A driver whose fine for driving into a bus lane in Brighton was overturned two years ago was shocked to hear that nothing had changed.
Peter Ratcliffe received a penalty notice in March 2021 after turning right into St Peter’s Place, Brighton, from Waterloo Place, at the southern end of The Level.
At the time, he appealed against the ticket because he approached the junction from the north, with no signs to alert him to the bus lane until he was in it.
The 15-metre-long St Peter’s Place bus lane was created by Brighton and Hove City Council and is signposted from the south.
Mr Ratcliffe spoke out after reading how Magpie Recycling Co-operative driver Robert Jones-Mantle successfully overturned his fine for the same reason.
Traffic Penalty Tribunal adjudicator Jill Yates found in favour of Mr Jones-Mantle and Magpie in an appeal decision issued last Thursday.
Both appeal decisions highlighted the lack of signs for drivers turning right when travelling from the north.
In Mr Ratcliffe’s appeal decision, Traffic Penalty Tribunal adjudicator Annie Hockaday said that the car’s wheels were not entirely in the bus lane as the offside was in the general lane.
She said: “It is not every time that a vehicle’s wheels cross the boundary line of a bus lane that a contravention is proved.
“If the nearside wheels stray over the line only a minimal distance and only briefly, the negligible entry is unlikely to prove a contravention.”
Her decision also said that there was no evidence of advanced information about the bus lane which was new in 2021.
Mr Ratcliffe, who lives in Brighton, said: “This particular bus lane is so short that one view might be that the bus lane and enforcement aren’t for road safety or flow but simply a revenue-generating mechanism.
“I believe it’s unfair what they’ve been doing to fine road users here and have had ample time to address.
“It gives a bad impression to visitors and doesn’t make for a welcoming attitude to the city.”
After submitting a “freedom of information” request in June 2021, Mr Ratcliffe found in the first six months from when the lane became active on Friday 8 January 2021 that 813 drivers had received penalty charge notices.
The council said: “This is actually quite a complex issue in terms of traffic signage. We have previously been challenged on it. In one instance, the adjudicator found in our favour.
“In this instance (Mr Jones Mantle’s case), the adjudicator described her decision as ‘borderline’.
“They noted that the Traffic Signs Manual ‘does not have a precise illustration of this particular situation’.
“They also added that ‘the council may use its discretion when deciding if further improvements are needed’.
“As such, we are currently reviewing the signage again at this location to see if we can try to give drivers coming from the north an even clearer warning of the bus gate.”