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E-scooter riders should wear a visible ID - do you agree with Mr Loophole?

“There needs to be one set of rules for everybody: cyclists, e-scooter riders & cars” says solicitor Nick Freeman, wanting all road users accountable.

E-Scooter

SHOULD e-scooter riders and cyclists have to wear a visible ID when sharing the road? That’s what celebrity defence lawyer Nick Freeman, known as ‘Mr. Loophole’ is advocating for. 

He believes that both cyclists and e-scooter riders - of which the UK has seen a surge of over the ‘pandemic times’ - should be subject to a licensing & penalty point system, be required by law to use cycle lanes where available, and wear a ‘numbered hi-vis tabard’ referring to the rider - not the bike or e-scooter. 

He is also rallying for a universal set of rules for all road users to abide by - noting that “there are no speed restrictions on cyclists”. Having these rules would also make it necessary for riders to be identifiable and held accountable, and with it, a full reform of road laws.

“Until legislation is introduced for cyclists and e-scooter riders, their anonymity will trump their accountability,” says Freeman, adding that: “We have to know at any one time who is on them. What’s the point in saying we have enforcement - speeding laws, drink driving laws - if you don’t know who you are dealing with.”

If you’ve been to a bigger city in the UK (e.g. Manchester & London) or abroad in the recent few years, you’ll have seen e-scooters zipping around on streets where they are being trialled (or just ridden anyway). 

Despite this, the law still currently states that it is illegal to ride e-scooters on public land (pavements, cycle lanes and roads) unless rented, and subject to a £300 fine and points on your licence, and cyclists don’t always have a licence to put points on.

Freeman is looking for the Road Traffic Act, which he labels as an anachronism that needs to be brought up to date, to ‘have some teeth’; “There needs to be one set of rules for everybody: cyclists, e-scooter riders and cars”

Mr. Loophole says he has support from motorists and cyclists, noting that a petition to ‘make the roads safer’ will be accepted by all road users, as until then “There’s going to be a bloodbath unless the government gets hold of it and deal with it proportionately and responsibly.”

Would a mass-licencing scheme work for the e-scooter world?

The counter-argument here is that this will need an incredible amount of funding and logistical backing to make work. Licences would need to be made, a database managed, and tabards handed out - and worn! It could also serve as a deterrent to cyclists to jump on two wheels, which goes against the eco-friendly approach now popular in law-making.

At the heart of his concerns are the welfare of road users, with cyclists and e-scooterists amongst the most vulnerable on the road - but is this the solution we’re after? In principle it all sounds great, but enforcing a tabard-wearing regime will be another matter entirely.

There’s also a hint of irony in a solicitor famed for using loopholes to get his clients out of trouble heading a reform to the Road Traffic Act to make the roads safer, mind.

Freeman’s petition is currently sitting at over 4500 signatures, should it reach 10,000 it will be responded to by the government. 

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More quotes available from the Manchester Evening News article.

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