London - on the spot fine

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thirdcrank
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Re: London - on the spot fine

Postby thirdcrank » 5 Feb 2019, 1:06pm

londoncommuter0000

I've only just picked up from your post on another thread that you are a solicitor. We do get threads like this from time-to-time and often they are one-post-and-never-seen-again jobbies. However, some are obviously from people who would really appreciate professional advice and perhaps representation if they decide a case is worth fighting. Put another way, cyclists are being prosecuted for this and it cannot be long before we get another similar post.

Obviously, it's probably too late in this case because the OP decided to pay the fixed penalty but the offer of assistance from a cycling solicitor would not only have been invaluable to them as an individual, but if the case had been pursued to a conclusion with the losing side in the magistrates' court taking it to appeal by way of case stated, it would have put an end to any doubts for all cyclists.

At least, if representing somebody was for some reason not possible, I'm sure you could write a detailed argument that somebody could present themselves at court in answer to a summons (and I've a feeling they've changed the name of a summons to something else without bothering to tell me.)

FWIW, my only formal qualifications having any connection to road traffic law are having passed the police promotion exams in September 1969 and January 1971.

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Re: London - on the spot fine

Postby PH » 5 Feb 2019, 10:19pm

thirdcrank wrote:londoncommuter0000
I've only just picked up from your post on another thread that you are a solicitor.

I'm Spartacus
londoncommuter0000 has created their own catch 22 - to appear credible they're now going to have to give some professional legal advise, but if they do so for free no one will believe they're a legal professional.

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Re: London - on the spot fine

Postby mjr » 5 Feb 2019, 10:59pm

PH wrote: - to appear credible they're now going to have to give some professional legal advise, but if they do so for free no one will believe they're a legal professional.

Bad experience with legal fees recently? ;)
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thirdcrank
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Re: London - on the spot fine

Postby thirdcrank » 6 Feb 2019, 8:23am

Until quite recently, I'd have seen the point about wheeling a bike past a red traffic light as only theoretical ie whatever anybody put forward would never be tested in court so we'd never really know. This thread was started less than three months ago so unless it's a windup, we are talking about something being currently enforced.

I don't think there's anything unusual about asking a lawyer to publish their analysis in detail. I cannot believe that money is their only motivation and even if it is, Mr Loophole has demonstrated that a few well-publicised acquittals brings them rolling in. And talking of Mr Loophole, he uses the traditional approach of analysing the details of the charge and then looking for gaps in the evidence or exceptions in the legislation. There must be plenty of people who go to his firm expecting to be cleared by the use of a magic spell, only to be disappointed.

londoncommuter0000
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Re: London - on the spot fine

Postby londoncommuter0000 » 6 Feb 2019, 9:38am

PH wrote:
thirdcrank wrote:londoncommuter0000
I've only just picked up from your post on another thread that you are a solicitor.

I'm Spartacus
londoncommuter0000 has created their own catch 22 - to appear credible they're now going to have to give some professional legal advise, but if they do so for free no one will believe they're a legal professional.


I have no intention of giving 'professional legal advice'. I can chip in occasionally to 'correct' or to give general 'guidance'. But if you're in a pickle, get yourself a solicitor.
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londoncommuter0000
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Re: London - on the spot fine

Postby londoncommuter0000 » 6 Feb 2019, 9:42am

thirdcrank wrote:londoncommuter0000

I've only just picked up from your post on another thread that you are a solicitor. We do get threads like this from time-to-time and often they are one-post-and-never-seen-again jobbies. However, some are obviously from people who would really appreciate professional advice and perhaps representation if they decide a case is worth fighting. Put another way, cyclists are being prosecuted for this and it cannot be long before we get another similar post.

Obviously, it's probably too late in this case because the OP decided to pay the fixed penalty but the offer of assistance from a cycling solicitor would not only have been invaluable to them as an individual, but if the case had been pursued to a conclusion with the losing side in the magistrates' court taking it to appeal by way of case stated, it would have put an end to any doubts for all cyclists.

At least, if representing somebody was for some reason not possible, I'm sure you could write a detailed argument that somebody could present themselves at court in answer to a summons (and I've a feeling they've changed the name of a summons to something else without bothering to tell me.)

FWIW, my only formal qualifications having any connection to road traffic law are having passed the police promotion exams in September 1969 and January 1971.


I'm not a 'cycling solicitor'. The best advice I can give you if you're nicked on a bicycle: get professional advice. Do not try to represent yourself, as when you stand up in magistrates court, you are faced with professional liars whose job is to [naughty word of your choice] you.
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thirdcrank
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Re: London - on the spot fine

Postby thirdcrank » 6 Feb 2019, 10:07am

It's occurred to me that in my prosecuting days, the first prosecution I lost was a summons for failing to comform with a traffic sign, under what would have been the RTA 1960.

The sign in question consisted of central double white lines.

The defendant was represented by the local solicitor who acted for AA members and he told me before things got going that his client sais there were three lines ie when the lines had been relaid at some stage a mess had been made. He suggested that the officer-in-the-case might go and check. Obviously, the state of the lines on the day of the hearing isn't much evidence: it's the day of the alleged offence that matters. Anyway, the OIC was a motorcyclist and off he went to have a look, finding that there were indeed three. More to the point, he couldn't be certain what the lines had been like so I dropped the prosecution. My learned friend for the defence was very cautious about not being party to a wheeze by his client.

The OIC was an experienced officer - at that stage a sergeant - and has it happens a personal friend so I had a bit of a post mortem. Those were the glory days at Elland Road and on match days, on-street parking was a pita. Long before fixed penalties except yellow line parking so we still used the dreaded Form 18s inherited from Leeds City Police. These were a form left on the windscreen, inviting the driver to attend the police station for interview. I say "dreaded" because the result was a crowd of post-match football fans, milling around the police station waiting to be interviwed. The relevant offence was causing an unnecessary obstruction, which in those days was simple to prove. Somebody higher up the food chain who "knew" that there were double white lines there had decided to mark the process up for "fail to conform."

I recount this rambling tale to try to explain how the system operates. I hope it may show that I've no personal axe to grind. If there's a defence / loophole / whatever I'm neutral enough to suggest it. I also know enough about things in my layman sort of way to recognise a reasoned legal argument rather than urban myth.
================================================================

PS I'd agree that being professionally represented is best for anybody who can afford it but whether wheeling a pedal cycle past traffic lights at red is in offence is a matter of law, not evidence, so lying witnesses don't come into it. Nor does Crank - v- Brooks (or Brooks -v- Crank for that matter if I've got it the wrong way round.)

londoncommuter0000
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Re: London - on the spot fine

Postby londoncommuter0000 » 6 Feb 2019, 10:41am

thirdcrank wrote:PS I'd agree that being professionally represented is best for anybody who can afford it but whether wheeling a pedal cycle past traffic lights at red is in offence is a matter of law, not evidence, so lying witnesses don't come into it. Nor does Crank - v- Brooks (or Brooks -v- Crank for that matter if I've got it the wrong way round.)


If only it were that easy.
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thirdcrank
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Re: London - on the spot fine

Postby thirdcrank » 7 Feb 2019, 11:27am

I'll indulge myself with a trip down Memory Lane.

In the early 1990's I was in a local magistrates' court and witnessed a hapless display of prosecuting. During a break, I had a chat with the CPS prosecutor and she explained that her career had for many years been with the regional water authority and on privatisation, she had been made redundant and so was there as an agent - ie not directly employed by the CPS but called in as and when. Ok on property matters with reservoirs, but out of her depth :oops: in the magistrates' courts. "Regular readers" may recall that Shootist refers to Couldn't Prosecute Satan.There are all sorts of areas of the law which don't involve the criminal courts.

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Re: London - on the spot fine

Postby thirdcrank » 12 Feb 2019, 3:28pm

drossall wrote:
thirdcrank wrote:I'm not clear what you are saying. Unless something has changed, if a cyclist rides across a standard zebra crossing, they are not a pedestrian so they don't have the protection they would have as a pedestrian if they were walking.

To be fair, rule 79 does not say "You MUST not...", so it's probably not an actual offence, but it's certainly a breach of the HC. So, if you're simultaneously a pedestrian and a cyclist when pushing a bike, you're at least simultaneously breaking the HC and not doing so.

The point I am failing to make is that in itself, being a pedestrian isn't a magic formula; it's just that there are very few "traffic" offences directed at pedestrians. A road user may have more than one status, and the most restricted status in any circumstances is the one that applies. So a cyclist wheeling a bike's most restricted status is as the driver of a vehicle, even though they are a pedestrian...

That's a clear explanation, and I think I'm closer to seeing where you're coming from. However, I don't really see the thing about having more than one status (at a given moment). Can you give some examples of that actually happening in practice and how it works out in law? If the most restrictive applies, which makes perfect sense, then in effect there is only one status, but a cyclist pushing a bike is a cyclist, and cannot walk along the pavement, which no-one here is seriously maintaining (even though they might have done before the middle of the last century). On the other hand, if multiple statuses actually apply, it seems to me (and, I think others here) that that has absurd consequences - the zebra above being a case in point.

So, because of all the stuff about leading or propelling animals and vehicles, much of which pre-dates bikes and so was not written with them in mind, a walking cyclist potentially has the status of either a cyclist or a pedestrian in law. Until more than 50 years ago, there was a general assumption that such a person was still a cyclist, and still subject to traffic law. Since then, it's been clarified a bit, and such a person is a pedestrian (see also Crank v Brooks).

Given that, it cannot be an offence to get off and push a bike along the pavement past a red traffic light. To push it in the road would, I think, be risky, foolish, and unduly provocative, and could attract the ire of a police officer irrespective of the law. It might even be the cause of your being a test case that might modify Crank v Brooks. But it does not seem to me that it would be a clear offence.


With apologies for resurrecting this and quoting such a long post to comment on only the bit I've emphasised in bold, I've been busy doing what I rather pretentiously call gardening, and several examples occurred to me of what I've been trying to explain. eg It's an offence, subject to the usual twiddly bits, to "use" a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road without insurance. Owning a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road = using it. So, it's possible to commit this offence without touching the vehicle: leave it on a road and allow the insurance to lapse while it's there. You might use other forms of transport including walking or just stay at home, but you would still be using a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road. Being in charge of a mechanically propelled vehicle is another, although that's apparently based on the need to look after horses. As an offence, it's been weakened by court decisions ruling that it's no longer necessary/ feasible / whatever to expect somebody using a motor vehicle to pay such close attention. (The defence available to drivers charged with being over the limit while "in charge" has also focused attention on the extent of this concept.)

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Re: London - on the spot fine

Postby drossall » 12 Feb 2019, 8:46pm

Sorry, I don't see that. I can obviously commit one offence at the same time as doing something quite different that is legitimate. I could, for example, pick your pocket (which is an offence) while walking down the street (which isn't). However, each of those actions is individually either permitted or not.

In my example of wheeling a bike across a zebra, the same action was (by your argument) simultaneously permitted and not, at least under the HC. Except that the HC actually tells you to wheel your bike across, which you clearly shouldn't do if it were a vehicle.

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Re: London - on the spot fine

Postby thirdcrank » 12 Feb 2019, 9:07pm

drossall wrote:Sorry, I don't see that. I can obviously commit one offence at the same time as doing something quite different that is legitimate. I could, for example, pick your pocket (which is an offence) while walking down the street (which isn't). However, each of those actions is individually either permitted or not.

In my example of wheeling a bike across a zebra, the same action was (by your argument) simultaneously permitted and not, at least under the HC. Except that the HC actually tells you to wheel your bike across, which you clearly shouldn't do if it were a vehicle.


My first point there is that unless the HC is quoting the law - must - then it's only advice - should - albeit strong advice. I don't think I've previously grasped what you are saying here about a pedestrian crossing but my interpretation is that

The driver of a vehicle approaching a crossing is required by the law to give way to pedestrians using it (used to be something like give precedence to foot passengers) and a person walking across wheeling a pedal cycle is a pedestrian. That doesn't affect the walking cyclist except that it gives them some protection against being run over with impunity.

Then, I don't think there is anything in the law which specifically bans somebody driving a vehicle across a road on a pedestrian crossing. If I'm right, then the HC advice to walk across just limits the ways a rider is advised to cross.

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Re: London - on the spot fine

Postby drossall » 12 Feb 2019, 9:48pm

thirdcrank wrote:Then, I don't think there is anything in the law which specifically bans somebody driving a vehicle across a road on a pedestrian crossing. If I'm right, then the HC advice to walk across just limits the ways a rider is advised to cross.

You're probably right about there being no ban, not least (this may have been said upthread by someone else) because a vehicle is obviously allowed to go over a crossing orthogonally. So you could get into some more absurd discussions about exactly how fine an angle made it suddenly an offence for the vehicle to drive over the crossing (although it's hard to see exactly how a vehicle could be driving along a crossing unless doing something dubious such as turning within the area marked by zig-zag lines.

But the HC still positively advises cyclists to cross (while dismounted), and it's hard to see the HC advising anyone to take a vehicle along a crossing. So I conclude that the HC doesn't consider a dismounted cyclist (or her/his machine) to count as a vehicle for normal purposes.

thirdcrank
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Re: London - on the spot fine

Postby thirdcrank » 12 Feb 2019, 10:34pm

drossall wrote: ... You're probably right about there being no ban, not least (this may have been said upthread by someone else) because a vehicle is obviously allowed to go over a crossing orthogonally. So you could get into some more absurd discussions about exactly how fine an angle made it suddenly an offence for the vehicle to drive over the crossing (although it's hard to see exactly how a vehicle could be driving along a crossing unless doing something dubious such as turning within the area marked by zig-zag lines.

But the HC still positively advises cyclists to cross (while dismounted), and it's hard to see the HC advising anyone to take a vehicle along a crossing. So I conclude that the HC doesn't consider a dismounted cyclist (or her/his machine) to count as a vehicle for normal purposes.


I persist with the idea that as there's nothing specifically prohibiting cycling across a road including using a pedestrian crossing to do so, then the HC is imposing a restriction. Then, if a cyclist rode across and inconvenienced pedestrians, a prosecution for inconsiderate cycling might be possible. Otherwise, if the HC is advising that the only way a cyclist should cross a road is to dismount and find a pedestrian crossing we are into a big restriction.

I'll reiterate that I have no doubt that a cyclist wheeling a bike is a pedestrian and or a passenger on foot. And I don't think I'm alone in taking it as being no brainingly obvious. In the Crank/Brooks case the police must have thought so or they would not have brought the prosecution and even if they did so without thinking much about it, they would not have pursued it on appeal by way of case stated. The reporting of the appeal judgment implies to me that Lord Justice Waller was almost saying "What's to discuss?"

I do say that being a pedestrian does not authorise actions which are prohibited by statute unless there's an exception in the legislation for a pedestrian.
=================================================================================================

PS In the context of this thread which IIRC is about a cyclist dismounting to pass a red light erected specifically for cyclists, I think it would take more than Nick Freeman (AKA Mr Loophole) to convince a court that the legislation did not apply to a cyclist on foot, based on the HC advice about pedestrian crossings. One possibility might be the argument that a cyclist wheeling their bike is not "propelling" it (as suggested higher up) , but I'd have to say that IMO it's on a par with the argument that a walking cyclist is not a pedestrian. Untenable.

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Re: London - on the spot fine

Postby Vorpal » 13 Feb 2019, 8:55am

There is no reason that a cyclists cannot be both a pedestrian, and in charge of a vehicle simultaneously, and I would imagine the both could sometimes apply under law. IMO, the only reason the Highway Code advises cyclists to dismount, is not that riding across is a problem, but that they gain the priority accorded to pedestrian status when they do so. The law clearly gives pedestrians priority on a crossing. The status of a cyclist riding across is unclear until a legal precedent is set (i.e. someone brings a case to court).
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