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New Brighton bus lane is legally unenforceable
Car drivers can use new bus lanes without fear of punishment this year because the restrictions are not legally enforceable.
But Brighton and Hove City Council is calling on motorists to observe the new markings in Lewes Road so they are used to them when fines can be issued.
The controversial bus lanes are one of the key aspects of the £4 million improvements to the road.
They are set to run along both sides of the route and will be monitored by cameras so that car drivers caught using them will be fined.
However, despite a stretch of the lanes already being marked out, the council cannot legally enforce the scheme until its completion – which is not expected until the beginning of 2014.
A council spokeswoman said: “The bus lanes being marked out as part of the improvements will not be in force until the entire scheme is completed.
“Notices will then be put up and cameras will be used to ensure correct lane use.
“We are not currently able to install signage warning of the bus lanes because they are not legally enforceable.
“While the work is completed, we advise people to observe the lane markings as this helps the future use of the road to be established.”
She added that the council would not be putting up signs to tell motorists that they are legally free to use the lanes until completion.
Motoring campaigners have called the decision to withhold the information as “misleading” and “plain wrong”.
Motoring lobbyist Steve Percy added: “It’s similar to what they did with the 20mph zones, it’s just plain wrong.
“It is unfair for them to suppress this information and unhelpful for drivers.
“I think the bus lanes are unnecessary anyway, but that aside, if people want to get their last few months of use out of the lanes then why shouldn’t they?”
The Lewes Road improvements, which are being funded by government money, are being completed in stages.
The route is one of the city’s busiest and is among the worst areas for air quality.
Among the changes will include new cycle and bus lanes and 30mph speed limit zones.
It is expected to be finished early next year.
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