Author Topic: Template letters for legal action against cycle barriers  (Read 639 times)

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

barakta

  • Bastard lovechild of Yomiko Readman and Johnny 5
Re: Template letters for legal action against cycle barriers
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2021, 12:23:43 am »
But really only usable if someone has a disability. Being a parent and using cargo or tandem bikes for example aren't disabilities under the law. So if you aren't disabled, you may wish to do some ally work by supporting a disabled "named claimant" or helping with funding things like issuing legal claims. Other tactics can be to get local cycle campaigns alerted to issues as some can do background work with councils to say "don't do this, or disabled people will sue you" so there's evidence they were aware.

Great 1st attempt at using the law. The author of the legal guide the OP used is my co-trustee of Reasonable Access - http://www.reasonableaccess.org.uk which is set up partly to encourage people to do such complaints with guidance on some of the stages and a bingo of reactions and strategy (more is coming). BUT... It legalling risk free. As the OP shows, the council were not responsive and he was only able to get undisclosed financial compo out of them, he didn't get any apology, admission of liability or any change to the dodgy gate which is arguably what he wanted.

While technically the OP can sue again, if it hits court, they will decide he's already had damages once and there's a significant chance the judge will be unsupportive. There's controversy about whether an injunction "legal mandate to change the barrier" can be done in the small claims court. I've seen it done, but it may be technically not normally done and is very reliant on a reasonable judge... And even if the judge is in theory happy with it. It has to be very very specifically worded and clearly not unreasonable as judges are reluctant to mandate something that the respondent could turn round as say was "overstepping" their mark.

So yeah. Great campaign and I would like to see more people do such things, and do it in a way which allows them to proceed to more significant change by demanding change as well as damages and being clear in correspondence that without change the damages go up and up. I've seen people ask for very high compo (within Vento bands) but say "If you do X I'll drop compo by ££" "If you do X and Y I'll drop compo by £££"... It's also hard to know how well that works. I've rarely seen a respondent make change if they can avoid it, even when it's simple... Cos they get so hung up on changing things would mean admitting it... Councils being really nasty to sue.

Also, it's not technically illegal for a group of people to plan to go to a barrier and sue for disability discrimination (Roads v Central Trains) BUT again, judges can be twats and still decide there isn't sufficient detriment to meet the legal test and downgrade outcomes as a result. Councils will play the "but motorcyclists/quadbikists" proportionate aim card very hard.

I hope one day to be able to get to York and try this one myself onna trike, which will probably end up being 2023 or so at the rate of my legs :/

Basically TLDR courts and judges are often shit. It is very hard to enforce your rights with the law.

The private matters rant thread is due an update.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Template letters for legal action against cycle barriers
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2021, 12:28:02 am »
Roads v Central Trains

Which is up there with Crank v Brooks in the nominative determinism stakes.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Template letters for legal action against cycle barriers
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2021, 08:48:33 am »
Great 1st attempt at using the law. The author of the legal guide the OP used is my co-trustee of Reasonable Access - http://www.reasonableaccess.org.uk which is set up partly to encourage people to do such complaints with guidance on some of the stages and a bingo of reactions and strategy (more is coming). BUT... It legalling risk free. As the OP shows, the council were not responsive and he was only able to get undisclosed financial compo out of them, he didn't get any apology, admission of liability or any change to the dodgy gate which is arguably what he wanted.
Not only what he arguably wanted but the only outcome that would be of general benefit rather than to him specifically.

Quote
While technically the OP can sue again, if it hits court, they will decide he's already had damages once and there's a significant chance the judge will be unsupportive. There's controversy about whether an injunction "legal mandate to change the barrier" can be done in the small claims court. I've seen it done, but it may be technically not normally done and is very reliant on a reasonable judge... And even if the judge is in theory happy with it. It has to be very very specifically worded and clearly not unreasonable as judges are reluctant to mandate something that the respondent could turn round as say was "overstepping" their mark.
If another claimant with a similar case at the same site takes the council to court, what bearing if any will this case have on that subsequent case, if you know?

Quote
I've seen people ask for very high compo (within Vento bands)
New terminology for me!

Quote
I hope one day to be able to get to York and try this one myself onna trike, which will probably end up being 2023 or so at the rate of my legs :/
On a side note, he says the anti-motorbike step thing is custom made for the site, but very similar items are seen all over the place so there must be a common pattern.

And finally, someone elsewhere (where I originally saw this) has commented that those barriers are put in not just against motorbikes but because "There is a problem with use of cycle ways by motorcycles (especially the type that are bought for children) and in some parts of the country by invalid scooters that are bought and used by able-bodied folk as fun vehicles (yes, really!)." Have you heard of able-bodied people buying invalid scooters as fun vehicles? Never heard of or seen it myself and with all the faster and cooler easily available vehicles, such as e-scooters, it strikes me as odd and unlikely.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Re: Template letters for legal action against cycle barriers
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2021, 09:19:59 am »
On the future case question:  this matter was settled outside of court so there is no precedent, no ruling from the court.   It would be good for a future claimant to learn the lessons of this attempt and then contact Barakta or somebody similar to ensure that they take the appropriate steps to get either an awful lot of comp or to get the matter before the court.

Perhaps the tactic should be a class action by wheelchair and mobility scooter users as well as trike riders, velomobile users, etc as well as disabled trike riders of course.   

The so-called able-bodied often display a lack of able-brain-ness with such ridiculous solutions imo.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Template letters for legal action against cycle barriers
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2021, 12:22:01 pm »
Have you heard of able-bodied people buying invalid scooters as fun vehicles? Never heard of or seen it myself and with all the faster and cooler easily available vehicles, such as e-scooters, it strikes me as odd and unlikely.

Probably that Colin Furze, ruining it for everyone else.

I've seen people use mobility scooters to transport their fishing kit on the canal paths.  No idea if they're disabled or not, but even if they aren't it's not like they're causing a problem for anyone by doing so.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Template letters for legal action against cycle barriers
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2021, 12:29:34 pm »
Sounds like a golf buggy really.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

barakta

  • Bastard lovechild of Yomiko Readman and Johnny 5
Re: Template letters for legal action against cycle barriers
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2021, 08:18:24 pm »
Missed the replies to this.

IANAL but I suspect the most useful thing for a future claimant would be witness statements from previous people who have experienced the barrier and complained. The settlement probably has some NDA style restrictions, but given it's been tweeted about there is probably some value.

It wouldn't be binding, but it would be a headsup that the council was aware, it wasn't just one person etc.

And the same would apply for another 1st line County Court case. It isn't binding, but IF the claimant won AND paid for the judgment to be transcribed, that could be submitted in a future claim by the original claimant or someone else. Reasonable Access have a few judgments up on our website for this purpose and we can sometimes find others which the claimants don't want public but will share case by case. The difficulty is ensuring legal relevance "On the facts" in a way the judge won't get pissy about, which is a judgement call. Litigants in Person do tend to piss legal types off cos we don't play the game properly and overstate things that aren't useful and miss out others... But given how hard it is to get affordable representation there isn't much alternative for many.

I would probably direct anyone else with issues to that original claimant to se if they'd be up for it. I think some things will only change if a gang of us sue in series until councils decide it's cheaper to fix than to keep coughing up damages.