Wrongly issued fixed penalties.

thirdcrank
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Wrongly issued fixed penalties.

Postby thirdcrank » 21 Sep 2017, 2:12pm

We've recently had yet another thread from somebody about a fixed penalty for pavement cycling.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=117353

While I was trying to find out the current amount of a cycling fixed penalty, I came across an FoI response from the police in one of the first hits I followed up. I linked to it at the end of that thread with an unsuccessful attempt to attract interest. Here it is again because I think it's worth wider attention.

https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/a ... ince-2012/

It seems that during the five year period covered, four FPTs were issued for
Use a p / cycle on a road when the front / rear position lamps not kept lit / unobscured.in seriously reduced visibility

This isn't an offence for a pedal cycle. ie you don't have to fit lights in daylight and whether they are fitted or not, they don't have to be displayed in conditions of reduced visibility. The Department for Transport advice was wrong about this and after a lengthy correspondence with them they rather begrudgingly altered their advice to say it was advisable rather than a legal requirement.

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=44585

One FPT was also issued for
Pedal Cycle - lamps reflectors not maintained

This might depend on the circumstances of the ticket being issued, but cyclists aren't required to have lights permanently fitted and maintained.

It looks to me, therefore, that several FPT's have been wrongly issued to cyclists for alleged offences which can only be committed by the user of a motor vehicle. I'm not talking here about a technicality such as a ticket being given when the behaviour is an offence by both drivers and cyclists but poorly described. This appears to be tickets issued to riders obeying the law.

I'm sorry if it appears I'm making a fuss about nothing but it suggests to me that anybody getting a ticket would be advised to check that they weren't getting one for a motoring offence which didn't apply to cycles.

Here's the official advice on cycle lights, reissued after my correspondence
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s ... ghting.pdf
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I'd suggest that anybody querying a ticket on here might do well to post a photopy, covering up any personal data. Then we'd know what we were talking about and I'd not be worried it was a wind-up.

PH
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Re: Wrongly issued fixed penalties.

Postby PH » 21 Sep 2017, 2:53pm

Thanks for your efforts thirdcrank. It's always good advice to check the relevant law when accused of breaking it, mistakes are not unheard of all the way up the criminal justice system.

thirdcrank
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Re: Wrongly issued fixed penalties.

Postby thirdcrank » 21 Sep 2017, 5:10pm

One of the keys to this seems to be offence codes but I cannot find a definitive list.

There is a national set of offence codes for endorsable offences, but by definition, they only relate to certain motoring offences subject to licence endorsement. I've not dug deeply into this because I'm not too sure where to start digging but in one of the hits on FoI requests, a force mentioned that its codes were locally generated. Nobody would be daft enough - I hope - to issue a ticket to a cyclist for not having, say windscreen wipers, but some other Con & Use regs might easily be assumed to apply to pedal cycles. As far as I can see, the only way a mistake like this would be brought to light in the normal operation of the system would be if somebody decided to go for a court appearance and then the summons would be nonsense as it would refer to a motor vehicle.

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gaz
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Re: Wrongly issued fixed penalties.

Postby gaz » 21 Sep 2017, 6:20pm

Good find TC, thank you.
thirdcrank wrote:It seems that during the five year period covered, four FPTs were issued for
Use a p / cycle on a road when the front / rear position lamps not kept lit / unobscured.in seriously reduced visibility

This isn't an offence for a pedal cycle. ie you don't have to fit lights in daylight and whether they are fitted or not, they don't have to be displayed in conditions of reduced visibility. The Department for Transport advice was wrong about this and after a lengthy correspondence with them they rather begrudgingly altered their advice to say it was advisable rather than a legal requirement.

Some of the wording for the offences listed in the linked FOI seems a little imprecise.

Could I float the idea that FPTs issued for cycling "at night" without lights are exactly that and those issued for cycling in "seriously reduced visibility" without lights might cover the period of 1/2 an hour after sunset and 1/2 an hour after sunrise when cycles are required to be lit but motor vehicles are not. I expect these periods of time are not "at night".
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thirdcrank
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Re: Wrongly issued fixed penalties.

Postby thirdcrank » 21 Sep 2017, 6:57pm

My own use of the terms is probably imprecise because I've not bothered looking up the current definitions of "the hours when you have to have your lights on." Reduced visibility = fog or falling snow.

MikeF
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Re: Wrongly issued fixed penalties.

Postby MikeF » 23 Sep 2017, 8:37pm

Dramatic drop in FPNs issued in 2012 to 2016. Probably lack of resources or commitment (targets :wink: )
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Cunobelin
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Re: Wrongly issued fixed penalties.

Postby Cunobelin » 24 Sep 2017, 10:09am

Friend of mine commuted on a Ferry, and when they got to the Portsmouth side, it was after lighting up time had expired and visibility was good.

However there was a Constable issuing FPNs for no lights, or in their case were not lit.

Pointing out that it was a bright sunny morning and after the required time fell on deaf ears.

So two or three refused to pay, and chose to attend court.

Despite all of them having the same evidence, it was claimed by the Constable that visibility was severely reduced, and this was refuted by all of the cyclists.

It was however decided that if the Constable considered the visibility reduced... then that was the case and the FPNs were upheld

thirdcrank
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Re: Wrongly issued fixed penalties.

Postby thirdcrank » 24 Sep 2017, 10:28am

Without seeing the summons it's impossible to know what happened, but I can only assume that the charge was wrong. If that point wasn't raised ie no case to answer, then the court has accepted it was poor visibility. The wrong battle was fought. The problem is probably that it all comes under The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations so if the summons alleged a failure to comply it would need the specific legal knowledge to spot this.

Had this been something under the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations, then the title of the legislation would have offered a clue.

Check back through my stuff about this and this non-existent requirement for pedal cycles was widely accepted as fact. It used to be in CJ's normally 100% accurate stuff, to the extent that I for one used to accept it as so. But when I noticed that it was not an offence which applied to pedal cycles - quite by accident IIRC when I was looking for something else - I took it up with the relevant ministry and they belatedly accepted I was right, and changed their info sheet to say it was "advisable."

In a way, this is "loophole" territory, but people shouldn't be prosecuted for a non-existent offence. As I posted before, I can see how a ticket might come to be wrongly issued but for that to grind on into a summons is poor.
================================================================
PS Having mentioned the con&use regs it has to be said that things like windscreen washers obviously don't apply to pedal cycles, but it has occurred to me that slick tyres are an example of something that might attract a mistaken ticket.

drossall
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Re: Wrongly issued fixed penalties.

Postby drossall » 24 Sep 2017, 3:00pm

Doesn't have to be that obscure. Our local town centre has a motor-vehicle exclusion order on Saturdays. I was a bit puzzled last week, when I found two wardens with a big "Road Closed" sign. Occasionally we have street markets, so I assumed this was one such. However, I walked through and found nothing, except the usual stalls in the market square, which the road way bypasses.

So, on the way back, I asked, and they assured me that the road was closed, and that on some Saturdays they would have police accompanying them, who would ticket cyclists who rode through. So, I pointed out the flying motorbike with the times of the exclusion order.

Of course, it wasn't the wardens' fault, so we agreed to differ after a perfectly polite exchange, and I am currently waiting for a response to a request to the Council to reconfirm the exact restriction. We've had a series of confusing and contradictory signs (No Entry etc.) alongside that flying motorbike over the years.

While they are at it, I've asked them also to clarify why the local, custom-built, cross-country cycle path to a local village has No Vehicles on the far end.

thirdcrank
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Re: Wrongly issued fixed penalties.

Postby thirdcrank » 24 Sep 2017, 3:53pm

Around here, if the authorities want to shut roads for a public occasion eg Remembrance Sunday open air services, they use s 21 Town Police Clauses Act 1847. AFAIK, the main limitation on that legislation is that it only applies in some urban areas. Also, the Metropolitan Police District has its own legislation. If temporary closures are introduced from time to time, this may be it:-

21 Power to prevent obstructions in streets during public processions, &c.
The commissioners may from time to time make orders for the route to be observed by all carts, carriages, horses, and persons, and for preventing obstruction of streets, within the limits of the special Act, in all times of public processions, rejoicings, or illuminations, and in any case when the streets are thronged or liable to be obstructed, and may also give directions to the constables for keeping order and preventing any obstruction of the streets in the neighbourhood of theatres and other places of public resort; and every wilful breach of any such order shall be deemed a separate offence against this Act, and every person committing any such offence shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding [F1level 3 on the standard scale].

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Vic ... section/21

It's a sort of victorian temporary TRO. I doubt if it's subject to fixed penalties.

drossall
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Re: Wrongly issued fixed penalties.

Postby drossall » 24 Sep 2017, 4:14pm

Sorry if I wasn't clear. There's no doubt that there's a regular order in place, every Saturday. In addition, occasionally, the roads are closed entirely, for street events. As far as I know, the total closures are perfectly legitimate, and in any case they usually involve the streets being blocked with stalls and people, making cycling impracticable, so those occasional events are not in contest from my perspective.

My comment was about the regular order. It's been a running issue from day one that the order was, to my almost certain knowledge, one to exclude motor vehicles, and is signed accordingly with a flying motorbike and a plate showing the times. However, it was described as a pedestrianisation and, on day one many years back, the police were stopping cyclists; a friend of mine was stopped.

I thought that, since then, it had all been sorted and the police, at least, knew the actual terms of the order. That hasn't prevented there being various mutually-contradictory signs over the years, the flying motorbike being omnipresent. However, finding wardens with a large sign, enforcing what I believe to be a non-existent ban on cycling, was a surprise. So was their statement that the police had, on previous occasions, ticketed cyclists for riding through. I suspect that the original unclarity has never been properly resolved, and all the people who knew about it are no longer in post.

I'm aware of the argument that the No Vehicles sign sometimes doesn't get used where it should be, because no-one properly understands it. However, I don't think that's the case here. And it hasn't stopped the Council using that sign on the cycle path I mentioned, although it's blatantly silly to have it there. I suspect that the explanation is that it's a valid order pre-dating the path, and no-one has thought about it.

Although I have suggested saving money by swapping the two signs, if they really do intend to exclude all vehicular traffic from the town centre on Saturdays :lol:

thirdcrank
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Re: Wrongly issued fixed penalties.

Postby thirdcrank » 24 Sep 2017, 5:10pm

Sorry

I was taking it to be that the permanent TRO was being occasionally supplement for events. I suppose the only way to be certain of what a TRO says is to read it. If incorrect signs are used, they are not lawfully erected and as well as being unenforceable should be removed. We've had a recent thread about a highway authority being compelled to remove CYCLISTS DISMOUNT signs. The police cannot arbitrarily obstruct the highway, but they have wide powers to direct traffic when there's a reason.