Mr Loophole — the outspoken road safety lawyer who regularly makes headlines on this website for comments about cycling policy — has shocked us all this morning by suggesting motorists make it their New Year's resolution to give cyclists more space when overtaking.
Loophole, whose real name is Nick Freeman, earned his nickname through securing acquittals for celebrity clients charged with motoring offences, and regularly appears on radio and TV talk shows when matters of cycling, such as the Highway Code changes of a year ago or Grant Shapps' short-lived number plates and registration idea, reach the wider public.
> "Grant Shapps should be congratulated": Frothing talk shows and Mr Loophole discuss number plates for cyclists
Well, far from his usual comments of the revised Highway Code causing "carnage" and what he once called the "culture of toxic cycling", today's Loophole quotes are far less likely to cause your eyes to roll.
Speaking to the Express, he argued "new year motoring resolutions require little effort" and drivers should "give cyclists more room" when overtaking.
"Give cyclists more room than you think is necessary," he told the newspaper's website. "Changes to Highway Code rules last year mean cars must now leave at least 1.5 metres of room when passing bicycles.
"And remember you cannot overtake a cyclist if it causes you to cross a continuous white line on the road."
The comments differ from what you might have come to expect from the celebrity lawyer whose petition asking for cyclists to be "held accountable in the same way as drivers", with licences and ID, scraped across the 10,000-signature threshold for a government response — only to be unequivocally rejected.
> Mr Loophole's cyclist ID petition "gathers momentum" says BBC – except it closed last week
Freeman has in the past also claimed cyclists are "abusing" rules on riding two abreast, ranted about "cycling with impunity" and applauded police action against "vigilante cyclists" filming law-breaking drivers.
This all while representing famous names such as Jeremy Clarkson, Frank Lampard and David Beckham.
"I'd like to see motorists pledge to make changes to their driving"
Addressing the new year as an opportunity for positive change, Loophole said he drives up to 50,000 miles a year and sees "so much bad driving".
"We see the new year as a time to press the refresh button," he said. "But I'd like to see motorists pledge to make changes to their driving too. I drive up to 50,000 miles a year and see so much bad driving on our roads.
"Yet if motorists kicked bad habits they could make the roads safer for all users – and keep themselves out of trouble too. Unlike embarking on, say, an extensive weight loss programme or taking on a significant career change, my new year motoring resolutions require little effort.
> Mr Loophole secures acquittal of cyclist accused of causing crash
"But dropping bad habits will hopefully make 2023 a safer driving experience for all of us."
Adding to his explanation of the need to give cyclists at least 1.5m when overtaking, he also urged drivers to maintain safe distances between vehicles and to give the driver in front a "short, sharp beep on the horn" if they appear distracted.
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