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Top TV comedy producer who “flipped the bird” and told CyclingMikey to “go f*** yourself” fined over £2,000 and handed six points for phone use while driving

Jimmy Mulville, the co-founder of Hat Trick Productions, admitted that he was checking a text after initially challenging the evidence put forward by the Met

A comedian and leading television executive has received six points on his licence and been fined over £2,000 after reacting angrily when CyclingMikey confronted him for typing on his phone “with both hands” while driving in traffic in London.

Jimmy Mulville, the co-founder of Hat Trick Productions, the company behind hit TV programmes such as Have I Got News For You, Father Ted, Derry Girls, and Room 101, was spotted using his phone behind the wheel by the road safety campaigner and YouTuber, real name Mike van Erp, while driving over Battersea Bridge last July, the Evening Standard reports.

According to Van Erp, after being confronted over his phone use, Mulville “flipped the bird” and shouted at the cyclist “go f*** yourself”.

> Tired of road crime": CyclingMikey on episode 16 of the road.cc Podcast

Mulville, who was previously banned from driving in 2020 and handed another three points last October for speeding, was prosecuted for driving while using his mobile phone after not paying a Fixed Penalty fine.

Represented by Freeman and Co, the law firm of Nick Freeman – commonly known as Mr Loophole due to his ability to secure acquittals for celebrity clients charged with motoring offences – Mulville initially challenged much of the evidence put forward by the Metropolitan Police, including the accusation that he used his phone behind the wheel.

However, at City of London magistrates court earlier this week, the 68-year-old comedian – who was absent from the trial due to illness – conceded that he was using his phone to look at a text.

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

Mulville was found guilty of driving while using his mobile phone and ordered to pay a £1,000 fine, plus £625 in costs and a £400 court fee. He also received six points on his driving licence.

“This was entirely out of character for him”, his barrister Sam Thomas told the court. “At the time, there were family concerns and he did look at the phone to look at a text message.”

Describing the incident, road safety activist Van Erp said that he was cycling home when he noticed the driver of an Aston Martin Rapide not keeping up with slow moving traffic, before accelerating sharply, a move described by the cyclist as the “WhatsApp gap”.

“I commented to myself it was symptomatic of a distracted driver and I wondered if he was on the phone”, he told the court. “I stopped next to the driver’s side window of the Aston Martin, I saw the driver was busy typing on the phone.”

Van Erp claimed he saw Mulville “typing with both hands”, before quickly shutting down the app when he realised he was being watched.

He added: “At this point he flipped me the bird and mouthed to me something rude. I believe it was ‘go f*** yourself’.”

> Taxi driver warns CyclingMikey he will "end up needing the dentist" after challenging phone use

Van Erp, known as CyclingMikey on social media, has reported thousands of law-breaking drivers over the years, with 800 successful prosecutions in the last five years and 383 reports last year.

He attracted attention for particularly high-profile cases, such as catching Guy Ritchie and Chris Eubank using their phones while driving, with the film director being banned from driving for six months as a result, while the retired boxer was given three penalty points and told to pay £280 in fines, court costs, and fees.

One of his latest videos, reported on by road.cc earlier this week and also stemming from July 2022, showed a London taxi driver telling the camera cyclist that he will “end up needing the dentist” after he challenged the professional driver’s mobile phone use behind the wheel.

However, the cab driver, who Mikey filmed in Hyde Park, avoided police prosecution due to staff dealing with an IT system change, with Van Erp adding that they had been left understaffed and that the report subsequently ran out of time.

> “People need to see justice being done”: CyclingMikey says camera cyclists suffer online abuse because some motorists “feel they have the right to drive how they want”

In January, speaking to road.cc, Mikey said “people need to see justice being done” and that any abuse he receives is simply because some motorists “feel they have the right to drive how they want”.

“In the beginning of my camera work, almost 17 years ago, I took a lot of strain at the abuse thrown my way,” he said. “I’d answer each comment seriously. Nowadays, there has been such a torrent of abuse and lies about me that I just let most of it wash off me.

“In the UK cyclists are considered by society to be ‘cockroaches of the road’, unworthy scum who freeload on the public highway and are terrible lawbreakers. For such a person to challenge a driver for lawbreaking is a massive affront to the social order, and people don’t like this.

“Many of those throwing abuse also feel that they have the right to drive how they want, and that nobody can tell them what to do. They see the prosecutions, and they are afraid of the consequences, and they are angry that someone dares to do this to them.”

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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89 comments

Avatar
wtjs | 10 months ago
6 likes

Coming late to this one, but I can confirm the considered and expressed opinon that AltBren is an idiot.

Avatar
marmotte27 | 10 months ago
19 likes

“This was entirely out of character for him”
Yeah obviously...
"Mulville, who was previously banned from driving in 2020"

Totally shameless lying!

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Cycloid | 10 months ago
3 likes

I sometimes think Cycling Mikey is just another fixated cycling vigilante looking for trouble.

Then somthing like this happens and I reckon he's doing a public service.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Cycloid | 10 months ago
9 likes

Cycloid wrote:

I sometimes think Cycling Mikey is just another fixated cycling vigilante looking for trouble.

Then somthing like this happens and I reckon he's doing a public service.

Why would you think that he's a vigilante unless you don't understand the meaning of the word?

"Activist" is probably the word you meant.

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marmotte27 replied to hawkinspeter | 10 months ago
8 likes

Generally it's not just ignorance, a term like vigilante is actually used by rightwingers to discredit activism. As always hypocrits to a (wo)man.

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Hirsute replied to Cycloid | 10 months ago
5 likes

Another one who deliberately misuses the term.
Looking for trouble. Yeah because in London you have to stake out a road all day to find one offence.

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Gimpl replied to Cycloid | 10 months ago
1 like

Cycloid wrote:

I sometimes think Cycling Mikey is just another fixated cycling vigilante looking for trouble.

Then somthing like this happens and I reckon he's doing a public service.

I think viglinate is exactly the correct term, don't let the cadre grind you down. 

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hawkinspeter replied to Gimpl | 10 months ago
3 likes

Gimpl wrote:

I think viglinate is exactly the correct term, don't let the cadre grind you down. 

Hurr durr - big word hard to spell. Harder to understand.

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Gimpl replied to hawkinspeter | 10 months ago
1 like

OOOO - a typo, colour me stupid 

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hawkinspeter replied to Gimpl | 10 months ago
6 likes

Gimpl wrote:

OOOO - a typo, colour me stupid 

Apologies - I don't normally call out typos as these are informal comments, but you're being a bit of an arse in my opinion.

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BalladOfStruth replied to Gimpl | 10 months ago
5 likes

Gimpl wrote:

I think viglinate vigilante is exactly the correct term, don't let the cadre grind you down. 

It literally isn’t. A vigilante is someone who takes the law into their own hands and dishes out their own justice. Mikey reports crime to the police and leaves justice up to the legal system. How exaclty is that vigilantism? A vigilante is at odds with the police/legal system - the police have shown support for Mikey a number of times.

Sure, he intervenes when he sees particularly dangerous behaviour, but that’s no more vigilantism than someone intervening in a mugging is vigilantism.

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bobrayner replied to BalladOfStruth | 10 months ago
4 likes

BalladOfStruth wrote:

It literally isn’t. A vigilante is someone who takes the law into their own hands and dishes out their own justice. Mikey reports crime to the police and leaves justice up to the legal system.

You are technically correct. The best kind of correct.

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wycombewheeler replied to Gimpl | 10 months ago
4 likes

Gimpl wrote:

I think viglinate is exactly the correct term, don't let the cadre grind you down. 

really?

Quote:

a member of a self-appointed group of citizens who undertake law enforcement in their community without legal authority, typically because the legal agencies are thought to be inadequate.

What law enforcement is he undertaking? Is he not merely passing information to the police who do the enforcement, because it seems in these cases they are not inadequate.

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Gimpl replied to wycombewheeler | 10 months ago
1 like

Everyone is being very literal today. Yes, I can google the meaning too. 

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BalladOfStruth replied to Gimpl | 10 months ago
5 likes

Gimpl wrote:

Everyone is being very literal today. Yes, I can google the meaning too

Then you probably should have before you incorrectly used the word to call Mikey something he's not. The important distinction is that vigilantism is illegal, harmful, and can impeded the legal process. What Mikey does is to report crime to the authorities through the correct avenues, with the full support of those authorities. Like him or loathe him, he tries to hold lawbreakers to account. Calling him a vigilante is labelling him a lawbreaker himself, which he isn’t.

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Gimpl replied to BalladOfStruth | 10 months ago
1 like

Thats your interpretation, my interpretation is slightly different - do you not see?

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BalladOfStruth replied to Gimpl | 10 months ago
4 likes

Gimpl wrote:

Thats your interpretation, my interpretation is slightly different - do you not see?

My "interpretation" is the dictionary definition of the word. Your "interpretation" is objectively incorrect. Do you not see?

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AltBren replied to BalladOfStruth | 10 months ago
0 likes

What are you doing? Arguing semantics? Why?! (This is rhetorical, please just stop)

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hawkinspeter replied to AltBren | 10 months ago
3 likes

AltBren wrote:

What are you doing? Arguing semantics? Why?! (This is rhetorical, please just stop)

It's because people keep using the word 'vigilante' incorrectly. Whether this is due to ignorance or some kind of misguided "culture war", I don't know.

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AltBren replied to hawkinspeter | 10 months ago
0 likes

Nope. It's a pathetic argument.

I think he was just agreeing with the guy that said the Micky guy is looking for trouble, which he clearly is.

He sees someone on their phone in stationary traffic, stops (to pretend to look at his map) to aggravate the guy (he's a div too obviously). But it was really unnecessary, he wasn't a danger. I'd save my outrage for stuff that matters. How many dangerous moves do we see every day?! Why add to the driver/cyclist "war" with bad examples when there are so many genuinely dangerous 1s.

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hawkinspeter replied to AltBren | 10 months ago
2 likes

AltBren wrote:

Nope. It's a pathetic argument. I think he was just agreeing with the guy that said the Micky guy is looking for trouble, which he clearly is. He sees someone on their phone in stationary traffic, stops (to pretend to look at his map) to aggravate the guy (he's a div too obviously). But it was really unnecessary, he wasn't a danger. I'd save my outrage for stuff that matters. How many dangerous moves do we see every day?! Why add to the driver/cyclist "war" with bad examples when there are so many genuinely dangerous 1s.

Well, you are absolutely wrong about the danger posed by drivers using phones in stationary traffic which is why it is something that the police enforce (allowing for numbers etc.).

There are cyclists killed far too often in this country, so outrage is absolutely correct when faced with drivers that clearly do not care about endangering others. Maybe you're some kind of psychopath that doesn't care about other people, but not everyone is that way.

I don't follow what you're referring to with "it's a pathetic argument" - was it about whether people should try to know what words mean when they insist on using them? If you think that encouraging people to use factually incorrect words is a good thing, then you are some kind of idiot and I shall not waste any further time on you as it'd be like playing chess with a pigeon.

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AltBren replied to hawkinspeter | 10 months ago
0 likes

Do you think the taxi driver was a danger at that moment? He was barely moving... Save your outrage!

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hawkinspeter replied to AltBren | 10 months ago
2 likes

AltBren wrote:

Do you think the taxi driver was a danger at that moment? He was barely moving... Save your outrage!

So do we have to do a moment by moment evaluation of danger and criminality now?

The reason that mobile phone use behind the wheel has been criminalised is that it does present very real dangers and so drivers must be stopped from doing that wherever possible. Apologists may try and cook up some half-arsed excuses but it's unacceptable behaviour however you try to justify it.

Would you consider speeding to be okay if they weren't crashing at the time?

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to AltBren | 10 months ago
5 likes

I don't think the law states it is ok to use a mobile phone if going slow. Pretty much they state use one when pulled over and the engine is fully off.

If you have never seen the whatapp gap where someone in a queue is distracted by a mobile phone, leaves a big gap, gets beeped by the driver behind and just accelerates quickly in embarrasement, then you might not think it is a danger. Combine that with pedestrians crossing in queuing traffic not realising the driver is distracted, and instead thinks they have been seen which is why the vehicle is "waiting" and it becomes even more of a danger. Finally put that scenario in a park with more children around. 

Then of course you are also assuming the driver is going to stop using the phone when going at faster speeds. 

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giff77 replied to AltBren | 10 months ago
3 likes

If that driver is doing it stationary that same driver will do it while moving. 

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AltBren replied to hawkinspeter | 10 months ago
0 likes

The pathetic argument statement was refering to the whole discussion.

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AltBren replied to hawkinspeter | 10 months ago
0 likes

And calling me an idiot isn't helpful either. You're putting words in my mouth and then giving me grief for it.

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hawkinspeter replied to AltBren | 10 months ago
3 likes

AltBren wrote:

And calling me an idiot isn't helpful either. You're putting words in my mouth and then giving me grief for it.

What words? You're not really expressing yourself very clearly and you're certainly coming across as an idiot.

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AltBren replied to hawkinspeter | 10 months ago
0 likes

'was it about whether people should try to know what words mean when they insist on using them? If you think that encouraging people to use factually incorrect words is a good thing, then". (No it wasn't, it was about pursuing petty pointless arguments to the point where you're rude to people.)

Again calling me an idiot isn't helpful. Would you say that to my face, I doubt it. So please stop, because it feels like you're just trying to antagonise me.

The cadre has kind of proved it's zealousness.

I can see why the other guy tapped out, it's tedious.

Well ostracized people! Way to go. Hope yous all happy in your echo chamber after you've silenced all the dissent.

I won't be back.

Hopefully that was clear enough for you.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to AltBren | 10 months ago
3 likes

AltBren wrote:

'was it about whether people should try to know what words mean when they insist on using them? If you think that encouraging people to use factually incorrect words is a good thing, then". (No it wasn't, it was about pursuing petty pointless arguments to the point where you're rude to people.) Again calling me an idiot isn't helpful. Would you say that to my face, I doubt it. So please stop, because it feels like you're just trying to antagonise me. The cadre has kind of proved it's zealousness. I can see why the other guy tapped out, it's tedious. Well ostracized people! Way to go. Hope yous all happy in your echo chamber after you've silenced all the dissent. I won't be back. Hopefully that was clear enough for you.

Thank you for your contribution to the discussion - we all feel enriched by the interesting points that you raised and I'm sure you'll be missed

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