U-turn across a bus lane - Lambeth can't wait to fine me

During the winds of last week I happened to perform a U-turn into a bus lane, which I thought was open to motorcycles. I couldn’t be certain however as I passed no signs, having entered the bus lane from a U-turn and passed no painting that indicated anything other than “Bus Stop”.

Do I have any defence on the grounds that:

  1. I was in the bus lane for less than three seconds / 5ft
  2. I passed no signs or road markings
  3. Less than 200m down the same road is a bus lane that is only 7am-7pm (this one turns out to be any time)
  4. The photos merely show a motorcycle in a bus lane, the only one that shows my licence plate a) isn’t clear b) doesn’t show that I’m in a bus lane

The photos and video can be viewed here

Worth taking to the adjudicator? (because I know the informal and formal appeal are a waste of time with Lambeth)

Looks pretty clear cut to me. That’s not just a bus lane at the side of the road – it’s a dedicated exit onto the road turning left, physically separated from the rest of the road. If you had just done a u-turn, cut into the Bus lane and then straight out it might be worth appealing, but IMHO for this one I would just pay up.

That said, have you asked on the fightback forums? http://forums.pepipoo.com


I would still contest it based on that you had no idea on the hours of operation and if Motorbikes were allowed, you have nothing to lose apart from time.

I agree, you u-turned into a dedicated bus lane. How is the council meant to know where to put the signs just in case someone decides to u-turn into to it.
That junction is wide enough to complete a u-turn without having to go into the bus lane.

You thought the bus lane had ended because the white line didn’t run completely to the island? :unsure::Whistling:

I thought motorcycles were allowed in bus lanes in Lambeth.

Generally they are - most of the bus lanes are open to motorbikes in Lambeth. However there are a couple of stretches on the A3 and A 23 where they are restricted to push bikes, buses and taxis. This isn’t always that obvious and I have been caught out before near the war memorial.

Lambeth doesn’t allow bikes in any of its bus lanes as far as I am aware and enforces then ruthlessly.

However, roads that are the responsibility of TfL (Red Routes) usually have bus lanes that are open to motocyclists and several of them run through Lambeth.

This means that routes like the A3, A23 and A24 which are mainly operated by TfL, have bus lanes that are open to motorcycles, but it can get confusing.

For example, my route to work is A24/A3/A23 from Cheam to Parliament Square.

A24 is all TfL so bus lanes can be used.
A3 from Clapham to Oval is TfL so bus lanes can be used.
A23 from Oval for a few hundred yards to just past FWR is TfL and then suddenly stops being a TfL road and becomes Lambeth responsibility.
Bus Lanes from there until the railway bridge just south of Westminster Bridge are operated by Lambeth and you can’t use them.
Under the railway bridge the road reverts to TfL and the Bus Lane from there and going over Westminster Bridge can be used by motorcyclists.
However, when the bus lane moves from the left side of the road to the right side of the road on approach to Parliament Square when again motorcycles are not allowed because TfL don’t allow motorcycles in what they call “contraflow bus lanes”.

There really is no alternative to reading the signs, although paying attention to the colour of any parking restriction markings on the road helps.

As Giuliano says above none of the Lambeth council controlled bus lanes allow motorcycle use.

I questioned them about this last year & they have no plans to change the policy as they believe it is incompatible with cycling safety.

Yep I think they can do you for that - the fact that you did a u turn is irrelevant - plain fact is you used a dedicated bus lane, The evidence shows your licence plate before you entered and a timestamped photo of you in the lane - unless you can prove that in that millisecond a helicopter winched you away and replaced you with another identical bike then you have been nicked.

So none of your four points above are a valid defence…sorry about that.

A ridiculous response, I cycle down shared bus lanes through Lambeth daily and aside from a few L plated tossers on scooters and big men on sports bikes who have to be doing at least 40mph past you to prove what an awesome rider they are (both rare in my experience), I don’t have any conflict with motorbikes. It’s the buses and cabbies who always seem to be out to kill me.

that is so stupid… so TFL have done an exhaustive three year survey and found it ok but Lambeth which runs a much smaller network and generally less busy routes found it not safe? probably based on actually no testing at all

Apologies to anyone on here who work for lambeth (and are therefore clearly fine, decent and upstanding human beings) but in my 2-3 dealings with Lambeth I have found them to be without exception a total shower of *****.

Given it was a pretty big and chunky solid white line you crossed to get to the bus lane I would pay up and move on with your life. If you have more time than money at the moment, give it a go.

I appealed one last year where I bottled an slightly hot turn into the entrance of a petrol station (lots of oil/diesel) and continued along the bus lane and went in the exit instead. I used the online appeal saying I was turning left, it was a safety issue and given the road was empty its not like I was avoiding a traffic jam. They sent me back an arsey letter saying there is no good reason for being a bus lane but let me off anyway. :smiley:

The online appeal doesn’t take long and I think it stops the clock on the ramping up of the fine.

All councils give the ‘let you off this once reply’ if you do win the appeal - it’s a get out clause saying they might of been wrong but aren’t going to admit it otherwise all fines given might be wrong…

Does this add any weight to the potential for an appeal… it refers to a turn made that prevents any possibility of realising the filter was in fact a bus lane. Further, are the blue bus signs on the traffic light legal? This is a bus lane, not a bus gate.

The council makes a staggering £800,000ish per year in fines from this one junction.

Case Reference: 2120298306
Appellant: Mr David Anthony Chapman
Authority: Lambeth
PCN: LH53905813
Contravention Date: 31 Jan 2012
Contravention Time: 16:08
Contravention Location: Clapham Park Road
Penalty Amount: £130.00
Contravention: Being in a bus lane
Decision Date: 05 Jul 2012
Adjudicator: Sean Stanton-Dunne
Appeal Decision: Allowed
Direction: cancel the Penalty Charge Notice and the Enforcement Notice.
Reasons: Mr Chapman has appeared in person.

I am allowing this appeal because I am satisfied from the evidence that the signing of the bus lane was not adequate.

There was no sign where Mr Chapman entered the bus lane indicating that he was entering a bus lane. The image submitted by the Council of a bus lane sign and the legend in the road were further back down the road. Mr Chapman crossed over to make a left hand turn at the traffic lights with no warning that he was entering into a bus lane. He saw only the green filter lights indicating what he believed to be a permitted left hand turn. The only bus lane warning was a tiny circular sign beneath the green filter light. A motorist could not hope to see that sign before it was too late to avoid the left turn. It was “too little too late”. The signage was not in my view adequate to warn a motorist against a left hand turn into the bus lane.

I think you have a case, the people who are saying that you crossed a white line and should have known better are talking bollocks because bus lanes have hours of operations, how were you supposed to know those hours of operation?

I’m guessing the ones that don’t get fined are the ones reading the signs… :wink:

there fixed it for you :smiley:


See link for legal requirements for signage to be
I would look to see if the “bus lane” is painted at the appropriate distances rather than concentrate on the blue signs as the fact you crossed a solid white line potentially negates any argument.


“I was doing a u-turn and thought I was entering a left hand filter as the traffic light clearly showed a green left turn signal. It was only when I got closer to the traffic light that I realised that the lane was supposedly a bus gate. I was then even more confused as it couldn’t be a bus gate and regardless, it was already impossible due to the architecture of the layout to correct the mistake.”

The second point is really de minimis - I’ve travelled less than 2m and again, once I’d started to go in, there was no way to safely correct the mistake.

Thirdly, there is a turn possible, left or right, from the opposite side, just off camera. As it’s not left turn only, the opposite bus lane should have a road marking to make it clear that it’s a bus lane - I believe this is what the road traffic regulations act states.

Fourth there is no end of bus lane sign… “The end of a bus lane is indicated by a sign to diagram 964” without which, confusion continues.