Tuesday 19 December 2023

We won! How I beat a dodgy traffic ticket for missing a very iffy road sign in Finchley

So you may recall that back in July, I woke up to find myself on the end of a fixed penalty notice for a traffic violation in Finchley. I was incensed. I hadn't even realised Id broken the law until the notice arrived. The road in question, Crescent Way, has a no traffic during school opening closing times. Although I am sympathetic to the reason Barnet Council operates the restriction, the signage was hopelessly inadequate. I went back and had a look and if, like me, you don't know the area and are directed up the road by a Satnav, you will have no time to change course, even if you see the signs. Barnet set up a fixed camera to snare mugs like me. They clearly realise it's a nice little earner!

I appealed to Barnet Council, who dismissed my appeal. I then appealed to the independent adjudicator, with the help of my friend, fellow blogger and expert on matters of driving fines, Mr Mustard AKA Derek Dishman

Anyway, the good news is that the independent adjudicator agrees with me. If you have received a ticket on the same junction, then contact Derek and he will be able to help.

Here is the adjudicators decision.

Adjudicator's Reasons The Appellant did not appear but was represented by Mr Dishman. The Appellant raised the question of the adequacy of the signage for a motorist turning into this side street. It seems to me that this is not a case where it can be said the Zone signs are visible from such a distance that the motorist has a reasonable time to see them, absorb the information and comply with the indication before already committed to the turn. Advance warning signage is clear y required and the Council is required to prove that it is present and clearly visible. The Council has provided photographs of advance warning signs for both left and right turning vehicles but there is no clear evidence as to where these are located in relation to the junction in question. They are not shown in the Council's plan. I am unable to be satisfied that adequate warning was given and the Appeal is therefore allowed on this ground alone. Edward Houghton Adjudicator 14th December 2023

Many thanks to Derek and I have made a suitable donation to The North London Hospice as suggested, as a sign of appreciation for his efforts.

I am fuming. I woke up this morning to I awoke to a surprise, courtesy of Barnet Council. A penalty charge notification for driving down a time restricted road. I was turning from Crescent Way into Crossways in Finchley on 28th September, at 15.46. The council kindly sent me pictures to show just how naughty I was. It seems there is a time based restriction, to stop motorists turning up the road during school hours. Now of course, having received a penalty notice, I am aare of this. However, at the time, I was completely unaware of the restriction. In fact, I had no intention of driving down this road at all, however, Barnet Council had closed Summers Lane at the Junction with Upway. We had been to the recycling centre and our satnav sent us this way. 

Now of course, I fully accept that motorists should ensure they read all road signage, but I'd make the case that as this road is closed at this time, the signage is simply too badly positioned and too complicated for a motorist to reasonably react to it. As a driver, entering an area with a school, on a tight bend, your eyes are on the road.  I had a look at Google Earth, it appears that there is a warning sign, however, if like me you are not familiar with the road and are following a diversion, you will not be aware of the road name. Given the name of the road, I would have probably assumed it was referring to a zebra crossing. The sign should say  "No right turn between these hours". That is clear and obvious. You can see that actual restriction sign is not visible as your approach.  Even if you clock the sign (which I didn't), by the time you've realised you'll have a ticket. 

If you look at the pictures below, it is clear that you are on the signs before you have a chance to react. They are angled so motorists will 

I don't have an issue with roads being closed for traffic for such reasoms. but drivers should be given proper notice by signs. It is especially galling for me, as I was only on this unfamiliar road, due to a road closure. I will be appealling the ticket. I accept that I should have not turned, but I do not accept that the signage was fit for purpose. It is simply too far back and not angled in such a way that a motorist will see it. I am sure that parents of kids at the school will see it, but when you have been diverted, you don't stand a chance. I imagine this is a nice earner for Barnet Council, which is why there is a camera there. My first reaction was to nip back and take some more photo's but I'd probably end up with another ticket. 

Why not come down to the Dublin Castle in Camden Town on Saturday 23rd December, to help me celebrate this wonderful victory for decency and common sense! - Tickets at www.wegottickets.com/event/598026


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Barnet are not the only council put these signs up, where if you notice the sign you can’t even make a u trun as the road doesn’t allow it or someone is right behind you so you can’t. Especially when people who live in the road are allowed to drive though it. It’s a money grab that’s all it is