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Definition of a Bus Gate and the possible legal ramifications

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  • Definition of a Bus Gate and the possible legal ramifications


    I appealed a bus land contravention when going through a bus gate. My argument was that a bus gate does not constitute a bus lane.
    The road traffic act defines a bus lane as a road or area of a road for the use of buses.
    The council defined a bus gate as a virtual line across the carriageway.

    This is not about finding a loophole, it is that I did not know what a bus gate was and didn't know where to go. There was no alternate route. If it said bus lane on the ground, I would have understood well before getting close to it.

    The adjudicator said that a Bus Gate is a section of bus lane based on the mention in the latest TSRGD - DFT circular.
    The first paragraph in the DFT Circular says "This Circular is aimed at traffic signs practitioners and others with responsibility for traffic management."

    So a bus gate is not in the highway code. Not defined in any law or statues passed through the houses of parliament. Only referenced in a circular that is not aimed at the general public.

    Whilst it is correct for the council to mark the road as a bus gate and it is prohibited to pass over/through it. I don't believe they are at liberty to issue bus lane contravention penalties.
    I see it as getting a parking fine for going the wrong way down a one-way street.

    My question is, can a legal definition be made simply from a leaflet printed by a government department. Is a Bus Gate the same as a Bus Lane in legal terms?

    (I did win the appeal on different grounds - poor signage, but it felt like a hollow victory)
    Tags: None

  • #2
    The link (below) is from PePiPoo.
    In particular, see post #45 - Adjudicator's decision.
    Well done for the win......from what can see, inadequate signage is also often used to fight (& sometimes win).
    CAVEAT LECTOR

    This is only my opinion - "Opinions are made to be changed --or how is truth to be got at?" (Byron)

    You and I do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.
    Cohen, Herb


    There is danger when a man throws his tongue into high gear before he
    gets his brain a-going.
    Phelps, C. C.


    "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance!"
    The last words of John Sedgwick

    Comment


    • #3
      I think that link refers to someone passing through a bus lane? In my case I am disputing the legality of a bus gate being equivalent to a bus lane.

      However, what the link shows is that the council offer a discount - but not if you appeal. That is deemed unfair going by that case.

      Comment


      • #4
        Also the divergence of wording viz-a-viz the PCN & the Regulations which they will most probably use.
        It doesn't harm to have an 'in the alternative ' argument.
        CAVEAT LECTOR

        This is only my opinion - "Opinions are made to be changed --or how is truth to be got at?" (Byron)

        You and I do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.
        Cohen, Herb


        There is danger when a man throws his tongue into high gear before he
        gets his brain a-going.
        Phelps, C. C.


        "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance!"
        The last words of John Sedgwick

        Comment


        • #5
          If you are really interested in "bus Lanes and Bus Gates" i refer you to Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 3 pages 130 to 141 for some light reading!
          https://assets.publishing.service.go...chapter-03.pdf

          And if that turns you on try all 15 volumes of Design Manual for Roads and Bridges http://www.standardsforhighways.co.u...tandards/dmrb/

          Comment


          • #6
            CAVEAT LECTOR

            This is only my opinion - "Opinions are made to be changed --or how is truth to be got at?" (Byron)

            You and I do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.
            Cohen, Herb


            There is danger when a man throws his tongue into high gear before he
            gets his brain a-going.
            Phelps, C. C.


            "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance!"
            The last words of John Sedgwick

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by des8 View Post
              If you are really interested in "bus Lanes and Bus Gates" i refer you to Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 3 pages 130 to 141 for some light reading!
              https://assets.publishing.service.go...chapter-03.pdf

              And if that turns you on try all 15 volumes of Design Manual for Roads and Bridges http://www.standardsforhighways.co.u...tandards/dmrb/
              Exactly, how are the general public supposed to know what these words on the road mean.
              How can a legal definition be drawn from obscure documents?

              Would a lawyer refer to the acts of parliament or from various government documents?
              Can I get tried and convicted of a major crime because the lawyer has used a new definition gleaned from a DFT circular?

              Comment


              • #8
                Well the secretary of state has certain powers conferred by The Road traffic Act and The Road Traffic Regulation Act which enable him to make regulations.

                The problem is that you are concentrating on the council having marked the road surface with the words "Bus Gate". There should also be other signage present indicating the route was solely for buses. They could just have easily marked the road "no pedestrians", but if the correct signage also showed the route was for buses only you would have committed an offence.

                When you received your PCN did you go back to check the signage? if it did not comply did you check to see if the council had obtained permission to vary the signage? did you check if a TRO was in place?
                Or did you just think, I've never heard of a bus gate, it ain't in the Highway Code so it can't be right.

                However there have been numerous complaints from all round the country about the signage of bus gates being inadequate or confusing, so you aren't alone

                Comment


                • #9
                  Just got in the post today a fine from Reading Borough Council for going into a Bus gate, I've never heard of a bus gate before + you can only read what it said on the sign when you're already on top of the junction. No bus lane before or after this bus gate, I can't make out why this bus gate is in this location. I wanted to go right at the junction and felt I had chosen the correct lane, the left lane is very narrow and looks like the lane to go left.

                  I know it makes no difference - Really not happy with this fine, I was traveling on a round journey of 5 hours from Worcestershire to collect my daughter from Reading festival and arrived at 10.38pm.

                  I've attached 2 images, the current view, and one dated June 2018. At least the old view has very clear no entry signage and white lines on the road, I can't understand why they changed it so it isn't as clear... I guess a nice way to make more money from fines.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you wish to contest this the link in post 5 should be to pages 89 - 104 of
                    https://assets.publishing.service.go...chapter-03.pdf
                    Check the road markings and signs are correct (or get someone to check for you if you aren't going back to Reading!)
                    Your appeal would have to be along the lines that the hatched markings on the road are now so indistinct as to be invisible to the normal motorist and so you would have transferred to that lane before the bus only sign becomes visible when following large vehicles.
                    The bus only signs are also only placed on the central refuges, which is after the start of the bus gate

                    I would expect your initial appeal to be turned down (they want your money and this goes to the council!) and if you want to take it further you have to consider your costs involved in travelling etc.
                    Probably easier to pay the reduced amount (altho' I hate recommending that course of action)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by des8 View Post
                      If you wish to contest this the link in post 5 should be to pages 89 - 104 of
                      https://assets.publishing.service.go...chapter-03.pdf
                      Check the road markings and signs are correct (or get someone to check for you if you aren't going back to Reading!)
                      Your appeal would have to be along the lines that the hatched markings on the road are now so indistinct as to be invisible to the normal motorist and so you would have transferred to that lane before the bus only sign becomes visible when following large vehicles.
                      The bus only signs are also only placed on the central refuges, which is after the start of the bus gate

                      I would expect your initial appeal to be turned down (they want your money and this goes to the council!) and if you want to take it further you have to consider your costs involved in travelling etc.
                      Probably easier to pay the reduced amount (altho' I hate recommending that course of action)
                      Fully agree and I plan to pay the reduce fine today... Thanks for the advice.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by des8 View Post
                        Well the secretary of state has certain powers conferred by The Road traffic Act and The Road Traffic Regulation Act which enable him to make regulations.

                        The problem is that you are concentrating on the council having marked the road surface with the words "Bus Gate". There should also be other signage present indicating the route was solely for buses. They could just have easily marked the road "no pedestrians", but if the correct signage also showed the route was for buses only you would have committed an offence.

                        When you received your PCN did you go back to check the signage? if it did not comply did you check to see if the council had obtained permission to vary the signage? did you check if a TRO was in place?
                        Or did you just think, I've never heard of a bus gate, it ain't in the Highway Code so it can't be right.

                        However there have been numerous complaints from all round the country about the signage of bus gates being inadequate or confusing, so you aren't alone
                        Please dont pay and appeal. I won the appeal.

                        Here is the decision but council is adamant in keep sending the PCNs. I do plan to take them to high court just as a principal against ripping people off and abusing the powers of TRO


                        Following the telephone hearing I had requested further information from both parties. Mr Adnan provided a copy of the local bus timetables to support his argument that no scheduled buses use the route. The Council accepts that there are no scheduled bus services on the route but states that it is used by ‚ÄúReadibus‚ÄĚ, private school buses and other unscheduled services. It is also said that the route is a ‚Äústrategic diversion route‚ÄĚ for scheduled services when Oxford Road is closed.
                        The relevant Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) states in Schedule 2 that there is a prohibition of vehicles except local buses in Beresford Road to include ‚Äúthe area of centre carriageway from its junction with Portman Road to appoint 9 metres south of that junction.‚ÄĚ It is said that the restriction runs both north and south bound which in my judgment makes it a very unusual restriction and one where if it was regularly used a bus going in one direction could easily be obstructed by another bus coming the opposite way.
                        It does seem that the restriction is more theoretical than practical for most of the time and the Council cannot rely on any regular usage by local buses or scheduled services.
                        However, I have regard to the decision of the High Court in Oxford County Council v the Bus Lane Adjudicator (2010) EWHC 894 (Admin) where Mr Justice Beatson put some emphasis on the fact that a TRO designates a bus restriction.
                        I cannot say that this particular bus gate is not used at all or that it has no purpose. On the other hand, I would strongly suggest that the Council looks at its enforcement policy in circumstances where there is no part of the day when it can be said with certainty that there is any potential obstruction of an authorised vehicle.
                        The gate has a purpose but if at any particular time no buses are in fact using the route it seems contrary to general principles of fairness that a PCN should be issued.
                        On the facts of this particular case Mr Adnan drove, albeit intentionally, through the 9 metre bus gate at a time when no other traffic was in sight and certainly no authorised vehicles could have been obstructed. I therefore conclude that the contravention cannot sensibly be said to have occurred. The purpose of the bus gate is to promote the free flow of public transport but where the use of the restriction by public transport is intermittent and at the particular time there was in fact no obstruction in my view the PCN should not be issued.
                        It is not every time that a vehicle is driven into a bus gate that a contravention will occur and consideration must be given to all the circumstances including the traffic conditions and whether any authorised vehicles were in fact obstructed.
                        On the facts of this case I find a contravention did not occur and the appeal is allowed.
                        I would however point out to Mr Adnan that any future appeal may not have the same result because the circumstances may be different and if he believes that he cannot safely drive his vehicle through the road on either side of the gate he should perhaps consider using a different route.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by des8 View Post
                          If you wish to contest this the link in post 5 should be to pages 89 - 104 of
                          https://assets.publishing.service.go...chapter-03.pdf
                          Check the road markings and signs are correct (or get someone to check for you if you aren't going back to Reading!)
                          Your appeal would have to be along the lines that the hatched markings on the road are now so indistinct as to be invisible to the normal motorist and so you would have transferred to that lane before the bus only sign becomes visible when following large vehicles.
                          The bus only signs are also only placed on the central refuges, which is after the start of the bus gate

                          I would expect your initial appeal to be turned down (they want your money and this goes to the council!) and if you want to take it further you have to consider your costs involved in travelling etc.
                          Probably easier to pay the reduced amount (altho' I hate recommending that course of action)
                          If you paid; appeal it using the code demand a refund from council They are ripping peopple off.

                          This bus-gate is not in accordance any sigange; how can a bus gate have one lane with both and south. It is practically impossible for 2 buses to pass at the same time

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Is a Bus Gate the same as a Bus Lane in legal terms?

                            Yes it is, by the have i have done it before. Bus Lane Are common and i used this site to receive my finance back
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                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by brisbane11 View Post
                              Is a Bus Gate the same as a Bus Lane in legal terms?

                              Yes it is, by the have i have done it before. Bus Lane Are common and i used this site to receive my finance back
                              Ah! a shame this is not USA, unless bus lanes extend across the pond

                              Comment

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