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.”
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.