I received a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) from Waltham Forest Council for passing through a conditional no entry sign on Francis Road in Leyton (at the Albert Road junction). The sign has been recently put up and I totally missed it. Like me I'm certain others have missed it and are being bullied by the council into paying the fine. The council truly does run an extortion racket. No two ways about it. I will be appealing the PCN and as a starting point I've just sent the following representation:
First of all, I had no intention to pass this conditional no entry sign. It was a Sunday afternoon. The roads were empty. I was on my way to Sainsbury's Local just up the road coming from Leytonstone. There were many roads available to me to get there and no incentive for me to skip this sign. I simply missed it.Secondly, about the sign itself, the conditional no entry sign is ridiculously easy to miss. It is obscured by the white arrow on blue background "carry on straight" sign right above it. There is no marking on the road on the ground ahead of it indicating to the driver that they should stop. There is no indication leading up to the sign that the layout of the road has changed and that there is no straight through access. This area has plenty of bold red unconditional no entry signs which are super clear to spot but there's no reason to assume that there will be a conditional no entry right in the middle of Francis Road. Given that this sign is a such an anomaly in the area there should be a white and red marking on the base of the pole to make it super clear to oncoming drivers that there is something here worthy of taking note. Add to that the conditional no entry sign should be slightly lower than it is so that it comes naturally and clearly into the view of oncoming drivers. And add to that the sign should be coupled with a camera sign to get the attention of oncoming drivers – especially local drivers – who have no reason to assume that the road which they are used to driving through is now conditionally inaccessible.Thirdly, it is clear to me that I am not the only person who has missed this sign. I went today to the site to make sense of the contravention I had committed and within 10 seconds of getting there a driver of a small van was on the verge of driving straight through before I jumped at his car waving to save him from a fine. I spoke to him and like me he totally missed the sign for the above-mentioned reason. I have also seen from doing a quick internet search that others have been caught out by this unclear road marking (e.g. http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?showtopic=118167).Unless the council has deliberately put up this obscure sign to catch drivers out and generate extra income for itself I believe it has a right to revisit this site and make it much more apparent that this part of Francis Road is no entry area between the said times. It baffles me why this isn't just a simple unconditional no entry area sign but that's a whole separate discussion. I will be making a Freedom Of Information request to get a better understanding of how many drivers have been caught out by this poor signage. Numbers don't lie. If I am just one of a handful of drivers who have made this mistake then I will happily pay the fine. If, on the other hand, the number of drivers caught out by this sign is in the hundreds then I believe the council has a duty to overturn the PCNs issued here and readdress the signage.
The Freedom Of Information request which I sent to Waltham Forest Council can be found here.