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Compulsory left turn PCN - thanks to microscopic signage!
Tweedywonder
post Mon, 12 Feb 2018 - 15:38
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Afternoon all, first post on here, just seeking a final bit of advice here. On Christmas Day I arrived at a junction which had only one allowed route - a compulsory left turn into a car park... said car park was, being Christmas day, closed! Not thinking it safe to start reversing or doing U-turns at a junction, I did the only thing I could and carried on straight (the road is bidirectional, but only buses/bicycles are allowed to go straight over the junction from my side). Anyway, to my horror I received a PCN under code 32T, "failing to obey compulsory left turn (into car park)". I appealed this on the basis that the road sign supposed to stop other traffic finding themselves stuck at this junction was tiny and inadequate and that there is no opportunity for escaping this once you've turned onto this (effectively dead-end) road in the first place... all of it was brushed away with a rather feeble response to my appeal which effectively just boiled down to "the rules still apply on Christmas day" and ignored my demand for an explanation of what I should have done having wrongly turned onto this road (which in itself isn't an offence!)

Now, it was all along my suspicion that the council were well aware of this being a common issue, so I put in a Freedom of Information request to the council to find out how many people were caught out at the junction I was at in the past couple of years... over 10,000 - increasing to nearly 18 a day in 2017! I have also using Google Streetview (see below picture) found to my shock that clear signage indicating that the road is a dead-end for through traffic has been removed over the years, leaving only a minuscule sign on a route board (not the best place for critical information!)

Now, with only 48 hours to go before I lose the opportunity to pay the reduced fine... is there any point in escalating this further to the independent adjudicator, in the light of the evidence of the huge amount of people obviously caught out by this absurd trap junction and the fact signage has clearly been removed? Or is this without a hope?

Any advice would be much appreciated, thank you!

This post has been edited by Tweedywonder: Mon, 12 Feb 2018 - 15:42
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post Mon, 12 Feb 2018 - 15:38
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John U.K.
post Mon, 12 Feb 2018 - 15:46
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As usual, for best afvice please post all sides of the PCN and of the rejection, a copy of your reps and a GSV(Google Street View) link to the location.
Do not attach docs/photos, but use this method:
Some are having problems with Tinypic at he moment.. try Flickr, where the BBcodes are concealed behind the curly arrow (click on it) for sharing.

Photo or scan. see http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?showtopic=36858&st=0
for how to do it. I use Tinypic for stage 2 with no problems. Thera are other sites, such as Flickr, which enable you to paste the BBCodes into your post here.
STAGE 1 takes care of resizing. If you use Tinypic for Stage 2, on the left each image in Tinypic is a list of links. Highlight and copy the entire link 'for forums' from the list for each image - beginning with IMG and ending /IMG (include all the square brackets [ ] ), and paste each link into your post. Each copied and pasted link will embed a thumbnail link in your post.

Using the attachment method is not advised as it means quickly running out of attachment space.

Redact/obscure name, address, PCN number and reg.mark.
LEAVE IN all dates/times; precise location, Contravention code and description.

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stamfordman
post Mon, 12 Feb 2018 - 16:02
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It's this one:

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4215927,-0....3312!8i6656

which we've seen a lot. Couldn't you have turned into the service road and turned round, or where there barriers stopping you? Although it does say 'no turning':

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4217736,-0....3312!8i6656
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Tweedywonder
post Mon, 12 Feb 2018 - 18:36
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Thanks Stamfordman for filling in my gaps and giving the useful street view links! There's actually a sign on the service road saying "any vehicle turning on this service road will be reported to the police." I have the strangest feeling that sign doesn't carry any weight thinking about it now, since Merton's policy seems to be to not warn road users at all!

From reading this thread http://forums.pepipoo.com/lofiversion/index.php/t111758.html it seems others have not had much success at the adjudicator stage on this one. Would the fact that the car park is closed on Christmas day count for anything? I noticed that point in my appeal was conveniently not mentioned. Otherwise, the last hopes would be that the signage removal or the massive numbers of people caught here would be of some weight in a final appeal. Is there any expectations that councils take reasonable steps not to confuse large numbers of road users? Somehow I think that's wishful thinking but if so, they'd have failed here for sure...

Anyway, as requested here's the PCN, appeal and appeal rejection, if of any use.





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stamfordman
post Mon, 12 Feb 2018 - 18:50
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Well Merton are full of Christmas spirit - not.

I can't see an angle other than the shopping centre being closed and hoping to get a nice adjudicator but you'll be risking the extra £65.

What you had to do was either chance the service road or do a u-turn before the lights.

Someone may spot a council error in the docs.

This post has been edited by stamfordman: Mon, 12 Feb 2018 - 18:54
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PASTMYBEST
post Mon, 12 Feb 2018 - 21:33
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Can we see the rest of the PCN
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Incandescent
post Mon, 12 Feb 2018 - 22:01
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If you want to take it further, despite previous London Tribunals adjudications not supporting the appellants, you could try the Christmas Day argument - de minimis. This assumes there were no buses on that day, of course.
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cp8759
post Tue, 13 Feb 2018 - 13:26
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So for the sake of clarity, the "No turning" paint on the service area ramp is of no legal value whatsoever, so the best course of action would have been to drive into the service area and turn round. If they had reported you to the police (which I very much doubt), the police would have told them that turning round in that road is not an offence (I could put a "no turning" sign on my drive, but if people were to use my drive to turn round that would not be an offence and if I reported them to the police I'd be rightly told it's a civil matter and there's nothing the police can do).

However adjudicators are fortunately a bit more pragmatic and they don't expect motorists to know which signs can be lawfully ignored. Therefore you have a strong case to make that, because you were under the impression that you couldn't do a U-turn in the service area, you had a split second decision to come to the conclusion that there was no lawful route for you to take, and as at the time there appeared to be none, you had no choice but to contravene one restriction or another.

I think the no through road sign is a bit of a red herring, because that sign does not tell you the car park was closed (There's no absolute rule that cars parks are closed on Christmas Day), thus once you lawfully turned into the road, you were, as you say, in a "trap" with no apparently lawful route out. I would fight this, but it will most definitely need to go to adjudication. A reasonable analogy can be drawn with London Tribunal cases 2150026371, 2170123563 and 2170562122 (See http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?showtopic=116209).

This post has been edited by cp8759: Tue, 13 Feb 2018 - 13:26


--------------------
I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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DancingDad
post Tue, 13 Feb 2018 - 15:13
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While there is always a valid argument that someone cannot comply with a sign because the route was blocked, it is only by complying that anyone could know for certain that the car park was locked.
And seems like plenty of room on the service road for a three point turn once they found that out.

Very petty enforcing on Christmas Day and when centre is closed but not something that can hope to win on IMO.
Something else is needed.

If the video shows OP dithering and then making a decision, argument would be stronger but if simply shows sailing straight through, I would really think hard on grabbing the discount.

This post has been edited by DancingDad: Tue, 13 Feb 2018 - 15:15
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stamfordman
post Tue, 13 Feb 2018 - 15:24
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Yes, let's see the video. If you have problems downloading it PM me the details.
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PASTMYBEST
post Tue, 13 Feb 2018 - 15:48
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I've been looking at the NTo and Nor for errors. I see a couple of minor ones in the NoR. The council state there is adequate signage in place to prevent motorists from performing the left hand turn contravention.
The contravention was not turning left.

there is an abject failure to consider mitigation, they don't have to apply discretion but they must consider doing so 2 i am satisfied that the PCN was issued correctly does not show any consideration of discretion.

Little things that a sympathetic adjudicator may pick up on.


Stronger are

They do not inform that the appeal may be made on line contrary to schedule 1(3)(b)

They do not inform of the adjudicators power to extend the time allowed for an appeal schedule 1(4)(1)(b)

And unless it is on a page we have not seen the do not inform that if payment or appeal are not made they may serve a charge certificate schedule 1(3)(a)
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cp8759
post Tue, 13 Feb 2018 - 18:20
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QUOTE (DancingDad @ Tue, 13 Feb 2018 - 15:13) *
While there is always a valid argument that someone cannot comply with a sign because the route was blocked, it is only by complying that anyone could know for certain that the car park was locked.

I'm not sure this is entirely correct, from GSV it looks like, once you passed the traffic light stop line and got to the "no entry" markings on the road, you'd be able to see the car park shutter was down, and you'd be able to see this before you'd either complied with or contravened the restriction (see the view from https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4217366,-0....312!8i6656).


--------------------
I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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soggi
post Tue, 13 Feb 2018 - 18:43
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There are two car parks a shoppers car park under the centre and an outdoor long stay council car park which is open Christmas.
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Jo Carn
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 16:30
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Agreed it is a risk but I would say one worth taking if you go to the Tribunal in person. It is a whole different ball game when you sit with them and answer any question you may not have thought of. It also allows you to reiterate the point that you were "trapped". You are not expected to know what sign is valid and which one isn't. You are not expected to know that a car park is closed. What were you meant to do? Undertake a dangerous manoeuvre or act responsibly and safely? Most Adjudicators will not want to put their name to dangerous driving.

Be polite, be respectful, be reasonable and generally they are reasonable back. But it IS a risk
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PASTMYBEST
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 16:57
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Start at the beginning. You are a relative stranger to the area. Upon approach you move into the left lane at the arrow, The prominent sign then is the traffic light and the blue circle with a white arrow,
This denotes a positive action you must take. You are thus in a position where you must take that route

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4205206,-0....3312!8i6656

As you round the corner there are three signs two red circles denoting a prohibition, these take your attention away from the higher no through rd above

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4205069,-0....3312!8i6656

There is then a bus lane ahead on the left marked by a raised kerb

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4212979,-0....3312!8i6656

you then reach the traffic lights where the contravention occurs. A left turn was not possible as the car park was closed and turning on the service ramp is prohibited

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4217736,-0....3312!8i6656

Fill in all the Xmas day bit . Then make collateral challenges on the grounds i pointed out earlier re the NOR
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soggi
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 21:01
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Why does everyone assume the left turn was not possible, the car park entrance to the shopping centre is at the bottom of the ramp if it was closed you could have just driven down the ramp and out the exit!
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PASTMYBEST
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 22:31
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QUOTE (soggi @ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 21:01) *
Why does everyone assume the left turn was not possible, the car park entrance to the shopping centre is at the bottom of the ramp if it was closed you could have just driven down the ramp and out the exit!


the OP said it was closed. it is for the council to show otherwise or accept, then an adjudicator can find as fact
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Tweedywonder
post Fri, 11 May 2018 - 18:32
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Hello all, I did end up taking it to the adjudicator, half by accident as I ended it leaving it a bit late for the reduced PCN so I thought I might as well! After ages of waiting, the case was adjourned by the adjudicator and I was asked to clarify on what basis I believed that I couldn't have exited through the car park - I replied stating I was aware of there being a barriered car park at the bottom, and even though the council had pointed out that there was another car park through which I could have exited, a driver could not be expected to know all this and to know that there WAS an "escape route" from the signage present at this point. The council was also asked during this time to point to the evidence that a Dead End sign was allowed to be placed on a route sign as opposed to a stand alone one (like the ones they removed!)

Anyway, another few weeks later, and to my surprise... I won!

See the response from the adjudicator, very happy with this, as it strongly looks like it's saying the signage by the council is non-compliant, which could be very useful in future!

Thanks all for your help earlier on, I think it was the bolder among you that gave me the nerve to take it to the end and win this, and hopefully this will lead to changes so this cash cow won't be robbing people blind anymore!
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stamfordman
post Fri, 11 May 2018 - 22:15
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Well done and for persevering with this. Merton seriously lacking on Christmas spirit got what they deserved.
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DancingDad
post Sat, 12 May 2018 - 06:50
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I admit to being surprised.
But very happy for you, congratulations.
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