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noahgender
I was caught driving through a bus gate (a very short street reserved for buses) recently.

I thought it would be a case of guilty and pay up, but it looks to be a clear case of an illegal road layout that must be changed and, I suppose, a full refund of all fines imposed. This could be quite a big issue so I would like some opinions. I have deliberately not given any details of the location or copies of the documents because I do not want to prejudice an active review which I hope will be done fairly. However, I have attached a diagram to illustrate things (see text at end).


I did not recall the transgression but the fine was only £30 (after 50 % discount) and the evidence was there that I had done it, that is why my first reaction was to pay it.

However, the pictures provided by the council show that the signage is complicated; more importantly they show that the bus gate is sited on a main road. The way to avoid it is to turn left down a side road. There are signs that indicate a left turn is necessary but the necessary associated lines on the road are all wrong. Secondly, a lane arrow on the road is used incorrectly because the end of the lane/road is not marked. Finally the lines on the road that do exist channel all traffic straight through the bus gate. It is obvious that with this layout motorists using the road for the first time would quite probably drive through the bus gate blissfully unaware they were doing anything wrong, just like me. I therefore appealed against the fine.

This appeal was rejected, the assessor said the layout was not confusing and conformed to the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 (TSRGD) and I had to pay.

By this time I had concluded that if this layout was recommended by the regulations then there was something wrong with the regulations. I then found evidence in the news that tens of thousands of other drivers had been caught by this bus gate as well. Are there really that many lawbreakers out there thinking they won't get clocked by the signed cameras? I did not think so.

So I looked through the TSRGD to check that the layout of the junction and its signage was correct. This document is totally incomprehensible, which is presumably why the council were happy to mention it.

Without any more information I had to go through the second step, an appeal to Traffic Penalty Tribunal, with essentially the same argument. The adjudicator rejected my appeal.

However, I then found another document from the Department of Transport that was both comprehensible and comprehensive. The Traffic Signs Manual (see link). There, in Chapter 3 page 141, is Figure 15-14 "Example of a two-way bus gate" the same situation as where I had been pictured. This figure shows that a bus gate is to be laid out as a side-street, turning off the main road, with the normal broken line markings across the end of this street. With this layout vehicles following the main road would by-pass the bus gate. Anyone entering the bus gate would have deliberately turned off the main road into it. There would be no confusion. So it turns out that the standard layout in the regulations is fine, the problem is that the actual layout does not conform with the standard.

To elaborate a little Chapter 5 page 106 paragraph 17.19 of the same manual says that "The entrance to a bus gate should be marked [ie signs and road markings] in the same manner as a bus-only street. Page 14 has figure 17.2 showing the layout of a bus-only street. Again it is clearly marked as a side street with normal end of street markings on the road surface at both ends.

The layout of this junction does not conform with these Department of Transport Guidelines. I understand that this means that any fines imposed are therefore unenforceable.

I have now applied for a review of the appeal adjudicator's decision, I can do this because this is new evidence that has only come to light since my appeal. I am awaiting a decision on this.

I am hopeful that this will be in my favour but I am assuming nothing as I would have thought that one of the appeals would have succeeded.

Finally, using figures gleaned from two news reports, I calculate that this junction may have taken £1-2 million in fines over the last four years, perhaps even more. If the fines turn out to be unenforceable I guess these will have to be refunded.

So I anticipate the possibility of a huge battle before me. To be honest from a personal point of view I would rather not bother, but I would never forgive myself for leaving this situation for tens of thousands more people to suffer, so I am determined to follow things through. Before I go any further I wanted to flag up this situation here and find out if there are any pearls of wisdom that may be offered by knowledgeable posters here. I have little idea what I am letting myself in for.


I attach a PDF of 3 diagrams I have drawn to illustrate the argument:
1. An example of a bus gate layout taken from the Traffic Signs Manual chapter 3 (my version of this diagram excludes signs and the traffic island for simplicity)
2. The layout of the problem location (also excluding signs and the traffic island)
3. What the layout of the problem location would look like if it conformed with the Traffic Signs Manual.
PASTMYBEST
If an adjudicator has found as fact that the signage is compliant and adequate, you have the option of applying for a review The grounds for doing so are strict

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/3482/schedule/made

TBH looking at your diagram, providing signs are in place, I understand why the decision went as it did

Giving any further comment without sight of the signage or the location is nigh on impossible
noahgender
Why, if the road markings are not as prescribed in the Traffic Signs Manual, do you say you are not surprised that my appeal was rejected?

The road markings are as much a part of the signage as signs attached to poles.

If the road markings are wrong then surely the junction is just as unenforceable as if the signs fixed to poles are wrong.


Or have I misunderstood you?
peterguk
GSV of location please.
PASTMYBEST
QUOTE (noahgender @ Fri, 30 Sep 2016 - 16:21) *
Why, if the road markings are not as prescribed in the Traffic Signs Manual, do you say you are not surprised that my appeal was rejected?

The road markings are as much a part of the signage as signs attached to poles.

If the road markings are wrong then surely the junction is just as unenforceable as if the signs fixed to poles are wrong.


Or have I misunderstood you?


I think you are misunderstanding TSM 3 and 5, they are guidance the TSRGD 2016 legislates what signs can be used it is for the council to then decide what they need to do to communicate the restriction to the motorist
They are governed in this by The Local Authorities' Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996

An adjudicator is entitled by use of their judicial power to find as a fact one way or the other, this has been done.

I/we cannot give a view as to the rights or wrongs of this decision without sight of the bus gate and signage



noahgender
I hope I have managed to attach the junction photos.

The problem with the left arrow is that this is a lane arrow which is used to tell drivers to turn left when the lane ends.

This is most commonly encountered before a junction when all the lanes end (eg at traffic lights).

It can also be encountered at a junction off the main road but even here the lane obviously ends. This is often done at a right turn where a right turn lane is created then ends where the right turn takes place.

It may be used for a compulsory left turn for example where two lanes become one and the left lane disappears.

A left arrow may appear on its own as advance warning of a compulsory left turn but in this case there will be a further arrow where the lane ends. The left turn arrow is misleading because according to the sign conventions it should be advance warning of a left turn when the lane (or in this case road, because there is only one lane) ends. However it is being used as a turn left here indicator.
DancingDad
Just looking at photos, not surprised adjudicator decided signs were clear enough.
Advance warning, legend and arrow on road and clearly visible bus gate signs.

Nothing jumps out at me as being unlawful to use.
Legend on road may be unusual but this does not make it unlawful.
PASTMYBEST
I would say that is an almost text book bus gate I cannot see you getting any where as regards it's legality re signs and markings
noahgender
The problem I have is that the figure (diagram) of an example bus gate in the Traffic Signs manual shows that bus gates should be marked as a side street off a main road.

This junction marks the bus gate as on the main road.

Are you saying that councils have to comply with the pole signs indicated by the diagrams but do not need to comply with the road markings?

oldstoat
as you say the diagram is an example. it gives an idea. looking at the photos you have posted I cannot see how you failed to realise you needed to go left
peterguk
OP, out of interest, did you actually miss all the signage, or choose to ignore hoping it was not monitored?
noahgender
peterguk

I have no proper recollection of the junction. I remember seeing signs warning of bus lanes but that is all.

There is no way I would deliberately drive down a road I knew was for buses only. I am terrified of driving on bus lanes even monitored or not. I even avoid them if the time is out of bus-only hours.

I am not trying to avoid paying a £30 fine. This is all far too much effort for that.

If the layout of the bus gate made it easy to understand what to do I would happily pay up straight away. Even if it was not that great I would not waste my time. But when the layout is not clear because it diverges from clear examples in the Traffic Signs Manual then I start to think that there is the whiff of big profits for the local council in the air.

That is why I am fighting it.
noahgender
oldstoat

I don't actiually remember driving through the junction so this is my best guess.

I probably did realise I would have to turn left, but not down that small side street.

If you look at the photo you will see that the whole left side of the road is blocked by parked cars. It is clearly not a main road. Or is it? An approaching driver has half a second to decide and get it right, not easy.
The arrow and turn left sign are not enough to direct a car down that side street. They need to be completed by an appropriate end of lane marking which was not there. Otherwise the normal assumption is that they are giving advance warning of the necessity to turn left at the end of the road, which is round the corner, the far side of the bus gate.

There are signs saying where to drive but the road markings say the opposite. It depends on the driver which he takes most notice of. I chose the wrong option, but of course there should not be a choice.

After all the Traffic Signs Manual says:

1.2 Signs must give road users their
message clearly and at the correct
time. The message must be
unambiguous and speedily understood...

This junction does not do that.
oldstoat
In the photo it appears that the bus gate does not start till after the sign, so had i been approaching that sign I would have turned left. The road signs could easily have been obscured by traffic and the sign is IMHO very clear following the road round to the right takes you into a bus lane and therefore you need to turn left
DancingDad
About the only thing I can see that is in your favour is that it would have been a little clearer if the carriageway markings took you round to the left.

But honestly, compared to some we see, that is textbook clarity.

I think one of the issues we have is that despite them being around for a long time, drivers do not instinctively react to blue road signs.
They do not jump out as well as red ones.
Mad Mick V
If the adjudicators Decision reached the OP more than 14 days ago there is no recourse to a Review. If the OP paid the penalty after the Decision he has admitted liability.

We appear to have had the dead cat bounce, we are flogging a dead horse, the Norwegian Blue has joined the Host Eternal.

Thank you all and good night!

Mick
noahgender
DancingDad

"the only thing I can see that is in your favour is that it would have been a little clearer if the carriageway markings took you round to the left"

This is true. It would have been a little clearer, perhaps just 5% across all drivers.


But consider this.

Let's say out of 100 law abiding people approaching this junction the vast majority understand what they need to do, say 95%.

If you make a change to the junction that improves clarity by a further 5% then the number of drivers who get it right will be 95% + 5% =100%.
PASTMYBEST
What signs and road markings would you suggest?
noahgender
DancingDad

You say that an issue is that blue signs do not jump out as well as red ones.

I agree entirely.

In fact I made this point in my second appeal. I said that if the bus lane had been marked with a red "no entry" sign with the mention "Except buses and cycles" I would have avoided the bus gate even with the misleading road markings.

There are other examples on this website of situations where a red sign replacing a blue one would solve problems; for example time limited bus-only streets leading off roundabouts.


The problem is that drivers unfamiliar with the area need an easy way to be able to avoid these traps. A blue sign should indicate a restriction on a road, not that the whole road is restricted.

If all streets that are prohibited to normal traffic (even if this is just for part of the day) were marked with a red sign (for example no entry with a qualifying "except buses and cycles" and/or hours of operation) this would be far clearer than these blue signs.

Currently on bus-only streets Councils can use either red signs with exceptions or blue signs with limitations. The rules should insist that red signs are used on bus-only streets and bus gates. Drivers could then be confident that they can always drive down a street marked by a blue sign because they can always drive outside a bus lane.

Your idea is a good one.

How do we propose this and to who?
peterguk
QUOTE (noahgender @ Sat, 1 Oct 2016 - 09:15) *
You say that an issue is that blue signs do not jump out as well as red ones.

A blue sign should indicate a restriction on a road, not that the whole road is restricted.


Not the fault of LAs.

Your issue seems to be with the S.I., which is at Govt. level.
noahgender
peterguk


In fact I now have two issues.

1. The LA has not complied with the recommended layout of the signage at this junction. I believe the fines are unenforceable for that reason.

2. The guidelines on the signs to use for bus gates and bus-only streets should insist on the use of red signs, the option to use blue "bus lane" type signs should be removed. This (together with the correct lines) would make it completely obvious and unambiguous where drivers are allowed to go.


As you say, the second is not an LA issue, I imagine it must be within the Department of Transport, it would be useful to know exactly who to make this suggestion to.
PASTMYBEST
Whilst I have some sympathy for your contention, (Red circles with a white background are in the main prohibitive)
Blue circles with a white boarder giving mostly positive instruction, it can be argued that a bus gate is a restriction on traffic so should be a red circle.

However the blue bus lane sign has been the prescribed sign since at least 1994, and is the prescribed sign as of today with TSRGD 2016. regardless of any merit in
changing it to a prohibitive sign, (bear in mind that it does give a positive instruction that only buses and cycles may use that part of the road)

The financial implications of a change in the law(given that LATOR1996 gives the protection that it must be sufficient to warn drivers of the restriction) would
make it virtually impossible to make any change within a decade even given the will to do so
peterguk
QUOTE (noahgender @ Sat, 1 Oct 2016 - 10:10) *
1. The LA has not complied with the recommended layout of the signage at this junction. I believe the fines are unenforceable for that reason.


The (very) knowledgeable contributors to your thread seem to disagree, as did an adjudicator.

Have you paid the fine?

QUOTE (noahgender @ Sat, 1 Oct 2016 - 10:10) *
2. The guidelines on the signs to use for bus gates and bus-only streets should insist on the use of red signs, the option to use blue "bus lane" type signs should be removed.


Nothing to do with your r PCN or your appeal.
DancingDad
PBM has given the answer to changing signage style/colour/conventions, basically, it is not going to happen.

My personal belief is No Entry (except ?) would be far clearer but that is my belief and is one that is specifically prohibited.
I have similar belief that the various No Vehicle signs, Red Circle on white, should have a red diagonal similar to No Turn signs.
Again, it is not going to happen.

In your case, even if the signage is not strictly conforming to TSRGD or fails to follow exact guidance, there are various High Court cases that well establish the principle (in law) that they do not need to.
Only need is to be substantially compliant, visible enough that the reasonably alert motorist will see them and not confuse.

As for use of Red Circle signs, plenty of places where that is done.
People still pop up on here having driven through them.
There will never be 100% compliance.
noahgender
Hold on everybody!!!

I did not recommend inventing new signage or changing existing signage. As you say this would take years. What I said was is that LAs currently have a choice of using no entry signs or bus only signs at the entrance to a bus gate and I felt it would be much clearer if they did not have a choice and had to use no entry signs.

Anyway I have now read through the manual in more detail and found that the authorities have obviously recently debated the merits of alternative methods of signing a bus gate (either a no entry sign with "except buses" or a blue bus lane sign with "only"). They have (more or less) removed the choice and decided on using a combination of both signs in the layout.

The Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 3 Figure 15-13 illustrates one side of a bus gate with a refuge. This shows there must be a buses+"only" sign to the left of the gate, a no entry sign on the refuge and a second no-entry sign on the right of the gate.


Further discussion is not necessary on this idea.
DancingDad
15.8 not 15.3 diagram.

The point is that guidance is exactly that.
Unless you can make a point that the lack of No Entry signs, on the opposite carriageway, somehow misguided you, all elements needed seem to be present.
Clear advance warning.
Ruddy great road legend. Which although not mandatory is a good clue that you ought to go left.
Perhaps a mandatory left turn (with bus exception) could have been there.
Clear and well sited Bus Gate signs.
The signs that are recommended BTW.
Central Refuge with mandatory keep left to prevent people going on the wrong side.
Perhaps carriageway markings could have followed to the left but....

Sorry mate.
I would love to help but honestly, I cannot fault the signage in any significant way.
Speaking from personal experience, having sat in front of an adjudicator, when pointing out that the relevant Blue (Tram) gate circles were so far from the edge of the carriageway that many drivers would miss them. And been ignored on that. Though I did win on lack of warning signs.
This I would have paid rather then trying to argue the toss on signs.
Even if (and I'm not convinced) there are minor discrepancies from TSM guidance, do they mislead? Are they mandatory? Is the meaning clear?
Answers to that come straight to findings on substantial compliance or otherwise.
noahgender
Dancing Dad

"15.8 not 15.3 diagram."

Thank you for pointing out the incorrect Figure reference in my previous post. I meant to type Figure 15-13 "One-way bus gate on a two-way road" (almost identical to figure 15-8). I have corrected my post.


Funnily enough I drove last night along a road with a left arrow in the left lane pointing up a side road. The arrow actually was meant to inform drivers to turn left at the traffic lights 30 yards ahead.


You are wrong when you say the differences with the TSM are minor. The exact placing of a sign can be a minor error.

Here the LA have used the wrong sign on the refuge (not only the wrong sign but a sign of the wrong colour, ie blue instead of red) and omitted a sign. These are fairly major errors that make it less likely that a driver will be alerted to the fact that that section of the road is forbidden to normal traffic.

Using the road markings to channel drivers into the bus gate rather than away from it (which is the layout used in all relevant Figures in the TSM) is so important it is off the scale.


We'll see what the review decides.
DancingDad
Which red bus gate sign are you thinkin of?
peterguk
QUOTE (noahgender @ Sun, 2 Oct 2016 - 13:31) *
Here the LA have used the wrong sign on the refuge (not only the wrong sign but a sign of the wrong colour, ie blue instead of red) and omitted a sign.


Can you show the legislation that says the sign on the refuge is unlawful?

What sign has been unlawfully omitted?
noahgender
PeterGUK

I attach Figure 15-13 of Chapter 3 of the TSM, this shows the signs and road markings required for the entrance to a bus gate.


This shows there must be:

1. A blue bus and cycle roundel with the mention "only" at the left
2. A no entry sign on the refuge in the middle
3. A second no entry on the right


The junction in question has:
1. A blue bus and cycle roundel with the mention "only" at the left CORRECT
2. A blue bus and cycle roundel with the mention "only" in the middle WRONG SIGN
3. No sign on the right SIGN MISSING

I did not say the signs were unlawful, I don't know what is legal or not in the strict sense. But I do know that the manual is agreed best practice and I can see that he LA has ignored best practice and designed their own layout and signage. By definition their layout at this junction will be sub-optimal.





DancingDad

I am not thinking of a red bus gate sign, I meant either the normal no entry sign (red circle with a white bar across the middle) or no entry to motorised vehicles sign (red outer circle, white inner circle containing images of a motorcycle and car)
PASTMYBEST
Don't ignore fig 15.14, other than the road markings just about identical to the signing you wish to argue is wrong.

I've read some funny decisions at adjudication, but won't hold my breath for this one
localdriver
The Traffic Signs Manual is only guidance to local authorities, not mandatory. The layout shown is an example and may not be suitable in all locations.
DancingDad
QUOTE (noahgender @ Sun, 2 Oct 2016 - 18:29) *
......... By definition their layout at this junction will be sub-optimal.


No, what it means is that the signage doesn't exactly match guidance.
Which means an adjudicator decides whether or not it is adequate to convey the restriction to the reasonably observant motorist.



QUOTE (noahgender @ Sun, 2 Oct 2016 - 18:29) *
......... DancingDad

I am not thinking of a red bus gate sign, I meant either the normal no entry sign (red circle with a white bar across the middle) or no entry to motorised vehicles sign (red outer circle, white inner circle containing images of a motorcycle and car)


Both are options but the blue sign is recommended over both by the very guidance you are citing.
noahgender
DancingDad

You say:

"Both are options but the blue sign is recommended over both by the very guidance you are citing."

Your statement is wrong.

The blue sign is recommended for the left hand side (I have already said that I had seen that since making my suggestion)

But the blue sign is not an option for either the refuge or the right hand side of the road (of a bus gate with a refuge). The red sign is the only sign mentioned for these two positions in the TSM guidance.
noahgender
A QUESTION FOR ALL


I realise I am on my own here and want to understand why.


You all seem to be telling me that the Traffic Signs Manual is just guidance for LAs and in practice LAs can do what they want.

I cannot believe this is the case, otherwise what protection is there for a motorist? The argument about whether a particular set of signage is ambiguous or not would be unwinnable in all cases instead of just some.


So to convince me please give me an example where the LA have designed their own layout of roads and signage in preference to that recommended in the Traffic Signs Manual.

Of course this example has to be of a reasonably standard junction where there is no particular reason to use a non-standard layout.


This would be most helpful
PASTMYBEST
Fig 15.14 is a reasonable approximation of the junction for the photos you provide.

The legislation provided in LATOR 1996, is protection against councils putting up inadequate or confusing signs

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1996/24...ulation/18/made reg 18 applies

TSRGD 2016 and it's predecessors authorise the signs used if a sign is not prescribed then it requires authorisation from the SoS

The high court and court of appeal found in the Herron case that the restriction is created by the traffic order, and the requirements as to signage is that it needs be clear and inform
the motorist of the restriction. That it must substantially comply is enough.

This is binding on lower courts (adjudicators)

http://www.britishparking.co.uk/write/Docu...27104711211.pdf



DancingDad
QUOTE
15.30 A bus gate is a short length of bus-only street (see para 15.4). On a two-way road, access may be restricted to buses in one direction only, with all traffic permitted in the opposite direction, i.e. similar to a contra-flow lane, but too short to be signed as such. In this case, that part of the carriageway reserved for buses should be separated from the opposing flow of traffic by a traffic island and not by a continuous line marking to diagram 1049 (see figure 15-13). Bus gates are often used to remove through traffic from a road but allow full access. They effectively create a “no through road” for all traffic other than buses. The bus gate may be located either at a junction or part way along a road, and may be used by pedal cycles and taxis where permitted by the order. An example is shown in figure 15-14.
15.31 A bus gate is signed in a similar manner to a bus-only street, using signs to diagrams 953 and 953.2. Where the bus gate is a short length of one-way road which leads to a two-way road used by all traffic, the opposite end of the gate must have “no entry” signs to diagram 616.

No mention of No Entry signs at the start end

Bus lanes include
QUOTE
15.21 The start of the contra-flow lane should be separated from opposing traffic by a refuge in the centre of the road. The exit side of the road, used by all traffic, should be protected by “no entry” signs as for ordinary one-way roads

Note the word "should" not "must"

The Blue signs, 953 must be used. They are.
No Entry become optional and IMO only become part of the signage equation if lack of them misleads the reasonably alert motorist.



QUOTE (PASTMYBEST @ Mon, 3 Oct 2016 - 09:49) *
........The high court and court of appeal found in the Herron case that the restriction is created by the traffic order, and the requirements as to signage is that it needs be clear and inform
the motorist of the restriction. That it must substantially comply is enough.

This is binding on lower courts (adjudicators).........


Don't forget cases like Oxford Bus Lanes
http://www.londontribunals.gov.uk/sites/de...ator%202010.pdf
localdriver
QUOTE (noahgender @ Mon, 3 Oct 2016 - 09:32) *
So to convince me please give me an example where the LA have designed their own layout of roads and signage in preference to that recommended in the Traffic Signs Manual.


The example given in the Traffic Signs Manual is just that, an example. Local authorities use the guidance from the manual in the design of their various layouts.
They will not all, as in the layout you have shown, be the same as that example.
The requirement is to convey to the motorist that they understand the restriction.

noahgender
Well then folks, the review came back as negative.

This surprised me until I read it.

In my request for a review I made it quite clear that the problem with the junction was that the lines on the road that should have guided traffic away from the bus gate were missing. The lines that were there directed traffic into the gate. It is this that makes the intention of the whole signage layout ambiguous.

The review went in to some detail defending the signs, which I had not actually criticised (I have done so here, but not in my appeals)

However the reviewer did not even mention the lines on the road which was what I was complaining about!

Nor did he mention the fact that I pointed out that the the adjudicator had claimed I had said I had seen all the signage when I had said I did not even remember passing through the junction.

The whole review process has been a tick-box cut and paste exercise designed to fob off legitimate criticism and protect the LAs.

I wanted to protect the probable 30 (probably all innocent) people a day being caught out by this invidious junction. I failed.

The only recourse now it to the courts. I believe I would win, but the personal cost (and I am not even talking money here) would be far too high.


Thanks for all your inputs, even if I strongly disagree with some of it.

DJ Lexy
QUOTE (noahgender @ Mon, 3 Oct 2016 - 16:34) *
...the lines on the road that should have guided traffic away from the bus gate were missing. The lines that were there directed traffic into the gate.


Those lines are like that so that buses travelling into the bus gate have priority over vehicles coming out of that side street. It's designed to stop buses getting caught up during rush hour. With all due respect, I don't think it's the big deal that you think it is.

I like picking holes in councils' signage schemes, as do many other people here, but even I think they've done enough. There's a diagram showing the right 'branch' is a bus gate, a blue sign with an arrow indicating you must turn left, an arrow on the road with 'Turn Left' in big letters, two 'bus / cycle only' signs, and a big 'Bus Only' on the tarmac.

Arrows painted on the road don't tell you what to do when the lane ends, they tell you what to do at the next junction.

Honestly, don't take this to court. You will lose.
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