Growing anger over fake 50mph sign that tricked thousands of drivers

The prime minister has been urged to help thousands of motorists who were given speeding tickets due to a fake speed limit sign on the A20 in south-east London.

The fake 50mph was placed on the busy A20 in south-east London. (Getty)
The fake 50mph was placed on the busy A20 in south-east London. (Getty)

The prime minister has been urged to help thousands of motorists who were given speeding tickets due to a fake sign on a busy road.

Drivers received automatic fines and penalty points for violating the speed limit on the A20 near Sidcup in south-east London after an "unauthorised third party" installed a 50mph sign on 24 January. Transport for London (TfL) had temporarily reduced the speed limit from 70mph to 40mph due to frequent flooding.

Although the Metropolitan Police acknowledged the sign should not have been there, they claimed it "would not have impacted the enforcement of the 40mph average speed limit." In January, Tory MP Louie French and 11 other MPs, wrote a letter to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, asking him to cancel the fines just before the police denied the request to waive the penalties for approximately 600 drivers.

French, MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, continued his protest at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday and demanded that TfL, the Met Police, and Khan cancel the motorists' punishments. “This has left many drivers including carers, emergency service workers and teachers at risk of losing their licences and jobs,” he told Rishi Sunak.

The PM said he understood the concerns drivers had over the ongoing issue and would organise a meeting between French and the “responsible minister" to discuss them.

Britain's MP Louie French speaks during Prime Minister's Questions, at the House of Commons in London, Britain, March 6, 2024. UK Parliament/Andy Bailey/Handout via REUTERS    THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. IMAGE MUST NOT BE ALTERED.
MP Louie French speaks during Prime Minister's Questions. (Reuters)

The Metropolitan Police previously claimed anyone who had driven through the section of the road marked as a maximum speed of 40mph and then increased their speed to 50mph after seeing the fake sign would not have received a speeding ticket based on their average speed on that road section.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Our prosecutions team, which deals with speeding offences, has taken legal advice and the location of the 50mph sign would not have impacted the enforcement.” It added that the placing of the fake sign was being looked into as an act of perverting the course of justice.

A TfL spokesman said: “Safety is our number one priority and we have temporarily introduced a 40mph speed limit on the A20 Sidcup Road due to ongoing surface water flooding which has caused a number of safety concerns and serious risk to road users.

“The reduced speed limit has been introduced in response to that risk. Major work is required to put in place permanent measures to tackle flooding here and we are working to do this as soon as possible. We plan to begin construction work on these measures in May.”

French’s letter also called on TfL and the Mayor to provide specific dates for the commencement of road safety works and the end of the “temporary” speed limit. Additionally, the signatories requested information on the steps being taken to improve signage for drivers and ensure that satellite navigation systems were updated.

French also asked for disclosure of the number of speeding fines issued on the stretch of road since the installation of cameras and new speed limits.

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More London stories - click above
A speed camera in London. (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)
If you want to appeal a fine you can go through a court. (Getty)

How to appeal a speeding ticket

If you want to appeal a speeding ticket, you have to go through the courts, not the police. You need to complete parts one, two, or three on the notice to identify either yourself or someone else as the driver. Failure to do this is an offence in itself.

Once police receive this information, they will send a letter explaining your options, including how to appeal. If you choose to appeal and a court finds you guilty of the offence, it can give you more than three points on your licence, increase the penalty fine or charge you for the court costs.

If you do not respond to the letter within 28 days, your case will be referred to court because you failed to provide the information requested. Failure to provide driver details is an offence, and a conviction will result in six penalty points being added to your licence, as well as a possible fine.

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