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.