A Brighton cyclist has been left with a bill of more than £1000 after appealing a £30 fixed penalty fine all the way to the Crown Court. The fine had been imposed after he was spotted by a police officer riding the wrong way up a one-way street.
Jean Blaison, aged 59, was given the fixed penalty notice in July 2011 by PC Eliane Welsh, who said that he had almost collided with a pedestrian on St James’s Street, reports Brighton and Hove News.
Blaison unsuccessfully appealed the fixed penalty notice to Brighton Magistrates’ Court and again to Hove Crown Court, which in a hearing last month told him he must pay it as well as court costs of more than £1,000.
No reasons were stated for why Blaison had refused to pay the fine, or why he appealed it up through the court system.
PC Welsh commented: “Cyclists travelling the wrong way in St James’s Street is the biggest complaint from local residents and business owners and can end in serious injury for both pedestrians and cyclists.
“St James’s Street is a single lane road and a main bus route and is incredibly busy at certain times of the day.
“We will be actively looking for those caught ignoring the one-way signs and issuing them with on the spot fines.
“I am pleased that Blaison’s appeals were dismissed as he refused point black to accept responsibility for his actions or almost hitting the pedestrian.
“The roads are for everyone to use and enjoy and we all know that cycling is a great way to get around the city but those who blatantly flaunt the rules, if caught, will be fined.”
Blaison isn’t the first fiftysomething male cyclist from Brighton to have walked away from court with his bank balance significantly lighter.
In 2010, Richard Hodgson, then aged 53, was fined £700 by Brighton Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay £215 costs for ignoring the traffic light, cycling without lights, cycling on the pavement and failure to stop for police.
In October last year, we reported how a cyclist in Brooklyn, New York, faced a fine of $1,555 after police spotted him riding through three red lights in the space of two blocks, due to an escalator which sees fines increased for repeat offences.
It was argued that such increased fines should not be imposed in what was in effect a single incident and were instead meant for those who had already been fined then went on to commit the same offence again.
News of Blaison’s unsuccessful appeal against his fine comes as Sussex Police prepare to launch a major campaign starting next Monday 14 January against anti-social cycling, including riding through red lights, in Brighton and Hove.
The Argus says that 31 cyclists were fined for ignoring traffic signals there last year, a 60 per cent drop on two years earlier. It adds that 319 motorists in the city received fines for driving through red lights in 319, fewer than half the 815 drivers who received a similar penalty in 2010.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.