A ladies fashion retailer in Harrogate has caused controversy after posting signs encouraging customers to park in a cycle lane.
Snooty Frox on Hookstone Road in Harrogate recently installed two signs saying telling people that parking IS permitted in the cycle lane in front of their shop.
The shop has its own car park at the front of the shop and customers also frequently make use of parking on the side streets either side of the shop.
Local cyclists and cycling groups have commented on the inconsiderate and dangerous consequences of parking in cycle lane, pushing cyclists out to move around the vehicles.
Following a backlash of comments on twitter and facebook from irate cyclists and locals, the signs were removed yesterday (19 January 2013)
A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire Police said: If a cycle lane is marked by signs and a broken white line, you must not drive or park in the cycle lane unless it is unavoidable.
Although there is no specific definition of avoidable and each case will be dealt with on an individual basis, motorists are asked to use their common sense and courtesy and bear in mind the safety all road users. If a vehicle’s presence contributes to a collision or causes an obstruction they could be prosecuted.
We understand that information passed to a shop owner on Hookstone Road by a Police Community Support Officer on 17 January 2014, was not clearly defined. However, this was rectified three days later by a local sergeant.
We apologise for this lack of clarity and misunderstanding. However, the cycle lane was in operation several months prior to the 17 January.
The Highway code states: Cycle lanes. These are shown by road markings and signs. You MUST NOT drive or park in a cycle lane marked by a solid white line during its times of operation. Do not drive or park in a cycle lane marked by a broken white line unless it is unavoidable. You MUST NOT park in any cycle lane whilst waiting restrictions apply.
Law RTRA sects 5 & 8
A spokesperson for Snooty Frox said: We provide limited, off road, customer parking directly in front of the shop. Prior to the introduction of the cycle lane last year our customers also regularly used the roadside immediately in front of the shop to park during busy periods, and have done so during our 13 years of trading.
We trade in an out of town location with no nearby large car parking facilities. Our customers, in the main, travel by car from all areas of the country and it is an essential element of the business that parking is available.
It is unfortunate that this particular cycle lane was implemented without any consultation or consideration as to its impact on local business.
We contacted and sought advice from both Harrogate Council and North Yorkshire Police to determine if it was an offence to park in the cycle lane. We were advised on both counts that it was not an offence as long as we were not causing an obstruction.
This morning a North Yorkshire Police Spokesman has rung to apologise for the advice given referring us to section 140 of the Highway Code which states that ‘ ….do not drive or park in a cycle lane marked by a broken white line unless it is unavoidable….’ In view of this we will be advising our customers not to park in the cycle lane.
We can only apologise if this has caused offence to anyone as this was never our intention.
We do understand the issues surrounding the notice display and as a result of feedback we have now removed the sign.