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Esquire
Hi all,

Would appreciate views on the following case please regarding entering into a bus lane to join a left turn lane before the end of the bus lane.

Traffic was queuing at red traffic lights heading north west on the A236 in Mitcham. There are two lanes at the traffic lights on the A236, both lanes take traffic round to the left but then immediately filter traffic into different directions (left lane carries on straight to Sutton, right hand lane turns right to Colliers Wood). I had to get into the left lane at the lights, which was empty, and in doing so drove into the bus lane undercutting two cars in the queuing traffic in the other lane. Neither of these cars were indicating left.

Here is the street view image of the area where I entered the bus lane to move into the left lane.
https://goo.gl/maps/yUMvrsPAUan

The evidence provided shows my vehicle travelling 2 to 3 car lengths in the bus lane:



The bus lane ends immediately at the bottom of the evidence photos.


Below are the PCN, my informal appeal, and Merton council’s response to my informal appeal.
I would like to know whether the case is worth disputing (am prepared to take this tribunal if needs be)? Many thanks.

PCN



My informal appeal

XX Xxxx Road,
XXX
XXX,
XXXX XXX

VRN: XXXX XXX
Ref PCN MT833XXXXX

Dear Sir/madam,

The contravention in question happened towards the end of the bus lane as can clearly be seen. I was indicating to take a left turn as the remaining traffic was queuing up to continue round to the right. My vehicle had only travelled the distance of two car lengths to the end of the bus lane.
As you are aware, the road here opens up to two lanes after the bus lane, with one lane (with the queuing traffic) continuing right round the one-way system and the newly-opened lane staying to the left.
I am not blocking anyone, impeding the bus, or cutting the queue - I merely manoeuvred into the correct lane at the traffic lights and by doing so have cut into the end of the bus lane. I didn't jump into the bus lane from the start and drive down.
I have not gained any unfair advantage over other traffic in this instance as only my vehicle intended to continue in the left lane. If there was any contravention it was of minimal, if any consequence and on this occasion, I ask you to apply the legal principle of de minimis non curat lex.

I have been looking into the offence and found guidance issued regarding bus lanes. Please see the bottom of this letter the summary of the appeal to the Adjudicator case reference 2130253836, and quoted immediately below for ease of reference:
“…there is a 20 metre rule that should normally be observed before any PCN should be issued and in this case the vehicle clearly was not driven in the bus lane for this distance. In this case the appellant simply made a permitted left turn across a bus lane for no more than 10 metres before turning left.”

The adjudicator makes reference to the 20 metre rule. The guidelines for enforcement of bus lanes in London state "the operator should observe a vehicle travelling along a bus lane for at least 20 metres before he issues a Penalty Charge Notice." There are many instances where vehicles receive a penalty charge notice when they have clearly not travelled along a bus lane for 20 meters. For example simply cutting off the end of a bus lane or not able to avoid the first couple of metres. 20 Metres is approximately 5 car lengths. I am sure you are aware of these guidelines which are being upheld by the Adjudicator as referenced below.
Therefore, by issuing this PCN Merton has not operated within the guidelines. It also appears that the same reasoning behind the Adjudicator’s decision to grant the appeal in case 2130253836 also applies to the PCN issued to me.

I would therefore ask that you take another look into this matter to save both of our time in taking this all the way through the appeals process.
Kind regards,
Joel
P.s. Please note my new address above.


"Register Kept Under Regulation 20 of the Road Traffic (Parking Adjudicators)(London) Regulations 1993, as amended or Paragraph 21 of the Schedule to the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) Representations and Appeals Regulations 2007, as applicable

Case Reference: 2130253836
Appellant: Mr
Authority: Merton
VRM:
PCN: MT80105536
Contravention Date: 22 Feb 2013
Contravention Time: 13:21
Contravention Location: The Broadway
Penalty Amount: £130.00
Contravention: Being in a bus lane
Decision Date: 11 Jul 2013
Adjudicator: Kevin Moore
Appeal Decision: Allowed
Direction: cancel the Penalty Charge Notice and the Enforcement Notice.
Reasons: The appellant is a mini cab driver who claims that he entered the bus lane as he had no choice to do so since he was picking up a passenger. In reaching a decision in this matter I have paid particular regard to the CCTV footage and whilst there is no evidence of the appellant picking up a passenger from the footage, this does not necessarily mean it did not happen. However, I am satisfied that there is more cogent and reliable evidence whereby this appeal should be allowed.

I would estimate that the vehicle only entered the bus lane no more than 8-10 metres of the remaining stretch of that bus lane. Moreover, not only had the bus which was in the bus lane nearly completely pulled out of the bus lane when the appellant entered it, but at that point in time the bus had come to a complete halt in the main carriageway, and the appellant simply pulled into the bus lane in order to turn left at the junction ahead which was only 8-10 metres in front of his vehicle. The appellant did not undertake any vehicles in so doing and gained no advantage over any other motorists.

For completeness I should add that there is a 20 metre rule that should normally be observed before any PCN should be issued and in this case the vehicle clearly was not driven in the bus lane for this distance. In this case the appellant simply made a permitted left turn across a bus lane for no more than 10 metres before turning left.

I accordingly allow the appeal. "


Merton response to my informal appeal




Esquire




Incandescent
Need to see the video. I suspect you were in the bus lane for more than 20 metres, and anyway, there is no legal or even official "rule" on this, just something adjudicators may consider when deciding on a de minimis appeal. Councils never accept any de minimis appeals, (they love the money too much), so to see if you are right, you would have to take them to London Tribunals and risk the full PCN penalty, as the discount option will have gone.
Esquire
Sorry Incandescent, video link below:

View My Video
stamfordman
Merton isn't going to change its mind on formal appeal so you have to ask what an adjudicator would make of it.

I think they would uphold this one I'm afraid.

Someone may spot mistakes on the PCN.

Esquire
Ok. Thanks for your opinion stamfordman.
It's a fair cop.
cp8759
It's hard to argue you didn't gain an unfair advantage over other motorists. I would pay the discounted penalty.
Esquire
Thanks for your opinion, very much appreciated.
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