Author Topic: Manchester City Council - Bus Gate PCN - Manchester Oxford Road (Charles St. - Brancaster Rd)  (Read 181 times)

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CSkully621

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Hi,

My partner was driving a few times through Manchester in February to drop her mum off at an event once (6/2/24) and pick me up twice (9/2/24). When she did this, she went down Hulme Street and turned right onto Oxford road. She did this a total of 3 times, and has received 3 PCNs in short succession.

She is a newer driver, dyslexic and the road is busy with many vehicles travelling through the road and plenty of foot traffic from loading goods vehicles and pedestrians crossing the road. This means a lot of her focus has to be on the road ahead of her in order to be driving safely and limits her ability to look around at the off road signage, which is often blocked by parked cars and goods vehicles which are loading/unloading despite being on double yellow lines.

As a result of this, she failed to notice the advanced signage all 3 times she drove down the road (and so did her passengers - including her mum who's an experienced driver), not that it's their responsibility - just to lend some credibility here).

At the junction, there is no obvious signage or road markings informing the driver that turning right onto Oxford road is disallowed so she made the turn.

On the 6th she drove down it once. Between 6/2/24 and 9/2/24 she received no PCNs or notifications of wrongdoing, so had no reason to think she couldn't drive that way, so she assumed that when she drove the same route to drop me off/pick me up from uni on the 9th due to my health conditions it would be okay. Due to the road conditions, she also failed to notice the advanced signage in this instance (on 9/2/24) too. No signage or road markings were visible from the junction at this point in time either.

She then received all 3 PCNs within a day of eachother (14th-15th Feb, I believe). Since then, she has naturally not driven down that road - and she wouldn't have driven down it on 9/2/24 once let alone twice had she received the PCN from the 6/2/24 prior to that date.

While I understand 3 days would be a rapid turnaround for a PCN to be drafted, sent and delivered she would not have continued to drive down that road once she had received a PCN for it (as evidenced by her... Not driving down that road since then! Haha).

This has caused her significant mental distress as she is on UC/LCWRA and can't really afford all 3 fines, let alone if the discount runs out. She has had multiple breakdowns as a result of this (hence why I'm posting so late - it's been tough to discuss!).

The advanced signage, while present, is often obscured and the roads in that area are too busy to spend searching for obscured signs. There are no road markings present and no signage on the junction itself when travelling down Hulme Street in that direction (despite there being visible on-junction signs when travelling from any other direction).

PCN footage 06/02/24 @ 3PM - https://youtu.be/kMzwM_zN3xw
PCN footage 09/02/24 @ 10AM - https://youtu.be/wyv4WGh1TMQ
PCN footage 09/02/24 @ 12PM - https://youtu.be/jQR-6_kHUMo

Advanced signage on the road - https://imgur.com/a/avNkA3s
No signage at the junction (Also shows lack of road markings) - https://imgur.com/a/L4Fw21C
Lack of road markings - https://imgur.com/a/0Ozsptb

Street view at junction - https://maps.app.goo.gl/Hu4k19qL76FqUJMAA
Street view at beginning of road - https://maps.app.goo.gl/tR4vTDFaekovUaGv7

Thanks in advance and any help is much appreciated!

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Incandescent

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Well, problem is if she can't afford the discounted penalties, she's not going to afford the full penalties.  Fighting traffic-type PCNs means you have to go to adjudication, and that means no discount if you lose.

One appeal argument that could work is that as she missed the signs, she wasn't aware of the offence until the first PCN arrived, and two more had been issued between that offence and the date of receipt of the first PCN, so she could submit reps on the basis of not knowing about the offence until the first PCN arrived, and the subsequent two PCNs are a disproportionate punishment.

CSkully621

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Well, problem is if she can't afford the discounted penalties, she's not going to afford the full penalties.  Fighting traffic-type PCNs means you have to go to adjudication, and that means no discount if you lose.

One appeal argument that could work is that as she missed the signs, she wasn't aware of the offence until the first PCN arrived, and two more had been issued between that offence and the date of receipt of the first PCN, so she could submit reps on the basis of not knowing about the offence until the first PCN arrived, and the subsequent two PCNs are a disproportionate punishment.

I was hoping there'd be some grounds like that. I'll be honest, I doubt she'd want to take it to adjudication anyway - she's already struggling enough taking PIP to tribunal. Just getting two of them struck off would be a massive help. Is there any specific wording I should use when making the representations on her behalf for that?

I'll still try to bring up the signage, but even if I had a case there I expect the standard "we investigated ourselves and found we did nothing wrong" if we don't take it to adjudicators.

Thanks for your advice and time :)

Incandescent

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I suggest you write a single representation, listing all three PCNs at the top, with date of PCN and date of receipt, and, based on your narrative, state that you found the city very busy and obviously missed the advanced sign indicating No Right Turn into Oxford Road on the three days you drove in the city.  Point out that it wasn't until you received the first PCN on <date> a full 8 days after the alleged offence, that you were aware you had made a mistake. State that you consider asking for payment for all three PCNs is disproportionate punishment as it was only on receipt of the first PCN that you realised your mistake. You therefore respectfully request that the two later PCNs be cancelled and payment at the discounted rate accepted for the first one.

They may give way or they may play hardball, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Make sure you submit your reps within the discount period.
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cp8759

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@CSkully621 please post up a copy of exactly what you sent, and show us the council response when you receive it. Please do not pay anything without getting advice from us first.

Also while we wait please post up the three PCNs so that we can check the small print for errors.
I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law. Section 6 of the Interpretation Act 1978 applies to everything I post as it would apply to an Act of Parliament. I am a Conservative councillor, this means some people think I am "scum". I practice law in the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, London Tribunals, the First-tier tribunal for Scotland, and the Traffic Penalty Tribunal for Northern Ireland, but I am not a solicitor nor a barrister.

Quote from: 'Gumph' date='Thu, 19 Jan 2023 - 10:23'
cp8759 is, indeed, a Wizard of the First Order

CSkully621

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@cp8759 Hi, thanks for the reply. I'll get the PCNs to you soon along with any correspondence we get back from the council. In the mean time, the submission is as follows:

"Hi,

My name is [Name]
My number plate is: LS69 MGO

On 15/02/2024 I received 3 PCNs informing me of alleged offences happening between 06/02/2024 and 09/02/2024, one dated 13/02/2024 and two dated 14/02/2024 regarding driving down the Oxford Road bus gate between Charles Street and Brancaster Road.

I am a newer driver, dyslexic and the road (Hulme Street) is busy with many vehicles travelling down it and plenty of foot traffic from goods vehicles being unloaded and pedestrians crossing the road. This meant a lot of my focus had to be on the road ahead of me in order to drive safely.

Whilst advanced signs are present, they are to the side of the road with parked cars in front of them which obscure the information on them - especially when I have to pay so much attention to the road ahead due to traffic. Additionally, there are often goods vehicles unloading on the double yellow lines present on Hulme Street which further obscures the signs and due to their size adds to the pressure of driving down there.

At the junction from Hulme Street to Oxford Road there is no on-junction signage facing the direction of Hulme Street, like there is for the other directions. As there is on-junction signage facing all other directions indicating the restrictions on Oxford Road, I assumed Hulme Street was an intentional exception. The lack of road markings in this area compounded this misunderstanding.

On 06/02/2024 I drove down Hulme Street at 14:58pm - an incredibly busy time where there was plenty of foot traffic and vehicle traffic which took all of my attention. There were unloading goods vehicles and plenty of parked cars. I therefore was unaware of the advanced signage present.

Once I got to the junction, I could not see any signage indicating that I could not turn to the right from Hulme Street onto Oxford Road and, having missed the earlier signage and upon not seeing any road markings indicating that I couldn't, proceeded to turn right onto Oxford Road.

A few days went past, and on 09/02/2024 I drove down Hulme Street and turned right onto Oxford Road twice as my disabled partner needed picking up/dropping off at Manchester Metropolitain University. The conditions when I drove down Hulme Street both times on 09/02/2024 were similar to the time I drove down it on 06/02/2024 and once more I missed the advanced signage. As there were no road markings or on-junction signs, I made the right turn onto Oxford Road from Hulme Street twice more on 09/02/2024.

The PCN for 06/02/2024 had not been received by 09/02/2024, so I was unaware of the alleged offence when I turned right onto Oxford Road on 09/02/2024 or on 06/02/2024. I only became aware of the alleged offence(s) after I had received all three PCNs on 15/02/2024 (8 days after the first alleged offence and 6 days after the second and third), by which point I had made the turn three times.

Since I received the PCNs I have not turned right from Hulme Street onto Oxford Road as it was never my intention to drive through the bus gate - I was simply unaware of the restrictions due to the busy conditions concealing the advanced signage and on-junction signage not being present. Had I been aware of the restrictions the first time I went down Hulme Street, I would not have turned right onto Oxford Road - however I definitely would not have turned right from Hulme Street onto Oxford Road a further two times had I received the PCN from 06/02/2024 prior to my trips on 09/02/2024.

As I was unaware of the restrictions for various reasons and would not have repeated the contravention twice on 09/02/2024 had I been aware of the contravention on 06/02/2024 sooner, I consider requesting payment for all three contraventions a disproportionate punishment, especially due to my position as a full time carer only receiving universal credit (with disability element), and respectfully request that the two PCNs dated 09/02/2024 be cancelled and payment at the discounted rate be accepted for the PCN dated 06/02/2024.

I apologise for the time needed to formulate this representation - It took me a significant amount of time to face this issue without breaking down due to my anxiety, which I struggle greatly with on top of other mental health conditions. I am also dyslexic and required my partner to help draft and submit this representation.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
I hope this message reaches you well,

Respectfully,
[Name]"

In the subject line was "PCN Representations - MC19174954, MC19187195, MC19187559".

Hopefully nothing was said that'll shoot our chances down ;p

Thanks in advance!

Incandescent

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It looks OK to me as it is coming from yourself.  OK, it includes stuff we think needs to be said, but it is said in your own way, which is good. All you can do now is submit the reps and wait a response. Post it up when you get it.
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CSkully621

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Hi,

Sorry I completely forgot to post the PCNs! Here's the reply from the council though, hopefully I remember the PCNs in the next week (sorry, I have a condition which affects memory a lot!).

Attached are all 3 responses to the representations. We had one acceptance and two rejections.

I disagree with the rejections in the sense that it claims there are entry signs on the start of the bus gate, however none are visible from the junction when viewed from Hulme Street. Although advanced signage is present, nothing regarding the traffic conditions which frequently obscure and distract from said signage is mentioned in the rejection letter like we mentioned in the representations.

Let me know what you guys think please!

Thanks in advance and for all your help and advice so far.

Incandescent

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This is the point when you must decide whether to stand your ground or not.  If the circumstances for all three PCN are the same, then why have they only cancelled one of them ? Identical circumstances should result in identical outcomes.
Of  course this would mean risking the full PCN penalties. If you do take it to adjudication, you need to get both on the same adjudication, and make sure the circumstances of the cancelled PCN are shown as identical to those they haven't.

cp8759

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@CSkully621 fundamentally there needs to be a decision by the registered keeper on whether to settle now at the discount, or risk the full amount on appeal. I can explore the camera certification (we've not checked it for years as we don't see this location much any more) and we can always pick holes in the evidence pack, but there is no smoking gun at the moment so this largely depends on your partner's attitude to risk.
I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law. Section 6 of the Interpretation Act 1978 applies to everything I post as it would apply to an Act of Parliament. I am a Conservative councillor, this means some people think I am "scum". I practice law in the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, London Tribunals, the First-tier tribunal for Scotland, and the Traffic Penalty Tribunal for Northern Ireland, but I am not a solicitor nor a barrister.

Quote from: 'Gumph' date='Thu, 19 Jan 2023 - 10:23'
cp8759 is, indeed, a Wizard of the First Order

CSkully621

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In that case based on the replies by both of you we'll probably settle for the 60 and a lesson learned! Better than 90.

Thank you guys for the help :)


roythebus

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bit of a latecomer to this, the advance signs could be construed as referring to Measham Mews on the right as seen in GSV. There's no signs at all AT the junction of Oxford Road to prohibit a right turn. Surely that is contra to TSRGD? I know from driving round there a couple of years ago the road signage is badly faded as are the road surfaces in central Manchester.

Personally I'd challenege the lot at tribunal on the grounds of inadequate or missing signage. Do they supply a photo of the bus gate sign in the evidence pack? That could well be a winner if they don't.

Having had a second look at GSV, there's a big sign at the start of the bus gate, but that would be invisible for a vehicle turning right. It needs to be a bit further along. It would be quite easy to miss the advance signs if there's vans or lorries parked along there.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2024, 09:34:22 pm by roythebus »
Bus driving since 1973. My advice, if you have a PSV licence, destroy it when you get to 65 or you'll be forever in demand.

cp8759

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In that case based on the replies by both of you we'll probably settle for the 60 and a lesson learned! Better than 90.
@CSkully621 settle for 60?!? The discounted amount is 30, so if you can settle for that then it makes some sense to do so and the notice of rejection gives you 21 days, which have not yet elapsed.

The full amount of the penalty (without the discount) is 60.

You cannot ever end up paying 90 unless you miss a deadline. The amount due if you appeal to the tribunal and lose is 60, not 90, as long as you pay within 28 days of losing at the tribunal.

If the council is demanding 60 now then you have an open and shut winning appeal on the ground that the amount they're demanding exceeds the amount legally due, all you need is a couple of timestamped screenshots.
I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law. Section 6 of the Interpretation Act 1978 applies to everything I post as it would apply to an Act of Parliament. I am a Conservative councillor, this means some people think I am "scum". I practice law in the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, London Tribunals, the First-tier tribunal for Scotland, and the Traffic Penalty Tribunal for Northern Ireland, but I am not a solicitor nor a barrister.

Quote from: 'Gumph' date='Thu, 19 Jan 2023 - 10:23'
cp8759 is, indeed, a Wizard of the First Order

CSkully621

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@cp8759 Sorry for the confusion! To clarify that's 2x 30 charges, better situation than dealing with the 3x 30 charges or risking it becoming 180 total at tribunal (3x 60) even if I reckon it's a reasonable argument that there isn't any signage at the junction itself.

@roythebus Unfortunately unless we have a smoking gun (like >95%) I doubt she'd be comfortable going ahead with the appeal since the 60 is already quite a lot of money for us! 180 would be pretty detrimental to have to pay if we lose. I appreciate your input though!
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roythebus

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You're welcome. Be thankful you don't live in London! 120 a pop down here.
Bus driving since 1973. My advice, if you have a PSV licence, destroy it when you get to 65 or you'll be forever in demand.