Londoner to challenge red light fixed penalty notice after appeal raises £2300 for legal fees

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

by John Stevenson   September 18, 2013  

Alex_Paxton

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.”

65 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

zanf wrote:
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.

It is actually quite easy to "behave exactly like any other vehicle" especially in these circumstances. All you have to do is what all the other road users around you are doing which is wait in line. Unless there is safe space for you to overtake (preferably not undertake) and you have somewhere safe to land, then just stay put.

Behaving like any other road user, taking your space so that you are visible to others and you can see them, is infinitely a safer way to behave in traffic than weaving in and out of traffic appearing and disappearing out of drivers' views. The latter, in my opinion, is the daft way of behaving.

I would agree with you on ASLs, however as they do put into people's minds the idea that they should get to the front of the traffic come what may.

Stephen

posted by CotterPin [64 posts]
18th September 2013 - 15:34

8 Likes

My safety trumps the law every time. If the law does not protect me then it is it that has failed. If he felt safer taking the position he did, then the infastructure and the law have failed. Not the person. The law is for people not people for the law.

Still smiling politely at a persistently flat chain.

velophilia's picture

posted by velophilia [39 posts]
18th September 2013 - 15:45

4 Likes

stumps wrote:
Its the attitude of cyclists, drivers or whatever that does go a long way to deciding if a person gets a ticket, a bollocking or a summons when they have committed an offence.

If someone is apologetic, genuine and the offence is of a minor nature then a cop can use their discretion, however if the offence is denied or the person is a complete knacker about it then usually a ticket or summons will follow.

We do have discretion and its used quite regularly but those of you who have no idea whatsover about our job just keep rolling off the excuses.

Put it this way, "if you play with fire you will get burnt", in other words break the law and you will have to suffer the consequences whatever they maybe. This goes for everyone. If people dont like it then tuff, i make no apologies about doing it.

Which also means that if you haven't done actually anything wrong, you can and will be ticketed by a copper seeing his arse or just wanting to prove a point and it then comes down to you proving your innocence.

This often coincides with another copper developing superhuman hearing and listening skills in order to back up the first ones "version of events".

posted by farrell [1640 posts]
18th September 2013 - 15:46

5 Likes

stumps wrote:
Its the attitude of cyclists, drivers or whatever that does go a long way to deciding if a person gets a ticket, a bollocking or a summons when they have committed an offence.

If someone is apologetic, genuine and the offence is of a minor nature then a cop can use their discretion, however if the offence is denied or the person is a complete knacker about it then usually a ticket or summons will follow.

We do have discretion and its used quite regularly but those of you who have no idea whatsover about our job just keep rolling off the excuses.

Put it this way, "if you play with fire you will get burnt", in other words break the law and you will have to suffer the consequences whatever they maybe. This goes for everyone. If people dont like it then tuff, i make no apologies about doing it.

So people should respect you because of your power? That's a shitty attitude and one which only lowers my opinion of the police. Remember you're a public servant.

Also, if he was acting in the interests of his own safety he hasn't committed an offence.

posted by qwerky [155 posts]
18th September 2013 - 15:52

5 Likes

farrell wrote:
stumps wrote:
Its the attitude of cyclists, drivers or whatever that does go a long way to deciding if a person gets a ticket, a bollocking or a summons when they have committed an offence.

If someone is apologetic, genuine and the offence is of a minor nature then a cop can use their discretion, however if the offence is denied or the person is a complete knacker about it then usually a ticket or summons will follow.

We do have discretion and its used quite regularly but those of you who have no idea whatsover about our job just keep rolling off the excuses.

Put it this way, "if you play with fire you will get burnt", in other words break the law and you will have to suffer the consequences whatever they maybe. This goes for everyone. If people dont like it then tuff, i make no apologies about doing it.

Which also means that if you haven't done actually anything wrong, you can and will be ticketed by a copper seeing his arse or just wanting to prove a point and it then comes down to you proving your innocence.

This often coincides with another copper developing superhuman hearing and listening skills in order to back up the first ones "version of events".

Oh well believe what you want mate it's really of no consequence to me to be perfectly honest.

Step-hent - the reason we give tickets or whatever out is because that person has broken the law, just like if you have a lump / bulge or tear in your car tyre wall, its a technical matter but should we ignore it ?. Initially it will not cause any immediate danger but within time it could cause the tyre to burst.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2930 posts]
18th September 2013 - 16:00

5 Likes

qwerky, where did i say i expect respect from people. As i said if i stop someone for an offence and they are apologetic they will generally be given a warning or a quiet word, its the arseholes who swear blind that they have done nothing wrong and come up "have you got nothing better to do" and "i pay your wages" and "why dont you catch a rapist" that end up getting the ticket or summons.

Now if you fall into that category well thats your problem, not mine.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2930 posts]
18th September 2013 - 16:09

2 Likes

I agree, 2 wrongs don't make a right, but since he was simply doing the safest thing possible - that's not a wrong so your statement doesnt apply here.

Also, laws aren't always right.

Also, it looks as though he may have acted legally anyway.

posted by kie7077 [603 posts]
18th September 2013 - 16:13

7 Likes

Taylor Lautner?

posted by thelimopit [118 posts]
18th September 2013 - 16:39

3 Likes

I'm usually against cyclists doing things against the law ostensibly for the sake of "safety", e.g. cycling on the pavement or jumping red lights. But in this case I have to side with the cyclist.

I don't know just how busy the road was, and whether he might have been able to position himself behind the car in the ASL. But I know that, as much as I try to keep to the letter of the law myself, there are times when I filter up to the front only to find the ASL occupied by a vehicle. Usually I'll try to get in behind that vehicle, but if traffic is tight then I can't really do that, so position myself in front, ahead of the ASL. I don't see that I have much of a choice, I can't even turn around and go back. So it seems absolutely silly to fine a cyclist for this, given the circumstances.

posted by eurotrash [87 posts]
18th September 2013 - 17:55

4 Likes

stumps wrote:
qwerky, where did i say i expect respect from people. As i said if i stop someone for an offence and they are apologetic they will generally be given a warning or a quiet word, its the arseholes who swear blind that they have done nothing wrong and come up "have you got nothing better to do" and "i pay your wages" and "why dont you catch a rapist" that end up getting the ticket or summons.

Now if you fall into that category well thats your problem, not mine.

Surely an "Offence" is an "offence" if it warrents being booked thats what should happen (not that I believe any offence has occurred in this case). Just because somebody kisses your arse doesn't mean they should get off, do you also exercise your discretion if you also find the offender attractive also ?

Just because somebody suggest that your time might be better spent else where doesn't make them an "arseholes" but that's just what I would expect from the vast majority of police offices, Im sure you fit in brilliantly with all the other racist, murdering, sex offender, arseholes in the police.

Housecathst's picture

posted by Housecathst [140 posts]
18th September 2013 - 18:38

4 Likes

Sadly, very few cyclists know how or when to use ASL's and stop boxes properly. Combine this with driver ignorance and you have in many cases a pointless escalation of the antagonism between cyclist and driver. I see the obsession with getting into the stop box every day and wonder if these guys have ever given a thought to how pissed off the driver they have effectively "cut up" is. It also pisses me off because I stopped behind the bus and have to watch these nuggets filter past me knowing that I'm gonna be stuck at their pace until the bus makes it past them...
I would get rid of ASL's as they cause as much trouble as good.
However...
Whipping in front of traffic to turn right is generally a no-no, so my gut feeling is that Alex should have either moved in behind the traffic earlier or, if he's less confident, walked it. However, without the detail of the junction and knowledge of the scenario in the lead up to the line its a tougher call.
My personal opinion is that while the ticket is maybe somewhat harsh, it is by no means entirely unjustified.

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

Jack Osbourne snr's picture

posted by Jack Osbourne snr [329 posts]
18th September 2013 - 18:56

3 Likes

thelimopit wrote:
Taylor Lautner?

Wreck-it-Ralph


I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1541 posts]
18th September 2013 - 19:20

5 Likes

I go through this exact junction most days on my way to/from work. I cycle 2-3 days a week and motorbike the other days.

The police were having a 1 week 'clampdown' for 1 week in August. I suspect this is when Alex got his FPN. There were probably 10-15 policemen/women around that junction every morning all week, pulling people over (cyclists, cars, motorbikes).

I feel the police were taking a zero-tolerance approach.

I was pulled over on my motorbike after following traffic through the junction on a green light (no trace of an offence). They seemed to be doing random spot checks on motorbikes that morning, and 'apparently' my motorbike chain was a little loose. I was 2 weeks away from the MOT on my 2008 Honda 125, but it didn't stop the officer giving me a £60 fine, 3 points and prohibiting me from riding my bike until I got the chain tightened ( I was told I could push it to a garage or get it picked up on a truck).

In my opinion, the chain was slightly looser than ideal, but perfectly ok and typical for a bike 11.5 months through a 12 month maintenance cycle. The officer simply didn't agree - there was no common sense, just zero tolerance.

Alex has a good chance of getting let off, and I hope he does.

I've lost any respect for (traffic) police after this incident. They were just finding reasons to issue fines/points without exercising judgement.

Nick

posted by nickb [4 posts]
18th September 2013 - 21:36

6 Likes

@Stumps - clearly the chap in this case didn't kiss the officers arse enough, so discretion to emphasise rider safety over a technical infringement of the law was not used and a ticket issued.

That's how it works then?

It's small wonder that police get grief in their line if duty from otherwise reasonable citizens, if this kind of attitude is prevalent.

I can well imagine the scenario here, where an officer stops a cyclist for an offence he did not witnesses, refuses to listen to any mitigating circumstances, winding up the guy and when he doesn't drop to his knees begging forgiveness, a ticket is issued in a fit of peak by the officer in an attempt to assert himself.

posted by 700c [610 posts]
18th September 2013 - 21:58

6 Likes

stumps wrote:

"You dont know how the cyclist reacted to what he was informed, he may have been completely bolshy or completely denied it or apologetic...."
Utterly irrelevant! You might as well suggest "the cop may have been completely bolshy, or apologetic". The cyclist, believing himself innocent, might well have been annoyed---but the police are supposed to act objectively, and calmly, so long as no objectionable language, or violence is offered by the person being ticketed.
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [313 posts]
18th September 2013 - 22:21

2 Likes

[[[[ Yikes!! What's all this about "apologising to a police officer"? Why would I do that? I haven't hurt or offended the cop who's stopped me, have I? An offence is an offence and should be dealt with impartially, regardless of whether or not I grovel, Stumpio.
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [313 posts]
18th September 2013 - 22:48

2 Likes

farrell wrote:
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?

[[[[[[ Hmmm.. I don't see Stumper addressing this excellent question....is he stumped for an answer?
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [313 posts]
18th September 2013 - 23:13

6 Likes

stumps wrote:
Its the attitude of cyclists, drivers or whatever that does go a long way to deciding if a person gets a ticket, a bollocking or a summons when they have committed an offence.

If someone is apologetic, genuine and the offence is of a minor nature then a cop can use their discretion, however if the offence is denied or the person is a complete knacker about it then usually a ticket or summons will follow.

We do have discretion and its used quite regularly but those of you who have no idea whatsover about our job just keep rolling off the excuses.

Put it this way, "if you play with fire you will get burnt", in other words break the law and you will have to suffer the consequences whatever they maybe. This goes for everyone. If people dont like it then tuff, i make no apologies about doing it.


With respect, that's irrelevant as we don't know the behaviours of the cyclist involved. I'm sure you don't mean it to, but it kind of sounds like you're suggesting that he probably deserved it because he reacted badly.

posted by Pondo [19 posts]
19th September 2013 - 7:48

2 Likes

What the article does not make clear is if the car was legally inhabiting the box, most of the comments seem to assume that this is not the case, but if you look at rule 178 you can see there are circumstances where this is possible. "...Motorists, including motorcyclists, MUST stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red and shoudl avoid blocking the way or encroaching on the marked area at other times. If your vehicle has proceeded over the first white line at the time that the signal goes red, you MUSTstop at the secon white line, even if your vehicle is in hte marked area. Allow cyclists time and space to move off when the green signal shows."
Secondly, having crossed the white line it is an offence. Regardless of mitigating situations so the police were right to ticket, perhaps a warning may have sufficied I do not know.
However, it is perfectly right that the cyclist should contest this in court. He feels that he has mitigating circumstances and it does sound that way, after all the spirit of the law is to enable to safe(r) passage of cyclists, which his actions tried to do.
The only part which worries me is that the wording of the ASL for cyclists (rule 71) says to only use them when it is safe to do so, which if there is already someone in there it is dubious if it is the case.

I hope that common sense will provail and then this can be cited in future to the benefit of all.

posted by Wolfshade [118 posts]
19th September 2013 - 8:19

5 Likes

I don't think the cyclist did anything wrong.
PC Stumps blindly shows solidarity with fellow officers which is the order of the day, given the nature of their work.
Our force as a group of cyclists is our numbers. Ensure the "waste-of-time-and-space" officer who saw the offence of the car in the ASL is called to give evidence, then let all of us write to the Minister of Justice ( and whoever else counts) to suggest this officer goes on a course (in the winter in the Outer Hebrides ?)to learn that cyclists are also tax-payers, fathers, mothers, etc. He is the root of this problem, which is costing a lot of public money to achieve absolutely nothing.

Enjoy

posted by cisgil23 [50 posts]
19th September 2013 - 8:23

5 Likes

cisgil23 wrote:
PC Stumps blindly shows solidarity with fellow officers which is the order of the day, given the nature of their work.
Our force as a group of cyclists is our numbers. Ensure the "waste-of-time-and-space" officer who saw the offence of the car in the ASL is called to give evidence, then let all of us write to the Minister of Justice ( and whoever else counts) to suggest this officer goes on a course (in the winter in the Outer Hebrides ?)to learn that cyclists are also tax-payers, fathers, mothers, etc. He is the root of this problem, which is costing a lot of public money to achieve absolutely nothing.

Well, that doesn't help.

posted by Pondo [19 posts]
19th September 2013 - 9:59

4 Likes

Suggestions here that cyclists should fall in line with the cars rather than filter past to the ASL to avoid this problem.

So what if the queue of cars is a mile long tailback which is pretty much stationary most of the time? Am I OK to carefully cycle down the marked kerb-side cycle lane or do I have to suck it up and get to the back of the mile long queue, possibly adding half an hour to my journey time?

And if the latter, then where is the point in taking the bike, just to sit there in a haze of exhaust fumes going nowhere; my journey time dictated by how many drivers chose to clog up the roads on any given day?

ASLs are not great, but neither is any of the infra in the UK. We can get rid of the ASLs when we replace them with something better.

posted by pmanc [155 posts]
19th September 2013 - 10:21

3 Likes

Well I sort of think the lack of respect here for Stumps is astounding, and the way people seem to have tarred every officer by the same brush.

I'm sorry about this Stumps. But I guess it is the sort of attitude you are used to.

I'm not saying that every police officer is brilliant, and lord knows there have been things in the news about the police (the Lawrence defaming and Plebgate) which show that the police can be excessive with the use of their powers, but equally there are those who are sensible practisioners. This case will test the abilities of those officers involved, but as is clear the police are seen here as an inconvience rather than an independent arbiter of the rules of the road.

People seem to want it both ways - strict adherence to the rules, but when they are caught 'using their own discretion' they want the police to also....I think you have to wise up and realise that you can't have it both ways.

It may have been that the cyclist involved looked like he was unjustly going to break a red light, maybe he was using his road sense. Let's hope that the facts are laid out and fairness provided. We only have his side of the story. I hope that he is given a fairer shot than some people are willing to give poor plod.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1312 posts]
19th September 2013 - 13:15

6 Likes

Colin Peyresourde wrote:
Well I sort of think the lack of respect here for Stumps is astounding, and the way people seem to have tarred every officer by the same brush.

I'm sorry about this Stumps. But I guess it is the sort of attitude you are used to.

I'm not saying that every police officer is brilliant, and lord knows there have been things in the news about the police (the Lawrence defaming and Plebgate) which show that the police can be excessive with the use of their powers, but equally there are those who are sensible practisioners. This case will test the abilities of those officers involved, but as is clear the police are seen here as an inconvience rather than an independent arbiter of the rules of the road.

People seem to want it both ways - strict adherence to the rules, but when they are caught 'using their own discretion' they want the police to also....I think you have to wise up and realise that you can't have it both ways.

It may have been that the cyclist involved looked like he was unjustly going to break a red light, maybe he was using his road sense. Let's hope that the facts are laid out and fairness provided. We only have his side of the story. I hope that he is given a fairer shot than some people are willing to give poor plod.

+1

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2404 posts]
19th September 2013 - 13:19

4 Likes

Anyone who's surpised by stumps' "revelation" that acting like a self-important twat when you get pulled over is more likely to get you a ticket probably needs to go and make sure all the pencils are in a nice straight line on their desk or something equally OCD. We don't live an objective and impartial world, it's full of irrational humans. of which you are one. not acting like a twat towards the other humans is just general good practice, regardless of who they are.

purplecup's picture

posted by purplecup [232 posts]
19th September 2013 - 13:40

4 Likes

@Colin, I think it's just the one post by Housecathst which is particularly anti police and provocative. Appears to be a one off trolling post

The rest of the debate is fair, and in response to one policeman giving his views on here, which appear to represent standard policy, which were always likely to cause a backlash, based the sense of injustice we feel about this story, weren't they?

I don't think there's any less respect being shown one way or the other, not that Stumpy is expecting any, as he said.

As for 'poor old plod' Laughing

posted by 700c [610 posts]
19th September 2013 - 13:51

2 Likes

bashthebox wrote:
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?

this happens even when there isnt a large vehicle in the way. even with just a row of cars it is difficult to tell if they decided to edge forwards into the bike box or not.

if i know the lights have only just turned red i will always edge forwards into the box (as i know the lights only just turned red so i have time to get there). if there is a car in the box just sit up along side it's bonnet. the driver cant miss you and you should be able to pull off safely because only an idiot motorist would rev and crash into the back of you the minute the light turns amber/green...

Oh wait.....

Feel the fear and do it anyway

hood's picture

posted by hood [117 posts]
20th September 2013 - 12:54

5 Likes

[[[[ I cycle, I drive. When I approach a YELLOW BOX junction in me car, I know how to keep off it---I don't drive onto it. Our cyclists' ASL boxes have been around long enough now for drivers to AVOID encroaching onto them. All this twaddle suggesting drivers "sometimes have no choice" is just that---twaddle.
And, as mentioned by FARRELL earlier, our policeman "Stampy", ever keen to uphold the law--to the letter--must surely have rebuked, if not ticketed, countless DRIVERS for encroaching onto cyclists' ASL's. N'est pas?
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [313 posts]
20th September 2013 - 15:06

4 Likes

PhilRuss wrote:
[[[[ I cycle, I drive. When I approach a YELLOW BOX junction in me car, I know how to keep off it---I don't drive onto it. Our cyclists' ASL boxes have been around long enough now for drivers to AVOID encroaching onto them. All this twaddle suggesting drivers "sometimes have no choice" is just that---twaddle.

+! !!!

I dont get it, a green ASL box is the same as a yellow junction box isnt it? you shouldnt go into it until you know you can get out of it.
Right?

I understand on London roads this is not always realistic, so when the light is green edging forwards into the bike box is fair enough.
hopefully you then will be able to move forwards before the light turns red, and get out of the box the other end.
if not, you stay in the bike box,,,, BUT
be aware, you are in the BIKE box, and lots of cyclists are going to be filtering to the front, unaware you are in it (because from further back it is never clear how far forwards a car has gone), so when they get to the box they have no choice but to crowd round the car. its not their fault, its not your fault (maybe it is the fault of poor road design!?)
so when the light turns green wait patiently to let them get out of your way before moving forwards.
its all pretty simple to me, have i missed something or misunderstood how all this works????

Feel the fear and do it anyway

hood's picture

posted by hood [117 posts]
23rd September 2013 - 10:05

2 Likes

Once again the real problem is road design.

I don't know this particular junction but most ASLs have nearside filter lanes encoraging cyclists to filter inside cars to reach the ASL where they should then position themselves appropriotly depending on which direction they are going ie moving over to the right if turning right. If the ASL is used as intended nd the cyclits find the box occupied they are left with little option but to cross the stop line and position correctly if turning right. Most of us realise that it is better to filter between lanes if turning right, allowing us to merge into the correct lane if the trafic starts moving again, but road markings and lanes rarely encorage this behaviour.

For what its worth I hope that Alex wins his case and the design of the junction is reviewed as a result. Maybe he was pushing his luck at the time, maybe he wasn't; that's not really the point.

posted by Matt eaton [530 posts]
23rd September 2013 - 12:01

5 Likes