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Nurse fined for pulling into bus lane to let ambulance past 'will do it again'

By Callum Parke & Graeme Murray

A nurse who was fined for pulling into a bus lane so an ambulance could pass "will do it again".

Gwen Bendall was on her way home home when she spotted an ambulance approaching from the rear with its sirens on.

She moved left into a bus lane after seeing no buses were coming while the drivers' lane was jammed with cars wanting to turn right.

But she was astonished when she was later fined £30 for the incident, after Derby City Council sent her an image from a traffic camera.

Gwen, a nurse for more than 20 years at the Royal Derby Hospital, told DerbyshireLive : "I can remember it exactly, because I knew I did it.

"I did it for a reason and I knew why I had done it. It was going fast and had its blue lights on, so I didn't think. I thought they would let me off as I thought it was so clear, what I had done.

"But I was told that the ambulance should have gone in the bus lane. I know that usually, but I could see what was ahead and there were five or six cars waiting to turn, so I thought if I moved left then the middle lane was free and it could go charging into town.

"If I had stayed where I was, both lanes would have been blocked.

"I thought I would be exempted as my priority was to let the ambulance past, especially with no buses coming.

"What you can't see from the camera is what was ahead of me and I could see all the cars blocking the way, so thought it made sense for me to clear my lane for the ambulance."

This image was sent to Gwen by the city council, showing her in a bus lane with an ambulance at the top of the road, heading towards her (BPM MEDIA)

Gwen, who was in the car with her son, was travelling from her father's home in the city centre and was caught just a few metres from the end of the bus lane which is next to a single lane of traffic.

She got the fine on April 28 and challenged it, but was told on Wednesday the ambulance should have used the bus lane and gone around her.

But the 46-year-old said although the fine was reduced to £30 if she paid within 14 days, she felt the principle was wrong and she would do the same again in future.

She said: "It just seems like a bit of a jobsworth who isn't taking anything into consideration. I think I made the most sensible decision and the process is very blinkered. It's almost like 'bus lane, that's it'."

"Everyone has said it's ridiculous. The ambulance wasn't making any attempt to go into the bus lane, it was obvious it wanted to go into town and could likely see what I could see. But the camera doesn't pick that up.

"I'd still do it again in the future. You'd let an ambulance past, wouldn't you? Or any emergency vehicle."

Derby City Council issued a statement in which a spokesperson said: “The council cannot comment on individual cases.

"The footage for each case is reviewed individually and provides context for a Civil Enforcement Officer to understand the circumstances the driver was faced with.

"Based on this review, the Civil Enforcement Office will make a decision whether or not an infringement has occurred.

“Anyone who believes they shouldn’t have received a Penalty Charge Notice can make an informal challenge in writing.

"Details of how to appeal are included with the Penalty Charge Notice correspondence and on the council’s website.

“Emergency vehicles are exempt from traffic restrictions when wholly engaged in an emergency and drivers are informed of this in their driver training.”

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