A decision to charge riders for parking in some Sydney CBD areas has been reversed and riders who copped $82 parking fines have had them waived.
Previously the riders were able to park free in the Rocks, Pyrmont and Darling Harbour areas including outside designated bike-only zones as long as they adhered to the time restrictions.
However, the state reclaimed the land in January, according to the council, and installed private company parking meters at the end of August 2019.
The COS website was only changed on 17 September 2019 after several motorcyclists complained, according to Property NSW.
“Disputed infringements issued before the website was updated have been waived,” they say.
After our publication of the unfair fines, they have reversed that decision.
A Department of Planning, Industry and Environment spokesperson told us:
We were recently made aware of inconsistencies between the government and the City of Sydney’s parking policies. We have now revised our parking guidelines and waived infringement notices relating to this discrepancy. Motorcycle and scooter riders no longer need to pay at any of the parking meters in our areas, however, must respect the time restrictions. Our policy is published on The Rocks website.
Day in court
However, Jin Weng says it is no victory for him after taking a day off work without pay to fight the fine in court.
“I pleaded guilty because pleading not guilty requires another hearing date and I can’t afford to take another day off work,” he says.
“Legal aid said it’s unlikely I can claim for my time even if I get a not guilty outcome, this is a shame as the courts should penalise councils and authorities for issuing fines in error otherwise there is no accountability for them to continually do this.
“It is unjust but I can see why most people just pay the fine as its multiple times the cost to challenge.
“I presented my supporting documents to the court and the judge decided on a section 10 1 (A) ruling meaning I am guilty but there is no conviction, or penalty.
“I wouldn’t call it a victory given that I had to plea guilty to something that shouldn’t even been charged wasting half a day sitting in court.
“They clearly did not want to waive my infringement by rejecting my appeal and proceeding with a court prosecution. They even took the time to submit to the courts a prosecution including the judge reading a statement from the prosecutor that I was aware of changes in the area as mentioned in my appeal.
“Will they be reimbursing me for taking a day off to go to court?”
Another fined Sydney rider, Andrew Johnstone, missed the change on the website and said the fines were unfair as there was not enough notice provided that the change had occurred.
He says the website has now been changed, but it “seems to say no and maybe”.
“Motorcyclists cannot be expected to read the website every day before parking a bike to ensure a road ownership hasn’t changed,” he said.
Andrew is still waiting for his fine to be waived.
Loss of Sydney spaces
The change in Sydney motorcycle parking follows the reduction of CBD kerbside parking last year to accommodate bus, pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure.
It prompted a petition for more motorcycle parking space.
Petition organiser and commuter rider Emma MacIver says the city is lagging behind Melbourne and the rest of the world and Motorcycle Council of NSW parking subcommittee claimed council’s lack of consultation with riders on the issue was “disappointing”.
Emma’s petition has gained almost 2000 signatures.