Yet, when Dr Catherine Berry moved into a bus lane to give two speeding fire engines clear passage to their destination she never considered her actions would fall foul of the authorities.
Unfortunately for the mother-of-three, a bus lane camera snapped her moment of public spiritedness and duly despatched a penalty notice for £30.
The camera that caught Dr Berry is just past the fire station on Maryhill Road, close to the top of Queen Margaret Drive.
Outraged, the 38-year-old academic is now locked in a battle with Glasgow City Council to overturn the decision.
Dr Berry, who teaches cell engineering at Glasgow University, said the council refused to accept that letting past emergency vehicles was a valid excuse.
She has branded the appeals process a "complete farce" after spending the last seven months contesting the charge and is still waiting to hear the outcome from a hearing in February.
Dr Berry stands to pay out £90 if she loses her challenge to the city's transport officials.
She was driving back from a play centre with her three children – Rachel, seven, Alasdair, five, and Roddy, three – in July when she spotted two engines appearing from a fire station on Maryhill Road.
"I moved straight out of the way. It's just automatic: slow down, move to the left, let them by. The car in front of me moved out of the way as well. It was seconds and then we moved straight back again," she said.
"Then a month later I was issued with a notice. So I wrote to them and said 'oh look, this must be a mistake, there was an emergency vehicle coming and I moved out the way'. And they said 'no, you're still in the wrong, you can appeal if you want'. They took the stance that it was a point of law, you aren't allowed to do that, you have to stay in your lane."
After lodging an appeal in September, Dr Berry was ordered to an appeals hearing in February to argue her case.
"The case I presented was firstly, it is your natural reaction to shift out of the way when you see an emergency vehicle coming. Secondly, the car in front of me moved, so if I'd stayed there both lanes would have been blocked for the fire engines.
"And thirdly, I looked at London and their transport website says you can use a bus lane if there's an emergency vehicle coming," she said
Dr Berry said that even the council representative for the case admitted the fine "was ridiculous". She has also questioned why the bus lane on Maryhill Road was in action for 24 hours a day and said the whole process "has been exasperating".
"I must have spent hours on this thing now. With all the preparation it's taken, it has just been a complete farce. Everybody at work was laughing, saying 'typical council'. It's just ridiculous," she said. "What is more important, not going into an empty bus lane or getting out of the way? It is far more important from my point of view to move out of the way for emergency vehicles rather than to have them be held up."
A spokesman from the RAC said: "We understand people shouldn't be driving in bus lanes but if you are getting out of the way of an emergency vehicle then getting a ticket seems unfair. It seems like common sense should prevail here."
A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: "A driver would not usually face a penalty if they had a legitimate reason to be in a bus lane – such as avoiding an accident or pulling in to make way for an emergency vehicle. However, we have not been supplied with enough information about this case to be able to comment."
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