Cyclist challenges fixed penalty notice

London cyclist Alex Paton is challenging a fixed penalty notice given to him by the police after he allegedly jumped a red light.

Paton moved in front of a vehicle parked in the cyclists’ advanced stop line at the junction between Fulham High Street and New King’s Road. Although Paton waited in front of the motorist at the lights, a police officer spotted him, and radioed a colleague who issued Paton with the fixed penalty notice (FPN) after he turned at the junction.

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After gaining legal advice from the CTC’s Cyclist Defence Fund (CDF), Paton is now launching an appeal against the FPN on the grounds that it was issued unfairly. An appeal for funds has amassed over £2300 from fellow cyclists to help him fight the case.

“My resolve probably would have faltered taking this to court had there not been such overwhelming support from fellow cyclists to back my case,” said Paton, who has submitted his case for a hearing to the Magistrate’s court.

The use of advanced stop lines (ASL) at junctions is not clear-cut. The current law says that cyclists must enter the box – often coloured in green –  using a feeder lane or via a dashed line on the road. If there are two or more lanes for traffic, the feeder lane can, in some instances, be position between lanes. This can cause a hazard for cyclists wanting to turn left at a junction, particularly if they approach the junction just as the lights change and find themselves caught between moving columns of traffic.

“The Department for Transport plans to make amendments to the regulation governing ASLs to overcome the problems of accessing ASLs,” said Rhia Weston, the CTC’s Road Justice Campaigner.

“The fact that such changes are in the pipeline gives hope that the DfT will also clarify the law governing what a cyclist should do if an ASL is illegally occupied by a vehicle.”

“CDF agreed to support his legal challenge on the basis that it could set a legal precedent around the enforcement of ASLs.”