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Alfaguy
Hi,

I received a FPN from the parks police in Richmond Park , Kingston Gate car park , for parking in a disabled area.

Unlike elsewhere in the park the disabled area is indicated by two signs, about 30/40 yards apart, with the disabled symbol and an arrow pointing to the right on the left sided one..and an arrow pointing to the left on the right hand one. If this is hard to picture ..I have extensive photographs of it. These signs indicate the whole disabled area - about five bays with no road markings.

When I arrived there was a large minivan totally obscuring the right hand sign so all I could see was the left hand sign with the disabled symbol and an arrow underneath pointing to the right. I assumed that the sign was informing me that disabled parking was further up the park , like frequent signs indicate - I actually have a photo from Heathrow that shows this..the sign is very similar and it informs motorists that disabled parking is in the direction of the arrow, a bit further up.

I therefore felt confident that this is what the sign in the park was saying and that it was safe to park there..in front of it. When I came back I found the ticket. I telephoned the parks police , once I explained the situation to the guy he said he understood my complaint and had a lot of sympathy for me and that he thought I had a good case for an appeal. Bear in mind that I wasn't trying to find a loophole, or exploit any laws - the sign was genuinely ambiguous and misled me as it relies fully on the other sign being in full view to have the meaning it has and not look like it is saying the disabled parking is further up.

Anyway, I requested a court hearing and wrote down my reasons why. I received a polite letter from the MP saying that they wouldn't cancel the ticket because..at the time and given the evidence available to them..the ticket was justified. It went on to say that I could still pay in the next ten days or they would proceed with the court case. I find it interesting that they offered me this extra ten day period to pay as the offence happened in mid-August.

They did seem to recognise my complaint and that I had a legitimate grievance but won't cancel the ticket.
I am not sure if I should just pay them instead of fight it as I was in the area deemed disabled parking. I have spoken to other park users though who all agree that the signing is ambiguous with one of the signs completely obscured,as it was in my case. This genuinely fooled me..I'm not trying to get away with something.
There is no uniformity within the park with disabled signs..in all the other car parks in Richmond Park there are many, many more signs all directly in front of any bays .with the lettering 'disabled badge holders only' on them..

Please give me any advice, I'll be most grateful. I have a few days left to decide to pay or fight it...I just feel that I should fight it as the system is meant to be fair and totally and utterly unambiguous when it comes to signs...
Alfaguy
Anyone have any thoughts?
mob
If you have extensive photos it would be useful to see them. That way people have a clear idea of the issues.
Alfaguy
Okay. this is the bay when the signs are clear:






this is the sign when something is parked in front of it - when I arrived there was a large minivan and another car (i think a 4x4) both parked up in front of the righthand sign and it was totally obscured ..I really wish I could get a photo of a van in that bay to truly demonstrate how much it blocks your field of vision:




this is the close-up of the sign itself and all that was visible to me at the time I parked. To me this sign is saying that disabled parking is in that direction, not right in front of it. For the signs to have the specific meaning they do.. they need to BOTH be fully visible..otherwise it is sending a different message:

Alfaguy
I hope this is making sense. The point is that when I arrived there the sign on the right was completely hidden from view...there were two large vehicles blocking it from one's view. All that was visible to me was the the sign on the left (the last photo) to me this indicated that the disabled parking was further up..in that direction, not directly in front of it.

In no other area in the park are the signs like this - they are either marked on the ground ..or signs directly in front of each bay ...I also have photos of this.

Please say what you think...don't tell me you agree with me if you don't. All I know is that it comprehensively fooled me into thinking it was fine to park there, seriously!
Alfaguy
Does anyone have any feedback? I only have a very small time frame if I'm going to pay and not take it to court.

Any advice is better than nothing at all..even if you think I should pay and don't agree with/understand my argument.
Adenuff
I think you might have to wait a while for definitive advice on this one- the combination of circumstances you outline will be likely to be beyond most peoples experience- Royal Parks regs etc

FWIW I agree with you that the signs are ambiguous and understand how the mistake was made. However I fear that as with Council signs/road markings temporarily obstructed by vehicles etc, the magistrate will not accept it as an excuse and will suggest that that the ambiguity should have led to caution on your part.
An "if in doubt don't do it" type scenario
Alfaguy
Adenuff - thanks a lot for the reply mate, I really appreciate it!


This is also my concern..but, my contention is that it wasn't ambiguous to me when I arrived - my brain simply computed that 'disabled parking must be up there'...again, I have photos of disabled parking signs with the arrow that mean exactly that. The sign only has a specific meaning if the other isn't obscured from view. To me it wasn't even something that put me in any doubt that I maybe shouldn't park there.

It's just an annoying feeling when you've genuinely been duped/mistaken. Throughout the park the disabled areas are indicated with signs on the ground or signs directly in front of each bay. The policeman I talked to agreed that I may have a case and told me that it's a ticket 'hotspot'.. If it's getting more tickets..maybe it's because it's the least clear in the park?

Do any of you guys know if I can get the parks police to produce statistics of how many tickets are issued there for this particular offence and to compare them with the other car parks statistics within the park..?
Teufel
the royal parks have their own laws and policeforce

that said they need to conform the the same rules of fairness as councils etc
and the signs may well be inadequate if they are easily obscured by and average vehicle
that said going to maggys court is like rolling the dice
Adenuff
QUOTE (Teufel @ Mon, 8 Oct 2007 - 17:21) *
that said going to maggys court is like rolling the dice


I think that this is the key point

I could easily have made the same mistake but the bottom line is that the contravention occurred and what you will be arguing is that there were mitigating circumstances. You are then left in a situation to a large extent where the outcome is based on the magistrates mood.
mob
For what it's worth those signs are at best confusing and at worst amount to entrapment. To say they are ambiguous is an understatement.

Personally I would interpret them as meaning the disabled parking is in the direction of the arrow. If the arrow was pointing straight down it would be clearer. Or better still no arrow at all.

They look designed to catch out the unsuspecting to me.

As others have said though mags is a lottery.
Alfaguy
Teufel - this is part of the reply from the Met ' I should advise you that Royal Park legislation does not call for road marking but have signs to say 'Authorised Car parks only' or as in this case 'Disabled Bays'. The park regulation act 1872 and 1926 can be found on the web site www.royalparks.gov.uk and any complaint in respect of signage can be referred to Park management'

The points you raise have been considered but on the evidence available the fixed penalty notice was correctly issued and there are insufficient grounds to justify its withdrawal'

I understand their point but ALL signage , everywhere, is meant to be clear and totally unambiguous.


Adenuff - That's interesting..from a point of law, would I have to plead guilty and then question the signage..or could I plead not guilty on account of the signs being misleading/wrong etc..?

Once again, thanks for any feedback. I feel completely alone and unsure.. I'm just angry because I have never come across disabled parking being indicated in this way..everywhere else, including the car parks in Richmond park, the signage is completely clear and it would be impossible to be misled.
Adenuff
QUOTE (Alfaguy @ Mon, 8 Oct 2007 - 17:54) *
Adenuff - That's interesting..from a point of law, would I have to plead guilty and then question the signage..or could I plead not guilty on account of the signs being misleading/wrong etc..?


Unfortunately I don't know which would be the correct plea to enter but I would think that what you are challenging is the assertion which you quoted above that "the fixed penalty notice was correctly issued and there are insufficient grounds to justify its withdrawal"'.

Presumably your argument would be that there were sufficient grounds because the signage was inadequate and without that signage there is just a carpark open to all and therefore no offence

So still just a judgement call I'm afraid- to cough up or roll the dice


Incidentally if you do go to Court, I would be arguing that since each sign could stand alone ie it has meaning as a single sign, that a reasonable person ("the man on the Clapham omnibus") would not be looking for another sign to pair it with.
Alfaguy
QUOTE (mob @ Mon, 8 Oct 2007 - 17:48) *
Personally I would interpret them as meaning the disabled parking is in the direction of the arrow. If the arrow was pointing straight down it would be clearer. Or better still no arrow at all.


Exactly! In the rest of the park that's exactly how they are signed (with no arrow at all, in front of every single bay).

Hardly a surprise then that this particular bay makes so much revenue.
Adenuff
QUOTE (Adenuff @ Mon, 8 Oct 2007 - 18:25) *
Incidentally if you do go to Court, I would be arguing that since each sign could stand alone ie it has meaning as a single sign, that a reasonable person ("the man on the Clapham omnibus") would not be looking for another sign to pair it with.


Just in case you didn't see this comment
Alfaguy
That's a very good point and it's a point I would certainly be making... There are a fair few examples of single signs having this different meaning, I've been unable to find any other examples (except in this case) of the two together giving it a new meaning..so why would our friend on the Clapham omnibus even feel the need to search out a potentially obscured second sign when it's a less common occurrence?
bama
Horizontal arrow at the bottom of a 'real' TRSGD parking sign (in black and white) means
"and in the direction shown"
viper
Case is probably winnable. Only issue is potential loss of time if you have to go to court

I mean I think the signage is fairly reasonable. They could have a disabled sign for each bay (but the bays themselves are not marked). If you admit seeing any kind of disabled sign the magistrates may think you should have checked.

If you choose the court option there is a good chance the mater will not be proceeded with. Main reason for this is the cost involved for such a petty matter. Although I think they may be able to add some costs if it goes before the magistrate.

Good luck
Alfaguy
Viper - I understand..However, I genuinely didn't think I needed to check as the sign indicated to me that the disabled parking was further up in that direction, not in front.

In the same Park, at a different car park...this is how they do the signs (with no bays)






If they had the same system at Kingston Gate car park then there is no chance of the ambiguity that misled me. There is no uniformity of signage even within the park.
Teufel
the park has its own statutes - howveer these CANNOT be unfair(and in this case they may well be) - there is an OVERRIDING duty of fairness for public bodies

this comes form various parts of the law (the clydesdale case) but mostly now is embodied in the
HRA/ECHR
viper
Well I like your other picture. So let it go to the magistrates and present your photographic evidence. The other picture you have produced would show how it should be done. As you say it’s quite possible the other bay could be blocked by a camper van or whatever and you may not see the sign.

The fact there is no individual bays and the signs are well spread out does give you a reasonable argument. Probably 80% chance you would win especially if you put photos together to explain your point
redeeps
Alfaguy

This fascinated me so I did some research on our legal databases at work. Statutory Instrument 1987/363 Crown roads (Royal Parks) (Application of Road Traffic Enactments) Order 1987 (snappy title) applies, amoungst other things Sections 64 and 65 of the Road traffic Regulation Act 1984. These tweo sections give powers to the Secretary of State to make general regulations Like the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions Order 2002 ( there is a link to it somewhere on the board) or by special order of the SoS (as in Boxclever's thread on the yellow boxes in Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham).

So unless your signs are in the TSDGD or have a special permission from the SoS then the signs are illegal. The stationary office website has a copy of teh TSDGD on it with a very clumsy way of searching through the signs. Someone elso on here may well have a better access to this regulation.

By the way the only time I have come across special permission from the secretary of state, in relation to signs for market traders only off the Fulham North End Road the permission was defective.

Redeeps
neiljac
Hi

I work as an access consultant auditing disabled access in a number of environments.

There is guidance on providing signage for accessible parking bays.

This can be found in a number of documents including British Standards 8300 Approved Document M "The Design of Buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of Disabled People - Code of Practice" and the Centre for accessible environments documents "accessible environments guide" and "good signage guide".

Needless to say the signs you interpreted were pitifully poor and would prove difficullt to interpret for many disabled people.

I can email and scan the examples from the documents if you like although I wont be able to do so until Friday at the earliest

Neil
Alfaguy
redeeps and neiljac - this is fantastic information. I can't thank you both enough!

neil - I would be extremely grateful for any data you can provide me. I intend to produce as much evidence as I can in court.
Adenuff
Some light reading for you

Royal Parks & Other Open Spaces Regulations 1997

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1997/19971639.htm

Royal Parks & Other Open Spaces Amendment Regulations 2004

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2004/20041308.htm

The Crown Roads (Royal Parks) (Application of Road Traffic Enactments) Order 1987

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1987/Uksi_19870363_en_1.htm

The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2002/20023113.htm#sch19pII2

and this strange little article regarding the legality of signs not approved by the Sec of State in respect of skating which may give you heart

http://www.inlineonline.co.uk/law.htm
Alfaguy
Thanks for that Adenuff. I'm not sure if I can prove the signage to be illegal or not. I do think that I can prove it to be inadequate on the grounds that if one of the signs is hidden then the other assumes a specific and different meaning that wouldn't lead one to search out another sign to give it a new meaning. It's actually perfectly possible that both signs could be totally obscured by large, high-sided vehicles. After all, these are often the kind of vehicles that would park in a disabled area. If the signage is done how it is in other parks within the carpark, the problem is negated as each bay has a sign directly in front.

I just wonder if I can compel the police to give me statistics on the signs as the chap at the Parks police told me it was a 'hotspot' and they did hundreds of tickets.
redeeps
Alfaguy

here is a link to the different copy of the TSRGD, that has the pictures as files. you have to oen each one up until you get to teh one you want and then cross refer the number of the image with the schedules. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/SI/si2002/20023113.htm

I have looked again at the Parks and Other Open Spaces Regs - wher you will see reg 4 prevents you from driving off road other than at a secretary of stae designated parking space. If where you parked was such a space, then it seems to me by definition you were off road. If that is the case the TSRGD would not apply. However the Parks etc Regs do not set out an enforcement regime.

The only other possible reference I have found is to The Fixed Penalty (Procedure) Regulations 1986, which are also in the schedule to the The Crown Roads (Royal Parks) (Application of Road Traffic Enactments) Order 1987. Sadly the stationary office website only goes back to 1987, so the 86 Regs do not seem to be online. Does the parking ticket not give any clues to the legislative framework they are relying on?

I think this is either a Crown Road, in which case you are entitled to the proper sign in hte TSRGD or its not a Crown Road but must be a designated parking place. Question is can they prove that there are any statutory provisions governing the use of and singage for such a parking place.


if you are going to the Mags you are entitled to know the case against you, under the disclosure provisions (which I am afraid I cannot tell you of fthe top of my head, but I am sure others here can).

redeeps
Alfaguy
Thanks for the link. I will try to get my head around the legal stuff in the coming weeks. I still think the core of my case will be that the signage is not adequate , precisely for the reasons that led to my getting a ticket. I will hopefully be able to demonstrate why the signs in other parks (indeed, in other car parks in the same park) have a sign directly in front of each bay even if the bays aren't marked on the ground - it removes any possible ambiguity or contradictory meanings.

I will use examples - I already have a few - of the single sign having the more common meaning that disabled parking is in the direction of the arrow. I also hope to recreate and photograph the exact situation that confronted me when I parked : two large vehicles totally obscuring the right hand sign.

I guess I will have to roll the dice. One thing I do have as consolation is that I believe what I am doing is the right thing. Of course it's easier to pay 40 quid and return to normal life..but that sign indicated to me that disabled parking was further up in that direction, not where I parked. They don't have two signs like that anywhere else in London, not that I have been able to find anyway
MartinHP71
QUOTE (Alfaguy @ Thu, 11 Oct 2007 - 00:05) *
I also hope to recreate and photograph the exact situation that confronted me when I parked : two large vehicles totally obscuring the right hand sign.


Certainly agree with your approach, but not sure about wasting resources to do this as it would be a view which has been artificially created (tis only your word it existed when you parked) and it might differ from the view that the attendant might have taken a photo of when they gave you the ticket. After all .. you can just cover up one of the signs in court and ask them what it would mean in isolation without all the hard work.

Good luck though.
Alfaguy
True..but I think it would help them to understand how it totally blocked my line of vision. Instead of asking them to visualise something..I think it might help to just show them. I do take your point though and you're probably right. Do the Met Police take photos when they ticket the cars? That might actually help me as it might have still been there when they did it!

Here, for who asked about it, is the FPN. It's offence 23 - in accordance with the Royal Parks act. I think it's all in perfect legal order.

redeeps
Alfaguy Got it that makes it much easier to figure out what is going on. You can only have committed an offence if the secretary of state has designated that spot as disabled parking only. If he has, then I think your sign point comes in because with those signs how is anyone to tell what it is the SoS has designated? I think the natural interpretation of those signs, singly is as you say. When seen together I thinkthey do not more than say that hte spce between the inner facing posts of the sign is for disabled parking. You say you were in front of one of the signs. I do not see the signs as reservin ghte space in front of them but to the side of them (if both are visible).

it may be worth running the TSRGT point but I have a suspicion it does not apply because the car park is not a Crown Road.

best of luck

Redeeps
Alfaguy
Thanks for all your help redeeps. The SoS has, I'm pretty sure. There are signs on the side of the road - people park in the weirdest places on busy days - that say 'no parking by order of the SoS'. Interestingly there is another car park in the park that has the two signs exactly as these two are. There is also another car park that has the two signs exactly like this but right in the middle there is a sign saying 'Disabled badge holders only'. Then there is the other system with the signs in front of the bays that I posted a pic of. There is simply no uniformity.

I am beginning to think I might as well pay..ok, the signage is a mess in the park but is it worth all this stress for a 40 quid fine?
jdfi
All,

I know nothing about Royal Parks and their own byelaws, but given that this is off road, surely the analogy is with private parking invoices rather than with on-street council parking?

Would this ticket be enforced in the crown court (like speeding tickets) or the county court (like private parking invoices) or PATAS/NPAS (like council parking tickets)?

Do "park police" have any legal standing? Surely none of the depicted signs are in the TGRSD?

Can someone explain this park thing to me?
Alfaguy
Some more examples of the Park signage .

Sign is partly obscured here:








Fully obscured here

jdfi
QUOTE (Alfaguy @ Thu, 11 Oct 2007 - 23:41) *
I am beginning to think I might as well pay..ok, the signage is a mess in the park but is it worth all this stress for a 40 quid fine?



Nooooo - this is exactly what they want you to do!
Mike7777777
I was going to write "Why are the Met issuing tickets in parks?", but it appears that duties of the Parks Police were transferred to the Met a few years ago. I can't see how the Met can enforce signs that do not comply with the TSRGD,
twigsby
QUOTE (Alfaguy @ Mon, 8 Oct 2007 - 16:54) *
Royal Park legislation does not call for road marking but have signs to say 'Authorised Car parks only' or as in this case 'Disabled Bays'. The park regulation act 1872 and 1926 can be found on the web site www.royalparks.gov.uk and any complaint in respect of signage can be referred to Park management'


Perhaps I have missed something. Have you looked at the Regulations themselves? I have not, but presumably the Met have- and according to the Met the Regs require "signs to say .... "disabled bays"". And yet the pictures you have posted show signs, not showing the words "disabled bays" but stylized pictures of a wheelchair - surely some mishtake??? Either the Met letter is wrong or the signs are wrong.
twigsby
QUOTE (Alfaguy @ Mon, 8 Oct 2007 - 16:54) *
Adenuff - That's interesting..from a point of law, would I have to plead guilty and then question the signage..or could I plead not guilty on account of the signs being misleading/wrong etc..?


I think that you would plead NOT GUILTY. Then argue a point of law. Then, if you lose, you can change your plea to GUILTY and still receive some benefit in mitigation from such a plea.

I also wonder about offence code 23 being correct - unattended other than in an authorised place. Surely that is not right?
twigsby
QUOTE (twigsby @ Tue, 23 Oct 2007 - 20:24) *
Then, if you lose, you can change your plea to GUILTY and still receive some benefit in mitigation from such a plea.



I mean if you lose "the argument concerning the legal point" and before the case proper (including the calling of evidence) has been dealt with.
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