You will usually see markings on the road with bus lane printed and they tend to be set out with white lines and are coloured red/green(to make them obvious and divert traffic). The solid white line marks the edge of the bus lane, and the white dashes mark the entrance and exit of a bus lane; you should not cross over the solid white lanes at all costs unless told to do so and may use the dashed white lines to enter and exit when required to.
The Highway Code states: Bus lanes are shown by road markings and signs that indicate which other vehicles are permitted to use the bus lane. Unless told otherwise, you should not drive in a bus lane during its period of operation.
The rules surrounding who has the right to drive in a bus lane can be quite confusing, and it usually depends on the particular location of the lane itself. Some bus lanes are only to be used solely by buses, whereas cities with busy city centres, like London, have to open up their bus lanes to other motorists as a means of keeping traffic flowing and safe.
If you want to know if you can use the lane, you will have to look out for a sign indicating which vehicles can use the lane. If the bus lane has local on a sign, it may only be used by the bus driver and no other vehicle.
If you are found to be driving in a bus lane and are caught via a camera or police officer, you could see yourself facing a fine. This would only happen if you are travelling in a local-only bus lane though, so bear this in mind.
If you are unfortunate enough to use a bus lane without even realising it, you may be stung due to breaking the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. You may face a Penalty Charge Notice of between £70-£130 depending on location, and if you pay within 14 days of the fine, the fee is usually halved.
Yes, they do check for speeding and motorists who are driving in bus-only lanes. Bus lane cameras are more discreet than usual speed cameras and usually look similar to that of CCTV.
In most towns and cities across the UK, taxi's aren't allowed to use bus lanes, however in some major cities like London, where traffic is crazy, they allow hackney carriages to use the bus lanes as a means of freeing up traffic flow.
Yes, if necessary. They may be forced to use bus lanes to do their job efficiently and get through traffic as quickly as possible.
Yes, you can appeal a fine and there are a variety of reasons as to why drivers do appeal:
Although uncommon, road markings may be misleading or the wrong sign may have been put out, which ends up forcing the driver to use the bus lane. You may appeal if there is a legitimate reason as to why you were forced to use the bus lane.
It does happen... sometimes you may find that you have been overcharged by the council, meaning that you may appeal.
For those of you who have had their car stolen before, you may have received a fine for something that you haven't personally done yourself, leaving you a little confused. If the person who has stolen your car has racked up fines, you may appeal.