From Monday, Transport for London will have new powers to issue penalty charges to motorists who veer into cycle lanes in the capital.
TfL has taken advantage of a rule change introduced earlier this month that allows local authorities to enforce moving traffic offences – and it means any motorist who crosses the solid white line of a cycle lane in any borough will likely be stung with a £160 penalty charge notice (PCN).
Previously, only the police could issue fines to drivers in London who break the law by entering a cycle lane – even partially – but from next week this will be enforced by TfL using its network of CCTV cameras across the city.
From Monday, Transport for London will be able to issue penalty charge notices to drivers who enter cycle lanes, having successfully applied to take enforcement powers from police
From 1 June, all councils across England and Wales have been able to apply to take over enforcement powers from police for moving traffic violations in their areas under a change to the law introduced by the Department for Transport.
It means authorities up and down the country can issue penalty charge notices (PCNs) to drivers for offences including illegally stopping in yellow box junctions, making illegal turns and driving into no entry roads.
TfL on Wednesday confirmed it has successfully applied for these enforcement powers for cycle lanes and cycle tracks, meaning all London boroughs will have the authority to penalise motorists in the same way they already do for driving in bus lanes.
The chances of drivers avoiding a PCN for mistakenly – or purposefully – crossing into a cycle lane from next week are extremely high with TfL able to monitor them using the thousands of automatic numberplate recognition cameras (ANPR) it has at the roadside in the capital.
The penalty charge amount dished out to offenders will be in-line with any other red route PCNs in London.
That means cycle lane infringements will result in a maximum PCN of £160, though this will be halved to £80 if paid within 14 days of receiving the ticket in the post.
Most motor vehicles are already prohibited from driving within or crossing the white lines of the cycle lanes that are marked by a solid white line and cycle tracks in the city, but because these rules have been enforced by police many offences go unpunished.
Drivers are also already banned from stopping or parking in a cycle lane when not permitted.
The chances of drivers avoiding a PCN for mistakenly – or purposefully – entering cycle lanes from next week are high with TfL able to monitor them using its network of ANPR cameras
TfL hopes that by reducing the number of drivers failing to comply with the law regarding cycle lanes, the new powers will help improve the safety and confidence of cyclists as part of the body’s Cycling Action Plan and Vision Zero goal of eliminating death and serious injury on the road network.
It says that more than half of Londoners choose not to cycle because of concerns over their safety.
Siwan Hayward, TfL’s director of compliance, policing, operations and security, said: ‘We welcome the introduction of the new enforcement powers in London.
‘Protecting designated space for cyclists is essential in keeping them safe and improving confidence to cycle.
‘We will start enforcing in key locations in London to deter drivers contravening the road rules.
‘We want to ensure a green and sustainable future for London, and to do this we must continue to make walking and cycling round our city safe and accessible to all Londoners.’
Cycle lane infringements will result in a maximum PCN of £160, though this will be halved to £80 if paid within 14 days of receiving the ticket in the post
Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, added: ‘Making London’s streets safer is our top priority.
‘These new enforcement powers will deter motorists from infringing on crucial space specifically designated to keep cyclists safe and will help improve cyclist’s confidence when getting around the capital.
‘Enabling more Londoners to walk and cycle continues to be at the heart of the Mayor’s vision to create a healthier, cleaner and more sustainable London for everyone – these new powers will play an important role in that.’
The new rules in London come just months after the latest update to the Highway Code in January that – controversially – provides additional priority for cyclists and pedestrians at junctions.
Local authorities handed powers to enforce minor traffic offences
Types of minor traffic offences set to be enforced by councils from 1 June 2022
- Illegal turns
- Driving in a no entry zone
- Stopping in a box junction
- Driving the wrong way on a one-way street
- Illegal U-turns Driving in cycle lanes
- Failing to give way to oncoming traffic
Drivers outside of London also need to take note.
That’s because motorists across the country can expect to see a rise in the number of PCNs issued for minor traffic offences, now that all councils can apply to take powers from the police as of the beginning of this month.
Transport Minister Baroness Vere said the decision to hand enforcement powers to local authorities will ‘help cut congestion, improve bus services and boost road safety’.
Maximum charges issued outside of London are likely to be less – around £70 – with discounts applied for early payment.
Motoring groups have already raised concerns that councils across the UK could bombard motorists with PCNs for offences committed as a result of poor road layout, signage and upkeep, which has been the case in London for years, according to the RAC.
It fears that some authorities may be ‘over enthusiastic’ in using their new powers for revenue raising reasons, which will see a huge spike in PCNs being issued.
The AA called for councils that apply for enforcement powers to first identify potential fine hotspots and suspend enforcement until the causes of hotspots are rectified.
Councils can haul in tens of thousands of pounds in fines at locations they know to be traps
It also said drivers should receive a warning letter for first-time offences.
‘London traffic penalty adjudicators continue to highlight instances of bad road layout, or councils ignoring or simply not understanding the rules of enforcement,’ it said.
‘With most innocent drivers paying up instead of contesting unjustified PCNs, councils can haul in tens of thousands of pounds in fines at locations they know to be traps.’
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