A driver has won his appeal against a fine for driving through a bus gate – leaving open the prospect of hundreds more fighting their fines.
The car owner, from Blackheath, went to the London Tribunal over a string of tickets dished out by Lewisham council – and was exonerated by its officer.
The Environment and Traffic Adjudicator Anju Kaler said: “The legend on the road says ‘bus gate’ and there are two signs on either side of the road showing the diagram of a bus and bicycled on a blue roundel, indicating which vehicles are permitted access.
“There are two red signs on the plant boxes stating ‘road closed’. However, the road is open as vehicles can go through and the blue arrows on the boxes seem to invite vehicles to pass through.
“I find the message given to motorists to be confusing. That is the combined effect of the signs. It is for the lack of clarity of the restriction that I allow the appeal.”
His penalty charge notice said: “contravention 33c: using a route restricted to certain vehicles (Buses and cycles only).”
The driver, who does not wish to be named, had also used the fact the PCN did not contain a postal address to which payment must be sent, as required in the 2003 London Local Authorities Act.
He said: “I am guessing that they will appeal this as they now have £3m hanging on unsafe PCNs.
“If Lewisham appeals, I will re-visit the technically incorrect PCN feature of no postal address. I don’t think it is up to the adjudicator to re-write a current act of parliament.
“If the law decides that the postal address is no longer required, in this digital age, then they must revise the act. I’m sure there are older motorists without online banking or credit cards who would need to post a cheque.
“If we cannot use the fact a traffic law is technically out of date to get off, then they cannot use that reality to negate a defence.”
Lewisham council has been approached for comment.
Pictured top: The bus gate in Lewisham
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