How to appeal unfair tickets


Cycling home yesterday I was overtaken by a taxi in a bus lane, which was unexpected (I was one lane to the right, approaching Charles Cross roundabout). When I got home, I did a bit of googling to find out whether taxis are allowed in bus lanes (apparently yes, depending on the bus lane). While doing so, I came across this site.

The page is titled “How to appeal unfair bus lane tickets”, which seems perfectly reasonable. However, as far as I can tell, the actual meaning is “How to get out of paying perfectly legitimate tickets”. Some examples of “non-compliant bus lanes” are given, including one where the sign is invalid because the bus doesn’t look right (actually, it looks like the sign has been vandalised, so some of the bus’s windows are missing), and one where the road markings are incorrect because it says “bus and cycle lane” which is only permitted for contra-flow bus lanes.

Now, I’m sure some people who get ticketed for driving in a bus lane honestly thought that it was permitted — another example they show doesn’t have a sign at all (though it still has the bright red road markings), so I’ll accept that people make mistakes. On the other hand, I would’ve thought people would err on the side of caution, and not drive in the bus lane unless they know it’s permitted; I suspect that anyone who resorts to arguing “oh but the cycle symbol and the word taxi were the wrong way around on the sign” (another of their examples) knew they weren’t permitted to drive there and are just trying to wriggle out of their punishment.

Another example they give is of yellow lines, which apparently must end in a bar at 90 degrees to the line. Apparently, one person who tried to appeal a ticket on the grounds that the line did not end in a bar and was hence invalid, lost his case; the adjudicator stated that “it cannot possibly be said that Mr Minier or any other motorist would be misled or confused by the absence of T-bars”. Ticketfighter replies: “Confused or not is not the point, the line does not comply with the regulations and so therefore is not valid.” Yet another example is of Controlled Zone signs, where apparently the words must be above the No Parking symbol — “Most people wouldn’t even realise something so simple would be grounds for an appeal!” Yes, because it’s trivial and petty.

If the ticket is unfair, by all means appeal. As far as I can tell, though, this site is aimed at people who want to ignore the rules but get upset when they’re punished for it.