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Alex Paxton issued fine after moving ahead of occupied advanced stop box

A 27-year-old rider who was issued a fixed-penalty notice for stopping in front of an advanced stop box occupied by a car is appealing the fine after donors kicked in over £2000 to help with his legal fees.

Alex Paxton was issued the notice for allegedly jumping a red light last month. He had positioned himself ahead of an advanced stop box blocked by a motorist at the junction of Fulham High Street and New King’s Road in London.

Alex had intended to position himself in the cyclists’ box in order to turn right. In order to avoid having to cross  three lanes of moving traffic, he decided to position himself ahead of the traffic and ahead of the advanced stop line (ASL).

A police officer witnessed the alleged offence and radioed a colleague, who stopped Alex along the road he had turned into and gave him the fixed-penalty notice. Having not seen the incident, the officer that issued the fine could not assess the greater risk Alex would have been in had he positioned himself behind the white line. Alex was unaware whether the car driver had also been given a fixed-penalty notice.

Unlike many cyclists who begrudgingly pay fixed-penalty notices, Alex decided to contest it in court after receiving advice from the Cyclists’ Defence Fund.

An appeal set up to raise the £2,000 that the case is estimated to cost exceeded the target in just 4 days and has now raised over £2,300.

Alex said: “My resolve probably would have faltered taking this to court had there not been such overwhelming support from fellow cyclists to back my case.”

Advanced Stop Lines are suposed to make junctions safer for cyclists by allowing them to move away ahead of motor vehicles. However, cyclists are only supposed to access advanced stop boxes via filter lanes or dotted access lines on the box, and the law is unclear on how cyclists are supposed to act if they find a box occupied.

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

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

65 comments

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Goldfever4 [225 posts] 3 years ago
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Sorry, disagree - two wrongs don't make a right. If there's a vehicle in the advanced box don't just break the law by stopping after the ASL. The fact that another officer issued the fine is a technicality that might get him off, but from the article it seems he has broken the regulations here.

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bashthebox [752 posts] 3 years ago
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But how are you to know the box is occupied until you're up by it? So, so many times I've filtered up stationary traffic when a large vehicle is blocking my view of the box, only to find a car or van occupying it. What should one do then?

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YorkshireMike [91 posts] 3 years ago
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Sadly ASL's don't carry nearly the weight they should. A car can park over one if it is stopped there by the lights, but isn't allowed to crawl over it. It makes no sense to me.

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Jonathing [73 posts] 3 years ago
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He may have broken the letter of the law but it was in an effort to comply with the spirit of the law concerning cyclists' safety. I don't hold out much hope for his chance of success in court, we all know the level of contempt in which courts hold the safety of cyclists.

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qwerky [184 posts] 3 years ago
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Sometimes you don't have the option. You filter through traffic only to find the ASL totally blocked. This can leave you in a dangerous situation.

The law allows discretion when your (or someone else's) safety is at risk.

I can imagine that sitting in three lanes of traffic wanting to turn right but unable to position yourself correctly falls into the remit of not feeling safe.

There have been situations where I have done a similar thing - someone else's mistake forces me to choose between a) risk of a serious accident b) minor infringement of the law.

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Beardandsandals [4 posts] 3 years ago
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Legalistically, you're right of course. But the attitude still amazes me. Safety always has to come first, and safety for a cyclist is so often a life-and-death matter. I always try to get ahead of traffic at a red light, even if it means going beyond the stop line. And, where an advance stop box exists, it is so often blocked. I don't expect that the motorist at fault in this case suffered any penalty at all.

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notfastenough [3716 posts] 3 years ago
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Beardandsandals wrote:

Legalistically, you're right of course. But the attitude still amazes me. Safety always has to come first, and safety for a cyclist is so often a life-and-death matter. I always try to get ahead of traffic at a red light, even if it means going beyond the stop line. And, where an advance stop box exists, it is so often blocked. I don't expect that the motorist at fault in this case suffered any penalty at all.

+1

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felixcat [487 posts] 3 years ago
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The law about ASLs is a bit of a mess.
If a cyclist filters up a cycle lane in order to reach an ASL and then move across it in order to make a right turn, (as I understand this one did) but finds the ASL full of motors, what should they do? Turning across the front of the vehicles as they accelerate is suicidal, and could lead to the classic left hook so often reported here and elsewhere. Waiting out the light cycle for the next red may be the only legal course left to the cyclist.
This cyclist's action seems to me a sensible compromise, safer even though technically illegal.
There is another problem with ASLs, even when they are not full of cars. If one reaches the ASL and begins to move across it for a right turn just as the light turns green, one is in a tricky position.

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Ush [755 posts] 3 years ago
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Goldfever4 wrote:

Sorry, disagree - two wrongs don't make a right. If there's a vehicle in the advanced box don't just break the law by stopping after the ASL. The fact that another officer issued the fine is a technicality that might get him off, but from the article it seems he has broken the regulations here.

I disagree strongly. Alex's actions seem prudent and reasonable and the officer that radioed in a colleague to complain about this is at best a time-waster. Hope Alex wins.

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hoski [85 posts] 3 years ago
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Goldfever4 wrote:

Sorry, disagree - two wrongs don't make a right. If there's a vehicle in the advanced box don't just break the law by stopping after the ASL. The fact that another officer issued the fine is a technicality that might get him off, but from the article it seems he has broken the regulations here.

First, pleased don't confuse law with morality.

In this instance there may not have even been a single 'wrong'. The car may have entered the ASL whilst the light was green. From the description of events the cyclist took a reasonable action to ensure their own safety.

The whole point of being able to challenge a FPN is to correct situations where a regulation doesn't cover the complexity of specific circumstance, or where an error has been made.

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guyonabike [11 posts] 3 years ago
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I agree with two wrongs not making a right, sitting back is really not dangerous. You get more time to think/react when the light changes for a start!

Quote:

...a large vehicle is blocking my view...

If you can't see your way out, don't jump blindly in! Filtering to the front is not a requirement. For me personally, squeezing into a gap that's too small regardless of vehicle size, is just as bad an attitude as the most pointless MGIF overtakes by drivers.

It's not Rocket Surgery...!  1

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jdstrachan@yaho... [52 posts] 3 years ago
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Sounds to me like the PC is not only a Jobsworth but someone with an issue against cyclists. Surely if he spotted this his first concern should have been the car in the ASL?

Nope, thats the easy option though is it.

I think Alex did the SAFE thing - it may not be legally right but is based on the purpose of the ASL - essentially moving himself out in front of the car.

I hope you win Alex, and I hope some does something about the car that blocked the ASL  14

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zanf [869 posts] 3 years ago
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Get rid of all ASL's.

They are at best useless, at worse dangerous, ignored by all and enforced by no-one.

The Dutch do not use them because they realised they were a poor solution to the problem.

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wrevilo [106 posts] 3 years ago
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zanf wrote:

Get rid of all ASL's.

They are at best useless, at worse dangerous, ignored by all and enforced by no-one.

The Dutch do not use them because they realised they were a poor solution to the problem.

I agree. Sometimes behaving exactly like any other vehicle is the most prudent thing to do.

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P3t3 [316 posts] 3 years ago
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If the account of the rider is correct then is doesn't sound like the police used much discretion which is a shame, since crossing the line on the road is very different to running the junction. Sounds like they were struggling to find enough RLJers to meet their targets that day.

I think advanced stop boxes are a distraction in the cycling facilities argument. As another poster mentions, state of the art cycling facilities don't include ASLs, rather a safe route to the front and an independent phase in the traffic lights for bikes. If they designed the junction properly nobody would run past stop lines or red lights.

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P3t3 [316 posts] 3 years ago
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wrevilo wrote:

I agree. Sometimes behaving exactly like any other vehicle is the most prudent thing to do.

Yes. The only problem is, behaving like any other vehicle is too scary for the vast majority of potential cyclists.

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Stumps [3415 posts] 3 years ago
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Its a simple question - did he break the law ? the answer is yes, however he does have mitigating circumstances to put to the magistrates, whether those mitigating circumstances are true or not is another matter.

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thereverent [432 posts] 3 years ago
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I hope he wins the appeal.
The Policeman didn't exercise common sense when issuing the ticket, and seems to have ignored the car in the ASL.

Advanced Stop Lines are suposed to make junctions safer for cyclists by allowing them to move away ahead of motor vehicles. However, cyclists are only supposed to access advanced stop boxes via filter lanes or dotted access lines on the box, and the law is unclear on how cyclists are supposed to act if they find a box occupied.

On a multolane road there are suppose to be filter lanes on each lane, but this is rarely the case. I know of plenty of ASLs with no filter lane at all.
Enforcement of ASLs is simple, only a CCTV camera is needed (once the law is changed).

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Stumps [3415 posts] 3 years ago
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The cop who issued the ticket went on the info supplied by a colleague who witnessed the offence.

You dont know how the cyclist reacted to what he was informed, he may have been completely bolshy or completely denied it or apologetic, you just dont know and because you dont know you cant say the cop didn't act with common sense.

Put it this way from what we DO know from whats printed above i would have given him a ticket, just like i would give anyone a ticket for jumping a red light.

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farrell [1950 posts] 3 years ago
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stumps wrote:

just like i would give anyone a ticket for jumping a red light.

Ever issued a ticket for a car in an ASL?

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Pondo [19 posts] 3 years ago
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stumps wrote:

The cop who issued the ticket went on the info supplied by a colleague who witnessed the offence.

You dont know how the cyclist reacted to what he was informed, he may have been completely bolshy or completely denied it or apologetic, you just dont know and because you dont know you cant say the cop didn't act with common sense.

Put it this way from what we DO know from whats printed above i would have given him a ticket, just like i would give anyone a ticket for jumping a red light.

Is his reaction relevant to the correctness or otherwise of issuing the fixed penalty for jumping the red light?

And I think that the whole reason the court case has come about because, whilst the law currently agrees with you, in practical terms it doesn't work. I'm a bit uneasy about having a legal obligation to put myself at risk on the road.

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Gkam84 [9092 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
guyonabike wrote:

I agree with two wrongs not making a right, sitting back is really not dangerous. You get more time to think/react when the light changes for a start!

Quote:

...a large vehicle is blocking my view...

If you can't see your way out, don't jump blindly in! Filtering to the front is not a requirement. For me personally, squeezing into a gap that's too small regardless of vehicle size, is just as bad an attitude as the most pointless MGIF overtakes by drivers.

It's not Rocket Surgery...!  1

Have to agree with this. Filtering can be done when safe, but some cyclists see it as a "I must get to the front" no matter how far back they are, I've seen them getting caught between two lanes of traffic as the lights change, which is far more dangerous than just holding back and waiting.

I'm getting a bit fed up of what I would describe as "militant" cyclists. Some of those who post on youtube and think they are doing the right thing by stopping motorists and giving them a warning.

This all leads to a culture of cyclists thinking they know better than the law.

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 3 years ago
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It'll be tossed due to technicality but that won't actually solve the real legal question

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marsbar [15 posts] 3 years ago
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and what's this got to do with Fred West?

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Colin Peyresourde [1773 posts] 3 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:
guyonabike wrote:

I agree with two wrongs not making a right, sitting back is really not dangerous. You get more time to think/react when the light changes for a start!

Quote:

...a large vehicle is blocking my view...

If you can't see your way out, don't jump blindly in! Filtering to the front is not a requirement. For me personally, squeezing into a gap that's too small regardless of vehicle size, is just as bad an attitude as the most pointless MGIF overtakes by drivers.

It's not Rocket Surgery...!  1

Have to agree with this. Filtering can be done when safe, but some cyclists see it as a "I must get to the front" no matter how far back they are, I've seen them getting caught between two lanes of traffic as the lights change, which is far more dangerous than just holding back and waiting.

I'm getting a bit fed up of what I would describe as "militant" cyclists. Some of those who post on youtube and think they are doing the right thing by stopping motorists and giving them a warning.

This all leads to a culture of cyclists thinking they know better than the law.

+1 and +1

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RichmondTTer [8 posts] 3 years ago
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So we all get whiney when motorists break laws but it's OK for us? Loads of hypocrite cyclists out there

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RichmondTTer [8 posts] 3 years ago
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 24

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RichmondTTer [8 posts] 3 years ago
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marsbar wrote:

and what's this got to do with Fred West?

 24

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zanf [869 posts] 3 years ago
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P3t3 wrote:
wrevilo wrote:

I agree. Sometimes behaving exactly like any other vehicle is the most prudent thing to do.

Yes. The only problem is, behaving like any other vehicle is too scary for the vast majority of potential cyclists.

My original comment not a call to pay heed to the likes of Forrester & Franklin, in fact quite the opposite.

The ASL is the worst kind of infrastructure solution devised by integrationists that actually gets vulnerable road users killed.

To think that cyclists "behaving exactly like any other vehicle is the most prudent thing to do" is plain daft.

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700c [981 posts] 3 years ago
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Pondo wrote:
stumps wrote:

The cop who issued the ticket went on the info supplied by a colleague who witnessed the offence.

You dont know how the cyclist reacted to what he was informed, he may have been completely bolshy or completely denied it or apologetic, you just dont know and because you dont know you cant say the cop didn't act with common sense.

Put it this way from what we DO know from whats printed above i would have given him a ticket, just like i would give anyone a ticket for jumping a red light.

Is his reaction relevant to the correctness or otherwise of issuing the fixed penalty for jumping the red light?

Agree: The reaction of the cyclist has nothing to do with whether or not a ticket should have been issued. I imagine he was, frankly, dumbfounded by ticket. This doesn't warrant a ticket any more or less than being angry, polite, sarcastic or whatever.

Or are we now living in a police state?

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