Advanced stop lines

Legal Q&A: ‘Bicycle’ loophole?

Q:  I have recently been stopped by the Met Police and offered a fixed penalty offer of three points and a fine for stopping in an ‘Advanced Stop Line’ box on my ‘motor bicycle’ in London. This is the box cyclists can use to wait at the head of stationary traffic stopped at red lights (although most of the ones I see don’t even bother stopping! Lunatics!).

I was just going to accept the offer as I know I shouldn’t have been there. I get the box is there to aid in ensuring the safety of cyclists on the road. However, as I have a V5, i.e. a legal document that states my Fazer is a ‘bicycle’ I reckon I can legally argue I’m allowed to be there with the other bicycles. What do you think? Do I have a defence? I’m pretty good at public speaking so it doesn’t faze me.

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A: Firstly, I appreciate you thinking ‘outside the box’ (no pun intended!). Alas, whilst you may be good at public speaking and your V5 may state ‘bicycle’, the long and short is your Fazer is a ‘motor cycle’ for the purposes of this offence.  A ‘motor cycle’ is defined at s.185 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 as a ‘…mechanically propelled vehicle, not being an invalid carriage, with less than four wheels and the weight of which unladen does not exceed 410 kilograms’. Your Fazer falls slap bang into this definition and therefore my advice is to accept the offer if the signs stated the box was for cyclists only.

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The MoreBikes legal column is compiled by managing partner Andrew ‘Chef’ Prendergast and his bike-riding barristers and solicitors at White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors.

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The firm deals with personal injury claims and its sister company, Motor Defence Solicitors, deals with all the motoring offences. White Dalton lawyers have a vast knowledge of bike law, and they have full bike licences, too. They don’t act for insurance companies or the prosecution. White Dalton is Britain’s premier specialist motorcycle law practice, and if its professionals don’t know the answer to your question, there probably isn’t one. Don’t rely on the advice from your insurance-appointed solicitor, get proper independent advice.

For road traffic offences, call the

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