Author Topic: Medway - Chatham bus lane - TPT state "...the contravention did not occur"  (Read 6040 times)

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Offline The Bald Eagle

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Now we can do the "We told you so" dance.  :dancing: :P :dancing: :P :P :dancing: :P :P :P :dancing: :P :P :P :P

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Case Number MW 06559G

Adjudicator’s Decision

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx and Medway Council

Penalty Charge Notice MW99718678 £60.00

Appeal allowed on the ground that the alleged contravention did not occur.

I direct the Council to cancel the Penalty Charge Notice and Notice to Owner.           

Reasons

The PCN is dated 29 June 2012 and was issued by post in respect of a contravention on 25 June 2012 at 12:44 relating to vehicle GU10FFZ in Globe Lane for being in a bus lane. This was a personal appeal hearing at Chatham on 26 October 2012 attended by the appellant and her husband. A representative from the council attended but
only to observe and not to participate.

At the conclusion of the hearing I adjourned in order further to consider the evidence and so that I could visit this location myself which I did on 23 November 2012. I also directed that the council inform the Tribunal of the number of PCNs issued in respect of this bus lane. In response to my direction, the council has informed the Tribunal that a total of 13,714 PCNs have been issued since 6 November 2011.

Mrs New appeals on the basis that the signage for this bus lane is unclear. The road layout had changed since her last visit to Chatham. She explained that she had been to Staples in Medway Street and drove out of the car park, turning left with the intention of going to Dock Road. Whilst she remembers passing buses, she could not recall any signage indicating a restriction.

Mrs New explained in detail the route she had taken and also gave me her observations on the inadequacy of the signage following a subsequent visit. In particular she raised the question of where a vehicle was to go from Medway
Street when there were bus lanes on the left and the right and the road straight was not accessible by cars.

The video of the alleged contravention shows Mrs New’s vehicle slowly approaching a pedestrian crossing which is immediately follows the two bus lane signs which indicate the start of the bus lane. When I showed this to Mrs New at the hearing and asked where her attention was focused as she drove in this direction, she said that it was on the pedestrians and the crossing.

The council argues that the signage is clear. There are signs on Medway Street indicating the presence of bus lanes on both the right and left which can be seen prior to turning. There are two signs on either side of the start of the bus lane. A vehicle approaching this junction is permitted to continue straight ahead to enter Military Road and gain access to Chatham High Street. The area between the two bus lanes is not classed as a bus lane and enables the driver to turn around and return to Medway Street.

Having reviewed the evidence provided by the parties and visited the location, I find as follows:
1. There is signage on Medway Street indicating bus lanes on the left and right turns.
2. There is a 20 MPH speed limit sign just before the junction of Medway Street and the crossroads.
3. There is a pedestrian crossing at the junction of Medway Street and the crossroads.
4. Turning left into Globe Lane, there are bus signs on either side of the entrance to the bus lane corresponding to diagram 953 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions but no roadmarkings.
5. The other side of the cross roads from Medway Street is a pedestrian area, not a through road.

Mindful of the principle that strong reasons are required to allow an appeal where the signage is arguably technically compliant, I have nevertheless reached the firm conclusion that the signage in relation to the Globe lane bus lane is
inadequate. The adequacy of signage cannot be judged in isolation but must be considered in the context of the road system and how it is experienced by drivers. I reach my conclusion for the following reasons:

a. The central problem with the road system is the unacknowledged fact that Medway Road is a dead end. There is nowhere for the private motorist to go after the pedestrian crossing at the junction of Medway Street and Globe Lane. The 20 MPH speed limit sign located at this junction contributes to the misleading impression that a driver can continue past the junction with Globe Lane whereas in fact he can turn neither left nor right.

As for the council’s submission that “when you approach the end of Medway Street with the junction of Globe Lane, you are permitted to Case Number MW 06559G continue straight ahead to enter Military Road and gain access to Chatham High Street”, there must be confusion here because the other side of the crossroads is not a road at all. I am not aware of its technical status but it appears to be a pedestrian zone. The proposition that a driver can properly
extricate himself by performing a u-turn in the centre of this crossroads, busy with buses and pedestrians, is perhaps the clearest demonstration of the failure of this road system.

b. The driver who reaches the end of Medway Street, observes the 20 MPH sign, negotiates the pedestrian crossing and then turns left is then faced with something that looks like a bus station but also like a road. As with Mrs New, the driver unfamiliar with this location is likely to drive cautiously because immediately in front is another hazard in the form of a pedestrian crossing.

Having heard Mrs New’s evidence, viewed the video and visited the site, I am satisfied that a careful driver’s primary focus would be on the pedestrian crossing and that the existing signage, which is adjacent to the crossing, is  insufficient to give adequate warning of the presence of the bus lane. I note that a similar conclusion has been reached by my colleague Adjudicator Nicholls in MW06610B and I agree with his reasoning.
I therefore allow this appeal on the basis that the signage is inadequate in the context of a confusing road system.

This decision is based on the evidence in this case and I have given only very limited evidential weight to the fact that more than 13000 PCNs have been issued for like alleged contraventions, although the council may wish to reflect on this when considering the future of this road system.

John O'Higgins Adjudicator

2 December 2012
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Offline The Bald Eagle

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Re: Medway - Chatham bus lane - TPT state "...the contravention did not occur"
« Reply #1 on: 06 December, 2012, 03:27:19 PM »
And it gets worse. Mr O'Higgins refers to another adjudication in his judgment and I have managed to grab a copy of it. Guess what. "The alleged contravention did not occur" due to the council's failures under regulation 18 Local Authorities' Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996.

I may need to refresh your memory here, because these were the exact terms used in the Hemel Hempstead judgment that eventually forced them to repay all their ill gotten gains. Medway can't say we didn't warn them though. And as it turns out (see below) they were warned by the adjudicator too!

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Case Number MW 06610B

Adjudicator’s Decision

xxxxxxx and Medway Council
Penalty Charge Notice MW99753340 £60.00

Appeal allowed on the ground that the alleged contravention did not occur.


I direct the Council to cancel the Penalty Charge Notice and Notice to Owner.

Reasons

The PCN is dated 9 August 2012 and was issued by post in respect of a contravention on 5 August 2012 at 15:02 relating to vehicle LR55CNK in Globe Lane (north west arm) for being in a bus lane. The request to appeal was, in effect, submitted by Mr. Child in an e-mail dated 1 October 2012. He did not specify what type of hearing, if any, he requested and his appeal has been decided on the basis of the documents and written comments that he has made both to the Council and to this Tribunal.

The Council has submitted a bundle of evidence and their written comments. The council has provided a short extract of video which shows, without question, that Mr. Child's vehicle was driven through the bus lane at Globe Lane, north west arm. In his e-mail to the Council of 16 August 2012 it seems that he accepted the fact that the vehicle had driven through the bus lane although he says that he was following a satellite navigation system at the time and did not realise that he was in the bus lane.

The council rejected his representations. Certainly, following any form of map, whether electronic or on paper, does not absolve the driver from the general requirement to observe and comply with the relevant instructions and restrictions indicated on road traffic signs. That reason for Mr. Child travelling through the bus lane cannot be accepted as a matter of law as sufficient to set aside the penalty charge.

The second issue arises whether the signage provided of this bus lane is sufficient for a reasonable, prudent and careful motorist to observe and understand the nature of the restrictions. The council's obligations arise under regulation 18 Local Authorities' Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996 and are to provide signs which give "adequate information" of the relevant restriction. It is right to say that this  particular bus lane has over the last nine months or so given rise to a great many appeals, almost all of which have challenged the sufficiency of the signs.

It is clear from the evidence that there are two ways that a vehicle may approach this bus lane, either coming down Waterfront Way through a different bus lane when the Globe Lane north-western arm bus lane will be straight ahead, or along Medway Street and turning to the left. I have previously concluded that for traffic travelling down Waterfront Way the advance warning signs of the Globe Lane north-western arm bus lane are inadequate because,
simply, there are no advance warning signs and no road markings.

Traffic approaching Medway Street passes two advance warning signs which comply with the requirements of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 which sets out the prescribed form of such signs. What the council has not used, however, is any road marking to warn of the approach of the Globe Lane bus lane or, alternatively, to give traffic a direction it must follow to avoid the bus lane. In reality, a vehicle which comes along Medway Street to the start of the bus lane must turn around and go back to avoid travelling in the bus lane. I have been satisfied in other appeals that there is, physically, sufficient space to do so, especially as there is a short spur of Military Road on the opposite side of the junction which can be used. Those considerations are, however, only appropriate where it is clear the motorist had observed the bus lane and was seeking to avoid contravening the restriction.

In this appeal, Mr. Child maintains that he did not observe the bus lane and did not realise that he was likely to be contravening the regulations. As he points out, he is not a local resident and cannot be assumed to be familiar with the road layout. Equally, he is not a person who is likely to have seen the advertising of this bus lane which the council undertook prior to its implementation or the local press reporting of concerns about the signs, which have been exhibited in other appeals. The signs which the council uses must have in contemplation drivers with the level of unfamiliarity that Mr. Child has when determining the signs to be used.

Whilst the blue roundels shown on the video at the commencement of the bus lane (TSRGD diagram 953) are clearly displayed, the Traffic Signs Manual published by the Department for Transport recognises that without equivalent road markings, those signs may not by themselves give adequate information (see Chapter 5, paragraph 1.6 et sec).
Chapter 5, paragraph 17.18 gives advice on the use of road markings for bus only streets, such as Globe Lane (north west arm), as follows:

17.18 Where streets are reserved for the use of buses only, or buses and trams, or buses and cycles, the entry should be marked with diagram 1048.3 BUS ONLY, 1048.2 TRAM & BUS ONLY or 1048.4 BUS AND (cycle symbol) ONLY as appropriate.

In chapter 3, paragraph 1.5 the TSM states: “should” indicates a course of action that is strongly recommended and represents good practice.

On the approach to this bus lane the council has opted not to use any road markings other than a pedestrian crossing immediately after the restriction signs, although that crossing does not have any zigzag lines on the approaches. Although the video shows that there were no pedestrians crossing at the time when Mr. Child approached, there can be no doubt that the positioning of this crossing so close to the commencement of the bus lane when there have been no warning road markings on that approach is likely in certain circumstances to cause confusion to the motorist, particularly in assessing the relevant priorities.

I take into consideration the decision of the High Court in R v The Bus Lane Adjudicator and another, ex parte Oxfordshire County Council [2010] EWHC 894 (Admin) which decided that where the local authority had displayed the signs prescribed in TSRGD, had complied with the directions in TSRGD, had acted in accordance with any authorisations given by the Secretary of State for Transport, had complied, so far as possible, with the guidance given by the Department for Transport in the Traffic Signs Manual, and provided the signs have not been placed in
positions where they may be obscured by vegetation or other street furniture and are clearly visible, there must be strong reasons for concluding that those signs failed to comply with the council's duty under regulation 18.

I have considered very carefully the available evidence in this appeal and I have previously voiced my concerns directly to the Council in telephone hearings of other appeals.

There is no reason in this appeal to doubt the credibility of Mr. Child's explanations and I accept, in particular, his lack of familiarity with the area. I have reached the conclusion that in the absence of any form of road markings either indicating the proximity of the bus lane or directing traffic to take another route, the use of diagram 953 alone in this location without any such additional road marking does not comply with the guidance in the TSM, does not give adequate information to the motorist and does not meet the council’s regulation 18 duty.

Accordingly, I find that this contravention did not occur and that this penalty charge notice does not have to be paid. This appeal is allowed.

C J E Nicholls Adjudicator

23 November 2012
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Offline Boyo

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Re: Medway - Chatham bus lane - TPT state "...the contravention did not occur"
« Reply #2 on: 06 December, 2012, 05:49:50 PM »
That's great news - well done to all those who've been working on this.  :aplude: :aplude: :aplude: :dancing: :dancing: :dancing:
I mean how much more telling do the Council need? <_>  Evidently even the adjudicator was letting them know there was a problem.

Quote
I have previously voiced my concerns directly to the Council in telephone hearings of other appeals.


Now I wonder if Medway will do the honourable, decent thing and refund the 13,000 odd fines? Hmm, I suspect they'll try and weasel their way out of it somehow (remember Herts CC wanting people to donate their fines to some none specified charity? W:T:F:)
The ominous prospect of having to refund hundreds of thousands of pounds hasn't come at the best time for the Council either what with the additional cuts for local government demanded in the autumn statement next year and beyond - still, it's not as if they hadn't been warned - they just chose not too listen.  :o
I know it's a bit of a cliche, but I hope this serves as a reminder to this supercilious council and their "we know best attitude", that they are public servants and their principal task is to serve the public and not themselves. :bashy:

I await the Council's next move with interest.
"To no man will we sell, or deny, or delay right or justice" - from the Magna Carta

Offline Pat Pending

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Re: Medway - Chatham bus lane - TPT state "...the contravention did not occur"
« Reply #3 on: 06 December, 2012, 09:11:21 PM »
Well done all concerned.  :aplude: :aplude: :aplude:
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Beer in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up,  totally worn out and screaming "WOO-HOO, what a  ride!!"

Offline javabike

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Re: Medway - Chatham bus lane - TPT state "...the contravention did not occur"
« Reply #4 on: 07 December, 2012, 02:09:26 AM »
Most impressive and the begiinning of the end of Medway's council aloftness. Next step major campaign to reinburse all the motorists else fraud springs to mind. If it is not legal then taking money is fraud.
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Offline The Bald Eagle

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Re: Medway - Chatham bus lane - TPT state "...the contravention did not occur"
« Reply #5 on: 09 December, 2012, 04:56:05 PM »
And STILL they won't give in. Apparently it's now the TPT's fault FFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :bashy: :bashy: :bashy:
« Last Edit: 09 December, 2012, 04:57:40 PM by The Bald Eagle »
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Offline Ewan Hoosami

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Re: Medway - Chatham bus lane - TPT state "...the contravention did not occur"
« Reply #6 on: 09 December, 2012, 09:37:34 PM »
"The council is not out to trip anyone up," he said. "We get a large number of vulnerable pedestrians in the bus station so we want to get to a position where we are not issuing any tickets."     


If the evidence suggests we would be unsuccessful, we'd admit we were wrong. hire a more expensive barrister to go to the high court because money's no object.

Looking at the blue signs in dispute, Mr. McGrath admitted it would take an "advanced driver" to fully comprehend their implications.      W:T:F:




I like the smaller story on the right as well. The one where £500k has been poured into an unfinished car park. It's unclear whether the £370k bung to Arriva is included in this or additional but either way it's a massive amount of spond. Who knows what sort of monkeys Medway would get if they weren't paying top salaries?
Appealing to the council is like playing chess with a pigeon. You might be a chess grand master but the pigeon will always knock all the pieces over, shit on the board and then strut around triumphantly.

Offline EDW2000

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since the TPT wins has there been any changes to signs?

It seems that they are still issuing.


Also the PCN wording seems defective.

Might be time to power up the scooter.


« Last Edit: 12 January, 2013, 01:56:31 AM by EDW2000 »

Offline The Bald Eagle

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since the TPT wins has there been any changes to signs?

It seems that they are still issuing.


Also the PCN wording seems defective.

Might be time to power up the scooter.




A letter will shortly be sent to all councilors and one or two from the Medway parking department.

Watch this space. ;)

In the meantime there is nothing to stop you going down to the bus station to assist unfortunate citizens with the signs' visibility.
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Offline Pat Pending

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We have our suspicions about a couple of others as well!  :rotfl:
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Beer in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up,  totally worn out and screaming "WOO-HOO, what a  ride!!"

Offline EDW2000

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Re: Medway - Chatham bus lane - TPT state "...the contravention did not occur"
« Reply #10 on: 12 January, 2013, 12:27:14 PM »
There is a live case, regarding Globe Lane, Chatham, NW Arm.

Is there more than one bus lane/bus gate near the bus station?

I have asked for a site map.

Offline Ewan Hoosami

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Re: Medway - Chatham bus lane - TPT state "...the contravention did not occur"
« Reply #11 on: 12 January, 2013, 01:31:25 PM »
That's a bloody good question, EDW. See my map below. The focus of attention is currently on the junction of Medway Street/Globe Lane/Military road (denoted by the red dollar sign). Look on street view and you will see the, ahem, adequate signage. There are also, as you ask, two other points of interest which I have not heard the Medway $chunters mention.

Again on street view, head north along the A231 The Brook and you will see no reason why you may not turn left into Globe Lane. As you stop at the lights there you may spot some "adequate signage" obscured by the traffic light pole.

Next, head north on Railway Street and turn left into Waterfront way. You might as well go straight across the mini roundabout because the "adequate signage" here is halfway across the chuffin' car park.

I don't know if any filming is done at these two extra locations or if you are picked up at Medway Street and done on the assumption that to be there, you must have gone through the restrictions. Interestingly, clicking the street view increment arrows from the southern location, you will see that the Google car, along with a couple of near identical Zafiras, drove the full length of Waterfront Way!

Adequate signage my hairy f :o cking a :o se!
Appealing to the council is like playing chess with a pigeon. You might be a chess grand master but the pigeon will always knock all the pieces over, shit on the board and then strut around triumphantly.

Offline EDW2000

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Re: Medway - Chatham bus lane - TPT state "...the contravention did not occur"
« Reply #12 on: 12 January, 2013, 01:51:25 PM »
The wording is not compliant but whether or not it's enough for a win I can't say. If we win on this then major blow to
Medway and hopefully local media will cover the win.

The $ sign location is shocking. If you turn right or left you go through a bus gate. Never seen that before.

The advance warning signs are placed after the last junction so all you can do is a u-turn, impossible for an HGV.
I would love to take this to adjudication.

Dear Sir,

This request relates to bus lane enforcement.

please supply the following information:

I would like the Traffic Penalty Tribunal case numbers for all successful appeals relating to
Globe Lane, NW Arm, for the contravention of being in a bus lane/gate or similar contraventions.

I am already aware of case numbers -

MW 06559G
MW 06610B

and would like to know what changes to the bus lanes in Globe Lane
have been made or will be made or are being considered as a result of the Adjudicator's finding
that the scheme is not adequately signed.

Please state:

Why has the guidance (extract attached herewith) on page 141 of chapter 3 of The Traffic Signs Manual shown
by Figure 15-14 (Example of a two-way bus gate) not been followed in Globe Lane in that: -

there is no road marking design 1048.3 or 1048.4 at the bus gates in the bus station

no road signs to design 612 and 613 - 'No Right/Left Turn' (with exception plate) on either side of the junction
with  Medway Street

Why are there no road signs to design 962 - 'Bus Lane at Road Junction Ahead' on either side of the junction with Medway Street.

The pedestrian crossing in Globe Lane near to the junction with Medway Street is not marked with any
zig-zag lines and does follow any diagram in The Zebra, Pelican and Puffin Pedestrian Crossings Regulations and General Directions 1997,
please explain why this is.


Please reply by email.
« Last Edit: 13 January, 2013, 08:49:57 PM by EDW2000 »

Offline Monkey Girl

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Re: Medway - Chatham bus lane - TPT state "...the contravention did not occur"
« Reply #13 on: 13 January, 2013, 06:58:34 PM »
We spoke to a Medway Council employee, The Bust Station Manager, on Sat whilst $CHUNTING  there.

They are contemplating in making improvements to make the bus Lane more visible.

Thank you for listening Medway Council,  but you really should have acted before you made a fortune from the public,

We will wait and see what happens next  :D

Offline The Bald Eagle

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Re: Medway - Chatham bus lane - TPT state "...the contravention did not occur"
« Reply #14 on: 13 January, 2013, 07:23:48 PM »
We will wait and see what happens next  :D


Funny you should say that MG because what happens next is this. ;)

http://notomob.co.uk/discussions/index.php/topic,2567.0.html
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