20 October 2021

Nextdoor is a cesspit

My friend Jess Gold was the victim of some inattentive driving, by the driver of a van exiting a side road, New Oak Road, into Long Lane which she was cycling along on her Brompton. The van has come over a give way line without checking that the route was clear. Jess was, unsurprisingly, all shook up after being deposited off her bike and failed to get the details of the witness. We need to find her. Here are the details:

The only point of this post was to try and find the witness who happened to be black and by saying that it helps to find her although if you were wandering along Long Lane that day and saw what happened your evidence will be useful no matter what your skin colour is.

One of the responses would be astonishing if it was said to you at a social soiree but seems to be pretty normal for Nextdoor

I don't see a problem in stating skin colour in this instance and saying a lovely white woman would also have narrowed the field as to who Jess needs to make contact with.

The rant goes up to 11 though in the longer paragraph and is completely irrelevant to the subject in hand and not really what you want to read when you have been the innocent party, knocked off your bike and which luckily left Jess without broken bones, just a bit battered. 

What do we know about Jess? This

She has also gone into print about the A1000 dedicated cycle lane. What the public probably don't know about Jess is that she has a toddler who she takes out in her cargo bike and it is fortunate that she was not on that bike on that fateful day.

Her profile is silent on the question of drivers and she is absolutely entitled to 'pursue' (note the bad spelling of 'persuit') the offending driver and I would do the same (although it would be easier as I usually have cameras running front and rear). 

There is no evidence that Jess hates everyone who drives, she herself rents a vehicle when it is necessary.

Being in favour of cleaner air for everyone, in favour of a safe dedicated bike lane can only be good, she isn't campaigning to remove cars from the A1000, just to keep the current space allocation and there isn't a shred of evidence to support the viewpoint that she thinks she 'owns the road'.

How cycling along the major road when a van comes out of the side road, over a give way lane and takes you out can be equated to a cyclist not conforming to 'road standards' is quite a stretch of the facts.

This is why I don't do or say much on nextdoor and one friend has deleted her account.

Now, on the helpful side, we need to find the 30 year old black lady and anyone else who was in that vicinity on Wednesday 6 October 21 at about 11:30am

Thank you.


8 October 2021

PCNs - Exercise of discretion - #3 Bexley


Here we are, the first substantive set of policies on discretionary cancellation. A reasonable number of policies covering some frequently encountered situations and a first offence policy widely applied (which is good).

Mr Mustard takes issue with policy 6 as it simply isn't a legal requirement that a CEO (traffic warden) sees boarding or alighting going on. If you have a young child and park around the corner from the school the CEO can come along, issue a PCN in 40 seconds and be gone, whilst the parent is around the corner or even inside the school gates as drop off has to be at the class room or some other official handover point.


7 October 2021

Enfield traffic warden takes up limbo dancing

Mr Mustard has deviated from his 33 blogs about the use of discretion for two reasons, Barnet haven't answered yet, it is promised for today, and something caught his eye whilst cycling.

Leaving his car at home Mr Mustard took the lovely cycle path from near The Chicken Shed Theatre which takes you most of the way to Enfield Town away from the traffic to visit his favourite bakers (Holtwhites, do try them, coming soon to Palmers Green) and pick up various goods but managed not to pay for or receive the two croissants he fancied when he got home. Oh well, another day.

To vary the route slightly he took the off-road route through Hadley Woods which is found by taking Chalk Lane adjacent to Cockfosters Underground Station and then going down the side of the The Cock Inn.

He already has one PCN to fight there and it is popular with traffic wardens but this latest PCN takes the biscuit, Mr Mustard does not think it is possible for a public servant to stoop any lower.

Mr Mustard's eye was caught by a hand written note on a car so, it being in a public place, he stopped to read it.

The note says: 'That's a pedestrian drop kerb and I got a ticket for parking on it, hence the gap to the yellows'.

The car was parked where the silver car is in this google street view image (a car being in the way almost all the time to enable photographs of the surroundings).

Most pedestrian dropped kerbs have tactile paving so whilst really happy with the love shown by one motorist for another, Mr Mustard thinks his/her thinking is as defective as that of the traffic warden.

This isn't a place for people to cross the road, the pavement on their side simply runs out. There is no corresponding dropped kerb on the other side of the road. It isn't a vehicular entrance to a property and it doesn't lead to a cycle path. Those are the three bases on which a PCN could be issued.

Mr Mustard doesn't know who got the ticket and he would be delighted to assist the motorist if you happen to know them. 

The PCN that was issued is as about a miserable a PCN as it is possible to issue. The traffic warden is either not very good or desperate but there is no call for desperation, people manage to park wrongfully all the time and it is the genuinely in the wrong who could be given PCNs not people who have parked legally after the seductive ending of the double yellow lines and the knowledge that this stretch is always well parked up.

There was no traffic management purpose to this PCN, it is revenue raising pure and simple.

The end.

6 October 2021

PCNs - exercise of discretion - #1 Barking & Dagenham


The Secretary of State publishes Statutory Guidance to enforcement authorities as to how to exercise their powers when it comes to parking PCNs. The same requirement does not exist for moving traffic and bus lane PCNs but any half decent authority would also develop policies for responding to challenges against those types of PCN.

As you can read above, enforcement authorities, councils basically, 'should' formulate and publish their policies on the exercise of discretion.

'Should' means exactly what it says. It expresses a strong assertion or command rather than a wish. The SoS should have said 'must' to avoid any doubt.

Mr Mustard decided that it would be useful if he had those policies so could better help motorists who had fallen into error but who might be 'let off' in certain circumstances. Accordingly, he emailed all 33 enforcement authorities in London on 9 September and is going to blog the responses one at a time in alphabetical order. Some are commendably comprehensive and others are lamentably non-existent.

Barking & Dagenham start the alphabet and their reply is hopeless.

Mr Mustard knew that there weren't centrally organised policies about discretion as that wouldn't be the exercise of discretion but a dictatorship and the DfT would not say an enforcement authority should do something it had already done itself!  There isn't a London Council code of practice on the use of discretion. 

He sent a reply, he does not expect to hear anything else.

A bad start, it does get better but there are other hopeless cases at the end. He'll give those authorities a little time to pull their socks up and send a complaint to the Secretary of State at the end of all the laggards.


5 October 2021

Honourable Haringey

Mr Mustard was consulted about this story which resolved itself thanks to the enquiries made by the local democracy reporter. Mr Mustard, however, carried on digging. The car was towed from a spot on the left of the following picture, which is from 2021 and is in White Hart Lane near the car boot sale site.

What Mr Mustard found, was that since June 2021 those lines that you can see which are single yellow, should have been double yellows. They were in 2020 as this photo shows.

Mr Mustard is going to look back once he has obtained the Traffic Orders which existed prior to June 2021 (when changes were made within the White Hart Lane zone) to compare the lines which should have been there with what was actually there in case there has been an even longer standing problem.

So far, after a perfectly pleasant exchange of emails with the traffic orders officer, it was accepted that the single yellow lines should have been doubles and will be repainted and also that the school keep clear zig zag lines needed signs which are now to be erected.

Subsequently Mr Mustard asked if all wrongful PCNs would be refunded and to his pleasant surprise (it shouldn't be a surprise, any enforcement authority which has wrongfully demand a penalty, and possibly removed what turned out to be legally parked vehicles, should put their hand up and refund without demur) Haringey Council, via a Technical Officer, sent Mr Mustard this lovely email:

No need for you to wait if you were one of the affected parties. Contact Haringey Council, quote your PCN and ask for a refund. There isn't an email address for parking so best start at customer.services@haringey.gov.uk

If you have a current PCN, point out that the single yellow lines should be doubles and that the PCN must be cancelled as it was issued 'ultra vires' (outside the pwers of the council).

Any problems, do email mrmustard@zoho.com