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I WON - Minster street reading bus lane ticket
post Tue, 13 Feb 2018 - 08:19
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I made this account purely to thank the community for the information I gathered from previous cases. You folks are very helpful, THANKS to each one of you. The information and guidance from previous cases gave me confidence to fight the ticket to independent adjudicator. I heard back from the tribunal last night informing me that my appeal has been allowed. I wanted to make sure the information and argument from my appeal is available to help anyone else who may be looking to appeal their tickets from Reading council.

I will be more than happy to share more details privately if anyone interested, please feel free to PM me.


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post Tue, 13 Feb 2018 - 08:19
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post Tue, 13 Feb 2018 - 10:36
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QUOTE (Pirateuk @ Tue, 13 Feb 2018 - 08:19) *
I wanted to make sure the information and argument from my appeal is available to help anyone else who may be looking to appeal their tickets from Reading council.

Goodv stuff. For the benefit of all forum members, post up your appeal here.

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post Tue, 13 Feb 2018 - 11:48
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Sorry for the formatting and Length as I had to copy this off a PDF. This is my appeal part. I also have the argument put forward by council (a lot of pages) if anyone interested, let me know.

Re: Appeal against the issue of PCN number xxxxxxxxx

The major ground of this Appeal is that the contravention did not occur. As a corollary I wish to raise a collateral challenge that the Authority has acted ultra vires given the number of procedural improprieties evident in the Authority’s documentation. In addition, this comes about as the signage is confusing to such an extent that it fails to comply with the Local Authorities' Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996 regulation 18.
I am not satisfied that the Authority has proved the contravention of being in a bus lane and its Notice of Rejection is a nullity.
My appeal is predicated on the failure of the Authority to establish the legal existence of this “bus lane” and thereby its illegal use of camera enforcement.
(i) Lines and Signs (TRO)
The Borough of Reading (Town Centre) (Bus and Wheelchair Accessible Taxi Lanes) (Special Access Permits) Order 2012 defines a bus lane as having the same meaning as Regulation 23 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002. The legislation states:-
Bus lanes
23.— (1) In the signs shown in the permitted variants of diagrams 877 and 878 in which the expression “bus lane” appears and in diagrams 962, 962.2, 963, 963.2, 964, 1048 and 1048.1, “bus lane” has the meaning given in paragraph (2).
(2) “Bus lane” in the signs referred to in paragraph (1) means a traffic lane reserved for—
(a)motor vehicles constructed or adapted to carry more than 8 passengers (exclusive of the driver);
(b)local buses not so constructed or adapted; and
© pedal cycles and taxis where indicated on the sign shown in diagram 958 or 959 and pedal cycles where indicated on the sign shown in diagram 960, 962.2, 963.2 or 1048.1.
None of the signs used at the entry to Minster Street comply with those above and none in Schedule 5 of the TSRGD 2002 nor are there any road markings which delineate a Bus Lane as prescribed above (1048 --1048.1). Therefore a bus lane at this location is not evident reading the Authority’s own TRO and by the absence of appropriate lines and signs.
(ii) Lines and Signs (DfT Approval)
The Authority has therefore sought and been given approval from the DfT for new signs (GT/50/124/0004). The sign approved for Minster Street is noted as GT/50/124/0004-4 which, according to Article 4 is “the authorised plate B”. The approval indicates that Sign B only be used with Diagram 619 which is in situ but it also directs that Sign B be used with road markings 1048 or 1049 which have not been placed. The Authority has therefore failed to abide by the DfT approval and the prohibition is consequently invalid with the lack of bus lane markings adding to my contention that this is not a bus lane.
It is telling that the DfT Approval makes the distinction between bus lane signage and “informing road users of turning prohibitions”
(iii) The Local Authorities' Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996
If the Authority maintains that this is a bus lane, because of inappropriate or defective lines and signs, it has failed in its duty under Reg. 18 of the above legislation not to confuse or mislead. This is a double whammy because if motorists cannot recognise the restriction as a bus lane they will also fail to recognise that camera enforcement is appropriate. This gives rise to prejudice.
This is further stressed in Moss, R (on the application of) v KPMG Llp [2010] EWHC 2923 (Admin) (14 October 2010)
"The effect of non-compliance with the requirements of the prescribed diagrams on enforcement by criminal proceedings or by PCN has been considered in a number of cases. There is one group of cases in which there was a breach of the requirement in the 1996 Local Authority Traffic Order Procedure Regulations to place signs or markings adequately so that those affected would know what was forbidden. Examples are Hassan v Director of Public Prosecutions [1992] RTR 209 and James v Caley [1967] QB 676: where there was no sign stating the day or hours when parking on a yellow line was forbidden, the information as to the prohibition indicated by that line had not been adequately conveyed. The statutory requirement in the procedure order that the prohibition be adequately signed had not been met, and the offence of breaching the prohibition could not be proved. Those cases make it clear that if a traffic sign does not adequately inform the driver as to what is forbidden or where, the penalty cannot be enforced and, in a criminal context, no offence is committed."
Based on above, I challenge the signs at the beginning of the restriction include a car and motorcycle symbol on a white background inside a red circle. There is also a plate showing the times of operation and the exception for buses taxis and permit holders , the sign on the offside, facing oncoming drivers appears to relate to the pedestrian zone immediately behind it particularly as there is a further no entry sign to the right.
The no vehicle sign on the near side faces into the carriageway and so could only be seen by the approaching driver through the nearside window of a car. There are no markings on the carriageway and whilst these are not compulsory in the 2002 Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions the 2016 Regulations give the Council the option of using the marking “bus gate.” It is generally the case that a carriageway marking is often the most visible form of signing to the approaching driver.
The advance signing does not help in understanding the nature or location of the restriction but I particularly bring your attention to the signing at the point the restriction begins.
I find these not to be adequate because they do not clearly inform drivers that the restriction applies to the left hand turn and the sign on the near side is facing into the carriageway. The driver might reasonably assume that the offside sign applies to the pedestrian zone ahead and of course all the signing, including the exemption plates have to be read from a moving vehicle. I am therefore not satisfied that the signing taken as a whole was adequate
Additionally, the advance signage placed on King’s Road, before the junction with King Street, High Street and Duke Street, for being unsatisfactory. The length of the narrative on the sign – 6 lines of text, in a site close to a pedestrian island where a driver would be alert for pedestrians crossing. I believe that a diagrammatic sign would have been easier to absorb.
In addition, the sign was inaccurate and incomplete. The sign used consisted of narrative (i.e. text, not diagrams). The upper portion of the sign had an arrow facing forward and the legend ‘No motor vehicles except buses, wheelchair accessible taxis & permit holders 7 – 11am & 4 – 7 pm’. This was arranged on 6 lines. Below this was an arrow facing left with the words ‘All other traffic’ (on one line). There are also road surface markings consistent to the signage mentioned above. It directed all traffic to turn left, but there was in fact no prohibition on traffic entering King Street: the prohibition was on traffic then exiting King Street into Minster Street (or Broad Street).
I contend that this sign (and the associated surface marking) was misleading. It would indicate to a driver that during the restricted hours, only buses etc. could enter King Street. That is not correct. There was no restriction to entering King Street at any time. The restriction was upon leaving it through Minster Street.
Guidance as to advance signage for bus lanes is provided in figure 15-14 in Chapter 3 of the Department for Transport Traffic Signs Manual (TSM). The recommended sign consists of a diagrammatic representation of the road layout ahead. Narrative is kept to a minimum. The bus lane is represented by an embedded bus lane roundel. This type of signage is consistent with other signage recommended in respect of prohibitions of traffic, see figure 5-1 in the TSM. It seems to me that the diagrammatic style of sign recommended in the TSM would be far more readily capable of assimilation by a driver trying to find his or her way in a busy city centre than the lengthy narrative sign used by the Council in this case. It would also have the advantage that it could indicate the location at which the restriction commenced.
At the Western end of King Street there is a junction. Traffic cannot turn right into a pedestrianised road (called Butter Market), because there are No Entry signs and this has the appearance of being a limited access or pedestrianised zone. Similarly one cannot go ahead into Broad Street because to do so would be to pass No Entry signs in a narrow opening providing egress only from Broad Street into King Street. The only options are to turn left into Minster Street, to turn the vehicle and return back down King Street or I suppose to reverse to the junction with Duke Street.
King Street is not subject to bus lane restrictions. However having completed my journey to the end of the Kings Road I had the choice either to leave King Street by Minster Street, through the bus lane, or to try to undertake a multiple point turn. If this had been possible it would not have been a safe manoeuvre due to the night time and heavily crowded street with pedestrians. To reverse the length of King Street and then to turn the vehicle at the widening caused by the traffic light controlled junction would be extremely dangerous. I discount this as an option as I consider it would leave the driver open to police investigation and prosecution for careless driving. Hence the obvious safer option would be considered to take the exit through the Minster Street.
Given that vehicles which lawfully entered King Street would therefore be in something of a trap from which there was no safe exit without contravening one or other of the restrictions or without putting other in dangerous situation, the advance signage (not being adequate) before the junction of King’s Road and Duke Street was of particular importance. Further evidence that Reading council is trapping motorists is provided by the Bus Lane Adjudicators Report dated September 2010 that Reading issued more bus lane PCNs than the combined total of Bournemouth, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Essex and Nottingham in the 12 months covered by the report, 27,512 Reading bus lane PCNs were issued.
I would also mention that I am also doubtful as to the legality of the road surface marking, an arrow pointing left into Duke Street and the legend ‘All traffic’. This appears to be a variant of diagram 1036.1 from the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002, which is only permitted where turning left is compulsory (which it is not at this junction).
I make these challenges using the rational of adjudicator Mr Martin Wood in the London tribunal key case number 2020400959 paragraph 3 gives his reasoning as to why an adjudicator may rule on a collateral challenge when a PCN is flawed.
It is accepted that a PCN is not required to mirror word for word the text of the regulations, it must however convey when taken as a whole the correct meaning of those regulations. This PCN fails in three regards as below:
Firstly, in the black box with white text to the left of the photograph the PCN states (paraphrased) if no action is taken within the 28 day period a charge certificate “Will” be served. The regulation at 8(5)(k) states that the charge certificate “May” be served. The PCN is not substantially compliant and the Authority has fettered its discretion by maintaining that it is when it is so obviously wrong in law and fact. The legislation does not impose a mandatory obligation on the Authority to serve a Charge Certificate where the Penalty Charge Notice remains unpaid and an appeal is not submitted, The use of the wording in the Act is mandatory and not optional. This means that the Penalty Charge Notice does not comply with the requirements of Reg.8 (k) of the Bus Lane Contraventions (Penalty Charges, Adjudication and Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2005 so that there has been a procedural impropriety. The words "will serve a Charge Certificate" convey an entirely different meaning to the motorist than the use of the words "may increase the penalty charge".
Furthermore, on back page in paragraph 2 regarding appeal to independent Bus Lane Adjudicator states “you have a further 28 days to appeal”, however it does not make clear when that 28 day period would start. I find support for these argument in [2006] EWHC 2357 (admin) Barnet vs the traffic adjudicator paragraphs 44 to 48.
I would next direct your attention to paragraph 23 of the above mentioned case. This makes the point regarding the need for a PCN to accurately and clearly convey the information required by statute. I contend that the authority fail in this with regard to 8(5)(n)(I)(ii). The information given within the PCN truncates the requirements of the regulations in that it reserves to the council the premises and the time a person may request to view a video of the contravention. It does not confirm that a person may ask for stills to be sent “free of charge”.
In summary; a driver being aware that entering King Street was legal at any time would not be informed that having done so, the vehicle will become trapped in a place from which there was no lawful and safe exit. The sign was too long to be assimilated by a driver in all the circumstances. No good reason has been suggested for using a narrative and not a diagrammatic sign as sensibly recommended by the TSM. In addition the PCN being a flawed document, cannot be used to demand a penalty.
For any one or all of the reasons outlined above I request that my appeal is allowed and PCN is cancelled.

This is the appeal decision part from Adjudicator (not sure if i am allowed to put adjudicator's name here?)

1. Mr pirate does not deny that his car was driven in the location and at the time and date specified in the penalty charge notice (PCN). He appeals on the basis that the signage of the bus lane restriction did not meet the required legal standard and also on the basis that he asserts that the information provided on the PCN does not comply with the technical requirements contained in the bus lane regulations.
2. Reading Borough Council resist the appeal. They say that the signage has been approved in a previous adjudicator’s decision in 2015 and meets all required standards. They do not make any submissions as to the alleged defects in the PCN pro forma.
3. Adjudicator’s decisions are not binding on other adjudicators although they may be persuasive authority. However the Council appear to have overlooked that they have revised their Traffic Regulation Order since the 2015 decision and changed the hours of operation of the restriction. For reasons given below this affects the lawfulness of their signage.
4. It is fair to say that Minster Street has attracted a large number of appeals to adjudicators in recent years. This raises the concern that the signage may not be clear to a significant number of road users.
5. I am precluded from accepting Mr pirate’s argument that the diagram 619 (flying motorcycle) No Motor Vehicles with an associated exception plate is incapable of being used to denote a bus lane by reason of High Court authority binding upon me - R(Oxfordshire County Council) v Bus Lane Adjudicator [2010] EWHC 894 (Admin).
6. Nevertheless I do find that the signage does not meet the required legal standard that it must be lawful and must be adequate to inform road users of the restriction. As it happens I decided another appeal concerning Minster Street earlier today and I set out below my reasons for doing so, which apply with equal force in this case.
‘Reading Borough Council say that the signage at the start of the bus lane has been approved by the Secretary of State. They rely on an Authorisation and Special Direction dated 13 April 2011. The authorisation permits signs consistent with diagram 619 of the Traffic Signs and General Directions (TSRGD) 2002 to be used with an exception plate that was not allowed in those regulations. In particular it referred to wheelchair accessible taxis.

In addition they rely on advance signage. The advance signage may be seen in their library photographs and is in narrative form, that is to say it consists only of words and not of diagrams.

The legal requirement is that signage must either be approved within the TSRGD or by a special authorisation, and it must be adequate to inform road users of the restriction that applies. In considering whether signage meets the requirement of adequacy an adjudicator should take into account whether it is consistent with guidance in the Department for Transport’s Traffic Signs Manual (TSM).

The bus lane restriction was revised with effect from 7 April 2017. Before that date the restriction applied from 7 am to 11 am and 4 pm to 7 am. After that date the restriction applied 4 pm to 11 am. The signage was revised by changing the times on the exception plate and by placing stickers with revised times on the advance warning signs.

The first difficulty for the Council is that the Special Direction on which they rely specified the precise terms of the exception plate, including the operative times namely 7 am to 11 am and 4 pm to 7 am. The Special Direction does not permit the Council to vary those times as displayed on the exception plate. Therefore the sign ceases to be compliant with the sign authorised in the Special Direction. It does not appear that the Council has obtained a revised Special Direction.

It is therefore necessary to consider whether the sign is authorised by the TSRGD. The TSRGD were revised since the 2002 edition, and as this new restriction came into force in April 2017 I must consider whether the signage is consistent with the TSRGD 2016.

The diagram 619 sign (sometimes colloquially known as the flying motorcycle) remains authorised by the TSRGD at Schedule 3 Part 3 item 12. If used with an exception plate the information that may be conveyed on that plate is specified in Schedule 3 Part 3 items 8 and 15. The exception plate used at Minster Street is not consistent with the information that may be displayed. Although ‘taxis’ may be specified, ‘wheelchair accessible taxis’ may not. It follows that this is not a permitted sign.

This restriction causes Minster Street to be a bus only street during the specified times. It starts at a junction but the only other exit from the junction would be past a No Entry sign into a pedestrianised area. Vehicles wishing to avoid a contravention would be forced into a U turn in a busy city centre street. Given the size of this van that would be a seriously difficult manouvre. In those circumstances it is important that the advance signage should be particularly clear, so that drivers can avoid approaching a bus gate from which there is no reasonable exit route.

The TSM at Chapter 3 figure 15-14 provides an example of an advance sign in diagrammatic form. In other words, the road layout is shown with an embedded bus lane sign showing where the bus lane commences. In contrast the signs used by Reading Borough Council are in narrative form, i.e. consisting only of words. At least one of the narrative signs is very long and therefore hard to assimilate whilst driving. In general terms a diagrammatic sign will be more readily assimilated than a narrative sign.

The difficulty of those narrative signs that identify the restriction as applying to Minster Street is that they provide clarity only to a person who is aware of the names of the roads in the town centre. They do not provide meaningful information to a driver who is aware of his or her route but not the names of all of the roads to be followed.

The sign for the traffic coming from Kings Road - the particularly lengthy sign - is more positively misleading. It states that the restriction applies for traffic proceeding ahead over the traffic lights into King Street. That is not accurate. A driver would look in vain for regulatory signs indicating a bus lane restriction in King Street. The restriction does not start until the end of King Street at the junction with Minster Street.

In my judgment the use of these narrative advance warning signs coupled to the unlikely and counter-intuitive location of the start of this bus lane is such as to render them of very limited value.

It is right to say that the Council has elected not to use coloured tarmac to emphasise the location of the bus only street. They are not obliged to do so although the possibility is raised within the TSM.
Overall I am not satisfied that the signage meets the requirement that it must provide adequate information about the bus lane restriction. For these reasons these appeals will be allowed.’
7. I would not have accepted the remainder of the challenges by Mr Pirate. As the appeal will be allowed by reason of the signage deficiencies it is not necessary to set out my reasons in detail. In general terms, however, the Council has discretion as to the drafting of the PCN and Notice of Rejection provided the gist of the prescribed information is communicated. It is reasonable today to allow inspection of the video clip by use of the internet given the offer of an alternative of an appointment to view at the Council offices. The drafting as to the timing of the various actions that are to be taken is not prejudicial to the motorist, in fact if anything it benefits him or her.
8. For the reasons given relating to signage this appeal is allowed.

This post has been edited by Pirateuk: Tue, 13 Feb 2018 - 11:50
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