Driver fined £130 for pulling into bus lane to let ambulance pass

A driver found himself with a £130 fine for pulling into a bus lane to let an ambulance pass.

The incident happened in Whipps Cross Road in Walthamstow, East London, with pictures showing James Sheridan-Vigor stopping in the bus lane to let the ambulance pass by.

Waltham Forest Council fined him £130 before initially rejecting his appeal.

The council gave into the pressure weeks later and cancelled the bill.

James has now spoken out about his frustration for the situation – saying he was simply moving into the lane to let the emergency vehicle pass.

James said: “Even after I appealed they said they issued it correctly and that emergency vehicles have the right to use the bus lane so myself (and two other cars) ‘would be more likely to obstruct their path than assist them’ – which I totally understand.

“However, when a bus is sat at a bus stop and an ambulance can’t magically drive through a bus it has to overtake on the right.

“So what I’m getting from this is they’ve either made a mistake looking at the evidence. Or we’re not supposed to help out our emergency services and get out of their way.”

James received a letter after appealing the fine which said: “Under current legislation a vehicle must not drive, park or stop in a bus lane during its period of operation unless the signs indicate that a vehicle may do so.

“I must advise that emergency vehicles may use the bus lane when responding to an emergency and therefore entering a bus lane when dealing with an emergency vehicle would be more likely to obstruct their path than assist them.

“A motorist must not put themselves in contravention of the law when dealing with an emergency vehicle unless directed to by an on duty police officer.”

A spokesperson for Waltham Forest Council said: “We have investigated this incident and this fine was issued in error. It has now been cancelled. We apologise for the mistake.”

The council stated that its policy says if an emergency vehicle is on a call, such as showing flashing lights and using its siren, and a driver pulls aside to make way, they will not get a ticket – even if it is in a bus lane.

However, if the ambulance is not on call, then drivers can get a ticket if they pull into a bus lane to allow it to pass.

A spokesperson from The Driving Instructors Association had this to say on the matter: “I recently listened to a radio broadcast interview with the Chief Constable of Derbyshire Police. He was emphatic that the bus lane is only to be used by those permitted vehicles and the emergency services, and all other vehicles that were prohibited from the bus lane should stay out of it during its time of operation.

“He said that hard shoulders of motorways were designed for emergency vehicles to gain access to an incident on a blocked motorway, and the bus lane should be considered the same. A solid white line should not be crossed.

“The question of moving forward of a red light was also discussed. His response was that nobody is allowed to cross a red traffic light, unless directed to do so by an authorised person controlling traffic.

“He said emergency vehicles that were held in the queue would hold back until the lights went green, or would take a different passage past the restriction. Emergency vehicles that were on an emergency are allowed to cross a red light, but do so under caution and treat the zone as a ‘Give Way’.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top