12 July 2018

School zig zags - don't stop there

East Barnet School
Mr Mustard was consulted by a motorist who had been caught on the school keep clear markings as he stopped on them briefly in order to reverse past them into a parking space, the car in question is the one to the right of the word 'clear'.

In order to move from forward motion to reverse it is necessary to stop for a short while during which time you have to change gear and the laws of physics require that you are stationary for an instant. The computer decided the lack of motion should be considered for a PCN and a human being pressed the button to confirm the computer selection. How much time they spent thinking about this we do not know.

The contravention on school keep clear markings is of 'stopping' and a millisecond may well be long enough to make out a contravention but context is key. In this case Mr Mustard did not think a penalty was deserved and so he wrote to the parking manager:

In this case 'T' stops fleetingly in order to reverse into a space which would otherwise not be accessible. To my mind he doesn't deserve to be sent a PCN because this was a trivial period of stopping for good reason, although presumably a team member thought he did & technically yes he did stop.

I was wondering if you might think the same? If so, please cancel the PCN & save us all from extra paperwork.

It turned out that the manager did agree and the PCN was cancelled accordingly:

This is sensible as there wasn't any intent to do anything dangerous which would endanger the life of a child and none are in the picture that early afternoon.

Notwithstanding that Mr Mustard has put this PCN to bed he suggests you don't park in this way but go up the road past the zig zags, turn around where safe and then return and enter the parking space head on such that you don't have to stop on the entrance markings.

Mr Mustard has seen a PCN lost at the tribunal because the motorist pulled up on the zig zags in order to execute a 3 point turn. Mr Mustard agrees with that decision. Outside a school is not the place to be turning around.

The other problem he sees is when the keep clear zig zag lines are placed outside fire and ambulance stations. Those probably won't have a time plate as they apply 24 hours a day. He saw a PCN lost at Hartley Close around the corner from Mill Hill Fire station for this reason.

One further problem he has seen is when you have to stop on or alongside the keep clear markings because the road is only wide enough to let one car through and you obligingly waited for the other car. If you have your dash cam running that recording will help you overturn a PCN for stopping, as it was to avoid an accident, which amounts to an exemption.

Mr Mustard hopes that his advice keeps you out of trouble.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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