Royal Park cycling - charged with offence

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EllaSquish
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Royal Park cycling - charged with offence

Postby EllaSquish » 7 Jan 2019, 8:48pm

Hi everyone,

I'm completely new here and I'm grateful to have found this forum, which I did because of my mad googling about a charge I've been given. I'd really appreciate any advice!

I cycled over a pedestrian footbridge in regents park in November and was given a £60 fine. The police office took my details and I'm ashamed to say I wasn't very nice to him (not swearing, more crying in anger! the shame...). He told me if I wanted to appeal it I can and when I read the piece of paper it said something about court but he said something along the lines of it probably won't get to that... well it has. I've just received a "written charge, attendance required" at court. I'm pretty sure I was in the wrong, as I definitely cycled over the bridge, My only defence is that I really wasn't sure what bit I could/couldn't cycle over, so I got off and back on at one point. The police officer said he caught me on camera.

Has anyone got any experience of this or advice on how to proceed? Feeling quite scared about the repercussions, not just monetary.

The official title of the regulation is:
Regulation 3(4) of the Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces Regulations 1997 and section 2 of the Parks Regulation (Amendment) Act 1926.

Thanks so much,
Ella

pwa
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Re: Royal Park cycling - charged with offence

Postby pwa » 8 Jan 2019, 8:22am

I have no experience of that, but if you made a mistake you are just human. My inclination in your position would be to go along, state what happened and your reasoning / confusion at the time, and do it with an apologetic smile. I wonder if in fact you were confused because what you were meant to do was not made clear enough on the ground.

It sounds to me like you are a law abiding person who takes pride in that, and feel sullied by finding yourself on the wrong side of some local regulation. But nobody gets it right all the time. We all get something wrong once in a while. Be easy on yourself.

thirdcrank
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Re: Royal Park cycling - charged with offence

Postby thirdcrank » 8 Jan 2019, 9:02am

I think that what may have happened is that you have not carefully read all the paperwork. I've no experience of the regs in the Royal Parks (other than trying to help people who have sought advice on here) but speaking generally, fixed penalties for criminal offences represent an opportunity to avoid court proceedings by paying a fixed amount. If you don't follow all the steps listed on the ticket then things just grind on. In this case it sounds as though the court stage has been reached.

All I can suggest is read everything you have now received very carefully and follow the steps outlined. These options will depend on whether you decide to plead guilty or not guilty.

The relevant legislation seems to be here:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1997 ... ion/3/made

The relevant bit seems to be
3. Subject to the provisions of regulation 6, no person using a Park shall—

(4) use— (a) any pedal cycle, (... ) except on a Park road or in an area designated and marked as being for that purpose by the Secretary of State;


The exceptions mentioned in reg 6 broadly apply to park employees and the emergency services.
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1997 ... ion/6/made

In the simplest of terms, it's alleged you contravened a cycling ban.

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Cunobelin
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Re: Royal Park cycling - charged with offence

Postby Cunobelin » 8 Jan 2019, 9:14am

EllaSquish wrote:<SNIP>Has anyone got any experience of this or advice on how to proceed? Feeling quite scared about the repercussions, not just monetary.

The only option that you have is to prove that a "reasonable and competent" person would not understand the signage and that it was unclear that you had to dismount
Last edited by Graham on 8 Jan 2019, 9:45am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: space

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mjr
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Re: Royal Park cycling - charged with offence

Postby mjr » 8 Jan 2019, 9:18am

I'd contact https://www.cyclistsdefencefund.org.uk/ ... legal_case and see if they're interested in helping, if it was unclear and that might help.


Many of the Royal Parks laws are arbitrary and punitive against cycling but still the law nonetheless so I fear you're going to end up paying one way or another :-(
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

thirdcrank
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Re: Royal Park cycling - charged with offence

Postby thirdcrank » 8 Jan 2019, 9:49am

Feeling quite scared about the repercussions, not just monetary.


I've been unable to find anything about the level of the penalty, but if you are convicted or plead guilty, the fine is likely to be more than the sixty quid you mentioned for the ticket. On top of that there will probably be an application for the prosecution costs and this may also attract the Victim Surcharge. Otherwise, there are no obvious repercussions. Check the paperwork, but if you decide to plead guilty you can probably do so without attending court. On the broader scale of things, contravening a cycling ban isn't viewed as heinous. Do keep reading all official correspondence carefully. If you are fined and just ignore it, there will eventually be enforcement action which ultimately can involve imprisonment.

BTW, section 2 of the Parks Regulation (Amendment) Act 1926 simply enables the making of regulations such as the one you are alleged to have contravened.

On the subject of the clarity of the signs, I interpret the regs to mean "no cycling except where it's permitted." It may seem academic but that's not the same as "no cycling where it's banned."

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mjr
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Re: Royal Park cycling - charged with offence

Postby mjr » 8 Jan 2019, 10:12am

thirdcrank wrote:On the subject of the clarity of the signs, I interpret the regs to mean "no cycling except where it's permitted." It may seem academic but that's not the same as "no cycling where it's banned."

Isn't that true more generally? Unless you've reason to believe something is cycle able, such as looking like a carriageway or having blue bike signs or bridleway or byway signs, one should assume that it's not.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

thirdcrank
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Re: Royal Park cycling - charged with offence

Postby thirdcrank » 8 Jan 2019, 10:19am

I've only mentioned the signs because they've been offered as a possible defence. As to what generally applies I'd say it depends on circumstances: on-carriageway riding is permitted unless it's banned. Footway riding is banned unless it's permitted.

Brucey
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Re: Royal Park cycling - charged with offence

Postby Brucey » 8 Jan 2019, 10:33am

if there is the slightest thing wrong or unclear about the signage this ought to constitute a reasonable defence. Take photos (as soon as possible) which demonstrate this; for example if signs have been defaced in any way or are even partially obscured when cycling legally then this is in your favour.

As far as the legal implications go I'd suppose that this is in about the same category as a parking ticket. I doubt if this will have any significant or long-lasting effects on anything, but others might be better informed on this point.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

atlas_shrugged
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Re: Royal Park cycling - charged with offence

Postby atlas_shrugged » 8 Jan 2019, 10:46am

Welcome to modern UK

Very sorry to hear about this as you probably feel this is completely disproportionate. You could probably try to fight this. However understand that you will just be on a conveyor belt which is just intended to harvest and bully you. The outcome is already decided. It will likely be an outcome driven hearing.

If you do have a hearing and are worried about this then take someone along with you called a McKenzie friend (a friend in court). This should be someone familiar with a court process. They are free but they are not allowed to speak for you (just whisper in your ear).

<rant_on>
As a cyclist you will likely be considered a very dubious character. Put a wry smile on your face and know that in one of the Royal Parks (Hyde Park) the royal regulations are regularly flouted - you can engage in religious worship, assault a Malaysian and blow smoke in his face, beat someone with a stick, push an 80 year-old Christian preacher off his step-ladder etc etc. This all right in front of Police and also captured independently on a video - no action whatsoever. After all if police are busy persecuting cyclists then they do not have to deal with: acid attacks, stabbings, muggings, etc
<rant_off>

Personally I would use something called 'pushback'. For every £1 they take from you deny them £10 in taxes. Give up drink, do more cycling, buy on the internet etc etc etc.

iandusud
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Re: Royal Park cycling - charged with offence

Postby iandusud » 8 Jan 2019, 11:19am

I'm very sorry to hear of your predicament. Unless you were cycling in such a way as to endanger anyone else surely a word in your ear to point out your error and a warning not to do it again would have been sufficient and more constructive.

Time for another rant I'm afraid.

Unfortunately cyclists in the UK are treated as pariahs by motorists and by pedestrians (not all of course). It seems perfectly logical to me that cyclists and pedestrians should be able to share the same space, with cyclists giving way to pedestrians, just as motorists should be able to share the same space with cyclists with motorists giving way to cyclists. i.e. in a shared space priority should always be given to the most vulnerable.

A typical scenario is young children who want to cycle to school. They are not allowed by law to cycle on the pavement. It is certainly not safe for them to cycle on the road. So either they cycle on the pavement and risk incurring the wrath of pedestrians or the law or both, they cycle on the road and risk being maimed or killed by a car or lorry, or they forget the whole idea of cycling to school. We all know which option generally wins out.

I'm a strong confident cyclist and never cycle on the pavement. I often see people cycling on the pavement at very moderate speeds and feel that they are probably much safer doing so and as long as they are considerate to pedestrians are better off doing so. I'm glad to see them using a bike to get about. However I'm also aware that they are breaking the law and no doubt antagonising a lot of people. I regularly use cycle path that is shared with pedestrians and as such I moderate my speed and always give way to pedestrians. I still get pedestrians who look at me as if I shouldn't be there, despite the fact that the only reason they got this path in the first place is because of lobbying by local cyclists!

Ian

thelawnet
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Re: Royal Park cycling - charged with offence

Postby thelawnet » 8 Jan 2019, 11:49am

It's a level 1 fine, so max fine in court is £200. I suspect there could be ~£100 costs, as well

thirdcrank
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Re: Royal Park cycling - charged with offence

Postby thirdcrank » 8 Jan 2019, 11:58am

... As far as the legal implications go I'd suppose that this is in about the same category as a parking ticket. ...

I suppose the moral implications depend on whether you are a Daily Mail reader. A significant procedural difference is that yellow line parking has been decriminalised. If you get a parking ticket your options are to pay up or appeal to an adjudicator. Ignore everything and the fixed penalty "with interest and bonus" is enforced as a civil debt. AIUI, alleged contraventions of the Royal Park regs are dealt with through the magistrates' courts. The ticket is an opportunity to avoid prosecution. There's no appeal against the issue of the ticket - although you can write in and ask for it to be looked at - because the decision is made at court and that's when the possible avenues of appeal are opened. The court can only decide guilt on the evidence.

Dafydd17
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Re: Royal Park cycling - charged with offence

Postby Dafydd17 » 8 Jan 2019, 5:28pm

iandusud wrote:I regularly use cycle path that is shared with pedestrians and as such I moderate my speed and always give way to pedestrians.

Ian

If you are not quite in a minority of one, you are most certainly in the minority. It's unfortunate that the black looks you are getting from pedestrians are probably due to the previous cyclists who have whizzed by them at silly speeds, often from behind, with no warning whatsoever, thus scaring the daylights out of them. Please don't tell me this doesn't happen, I have seen this from both sides, and have now got to the point that I'm reluctant to take my dogs for a walk on my local path, which is shared use, with signage asking cyclists to give way to pedestrians. Some do, but one never knows if an approaching cyclist is one or not. A simple "Hello" to let me know they are there, and give me a chance to get out of the way, is all that's needed, but that's too hard, it seems. OK, rant over.

pete75
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Re: Royal Park cycling - charged with offence

Postby pete75 » 8 Jan 2019, 5:44pm

When the Metropolitan Police say they're not bothering to investigate low level crimes like shoplifting and burglary due to lack of resources it's somewhat astonishing they are bothering with petty incidents like this one.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... nding-cuts