Fighting a fixed penalty notice

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4mer
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Re: Fighting a fixed penalty notice

Postby 4mer » 27 Jun 2011, 3:38pm

Here's the letter I sent them, nice and polite and to the point :)

Dear Sir / madam,

I am writing to you in regards to a fixed penalty notice I received on the 14th June 2011 (Ref: XXXXXXXX) for cycling on a footpath. Please find below an explanation for the incident;
At Aprox. 15:30 on 14/06/2011 I was cycling home in the left hand south bound lane of City Road, as I passed Nelson Terrace traffic in the left hand lane ground to a stop, I looked ahead and noticed an ambulance with its blue lights on was stationary in the left hand bus lane just past Haverstock street.
As the traffic from the left hand lane (Which consisted of amongst other vehicles a number of buses) was crossing into the right hand lane which was also congested I did not feel safe to continue my journey on this road. I saw that there were very few pedestrians on the pavement so slowly and carefully I cycled on the right hand side of the foot path.
As I reached Oakley Crescent I was stopped by two PCSO’s on bicycles, one of which issued me a fixed penalty notice of £30. I admitted that I was cycling on the pavement and at the time I said that I knew this was against the law but on further reading I found that when the fixed penalty notice was introduced on 1st August 1999 the Home Office Minister at the time (Paul Boateng) issued the following letter;
“The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of traffic and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so. Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required.”
I’m sure you are able to confirm the accident on city road and hope you will be lenient in this matter and are able to cancel the fine. When I asked the PCSO about the incident involving the ambulance the PCSO informed me that there had been an accident involving a motorcycle, when I passed the incident there was also a police car on scene so there should be a record of the incident.
I do hope that you are able to help in this matter, if you have any questions relating to the above please feel free to give me a call.
Kind Regards

thirdcrank
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Re: Fighting a fixed penalty notice

Postby thirdcrank » 27 Jun 2011, 8:07pm

I've frankly been amazed at the amount of credence people seem to give to the reply by Paul Boateng, so I've had another look, and I'll indulge myself with a couple more observations. The following two paragraphs are lifted from the Carlton Reed stuff which is so often bandied about. I'd invite anybody to tell me where in the second paragraph (quoting PB) it says the bit I've highlighted in red in the first.

On 1st August 1999, new legislation came into force to allow a fixed penalty notice to be served on anyone who is guilty of cycling on a footway. However the Home Office issued guidance on how the new legislation should be applied, indicating that they should only be used where a cyclist is riding in a manner that may endanger others. The then Home Office Minister Paul Boateng issued a letter stating that:

“The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of traffic and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so. Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required.”


This section of the Highways Act, 1835 was purely an early traffic management measure, restricting what were then the new-fangled pavements (now called footways) to people on foot. There were other sections dealing with furious driving and all the rest of it, which have largely been superseded by the succesive Road Traffic Acts. I'd suggest that anybody riding in a manner that may endanger others should be facing a charge under section 28 of dangerous cycling or at least section 29, careless and inconsiderate cycling.http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/52/contents
In fact, I now understand that Paul Boateng was replying to a query from Ben Bradshaw MP who was the chair of the All Party Cycling Group. Let's put all this in context and remember that this exchange took place over a decade ago when Bliar was going to be tough on crime and the causes of crime. Furthermore, the Notional Cycling Policy had not been put out of its misery.

Perhaps Mr Bradshaw posed the wrong question. Perhaps he should have pointed out that a significant cause of this particularly heinous crime :roll: was that the roads had become an increasingly hostile place to ride a cycle, and what did HM Govt., intend to do about it, especially in the light of its policy to promote cycling. It's just remotely possible that the attentions of the ticket issuing PCSOs might have been directed towards making the roads safer for cycling. But probably not.

OTOH, I'm confident that a cyclist may lawfully cross a footway in exactly the same way that countless drivers of motor vehicles do daily. Unfortunately, with the limited legal resources available to me, I can't find anything stating this in a nutshell; while a lawyer could go to court and argue the toss, anybody defending themselves usually has to be able to say, "please look at Jones versus Bones (1927)" or whatever, or better still, include it in their letter trying to head off proceedings.

I get the impression from posts above that there are places where PCSO's lurk waiting to catch cyclists. In answer to the thread title, one resource to consider would be making contact with the Cyclists' Defence Fund. As I mentined above, their page on "Pavement cycling" is under construction. Hopefully, they have the answer to this specific issue.

TonyR
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Re: Fighting a fixed penalty notice

Postby TonyR » 2 Jul 2011, 8:35pm

Someone in another thread has just posted this which looks rather relevant

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Fighting a fixed penalty notice

Postby [XAP]Bob » 3 Jul 2011, 7:46am

That's a decent payout. With sane ongoing costs.

And should be precedent for decisions to cycle on a footway
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

TonyR
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Re: Fighting a fixed penalty notice

Postby TonyR » 3 Jul 2011, 9:44am

[XAP]Bob wrote:And should be precedent for decisions to cycle on a footway


I've just checked the transcript and the relevant section is:

"In my judgment, this piece of road was dangerous for all but the most experienced, traffic fast, confident and dominant of cyclists i.e. the 'serious' cyclist as Mr Ibbotson puts it, as opposed to the ordinary prudent cyclist using a cycle to go to work encumbered with his cycle rucksack.

In my judgment, although it is illegal for cyclists to use the pavement (unless it is specifically sanctioned by a local authority for shared use), when weighing up the danger to himself (cp danger to pedestrians) it was a reasonable decision by the Claimant to ride on the pavements in this area rather than the road in the context of the duty of care owed to himself to take reasonable care for his own safety whilst cycling . In my judgment, although illegal and potentially negligent in any action vis a vis a pedestrian, it was not "blameworthy" in terms of negligence in contributory negligence. "

So maybe not an unambiguous precedent.

irc
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Re: Fighting a fixed penalty notice

Postby irc » 3 Jul 2011, 11:16am

TonyR wrote:
[XAP]Bob wrote:And should be precedent for decisions to cycle on a footway


I've just checked the transcript and the relevant section is:

"In my judgment, this piece of road was dangerous for all but the most experienced, traffic fast, confident and dominant of cyclists i.e. the 'serious' cyclist as Mr Ibbotson puts it, as opposed to the ordinary prudent cyclist using a cycle to go to work encumbered with his cycle rucksack.

In my judgment, although it is illegal for cyclists to use the pavement (unless it is specifically sanctioned by a local authority for shared use), when weighing up the danger to himself (cp danger to pedestrians) it was a reasonable decision by the Claimant to ride on the pavements in this area rather than the road in the context of the duty of care owed to himself to take reasonable care for his own safety whilst cycling . In my judgment, although illegal and potentially negligent in any action vis a vis a pedestrian, it was not "blameworthy" in terms of negligence in contributory negligence. "

So maybe not an unambiguous precedent.


Couldn't ask for much more though. If you justifiably feel the road is too dangerous you can use the footway. If you collide with a ped you are liable. Seems fair enough to me. Certainly a complete rejection of any reduction of damages because the cyclist was technically breaking the law.

Also a good case for the OP to point to either to stop his case going ahead or to get a not guilty or absolute discharge if it goes to trial.
No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?

thelawnet
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Re: Fighting a fixed penalty notice

Postby thelawnet » 3 Jul 2011, 11:29am

TonyR wrote:So maybe not an unambiguous precedent.


It's an entirely sane judgement IMO. I understand that householders have a duty of care even to burglars on their property, so certainly it's reasonable to anticipate that a cyclist will be riding on pretty much any kind of pavement. The degree to which they do will vary, but for instance young children might cycle on pretty much any kind of pavement, a timid adult cyclist perhaps alongside on main roads, etc.

thirdcrank
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Re: Fighting a fixed penalty notice

Postby thirdcrank » 3 Jul 2011, 12:32pm

This was obviously a good result for the casualty in this case, in that he got his well-deserved payout. OTOH, taking a wider view, I'd be concerned that the more footway cycling was legitimated, the more there would be a tendency for it to be seen as the norm by anybody looking to dodge their responsibility to make the carriageway safer. The Highways Agency has already taken it upon itself to announce that trunk roads are not the place for cyclists and that's the way it's going more generally. As to the value of this civil judgement in defending a criminal case, I fancy it all depends how this key part is interpreted:

...In my judgment, although illegal and potentially negligent in any action vis a vis a pedestrian, it was not "blameworthy" in terms of negligence in contributory negligence. ...


I'd suggest it means:

1/ Cycling on the footway is still illegal, ie a criminal offence
2/ If a footway cyclist hit and injured a pedestrian, they might still be liable for compo, even if they were riding on the footway because they thought the road was too dangerous.
3/ None of this gives the people responsible for the roadworks an escape hatch to avoid or reduce a payout

As an aside, I see there was no decision on whether the casualty was pushing his bike or riding it and he denied riding it (even though riding on that bit of pavement seems to have been his normal practice and he could not remember what happened.)

...10 The Claimant passed through this pedestrian management system with his bicycle either riding or pushing it.
...
18 The Claimant admits that cycling on the pavement is contrary to the law but denies he was doing so at the material time or that it would be negligent to do so or that it was causative of his accident.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Fighting a fixed penalty notice

Postby [XAP]Bob » 3 Jul 2011, 2:41pm

the interesting thing as a precedent is that if you can explain your decision in terms of your own safety, and show that you were taking due care vis a vis pedestrians, then it is a reasonable position.

If your decision is based on time or distance saved then less so.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

Tonyf33
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Re: Fighting a fixed penalty notice

Postby Tonyf33 » 4 Jul 2011, 1:38am

On Saturday I saw a young women put her helmet on, get astride her highish spec Trek, walk across the road and then start cycling on the footway where there were loads of peds. Made me absolutely furious. Hitchin isn't that busy mid Saturday afternoons and there weren't many cars around the town from what I could see.
Where's a plastic 5-oh when you need one :evil:

4mer
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Re: Fighting a fixed penalty notice

Postby 4mer » 4 Jul 2011, 4:55pm

irc wrote:
TonyR wrote:
[XAP]Bob wrote:And should be precedent for decisions to cycle on a footway


I've just checked the transcript and the relevant section is:

"In my judgment, this piece of road was dangerous for all but the most experienced, traffic fast, confident and dominant of cyclists i.e. the 'serious' cyclist as Mr Ibbotson puts it, as opposed to the ordinary prudent cyclist using a cycle to go to work encumbered with his cycle rucksack.

In my judgment, although it is illegal for cyclists to use the pavement (unless it is specifically sanctioned by a local authority for shared use), when weighing up the danger to himself (cp danger to pedestrians) it was a reasonable decision by the Claimant to ride on the pavements in this area rather than the road in the context of the duty of care owed to himself to take reasonable care for his own safety whilst cycling . In my judgment, although illegal and potentially negligent in any action vis a vis a pedestrian, it was not "blameworthy" in terms of negligence in contributory negligence. "

So maybe not an unambiguous precedent.


Couldn't ask for much more though. If you justifiably feel the road is too dangerous you can use the footway. If you collide with a ped you are liable. Seems fair enough to me. Certainly a complete rejection of any reduction of damages because the cyclist was technically breaking the law.

Also a good case for the OP to point to either to stop his case going ahead or to get a not guilty or absolute discharge if it goes to trial.


Thanks everyone for highlighting this, it's an interesting read and could be used in court if I go down that route (Not made my mind up about this yet). Still waiting to hear from the met but at the moment the action is on hold pending a reply to my letter. Fingers crossed!

Just wanted to add that recently I saw a guy cycling on the pavement while holding a ladder, went straight past 2 police officer and they didn't bat an eyelid!!! :x

Tasker
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Re: Fighting a fixed penalty notice

Postby Tasker » 4 Jul 2011, 8:52pm

What? Given that the facts you've stated to be correct - 'I duly rode responsibly with every consideration given to pedestrians etc., I sincerely hope you do challenge PC Correct, thicko Plod. Oh, and please ask the him/her/person/ being what they are doing to tackle bike thefts while you're about it!

Good Luck!

thirdcrank
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Re: Fighting a fixed penalty notice

Postby thirdcrank » 4 Jul 2011, 9:09pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:the interesting thing as a precedent is that if you can explain your decision in terms of your own safety, and show that you were taking due care vis a vis pedestrians, then it is a reasonable position.

If your decision is based on time or distance saved then less so.


If something is reasonable, that probably cuts both ways. Here are a couple of paragraphs, lifted from the transcript of the judgement:

43 - In my judgment, this piece of road was dangerous for all but the most experienced, traffic fast, confident and dominant of cyclists i.e. the 'serious' cyclist as Mr Ibbotson puts it, as opposed to the ordinary prudent cyclist using a cycle to go to work encumbered with his cycle rucksack.

44 - In my judgment, although it is illegal for cyclists to use the pavement (unless it is specifically sanctioned by a local authority for shared use), when weighing up the danger to himself (cp danger to pedestrians) it was a reasonable decision by the Claimant to ride on the pavements in this area rather than the road in the context of the duty of care owed to himself to take reasonable care for his own safety whilst cycling. In my judgment, although illegal and potentially negligent in any action vis a vis a pedestrian, it was not "blameworthy" in terms of negligence in contributory negligence.


How long before an insurance company drags its feet because the "road was dangerous for all but the most experienced, traffic fast, confident and dominant of cyclists" and that the claimant should never have been on the road in the first place?

Also, nobody seems to have commented on the judge's case for more farcilities:

38 - ... In an era when ministers and local authorities are for various reasons – fitness, environmental and congestion – exhorting the public, including children, to cycle, it is surprising that there were no cycle tracks let alone lanes for cycles in the area giving refuge or right of way on pavements to cyclists.
I suppose that's based on commonsense, especially as the Highway Code says farcilities can make cycling safer.

If there's anything in the judgement calling for the carriageway to be made safer for the benefit of all road users, I've missed it. :(

thirdcrank
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Re: Fighting a fixed penalty notice

Postby thirdcrank » 23 Jul 2011, 1:05pm

I hope we'll have an update about whether either of these tickets was rescinded. It seems inevitable that the question is likely to come up again and it would be useful to have something to refer people to.

4mer
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Re: Fighting a fixed penalty notice

Postby 4mer » 27 Jul 2011, 11:11pm

Alas no mine wasn't rescinded, I wrote the letter and they came back to me to tell me I would have to go to court and as I don't have the time to take a day off to go to court I decided to pay the ticket. Just as a secondary point I went to Barcelona recently and all casual riders seem to cycle on pavements with no dramas whatsoever....I might move to spain ;)