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Coventry - "Whittle Arch" Hales Street Bus Lane.
Pastit
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 13:44
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Hello all, just got a PCN from Coventry City Council for this notorious location for drivers unintentionally ending in an insufficiently signed bus lane.

The PCN is addressed to me as the registered keeper but my wife was driving at the time, I wasn't in the car. There's an omission in my full name, with part of the surname missing, but the address is correct.

I attach scans of the notice. I understand they have been adding more details to the PCNs for this location over time to try make them legally compliant, so I'm not sure if this one is 100% correct. I think the text misleads the reader into thinking that making any representations is incompatible with the reduced charge.

My problem with this is that the signing is insufficient and it is well known for failing to prevent drivers from unintentionally driving into the bus lane, thus defeating its purpose as a safer zone for buses and cyclists. Obviously having the council be responsible for both the effective signing and collecting the money from fines at the same time is quite clearly a dysfunctional situation.











This is the first (tiny) sign we see at a very busy bus stop. Needless to say that it's not visible from a car's driving seat when a bus is there, which is VERY frequently.


Here we can see no road markings leading to the bus lane. Certainly nothing compliant with the traffic signs manual. So if there's a bus on the bus stop, you won't have seen anything until you're in the edge of the bus lane.




I want to make representations on the basis of insufficient signing. There are about 150 cars per day unintentionally driving into this particular bus lane. It is next to the popular Transport Museum, so it attracts many drivers not familiar with the area who entirely rely in proper signing to avoid contraventions.

Any advice on the most effective way to do this and/or any formal flaws on the PCN itself will be greatly appreciated.



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post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 13:44
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PASTMYBEST
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 15:22
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The PCN has been improved vastly I cannot find fault with it.

You could make reps based on the findings here that road markings are mandatory unless there is an authorisation allowing that they are not used

2170469229

I adjourned this case for the following reason:
The enforcement authority is offered the opportunity to make further submissions on the question of signage. The blue signs would appear to require the presence of the carriageway legend “BUS GATE” which seems to be absent. Schedule 9 Part 5 para 1 TSRGD 2016 provides that the information etc. of a description in column 2 of an item in the sign table in Part 6 “must” be conveyed by a road marking shown in column 3 .

Item 15 of the sign table in part 6 contains the description ” Road or part of a road with access permitted only for buses and other vehicles when so indicated by any of the signs at items 33 to 35 and 37 to 40 in the sign table in Part 2 of Schedule 3”.

The restricted access of that type in the present case is indicated by a (permitted variant of) a sign to Diagram 953 shown in the Schedule 3 Part 2 of the sign table at item 33. It would follow that the carriageway legend is mandatory and that authorisation is required to dispense with it.
In the absence of any further submissions or evidence from the enforcement authority I am unable to be satisfied the prohibition relied on was correctly indicated. The Appeal is therefore allowed.
(I would, however, caution the Appellants against treating this decision as a licence to disregard the existing signage as it is conceivable that further evidence might have led to a different conclusion)

This is the authorisation for the restriction

http://assets.dft.gov.uk/trafficauths/case-2124.pdf

It make no mention of dispensing with road markings.


Do not reference the case in reps to the council do not forewarn them to provide evidence. let them work that out
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Pastit
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 18:34
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That's great thanks so much.

So would the grounds of appeal fall under the "the alleged contravention did not occur", "the penalty charge exceeded the amount applicable in the circumstances of the case" or under "other grounds"?

Also, as you can see below, they imply here that if you make a representation then the discounted rate will no longer apply. I thought they couldn't do this. Is this right?



Thanks again.
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PASTMYBEST
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 18:38
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QUOTE (Pastit @ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 18:34) *
That's great thanks so much.

So would the grounds of appeal fall under the "the alleged contravention did not occur", "the penalty charge exceeded the amount applicable in the circumstances of the case" or under "other grounds"?

Also, as you can see below, they imply here that if you make a representation then the discounted rate will no longer apply. I thought they couldn't do this. Is this right?



Thanks again.


the contravention did not occur.

yes they can do that the law allows only that the discount is available for payment within the 14 day period
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Pastit
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 19:25
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QUOTE (PASTMYBEST @ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 18:38) *
yes they can do that the law allows only that the discount is available for payment within the 14 day period


I can't find the link right now for some reason but I've read somewhere that the clock stops when you submit your appeal, so if they reject it you should still have the same period of reduced-rate days left. A total of 14 in any case.
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cp8759
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 19:27
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QUOTE (Pastit @ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 19:25) *
QUOTE (PASTMYBEST @ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 18:38) *
yes they can do that the law allows only that the discount is available for payment within the 14 day period


I can't find the link right now for some reason but I've read somewhere that the clock stops when you submit your appeal, so if they reject it you should still have the same period of reduced-rate days left. A total of 14 in any case.

They can stop the clock, but they don't have to, it's down to their discretion.
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Pastit
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 19:56
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Thanks for the clarification. It's ridiculous that they're trying to have people settle for the reduced rate just in case even if they have grounds of appeal.

Should I also mention the stats for the camera on this location? There's an average of like 150 cars a day unintentionally ending on that bus lane. Clearly it isn't working from the point of view of road safety at all (just filling the council's pockets).
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Incandescent
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 22:12
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QUOTE (Pastit @ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 19:56) *
Thanks for the clarification. It's ridiculous that they're trying to have people settle for the reduced rate just in case even if they have grounds of appeal.

Should I also mention the stats for the camera on this location? There's an average of like 150 cars a day unintentionally ending on that bus lane. Clearly it isn't working from the point of view of road safety at all (just filling the council's pockets).

That's what it's there for, basically. Sorry to be cynical but council venality and rapacity is well established on this forum.
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DancingDad
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 22:27
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QUOTE (Pastit @ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 19:56) *
........ There's an average of like 150 cars a day unintentionally ending on that bus lane. Clearly it isn't working from the point of view of road safety at all (just filling the council's pockets).


Or could be viewed as 150 people a day ignoring the natural sweep of the road to the right and making a conscious decision to turn left, ignoring the rather prominent bus gate signs.
Pre-warning or lack of it? To tell people to stay on main carriageway ?

Lack of guidance arrows on the main carriageway and no legend on the bus gate entrance is a far more valid argument.

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Incandescent
post Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 22:43
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QUOTE (DancingDad @ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 22:27) *
QUOTE (Pastit @ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 19:56) *
........ There's an average of like 150 cars a day unintentionally ending on that bus lane. Clearly it isn't working from the point of view of road safety at all (just filling the council's pockets).


Or could be viewed as 150 people a day ignoring the natural sweep of the road to the right and making a conscious decision to turn left, ignoring the rather prominent bus gate signs.
Pre-warning or lack of it? To tell people to stay on main carriageway ?

Lack of guidance arrows on the main carriageway and no legend on the bus gate entrance is a far more valid argument.

Indeed, so why is it not done so it is totally clear ? Answer is because they'd lose all that lovely PCN penalty cash, so we're back to venality and rapacity ! I make it 150 PCNs a day multiplied by the discounted penalty = £4500 a day, or for Mon-Sat £27000. Costs negligible. Money for old rope, basically
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Pastit
post Thu, 15 Feb 2018 - 10:08
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QUOTE (DancingDad @ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 - 22:27) *
Or could be viewed as 150 people a day ignoring the natural sweep of the road to the right and making a conscious decision to turn left, ignoring the rather prominent bus gate signs.
Pre-warning or lack of it? To tell people to stay on main carriageway ?



You can see how other signs are quite clearly roadmarked, e.g. the bus stop, the taxi bay... but of course not the bus lane with the profitable enforcing camera! Very few people would put themselves at risk of a fine in a busy location like this for little if any gain. The vast majority of contraventions here are unintentional. Even the "natural" flow of that road would be to go on straight (left), as the change in direction is much bigger to the right. And let's not forget the keep left sign on the central reservation of the bus lane, inviting you to a PCN. It's clearly done on purpose.

The problem here is that the council is reponsible for both the signalling and collecting the money. There is a conflict of interests by design leading to this dysfunctional situation.

I'll post the text of my reps here before submitting. Thanks!

This post has been edited by Pastit: Thu, 15 Feb 2018 - 10:09
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DancingDad
post Thu, 15 Feb 2018 - 11:38
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QUOTE (Pastit @ Thu, 15 Feb 2018 - 10:08) *
,,,,,,,,,,. And let's not forget the keep left sign on the central reservation of the bus lane, inviting .........


The keep left sign that is well inside the turning and past the Bus Gate signs ?

The point I am trying to make is that if you are challenging on signs and lines, you must look at the overall picture and be prepared for an adjudicator to ask the obvious questions.....
Like why did they turn left off of the main carriageway ?
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Pastit
post Thu, 15 Feb 2018 - 12:19
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I've attached a PDF with the text and images for reps. Please let me know if it all sounds right or otherwise.

QUOTE (DancingDad @ Thu, 15 Feb 2018 - 11:38) *
The point I am trying to make is that if you are challenging on signs and lines, you must look at the overall picture and be prepared for an adjudicator to ask the obvious questions.....
Like why did they turn left off of the main carriageway ?


Of course I understand, it is a fair point. I'll try to make that clear.

It's obvious that if the council was fined £30 as well as the driver for every contravention... for sure the signing would be very different.
Attached File(s)
Attached File  bus_fine_representations_document.pdf ( 488.68K ) Number of downloads: 7
 
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Pastit
post Fri, 16 Feb 2018 - 08:15
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Just thought I'd post the text of my reps here in addition to the PDF attachment above. Thanks.

Grounds of appeal: the alleged contravention did not occur.

I believe a penalty does not apply to the alleged contravention, Code34J: Being in a Bus Lane, in Hales Street (“White Arch”), Coventry, for the following reasons:

1. The only pre-warning sign of the existence of a restricted access route ahead is the turn right sign (see images below). However, this sign is located in a very busy bus stop. Due its location, size and height, this sign is not visible from the driver seat of a car while there are any buses in the bus stop, which is very frequently the case, particularly at times like the time of detection of this notice (13:26 on a Saturday).

2. There are no specific road markings indicating the part of the road with restricted access. This is in stark contrast to the clearly road marked bus stop and taxi bay. The only sign is the Diagram 953 variant (as per Schedule 3 Part 2 of TSRGD 2016) located at the edge of the bus lane.

3. The keep left sign on the central reservation of the bus lane adds to the confusion as, in the absence of restricted access road markings, it can have the effect of inviting to drive through the bus lane, as turning right implies a bigger change in the car’s direction than bearing left through the bus lane.

4. According to TSRGD 2016 Schedule 9 Part 5, paragraph 1: “The information, requirement, restriction or prohibition of a description in column 2 of an item in the sign table in Part 6 MUST be conveyed by a road marking that is of the size, colour and type shown in the diagram in column 3.”
Schedule 9 Part 6 Item 15 contains the description “Diagram 1048.5 Road or part of a road with access permitted only for buses and other vehicles when so indicated by any of the signs at items 10, 33 to 35 and 37 to 40 in the sign table in Part 2 of Schedule 3 (Alternative types)”.
The restricted access of that type is indicated by a permitted variant of a sign to Diagram 953 shown in the Schedule 3 Part 3 of the sign table at item 33.
It follows that the carriageway legend is mandatory and that authorisation is required to dispense with it.

5. The authorisation for the restriction makes no mention to dispensing with road markings.

For all of the above I believe the signing is insufficient to enforce this type of contravention on this location at present, as it is not fully compliant with regulations and it is highly likely that drivers will unintentionally and frequently drive through the bus gate, thus compromising road safety and defeating the purpose of the access restriction.
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Pastit
post Sun, 18 Feb 2018 - 11:17
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I gather that the text looks ok? I'll be submitting it tonight. I'll post an update as soon as I hear anything back.

Thanks a lot.
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