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No more warnings for Askew Road bus lane offenders

Bus lane offenders

Hundreds of motorists are driving in a signposted bus lane on Askew Road in Gateshead - despite their actions being recorded on a bus lane camera. 

Now we are alerting motorists that after a month of issuing only warnings to offending motorists, we have begun to issue £60 fixed penalty charge for every offence recorded. 

For the past month, we have been issuing offenders with warning letters telling them that they've been photographed driving in a bus lane on Askew Road and that they should not do so again. On average around 350 warnings a day have been issued to motorists driving through the signposted and road-marked bus lane.  

Observations by council staff suggest that initially a small number of motorists had mistakenly used the Askew Road bus lane because they were unfamiliar with the new road layout and, despite the traffic signs, had driven through by accident.  

Askew Road offenders
However, a month later hundreds of drivers are continuing to drive through the bus lane and it now seems clear that most are simply ignoring the rules and using the bus lane as a short cut to the Tyne Bridge. 

Anneliese Hutchinson, service director for Planning Policy, Climate Change and Strategic Transport says "Motorists who use this bus lane as a rat run to the Tyne Bridge are committing an offence.  

"They are also causing delays for bus passengers and local residents because they are taking up road space which causes other junctions to become blocked. 

"Anyone illegally using this bus lane should be aware that they are now risking a £60 penalty charge and that we have cameras which will record their actions." 

Bus lanes in Gateshead - find out moreShe added: "Charging people for driving through a bus lane is very much a measure of last resort - we'd much prefer motorists simply to do the right thing. We have held off doing so for as long as we can but unfortunately the level of offending is such that we now have no alternative but to introduce the penalty charge." 

We closed the end of Askew Road two months ago and turned it into a bus and cycle lane only as an experiment for the type of measures it will need to adopt when the Tyne Bridge is reduced to a single lane in each direction next year. 

Traffic flow across the Tyne Bridge is likely to halve as part of legal requirements by the government to reduce air pollution in the area. We are currently trialling measures to deflect traffic away from the bridge, encouraging motorists to find alternative routes or alternative modes of transport while at the same time introducing measures that benefit public transport users, pedestrians and cyclists. 

The road layout is experimental and some minor changes have been made as a result of public feedback. Further consultations, observations and data acquisition will continue throughout the coming months to assess the impact on traffic flows. 

Bus lane offenders
30 October 2020

Hundreds of motorists are driving in a signposted bus lane on Askew Road in Gateshead - despite their actions being recorded on a bus lane camera. 

Now we are alerting motorists that after a month of issuing only warnings to offending motorists, we have begun to issue £60 fixed penalty charge for every offence recorded. 

For the past month, we have been issuing offenders with warning letters telling them that they've been photographed driving in a bus lane on Askew Road and that they should not do so again. On average around 350 warnings a day have been issued to motorists driving through the signposted and road-marked bus lane.  

Observations by council staff suggest that initially a small number of motorists had mistakenly used the Askew Road bus lane because they were unfamiliar with the new road layout and, despite the traffic signs, had driven through by accident.  

Askew Road offenders
However, a month later hundreds of drivers are continuing to drive through the bus lane and it now seems clear that most are simply ignoring the rules and using the bus lane as a short cut to the Tyne Bridge. 

Anneliese Hutchinson, service director for Planning Policy, Climate Change and Strategic Transport says "Motorists who use this bus lane as a rat run to the Tyne Bridge are committing an offence.  

"They are also causing delays for bus passengers and local residents because they are taking up road space which causes other junctions to become blocked. 

"Anyone illegally using this bus lane should be aware that they are now risking a £60 penalty charge and that we have cameras which will record their actions." 

Bus lanes in Gateshead - find out moreShe added: "Charging people for driving through a bus lane is very much a measure of last resort - we'd much prefer motorists simply to do the right thing. We have held off doing so for as long as we can but unfortunately the level of offending is such that we now have no alternative but to introduce the penalty charge." 

We closed the end of Askew Road two months ago and turned it into a bus and cycle lane only as an experiment for the type of measures it will need to adopt when the Tyne Bridge is reduced to a single lane in each direction next year. 

Traffic flow across the Tyne Bridge is likely to halve as part of legal requirements by the government to reduce air pollution in the area. We are currently trialling measures to deflect traffic away from the bridge, encouraging motorists to find alternative routes or alternative modes of transport while at the same time introducing measures that benefit public transport users, pedestrians and cyclists. 

The road layout is experimental and some minor changes have been made as a result of public feedback. Further consultations, observations and data acquisition will continue throughout the coming months to assess the impact on traffic flows. 

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