Cyclist’s Fixed Penalty Notice legal challenge listed this week for London court.
Alex Paxton received the FPN when he was unable to stop in a cycle box in Fulham in August.
When Alex reached a set of traffic lights he found that the cycle box had been illegally blocked by a car. Not wanting to cross three lanes of moving traffic in order to turn right, Alex positioned himself ahead of the illegally placed vehicle and ahead of the ASL, which technically meant he ran a red light even though he remained at the junction.
A police officer who witnessed the alleged offence radioed a colleague stationed along the road Alex turned down. The colleague issued Alex with the FPN. Alex argues that as the officer who issued the FPN had not witnessed the offence, he was not able to assess the greater danger Alex would have been in had he complied with the law.
Alex received advice from CDF on how to contest the FPN and was given assurance that CDF would assist with funding the legal challenge. He will contest the FPN at Lavender Hill Magistrate’s Court, Battersea, on Wednesday October 16th at 2pm. The case is likely to conclude the same day.
Alex said recently “My resolve probably would have faltered taking this to court had there not been such overwhelming support from fellow cyclists to back my case.”
When FPNs for footway or pavement cycling were first introduced, the Government assured cycling organisations that the penalty would be applied fairly and only when a cyclist’s actions endangered pedestrians, not, for example, when a cyclist uses the pavement to avoid a dangerous road. CDF’s coordinator, Rhia Weston, said “the same discretion that the police are expected to use when issuing FPNs for pavement cycling should also be applied when issuing FPNs to cyclists who fail to stop at ASLs.”
Rhia Weston added “ASLs are there for a good reason: around 70% of cyclists’ collisions occur at or near junctions. They are by no means perfect, but when used properly they have the potential to save lives. We understand that the Department for Transport is planning to update regulation around ASLs to overcome the considerable problems with their access, which does give us some hope that they will also clarify what a cyclist should do if an ASL is illegally occupied by a vehicle.”
The CDF’s crowd-funding appeal raised the target amount of £2000 in 4 days and has now raised £2450.
Notes to editors
Advanced Stop Lines / Cyclist’s Boxes
The purpose of ASLs, or cycle boxes, is to give cyclists priority at junctions, where around 70% of cyclists’ collisions occur. ASLs help cyclists control their own safety as they prepare to manoeuvre through a junction by enabling them to position themselves where they are clearly visible to the drivers behind them and allowing them to move off in front of other traffic without being cut up by turning vehicles.
CTC and CDF want the Government to clarify and amend the legislation covering cyclists’ access to and use of ASLs, including amending the Highway Code.
The Cyclists’ Defence Fund
CDF is a charity set up in 2001 by CTC to fight significant legal cases involving cycling and cyclists. Since its inception, its remit has expanded to cover all aspects of cycling and the law.
CDF’s aims are: to advance the education of the public in the relationship between cycling and the law; to further the sound development, administration and knowledge of the law; and to preserve and protect the health and safety of the public by encouraging and facilitating safe cycling.
CDF achieves these aims by: commissioning and publicising research into the law; providing guidance on the law and links to relevant legal resources on its website; and providing support in legal cases which could clarify the law, especially cases which have the potential to set legal precedents.
CTC, the national cycling charity
CTC is the UK’s largest cycling charity with 69,000 members. Established in 1878 CTC is also the oldest cycling membership body in the UK and continues to inspire and help people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone. Visit www.ctc.org.uk
Press contact information
Senior Media and Communications Officer Laura Raymond 01483 238315 or 07960 349405