Avon & Somerset Police incorrectly threatened a rider with a fine for 'cycling on the footpath' after they submitted footage of a motorist driving across a pavement.

> "Too ridiculous": Cyclist reports motorist for driving on the pavement... and is threatened with fine for 'cycling on the footpath'

In a statement provided to road.cc, the police force admitted the rider had in fact been cycling on a shared-use path, and that no action would be taken against the cyclist.

However, the statement did warn those filming incidents that all offences seen in footage could result in action, including their own.

"We are grateful for all submissions of potential motoring offences that are uploaded through our website. But people should be aware that if it is identified that the person submitting the footage has also committed an alleged offence, they may also be prosecuted. This is made clear on our website before a submission is made," the statement read.

Loophole lawyer Mr Freeman is no stranger to outspoken comments about cycling in the UK, predicting carnage and more danger following January's Highway Code changes.

In December, the Government confirmed it has "no plans" to force cyclists to wear identification, among other things, following the solicitor's petition scraping over the 10,000-signature threshold for an official response.

> Government confirms it has “no plans” to make cyclists wear identification numbers as it rejects ‘Mr Loophole’ petition

Mr Freeman's petition broke the 10,000-signature barrier within the final 24 hours, having run for six months and repeatedly received news coverage by print and broadcast media, including The Telegraph and BBC Radio 4.

It unsuccessfully campaigned the Government to "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."

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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37 comments

Avatar
headingley | 2 years ago
1 like

Sorry to have to say this again but....

.....IT IS ONLY A NOTICE OF INTENDED PROSECUTION.

It does NOT mean that the cyclist will be prosecuted. It simply makes the person aware that they could be prosecuted, so that, for example, you preserve your video footage etc. Calm-down !

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wtjs | 2 years ago
3 likes

This is after they both hammered over the stop line at 50+ mph. What will happen is either nothing or 'words of advice'

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brooksby replied to wtjs | 2 years ago
1 like

Are there any other sets of traffic lights in Lancashire, wtjs, or do you just particularly like those ones?  3

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chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
1 like

If you look on Google maps presumably they're now labelled, like "Gandalf's Corner" was in London. The reviews presumably are like "Some little eejit grassed me up here - fortunately the police sensibly ignored them".

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vthejk replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
2 likes

brooksby wrote:

Are there any other sets of traffic lights in Lancashire, wtjs, or do you just particularly like those ones?  3

But seriously though, how many of us know that one set of lights on some busy carriageway that fecking EVERYONE with a motor under their bonnet chooses to ignore because the road is 'too fast'/can't be arsed to check their speed/anticipate the signal etc etc?

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brooksby replied to vthejk | 2 years ago
0 likes

Very true... 

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wtjs | 2 years ago
2 likes

However, the statement did warn those filming incidents that all offences seen in footage could result in action, including their own

Could, but don't when it's motor vehicles in Lancashire. This is today when the lights turned red. Grey Freelander LD04 MCL (illegal plate) and white BMW VO13 VHT (right lane, not visible yet)

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Crippledbiker | 2 years ago
5 likes

This...really isn't a precedent he wants set. At all.

Wait too long to pull onto a Roundabout? Boom, fine.

I mean, the CPS aren't going to touch this - So long as Tom refuses any cautions etc and forces them to take him to court, he's fine.

Also, the driver was clearly distracted - I personally wouldn't put myself ahead of them at that point, especially whilst they're trying to have a go at me, simply as a hazard avoidance measure.

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hawkinspeter replied to Crippledbiker | 2 years ago
2 likes

Crippledbiker wrote:

This...really isn't a precedent he wants set. At all. Wait too long to pull onto a Roundabout? Boom, fine. I mean, the CPS aren't going to touch this - So long as Tom refuses any cautions etc and forces them to take him to court, he's fine. Also, the driver was clearly distracted - I personally wouldn't put myself ahead of them at that point, especially whilst they're trying to have a go at me, simply as a hazard avoidance measure.

There's an important difference though between an accidental hold-up of traffic (e.g. through incompetent driving skills) and an intentional hold-up of traffic (e.g. to document incompetent driving skills).

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TriTaxMan replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
3 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

There's an important difference though between an accidental hold-up of traffic (e.g. through incompetent driving skills) and an intentional hold-up of traffic (e.g. to document incompetent driving skills).

Maybe a better example is the "I will just stop on double yellow lines and put my emergency parking lights (that flash orange) on while I nip to the shop" brigade

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hawkinspeter replied to TriTaxMan | 2 years ago
1 like

TriTaxMan wrote:

Maybe a better example is the "I will just stop on double yellow lines and put my emergency parking lights (that flash orange) on while I nip to the shop" brigade

Just stopping on double yellow lines isn't illegal - you can do it to drop off/pick up passengers or loading/unloading for a short period of time (providing there's no no stopping restrictions).

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
4 likes

When I was a lot younger, I did exactly what TriTax mentioned to pick up a pizza. It was already ordered so it was a case of running in, waiting whilst they took another order, telling them my name, collecting and paying. I came out after two minutes max with a Police Car parked behind mine. They weren't happy but let me off with a scare (probably because they couldn't do anything else it seems). 

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Grahamd replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
3 likes

AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

When I was a lot younger, I did exactly what TriTax mentioned to pick up a pizza. It was already ordered so it was a case of running in, waiting whilst they took another order, telling them my name, collecting and paying. I came out after two minutes max with a Police Car parked behind mine. They weren't happy but let me off with a scare (probably because they couldn't do anything else it seems). 

Probably they were doing the same as you.

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TriTaxMan replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
3 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

Just stopping on double yellow lines isn't illegal - you can do it to drop off/pick up passengers or loading/unloading for a short period of time (providing there's no no stopping restrictions).

However at that point you are getting into grey areas.  Is stopping and going and getting shopping.... dropping off/picking up passengers or loading/unloading? 

I live very close to a local sandwich shop.... and every single day there will be cars parked on the double yellow lines while they go into the shop for their lunch, then they sit in their vehicles and eat their lunch.  Which means for anyone coming out of the 3 junctions whose view is being obstructed by vans on a regular basis it is frankly dangerous..... so perhaps they should all be issued with a NIP?

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mdavidford replied to TriTaxMan | 2 years ago
3 likes

TriTaxMan wrote:

they sit in their vehicles and eat their lunch.

Well that's a kind of loading, isn't it?

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Crippledbiker | 2 years ago
0 likes

Crippledbiker wrote:

Also, the driver was clearly distracted - I personally wouldn't put myself ahead of them at that point, especially whilst they're trying to have a go at me, simply as a hazard avoidance measure.

I think we covered it in the original story, and this is just speculation on my part. But I think Audi prick was on opposite flow of traffic in lights and obviously with phone to ear. The Punisher cycling against the flow sees this and stops to get footage showing clear phone usage because of the annoying loophole at the time. As he is stopped, van driver behind him can't get passed so has to wait. He gets the footage, waves a thanks to van driver with no mention if van driver acknowledged a wish to hurry up or not at the time. Distracted Audi driver still in other flow of traffic cyclist not in danger from them

Van clears Batman further down the road (again no mention if this was safely done or not) and then rushes through the next lights which happen to be red as he needs his 9 seconds back. No mention if Green Arrow had also reported the van driver seperately for that, or the Police picked it up on the footage, tutted as more work was needed and decided, in for a penny, who else can I do for what offence. Well the cyclist did stop in the road. 

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TriTaxMan replied to Crippledbiker | 2 years ago
2 likes

Crippledbiker wrote:

This...really isn't a precedent he wants set. At all. Wait too long to pull onto a Roundabout? Boom, fine. I mean, the CPS aren't going to touch this - So long as Tom refuses any cautions etc and forces them to take him to court, he's fine. Also, the driver was clearly distracted - I personally wouldn't put myself ahead of them at that point, especially whilst they're trying to have a go at me, simply as a hazard avoidance measure.

I mean how many drivers mysteriously "break down" outside of shops on double yellow lines while they nip inside..... to get whatever it is they need to cure their break down and then their car works fine after that

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Adam Sutton | 2 years ago
4 likes

I wonder what this bellends view on dashcams is?

As for getting held up for nine seconds. As a driver and cyclist I've been held up far longer by other drivers dubious shenanigans on the road.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Adam Sutton | 2 years ago
5 likes

I suspect similar as he can't argue as much against video evidence. For instance when he lost out on one of his classic claims of <insert famous footballer name here> had to drive at 90mph in a 40mph because of paparazzi following him. Not-as-starstruck-judge-as-some replied that the video evidence that caught irresponsible footballer endangering other people did not show anyone else racing at speeds anywhere approaching these so no dealio buster. 

Of course that defence has strangely worked in the past, ie it is fine to speed dangerously and blast through red lights so you don't get photographed at your destination. 

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The _Kaner | 2 years ago
6 likes

Nick L'Odious proffers his usual tuppence worth of sh!t.
So, if I now happen to have (dash)cam footage of any vehicle that hampers my progress by approximately 9 seconds, irrespective of my mode of transport...can I now submit this, and expect the tardy operator to expect an NIP for holding me up?
Must traffic (at standstill) now move in instantaneous millimetric increments in order to prevent themselves being potential 'lawbreakers'?
The most ridiculous I've heard in a long time.

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nniff | 2 years ago
6 likes

Just so that we're clear on his -  "without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other people using the road" includes imposing a few seconds delay on a third party while obtaining evidence of an offence by a third party.  In that case, parking a car at the kerb and abandoning it until a time of the driver's convenience is a graver offence, without any consideration of anyone else wishing to use that piece of road. That should be an easy fix for traffic congestion.  Three points before the driver's even undone their seatbelt...

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bloodylazylayabout | 2 years ago
10 likes

Damn - I remember when I got a speeding ticket because I was frustrated with another road user (a learner who had stalled at traffic lights so we missed the green) & I forgot the camera was there - I didn't know I could use frustration with another road user as an excuse to break the law - or does it only work if the other road user is a cyclist??

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brooksby | 2 years ago
14 likes

So did the "frustrated van driver" also get a NIP for running a red light, or did Avon & Somerset just offer their commiserations?

 

And - Mr Freeman really needs to get a dictionary and check on the meaning of the word 'vigilante'.

Cyclist hammers car with baseball bat = vigilante.

Cyclist offers evidence of lawbreaking to the lawful authorities to pursue if they think fit = not vigilante.

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AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
13 likes

Suprised Poophole has these views.

1: All these extra drivers caught doing naughtiness means more potential clients for him. And he doesn't do no win-no fees so he gets loads of money either way.
2: He is a "road safety expert". A driver using their mobile phone whilst driving is unsafe. A van stopped in the middle of the road for nine seconds is not unsafe. 
3: Surely as a road lawyer, he knows that a NIP is not an actual prosecution yet. So no, he wouldn't be instantly offered a " cycling awareness course".

Although if he is advocating that ALL Drivers caught do take a cycling awareness course, it might make the roads safer for all of us. So bravo on that claim. 

And after this week, the "vigilante" wouldn't need to hold up the van for 9 seconds just to get footage of the manner of phone use anymore. Maybe is more unhappy that one of his fave loopholes has been closed now. 

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JustTryingToGet... | 2 years ago
7 likes

Some dude who makes rent by charging large amounts of cash to remove punishments for non-road worthy motorists is happy that people collecting evidence of non-road motorists are being targeted by the police.

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you

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mark1a | 2 years ago
12 likes

Proof, yet again, if it were needed, that there are more horse's arses in the world than there are horses. 

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chrisonabike | 2 years ago
3 likes

Why more publicity why?

(Yeah, you already caught me...)

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hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
16 likes

Vigilante?

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TriTaxMan replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
9 likes

Do we think Nigel's alter ego is sitting waiting to comment on this story..... but he knows he can't because it would be a dead giveaway as to what name he is using now?

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hawkinspeter replied to TriTaxMan | 2 years ago
5 likes

TriTaxMan wrote:

Do we think Nigel's alter ego is sitting waiting to comment on this story..... but he knows he can't because it would be a dead giveaway as to what name he is using now?

Is that idiot still around? I chose to block their inane ramblings as they added precisely nothing and most likely reduced the collective IQ.

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