Tuesday, April 01, 2014

High Court rejects driver’s claim that U-turn sign flawed

A driver who argued he should not have been fined for a prohibited U-turn because he actually performed a three-point turn has lost his case at High Court. Alexis Alexander’s initial appeal was rejected by adjudicator Anthony Chan at the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS).

Alexander went on to challenge the decision, but it was upheld by the reviewing adjudicator Andrew Harman. Alexander then gained permission to seek a judicial review, which was heard on 7 March. The case centred on the penalty charge notice (PCN) issued to Alexander by the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham after he was filmed on CCTV carrying out a three-point turn in Gliddon Road.

Alexander said that ‘No U-turn’ signs in the area were poorly positioned, making them hard to see. He also contested that, in any case, the ‘No U-turn’ street sign (above) indicated that a continuous sweeping manoeuvre was prohibited whereas he had driven across the road, reversed then moved forward again in the opposite direction.

The judicial review was heard by Judge Keyser QC, who dismissed the claimant’s view that the ‘No U-turn’ sign did not apply to three-point turns. The judge said that Alexander’s “reliance” on the single forward movement of the black directional line on the sign “seems to me to take pictorial literalism to an absurd length”.

Judge Keyser doubted that a “motorist interpreting the sign reasonably” would think it applied only to a “paradigmatic” U-turn and not to a three-point turn.

The judge said he hoped Hammersmith & Fulham council would consider if there was any way it could improve its signage. “Even if information given to motorists is adequate, that is not to say it might not be improved,” said Judge Keyser.

The decision sets a precedent, and in future adjudicators will be bound by Judge Keyser’s findings.

Source: TransportExtra.


Anonymous said...

WHY, when the Department of Transport, TRAFFIC SIGNS MANUAL, 1982 amended 2004, states in Chapter 1, INTRODUCTION, on page 11:

(the WHOLE ESSENCE is that, the signage must CLEAR and conform, to very strict regulations - NB most signs DON'T !)

1.1 Clear and efficient signing is an essential part of highway and traffic engineering and a road with poor signing or with badly maintained signs is an unsatisfactory road. Road users
depend on signing for information and guidance; highway authorities depend on signing for the efficient working and the enforcement of traffic
regulations, for traffic control, and as an aid to road safety. Signing includes not only signs on posts but also carriageway markings, beacons, studs, bollards, traffic signals and
other devices.

1.2 Signs must give road users their message clearly and at the correct time. The message must be
unambiguous and speedily understood; it must be given not too soon for the information to have been forgotten before it is needed, and not too late for the safe performance of
consequent manoeuvres.

1.3 The types of signs and carriageway markings etc, available for use are
prescribed by Regulations. Limiting the number of types of sign available assists in their quick recognition as does uniformity of shape, colour and
lettering for each type. It also makes available to highway authorities a set of standard signs and saves them the labour of design. It aids the courts in giving the same meaning to standard signs. Quick recognition is further aided by using different shapes and colours for different sign groups, e.g.,
warning signs are triangular with black symbols, white grounds and
red borders.

1.4 Uniformity of signs is not however enough; uniformity of signs without uniformity in use is objectionable and could impair road safety. For instance,
warning signs sited at different
distances from their hazards in different districts could confuse a road user accustomed to only one district.

1.5 To obtain the fullest benefits of uniformity there must not only be uniformity of signs but also uniformity in their use, in their siting and their illumination.

1.6 This manual sets out the codes
to be followed in the use, siting, and illumination of signs both on all-purpose roads and motorways. It also covers temporary signs for use in connection with road works, in emergency by the police, and temporary route signing by motoring organisations and
highway authorities.

1.7 In this chapter, after historical and legal sections, there follow sections describing the basic technical requirements of the present signing system. Most of these technical sections are expanded in greater detail
in later chapters.

Anonymous said...

Good comment, very useful .
But can't help laughing at the mug who thought he could talk his way out of a nick for a Uturn, by saying he done a 3 point turn.

Must have been driving a Vito ;)

Anonymous said...

Does this mean that in the future if a driving test applicant performs a u-turn when asked to do a 'three point turn' or turn in the road, that the examiner must legally accept this manoeuvre as correct?

A u-turn is a U-TURN

Maneuvering your vehicle to face in the opposit direction using forward and reverse gears, popularly referred to as a three point turn is a specific and completely different manoeuvre. In law!!

Now, way back in the nineties when I took my cab driving test I was asked to perform one of these manoeuvres in Mandela Street, Camden.

Guess which one!!

It don't take Einstein to work out that if there's a No I turn sign, there's the capability for a u turn to be executed.....which would make a three point turn unnecessary, and probably very dangerous!!

The Kingsway is a perfect example!!

No u turn - okay, I'll find a legal manoeuvre.

Who in their right mind would think:-

'I know, I'll do a three point turn!!'

Insanity or genius?

Blind Pew said...

It was not a one way so just reverse across,

Anonymous said...

Just recently received a PCN for doing the so called illegal U-Turn like a lot of unaware people.

Annoyed so Downloaded Government Traffic Signs Manual: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/223943/traffic-signs-manual-chapter-03.pdf

Went to Google Street View and Got Photos of approach to signage and actual signage:


In the First Google Maps image you will notice that there is no pre-warning signs on Talgarth Rd informing anyone that they will be entering a controlled road.

In the second image you will notice that as a driver turning left into Gliddon Road it's impossible to see any signage for a tree and post in the way. And, if a driver was to make a left turn it would also be impossible to read the sign at such close a distance whilst concentrating on the camber of the road to make the maneuver.

In the Third Google street view image you will see the actual signage.
Notice that there is only one sign on the left hand side of the Road warning that U-Turns are not allowable ( I believe there should be 2 signs) And note that the sign which should indicate for how long the restriction applies is actually broken in half making it impossible to read.

Below is a paragraph from the Government Traffic Signs Manual which I believe may have some relevant information:


4.50 Where the prohibition applies to a length of
road, the start should be signed using a pair of signs
to diagram 614, one on each side of the road or, in
the case of a dual carriageway, on each side of the
carriageway. Both signs should have a supplementary
plate to diagram 570 showing the distance over
which the prohibition applies. A sign and distance
plate should also be erected within 50m of each
point of entry from a side road.

The way I read the above paragraph is that there should be 2 warning signs on entry to Gliddon Road.(There is only one according to Google street View)
There should also be a supplementary sign showing the distance over
which the prohibition applies( The Sign is broken in half and is unreadable in Google Street View)
There is No pre-warning signs on Talgarth Road indicating that by turning left into Gliddon Road that you are entering a road that has any traffic controls or restrictions.

Does anyone think the above is grounds enough to contest a PCN?