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Successful Appeal - Vasten Road (South Bound), Reading
post Wed, 13 Sep 2017 - 19:35
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I've just heard from the Traffic Penalty Tribunal that I've won my appeal against a PCN issued for a bus lane violation at Vastern Road, Reading.
To summarise, I'd entered the bus lane having missed the signs. I'll give the details below in the hope that it will help others and maybe encourage the council to improve their road layout.

The Road Layout
The Bus Lane is under a railway bridge, on a dual carriageway and in the right-most of 3 lanes. There was one other vehicle on the road, not a bus.
I did enter the bus lane but did not realise this until I received the PCN. My appeal was based on the fact that the signage was in adequate for the conditions.

Representation Slip
I completed the Representation Slip as follows:
  • Grounds for making a representation - A

Other Representations:
The signage and road-markings at the location are inadequate, as:-
  • There is a high-contrast between the darkness of the tunnel and the bright sunlight outside.
  • Unusually, the bus lane is the right-most lane.

The Notice of Rejection of Representations
My appeal to the council failed, their reply just restated the facts that I was in the bus lane and there was approved signage.

Appeal to the Tribunal
I appealed via the Traffic Penalty Tribunal website, the URL is provided in the rejection letter. My appeal to the Tribunal consisted of:
  • An image from Google Maps showing the first Bus Lane sign close to the direction signs.
  • An image from Google Maps showing the approach to the tunnel and how difficult it was to see the signs and road markings.

Grounds for the Appeal
The alleged bus lane contravention did not occur.
This is what I entered on the tribunal web page:


The charge here is that of Bus Lane Contravention and the defence is that the signs and road markings were inadequate for the conditions.
1. I was not aware that there was a bus lane on Vastern Rd (south bound) until I received the PCN.
2. The photographs provided by Reading Council show only one other car and no buses in the tunnel at the time. So, I gained no advantage by entering Bus Lane.
These two facts indicate that I was not aware of the presence of the bus lane. We now show that this was because the warnings of the bus lane were inadequate.

Google Maps.

Looking at the pictures from Google:

3. The first picture shows the tunnel approach leaving the Vastern Rd roundabout. There is one bus lane sign on the right. But there are also, more prominent, direction signs. As I was looking for the “Drop off North” sign, it is easy to miss the bus lane sign.
4. The picture on the right shows the entrance to the tunnel. The bus lane marking is barely visible. The 14th July was a very bright day and so the road markings would have been much harder to read.

Reading Council Images

Looking at the overview images provided by Reading Council:

5. These pictures show the high contrast between the darkness of the tunnel and the bright sunshine outside. On all three pictures the “Bus Lane” text can barely be seen.
6. On the video clip, the “Bus Lane” text cannot be seen at all.
7. These cameras were facing north. It was much harder to pick up this detail entering the dark tunnel heading south, towards the sun.

In Addition

8. The Bus Lane is on the right side of the road. This is unusual so there should be more than the minimum signage to indicate this.
9. 2,547 drivers have been caught by the Vastern Road cameras in the first 6 months of 2017. See This must suggest that there are problems with the road rather than the eyesight or honesty of all these people.
10. The Traffic Penalty Tribunal has previously stated that it was “… not satisfied that the signs and road markings were adequately visible to moving traffic when in the tunnel”. See case number RG 09732F, PCN RG8429521A.


The defence is that the contravention did not happen because the signage and road markings were inadequate.
I entered the bus lane because I hadn’t seen the signs. However, the warning signs were inadequate considering the lighting and unusual road layout; this is supported by the photographic evidence, the large number of bus lane contraventions and the conclusion of previous tribunals.
It is not reasonable to expect a driver to recognise the bus lane under these conditions.

Council Evidence
The council's evidence consisted of the approval documentation for the cameras, the images taken on the day and pictures of the site showing all the signs in place. They did not address the fact that the signage was inadequate for the conditions.

The Decision
I won my appeal, the adjudicator's decision was given as:

1. Mr X acknowledges his vehicle on the date and time stated was recorded being driven in Vastern Road.
2. Vastern Road has a with flow bus lane. Somewhat out of the norm the bus lane is located on the offside of two lanes, commencing under a bridge (underpass).
3. Mr X says he was unaware there was a bus lane and no advantage was gleaned. He says the signing is inadequate.
4. Mr X refers to a previous appeal. The council states it was a decision from 2014 and that there have been other appeals dismissed.
5. Each appeal is decided on its facts and the evidence submitted. A decision allowed or dismissed does not set a precedent.
6. I have watched the recording. The vehicle is seen approaching. It is not in clear view until it enters under the bridge into the shadow. Prior to that it is not clearly visible in its entirety due to the sun light.
7. As it passes the tapered white line and reaches the solid white line the headlights are illuminated - the impression on balance is that they are in an automated state.
8. At that point the vehicle crosses the solid white line.
9. The approach to the bridge is via a roundabout. There is advance signage (to diagram 958 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions) prior to the underpass (after the roundabout). It is to the offside of the carriageway prior to a pedestrian crossing.
10. Signage to diagram 959 is present at the start of the bus lane.
11. The bus lane itself is not (using those resources generally available) visible at exit from the roundabout. It can be seen as one approaches the pedestrian crossing albeit more so on the far side of the underpass as one approaches another roundabout.
12. Such comment should be balanced with the fact that in researching matters I am of course aware of the bus lane and the position of it.
13. Mr X refers in his evidence to it being a very bright day. That submission is supported by the recording and images. The adequacy of such signing as there is which might on another day be considered sufficient to inform of the restriction is not I find the case here.
14. I am satisfied and find that on the day and time concerned moving from an area of particular brightness into one of complete shadow means the opportunity to see and understand the markings in place was removed.
15. The difficulties in signing the bus lane due to its specific offside position and the limited places for advance information is acknowledged. The restricted scope should not nonetheless negate consideration and understanding of the motorist’s perspective in terms of what is and is not at particular times adequately visible.
16. This decision is based upon the evidence before me and that pertains to the particular circumstances evident on this specific occasion.
17. This appeal has been won. Mr X has nothing to pay.

The appeal was based, and won, on the fact that the signage was inadequate for the conditions at the time I entered the bus lane.

This post has been edited by sms1957: Wed, 20 Sep 2017 - 13:46
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