Fined £1700 for bus lane mistake

Published: 22 February 2010

An MCN reader racked up £1680 in fines in four days because he didn’t realise only some of London’s bus lanes are open to motorcyclists.

By the time Chris Ardern realised his mistake, he’d already notched up 14 penalty charges of £120 each.

Now the London Borough of Barnet has rejected his appeal even though the penalties were issued as little as one minute apart – the time it takes to get from one enforcement camera to the next.

On a single journey home from work on his Ducati 851 in September, Ardern, 40, earned six £120 fines, including five within eight minutes.

A year ago London Mayor Boris Johnson launched a trail allowing motorcyclists to use bus lanes on the capital’s “red routes”, identified by parking restriction lines painted red instead of yellow.

On other roads it’s down to individual London boroughs to set the policy.

But in the fanfare of publicity some motorcyclists appear to have missed this detail and believed all bus lanes had been opened.

Nich Brown, spokesman for the Motorcycle Action Group, said many riders had been caught out.

“When someone gets multiple fines like this you have to say that it’s not fair that there is this inconsistency,” he said. 

In a letter rejecting Ardern’s appeal, the London Borough of Barnet said: “Please note that every time you enter a separate bus lane even on the same day, it is considered a separate contravention.”

It said bus lanes open to motorcyclists carried signs showing a motorcycle symbol.

The council said in a statement: “All these penalty charge notices were issued correctly in bus lanes not located on red routes. In fact, there are no red route bus lanes in Barnet.

"It is clear, however, that there has been a level of misunderstanding by Mr Ardern and as a result we are reviewing his case and will contact him in the near future with a final decision.

“It is our understanding that there have been similar occurrences across London.”