Man caught using 'smallest bus lane' gets fine overturned

Geoffrey Ben-Nathan successfully overturned his fine.

Geoffrey Ben-Nathan successfully overturned his fine. - Credit: LDRS

A driver successfully overturned a fine after being caught using “the smallest bus lane in London”. 

Geoffrey Ben-Nathan, 77, was given a ticket for driving through a 12m stretch of the bus lane in Harrow’s Northolt Road. 

He said the signage before reaching the bus lane is “unclear” and will lead to many other people getting fined. 

Most of the bus lane along Northolt Road has restrictions at certain times of the day but this becomes a 24/7 restriction for the small section at the junction with Alexandra Avenue. 

Geoffrey has called on Harrow Council to remove the 24-hour stretch of bus lane or, at the very least, make the warnings to drivers clearer.

He said: “It’s difficult to see what purpose the bus lane serves. There is no lane at all – it is effectively a box along one side of a small triangular island. 
“It must be the smallest bus lane in London – I’ve measured it and it’s just over 39 feet. Only one bus can fit in it. 

“And it has no prescriptive warning sign directing the motorist to change lanes. I’ve never seen a sign like it – it could be unique.”

Tight fit: The bus lane does not leave much room.

Tight fit: The bus lane does not leave much room. - Credit: Google Maps

Geoffrey, who lives in Northwick Park, took the case to a tribunal where the adjudicators found in his favour. 

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He gave evidence of several other drivers who have been caught in the same situation who also successfully appealed their fines. 

He suggested the council is happy to keep the bus lane in place, even if it loses a few cases, as most people will “simply pay up”. 

He said measures should be put in place to make the situation clearer to drivers, particularly if this is a problem spot. 

Geoffrey said: “One answer is that councils be put under a statutory duty to flag up all contraventions which are so many per cent above average: be they contraventions in entering a bus lane or contraventions at any other location."

Harrow Council has been contacted for comment on this case. 

When questioned on a similar case in January 2020, a council spokesperson said: “The law is clear – you cannot drive in a bus lane at any point where there is a solid white line.

“We stand by our view that the signage is valid and clear according to the law.”