Crowdfunded Cyclists' Defence Fund to take on the courts this week

Charity is challenging a fixed penalty notice given to a rider who couldn't stop in a cycle box at traffic lights because a car had blocked it
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Tomorrow the Cyclists' Defence Fund will back a Putney cyclist in challenging a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN).

The Cyclists' Defence Fund is a charity set up by CTC to fund precedent setting cases involving cycling and the law.

27-year old Alex Paxton received the penalty when he was unable to stop in a cycle box in Fulham last August.

According to the press statement, Paxton reached a set of traffic lights to find the cycle box had been illegally blocked by a car. He therefore positioned himself ahead of the illegally parked vehicle (instead of risking crossing three lanes of traffic) and ahead of the Advanced Stop Line and so had - technically - run a red light despite remaining at the junction.

A police officer witnessed the alleged incident and radioed a colleague, who then issue Paxton with the FPN. Paxton argues that as the officer issuing the FPN hadn't witnessed the incident, he was not able to assess the greater danger he would have been in had he complied with the law.

Paxton received advice from CDF on how to contest the FPN and was given assurance that CDF would assist with funding the legal challenge. He will contest the FPN at Lavender Hill Magistrate’s Court, Battersea tomorrow (Wednesday October 16th).

He said: “My resolve probably would have faltered taking this to court had there not been such overwhelming support from fellow cyclists to back my case.”

The CTC said: "When FPNs for footway or pavement cycling were first introduced, the Government assured cycling organisations that the penalty would be applied fairly and only when a cyclist’s actions endangered pedestrians, not, for example, when a cyclist uses the pavement to avoid a dangerous road."

CDF’s coordinator Rhia Weston said: “The same discretion that the police are expected to use when issuing FPNs for pavement cycling should also be applied when issuing FPNs to cyclists who fail to stop at ASLs.

“ASLs are there for a good reason: around 70 per cent of cyclists’ collisions occur at or near junctions. They are by no means perfect, but when used properly they have the potential to save lives. We understand that the Department for Transport is planning to update regulation around ASLs to overcome the considerable problems with their access, which does give us some hope that they will also clarify what a cyclist should do if an ASL is illegally occupied by a vehicle.”

The CDF’s crowd-funding appeal raised the target amount of £2,000 in four days and has now raised £2,450.

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