Chelmsford driver wins battle over viaduct fine
A DRIVER has won her six-month battle to overturn the £30 fine she received for driving under the viaducts towards Chelmsford bus station on Duke Street in November.
Ruth Hamer thought the road order, which usually forbids drivers from using this stretch, was not in place so she used the shortcut, but was flagged down by waiting officers and issued the fine.
Miss Hamer, of Broomfield Road, said: "I had read a story in the Chronicle reporting the traffic order was no longer in place.
"I had been looking out for further information to make sure the road was okay to use and hadn't spotted anything so far.
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"On the day I was stopped, officers were just waiting at the bus station flagging cars down.
"They were just pulling all the drivers over one after another.
"Initially I thought okay, I've been caught and was quite happy to take the fine.
"But when I got home and mentioned it to my boyfriend, something just didn't seem right."
So using the website ticketfighter.com, Miss Hamer set to work on looking into her ticket.
The 40-year-old added: "My ticket said I was unlawfully using a bus lane but the order on the road before had been 'no entry'.
"When I started looking into the ticket I found out factors that showed the bus lane was not legally marked out.
"I decided to plead not guilty to the ticket and so the police issued a notice saying I would be taken to court for trial.
"I arrived at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court and had to wait all day. I was so nervous but knew I was not going to back down.
"I'd collected so much evidence about the positions of signs regarding bus lanes and I knew I had to fight the ticket out of principle.
"At the court the legal aid kept asking why this had even come before them and thought it was all ridiculous.
"When we eventually got going I had to cross examine witnesses, give my evidence and go through the whole legal process.
"I know it was for only £30 but it was the fact that I knew the markings where not legal and so my ticket shouldn't stand."
Miss Hamer was found not guilty.
"I was delighted and just so relieved," said the customer advisor. "A sign indicating a bus lane needs to be visible at least 30 metres away and this one was only visible at about three metres so it was seen as unlawful.
"I know people will think why did I bother fighting it but just imagine how much money must have been collected by people getting tickets that aren't actually legal."
An Essex County Council spokesperson said: "Following the successful implementation of an experimental order in 2004, a permanent prohibition of motor vehicles was introduced and enforced on this section of Duke Street from December 2011."