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Number of fines suggests city's bus lane system, not drivers, in the wrong

AS one of the 482 "criminals" who abuse the bus lane system in Glasgow each day I was hardly surprised to read your report ("£3.8m in bus lane fines for drivers in Glasgow", The Herald, January 14).

I drove north along Oswald Street, across Argyle Street and into Hope Street trying to get to Central Station, all the while concentrating on traffic and pedestrians and not expecting to find a bus lane on the right-hand side of the road let alone a "bus gate", a term not even used in the Highway Code, and which I now find much challenged successfully through the courts in England. I realised my error and did my best to rectify it as soon as possible – but could not do so safely until caught by the camera. I could not understand how I had missed the signs until I returned to the scene of the crime on foot. The area is covered by a plethora of signs. Those at the side of the road are easily obscured by high vehicles and those on the road surface are covered by traffic.

The letter I received from the city council when I appealed advised me that the signage is correct. I am sure it is, and I am sure it looked perfect on the drawing board, but in practical terms it is useless. Indeed, I would argue it is positively dangerous for drivers in a busy street to have their attention distracted to the extent necessary to read and assimilate all the information regarding types of vehicle affected, position of bus lanes, times of operation, no turning signs, parking restrictions and so on while at the same time watching for vehicles, including buses, changing lanes and errant pedestrians paying little attention to the traffic.

When 482 drivers are criminalised each day it strongly suggests it is the system that is wrong, not the drivers. Indeed, when I studied traffic engineering many years ago it was well accepted that if too many drivers were breaching a rule then it was the rule that was wrong.

I would not argue with the principle of the bus lane but the way it is signed must be easily and safely understood by all drivers, including strangers. Hopefully this will be remedied in time for the Commonwealth Games or Glasgow will go down as an internationally unfriendly city.

John Carmichael,

6 Maryfield Road, Broughty Ferry, Dundee.

Contextual targeting label: 
Automotive

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