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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 70188
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Stopped for a minute in a Red Route Loading/Unloading Bay to

Customer Question

Stopped for a minute in a Red Route Loading/Unloading Bay to let off my niece from the car and to retrieve her bag (goods - dictionary definition covers chattels) from the boot so that she could get on the nearby tube and we could carry on our journey on our way back from a weekend away. Loading dictionary definition does not preclude passengers.

There is nothing that I can find that precludes a motorist from unloading a passenger/bag from their car in a specifically marked loading/unloading bay. I was not engaged in a commercial activity, but then again, it doesn't say it must be commercial, not was I "shopping" in that sense. Goods need not be bulky (as per some case law).

Finally, TfL's own guidance for use of a Loading/Unloading bay does not define any particular activity or mention that passengers and their goods are not included -

Therefore would it be reasonable to presume that stopping briefly in a designated loading area for a passenger to get out and for me to unload her bag was permissible? There is nothing in the Highway Code or on TfL website to say otherwise, so therefore the offence in this instance, was not committed.

Thank you in advance.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: UK Traffic Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

So, in short, you stopped so your passenger could alight?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo

In short, I did, but she could have jumped out at the red lights ahead if she had not had the bag, which necessitated me stopping in a designated place.


This wasn't an instance of trying it on & hoping to get away with it, it was my believing, based on what I knew, that I was OK to stop & unload my niece's bag in a particular signposted place.


Hence why I am a bit aggrieved if this is not the case as there clearly isn't any clear guidance as to what constitutes unloading on any official site and a general member of the public was using reasonable logic in applying the rules that he was aware of.


You say "alight", which I'm guessing is going to be covered by some regulation or case law someplace, but it is not obvious anywhere. In this respect, a Red Route is discriminatory if it does not allow for a member of the public to stop to drop someone & their bag off, yet allows a delivery vehicle to stop, unload a small box into a nearby shop, then depart.



Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

If you are trying to rely on loading here then you will need to bring it within the case law.

Loading is defined in a case called spake v tester. It does not extend to allow a passenger to alight or disembark.

A "load" is defined in that case as something too bulky to transport without a car. The delivery of commercial goods are a good example.

These bag may very well be a load but you need to bring it within that definition. If you are saying that she got on the tube with it though then that weakens your argument I'm afraid as clearly it could not have been too bulky to transport without a car.

If it was just a very short stop then you may be able to convince TFL that it is only a de minimis breach and they should not be prosecuting it.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo


Thank you


Sprake Vs Tester is alluded to here


along with a number of other instances, such as Richards Vs McKnight. I don't think this judgement backs up the fact that an item has to be "too bulky" and indeed this instance says that "

It seems

to me that had the draftsman who was applying his mind at this point to the meaning of goods and what goods

should be covered intended to limit the definition of the word “goods” to heavy or bulky goods he would have

said so at this very point - or at least left the word to stand without further qualification". Being within the courier industry, I know that an item for delivery can sometimes be a small envelope, so there is no restriction as to size for someone delivering/collecting.


So I see that she had goods, which needed to unloaded and there's no limit to minimum size of load based on that adjudication. Also nothing to preclude a private vehicle from loading/unloading.


I will certainly request a de minimis breach as well as at 20:00 on a Sunday evening, there was not a great deal of traffic and certainly no other un-loading going on and I am aware that Gov guidelines allow/dictate for discretion at any point of the PCN process, though I won't hold my breath.


Not trying to be antsy, I just want to explore my options prior to going to PATAS and using the tools/information that I can find, none of which would appear to define loading/unloading contrary to my circumstances.


Thanks again.


Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
all the best.