Thursday, 9 December 2010

Can other motorists use Bus Lanes during the bad weather?

Another issue causing confusion to drivers is whether they were permitted to drive in a bus lane so as to avoid hazardous ice and snow covered lanes. Is this legal or are drivers who do so risking prosecution?

The same laws apply whether you are driving on a clear day or in adverse weather conditions. In any circumstances bus lanes are solely for the use of buses or other vehicles that are listed on the road sign unless the signage is superseded by police/local authority temporary signage. Bus lane contraventions are normally enforced by camera. A Parking Charge Notice (PCN) is only payable if the council has a visual record of the contravention.

If a motorist receives a notice of intended prosecution for contravening signage and using a restricted bus lane, it is anticipated that leniency would prevail with regards to any appeals for such notices to be withdrawn.

Last winter and the current arctic conditions have involved some the worst weather conditions in the UK for decades. As a consequence the courts would have to adopt a common sense approach or thousands of motorists could be landed with unfair fines.

If you find yourself in receipt of a notice, fine or summons and you believe the extreme weather conditions should be taken into account, you may be fortunate and avoid a fine or penalty. However, in future, you should bear in mind that, if the law is applied by the letter, there may not be the leniency most laymen might expect.

Hopefully, the UK will not be visited by such extreme conditions for many years to come. Amongst pleas for better gritting plans to be implemented, I expect there to be much clearer guidance issued by the Police and Highways Agencies for the future.

If you need further advice or assistance with any motoring legal matter call us on freephone 08000 85 27 84. Our ‘phones are manned throughout the day, evenings and weekends - even on Christmas day and during all bank holidays.

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