Tag Archives: speed

Pointless double demerit points for Easter

With riders grounded in most states by the travel restrictions it almost seems pointless that some states have double demerits applying over the Easter long weekend.

The “pointless points” start this morning and will end at midnight on Monday 13 April 2020 in NSW, the ACT and Western Australia.

In NSW, they’re calling it Operation Tortoise and point out that holiday travel is not allowed as it is not “essential” during the pandemic lockdown.

Click here for more details on exceptions to the ban.

Pointless points?

The only time you could be fined on your motorcycle in NSW this Easter is if you are speeding to the supermarket to get another bag of Doritos or in your rush to get the doctor!

Be aware that one high-range speeding offence could be enough to get your licence suspended for several months under double demerit points.

Note that double demerit points are separate to any on-the-spot fines for disobeying a stay-at-home directive.

Double demerits danger

In “normal times”, riders from Victoria, Tasmania, Northern Territory and South Australia passing through NSW, ACT or WA during any declared holiday period do not cop the double demerits.

With borders now closed, that’s not possible anyway.

Police cops speed speeding sensation annual demerit

However, Queensland riders should note that double-demerit points are effectively in place all year round.

The law in Queensland is that double points do apply to speeding offences of 21km/h or greater over the speed limit and seatbelt offences if they occur more than once within a 12 month period.

If you incur the penalty in another state, it still applies as if it happened in Queensland.

Lawyer Stephen Hayles of Macrossan and Amiet Solicitors says he has been asked by clients about the system after copping a fine in an applicable state.

“For example if you commit two speeding offences of driving 21km/h over the speed limit in a 12 month period, you will be allocated four demerit points for the first offence and four demerit points for the second offence plus an additional four demerit points,” he says.

“This means that you will have accumulated 12 demerit points within a 12 month period and you risk having your licence suspended.”

How demerit points are recorded

NSW police blitz demerit

Double points apply in NSW and ACT over the Australia Day weekend, Easter, Anzac Day, Queen’s Birthday, Labour Day and Christmas/New Year.

In WA, the double points apply on Australia Day (unless it falls on a week day), Labour Day, Easter, Anzac Day (unless it falls on a week day), Western Australia Day, Queen’s Birthday, and Christmas/New Year.

If a rider in another state commits a traffic offence in a state during a double-demerit period, the offence is recorded as a double demerit offence on their traffic history in the state where the offence happened.

The state licensing authority will then report the offence to the transport department in your state who will record the offence on your traffic history.

However, the double points will only apply in Queensland under the circumstances described above.

Choice of penalty

Stephen says that if you have committed a traffic offence recently and you receive a Queensland Transport notice that you have accumulated your allowed demerits, you will have a choice of a good driving behaviour period or a licence suspension for a period.

“When considering whether to agree to a good behaviour driving behaviour period and a licence suspension, it is important that a licence holder understands that accepting a suspension of their licence may preclude them from making an Application for a Special Hardship Order or an Application for a Restricted (Work) Licence for the next five years,” he warns.

If you are unsure about how many demerit points you have, you can search your record online at your state’s transport department website or call them and request a copy of your traffic history.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Police video catches speeding night rider

Queensland Police have charged a man with dangerous operation of a motorcycle after the night rider was videoed riding at more than three times the limit earlier this week.

They have now released the Polair video of the incident in north Brisbane which shows the bike going through a fast foot outlet and speeding through streets on Tuesday night (31 March 2020).

Officers seized the 34-year-old Narangba man’s motorcycle for 90-days.

Night rider

Police will allege around 9pm officers were patrolling Anzac Avenue in Kallangur when they were overtaken by a motorbike travelling at high speed.

It is alleged the night rider turned into the drive thru of a fast food outlet where he bent the number plate, so it was not visible, before riding off.

Police attempted to intercept the motorcycle however the rider failed to stop, “speeding off with the front wheel rising into the air”.

In other words, a wheelie.

The officers last saw him riding west along Anzac Avenue.

The motorcycle is alleged to have sped past another police vehicle on the same road which detected it travelling at 191km/h in a 60 zone.

The motorcycle was tracked by Polair1 with police intercepting it in Thomas Street, Narangba a short time later.

The male rider returned a positive roadside drug test and was conveyed to North Lakes Police Station where he was issued with a notice to appear in the Petrie Magistrates Court on July 6 for evade police, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and drug driving.

If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.

You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.

Quote this reference number: QP2000651109

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

RUNIT rider nabbed on 55 offences

A 22-year-old man wanted for 55 traffic offences including several for speeds of more than 150km/h in Brisbane’s northern suburbs has finally been nabbed.

Watch the Queensland Police video below of several occasions where the rider is spotted by police who give up the chase for public safety reasons when he speeds off.

He is also seen dangerously lane splitting at high speed through the city’s tunnels.

Police allege the rider is a “prolific high-speed motorcycle rider committing numerous life-endangering offences”.

He was finally arrested on 2 January 2020 when an off-duty Road Policing Investigations Unit officer spotted his motorcycle, a Suzuki GSX-R600 with the stolen plate, “RUNIT”, in an Alderly hotel carpark.

We alerted riders to the rise in plate theft and cloning back last month.

Road Policing Investigations Unit

Rider arrested on 55 traffic offences
Bike spotted in hotel carpark

The RPIU is a specialised unit who identify and track prolific and recidivist traffic offenders “whose manner of driving is a clear danger to other road users, as well as themselves”.

It also identifies and locates vehicles and drivers committing serious criminal offences using our road networks, such as drug couriers and property crime offenders.

Police will allege the Suzuki was used in more than 50 speeding offences in and around Brisbane between October and December 2019.

Since identification may be part of the rider’s defence, he cannot be named at this stage.

When arrested, the 22-year-old Stafford Heights man was in possession of a backpack which was found to allegedly contain methylamphetamine and a set of scales, as well as 13 Queensland and New South Wales driver licences, four Australian passports and one UK passport and 13 Medicare cards.

Speeding offences
Backpack contents

He also allegedly had possession of another cloned registration plate for the same make and model of his motorbike.

The man was subjected to a Roadside Drug Test which police allege returned a positive result.

The RPIU charged the man with 36 offences and issued him with 55 traffic infringement notices for speeding, as well as impounding his motorcycle for forfeiture.

Offences include:

  • 1 count of possess dangerous drugs exceeding Schedule 2
  • 1 count of possess property suspected of being used in a drug offence
  • 1 count of drug driving
  • 1 count of tainted property (stolen registration plate)
  • 2 counts of evade police
  • 2 counts of disqualified driving
  • 4 counts of unlicensed driving
  • 6 counts of unregistered vehicle
  • 6 counts of uninsured vehicle
  • 6 counts of false plates
  • 1 count of possess item purporting to be a registration plate (that is, a “cloned” plate)
  • 2 counts of fail to stop at red light
  • 2 counts of disobeying the speed limit
  • 1 count of breach a domestic violence order

He is due to face Brisbane Magistrates Court on February 3.

The 55 speeding infringement notices are for allegedly exceeding the speed limit in the tunnels, Brisbane streets, as well as on the Bruce Highway, including 30 high-speed offences where his alleged speed was more than 40km/h over the speed limit.

The highest alleged speeds were on three occasions when the motorcycle was detected travelling at 178, 175 and 172km/h in a 100 zone on the Gympie Arterial Road, Bald Hills. The Suzuki was also allegedly detected travelling at 155, 149 and 147km/h in an 80 zone in the Airport Link Tunnel, Wooloowin.

Investigations by the Gateway Property Crime team continue with the man also charged with five counts of tainted property and one count of obtaining or dealing with identity information.

He will, also face these charges when he appears in court next month.

High-speed offencesQueensland police licence annual ipswich

Acting Superintendent Flanders , Operations Commander, Road Policing Command, his team of “highly skilled investigators” can monitor, identify and locate drivers engaged in dangerous behaviour.

Late last year RPIU officers analysing high-speed camera detections focused attention on a motorcycle speeding at 205km/h in a 70 zone on Sandgate Road, Boondall, at 10.50pm on 10 April 2019.

“This speed was almost three times the limit and was clearly extremely dangerous driving behaviour. There is no margin for error when travelling at speeds more suited to a racetrack than a suburban road,” he says.

The unit identified the vehicle from speed camera images and on 12 September 2019 they searched a Taigum home where they found the jacket and helmet worn by the rider in the camera image.

A 27-year-old Taigum man was charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle (with a high-speed circumstance of aggravation).

He pleaded guilty in Sandgate Magistrates Court on 8 November 2020 and received a 12-month licence disqualification and 15 months’ probation.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

How double demerit points can affect you

Double demerit points apply from Friday (20 December 2019) in NSW, the ACT and Western Australia, affecting licensed riders not only in those states, but also Queensland.

The penalty period lasts until January 1 (inclusive) in NSW and ACT and January 5 in WA where one rider copped a hefty 14 demerit points and $1200 fine over the Western Australia Day long weekend in June 2019.

Traffic Enforcement Group officers tweeted the above photo of the fine after nabbing the rider at more than 120km/h in an 80km/h zone in Ravenswood.

Police noted on the fine that the rider told them: “She (his bike) was flooding and gurgling; just gave it a blat”.

His licence was suspended for three months.

Double points danger

Riders from Victoria, Tasmania, Northern Territory and South Australia passing through NSW, ACT or WA during any declared holiday period do not cop the double demerits.

Police cops speed speeding sensation annual demerit

However, Queensland riders should note that in certain circumstances they do apply.

The law in Queensland is that double points do apply to speeding offences of 21km/h or greater over the speed limit and seatbelt offences if they occur more than once within a 12 month period.

Lawyer Stephen Hayles of Macrossan and Amiet Solicitors says he has been asked by clients about the system after copping a fine in an applicable state.

“For example if you commit two speeding offences of driving 21km/h over the speed limit in a 12 month period, you will be allocated four demerit points for the first offence and four demerit points for the second offence plus an additional four demerit points,” he says.

“This means that you will have accumulated 12 demerit points within a 12 month period and you risk having your licence suspended.”

How demerit points are recorded

NSW police blitz demerit

Double points apply in NSW and ACT over the Australia Day weekend, Easter, Anzac Day, Queen’s Birthday, Labour Day and Christmas/New Year.

In WA, the double points apply on Australia Day (unless it falls on a week day), Labour Day, Easter, Anzac Day (unless it falls on a week day), Western Australia Day, Queen’s Birthday, and Christmas/New Year.

If a rider in another state commits a traffic offence in a state during a double-demerit period, the offence is recorded as a double demerit offence on their traffic history in the state where the offence happened.

The state licensing authority will then report the offence to the transport department in your state who will record the offence on your traffic history.

However, the double points will only apply in Queensland under the circumstances described above.

Choice of penalty

Stephen says that if you have committed a traffic offence recently and you receive a Queensland Transport notice that you have accumulated your allowed demerits, you will have a choice of a good driving behaviour period or a licence suspension for a period.

“When considering whether to agree to a good behaviour driving behaviour period and a licence suspension, it is important that a licence holder understands that accepting a suspension of their licence may preclude them from making an Application for a Special Hardship Order or an Application for a Restricted (Work) Licence for the next five years,” he warns.

If you are unsure about how many demerit points you have, you can search your record online at your state’s transport department website or call them and request a copy of your traffic history.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Electric corner signs alert riders

Signs that light up and display a safety alert and message if you are riding too fast for the corner are being trialled in the UK.

British company TWM Traffic Control Systems have developed the LED signs that include a radar sensor.

Be alert, not alarmed

But don’t worry! The smart alert signs are not designed to issue speeding tickets, says TWM spokesmen Chris Rayner. At least for now!

“It’s purely advisory,” he assures us.

“It’s to aid riders or drivers and alert them to the potential dangers ahead. What you can do is have a function to record the activity along the road, traffic counts, speeds etc.”

The sign will display the rider’s speed and an alert such as SLOW DOWN, or CRASH SITE and flash amber LEDs.

When the vehicle then slows down and the speed falls below the secondary threshold limit, the sign displays THANK YOU with the real-time speed.

Warning signs

It’s similar to speed alert signs used around Australia and a Texas University project that developed stop signs that light up as a vehicle approaches.

Safer stop signs alert
Texas electronic stop signs

The TWM signs may help riders handle dangerous decreasing radius corners, but we wonder what they consider a safe corner speed for each vehicle.

For example, a motorcycle could easily handle a corner at a higher speed than a sports car which would be better than an SUV which would be better than a truck…!

Chris says the signs would allow the authorities to monitor the impact of approach speeds.

“The averages and 85th percentiles will all be calculated so further measures can be put in place if needed,” he says.

Our concern is that this could lead lower speed limits!

“We have been doing similar signage for various dangers, hazards and speed indication since 2002,” Chris says.

“I’m a biker myself and we have been supplying Isle of Man with some of our DayBright units for enhanced pedestrian crossings … I’m speaking to them to see if the crash site (sign) is something they could utilise as well.”

While the signs may be advisory now, we wonder how long before authorities use them to issue speeding tickets!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Defences to a Lidar speeding fine

Speeding fines based on Lidar or radar readings are difficult to defend, but not impossible, says NSW traffic and criminal law specialist Chris Kalpage.

The Ducati-riding solicitor has previously provided our readers with tips on what to do when pulled over by police and defences to speeding fines based on a police officer’s estimate or “check speed”.

Check out his tips on defending a Lidar or radar speeding fine:

Chris Kalpage evidence pulled lidar
Chris on his Ducati at the track

Lidar readings

Lidar speed readings are potentially more accurate than “check speeds” and police estimates which were covered in my previous article.

So they need more careful analysis prior to any court hearing.

“LIDAR” stands for Light Detection and Ranging which means it uses pulsed lasers of light.

Police aim the hand-held Lidar device at an object and a laser beam of light bounces back and forth to measure changes in the distance over time.

It is the most accurate form of speed assessment.

Radar devices work the same way, but use radio waves instead of light.

Calibration

However, like any measuring instrument, these can be compromised depending on calibration and manner of use.

Failure to produce a S137 Road Transport Act certificate at a hearing could call into question the reading obtained.

We also consider whether the device has been properly calibrated. The prosecution would have to produce a certificate signed by the police officer at the start and end of their shift certifying the device was tested over a measured prescribed distance of 25m and 50m.

Each Lidar has a prolaser testing book, which is completed and signed off when the tests are done.

Lidar use

LIDAR Low speed threshold a danger hidden demons lidar
LIDAR is used around the world

We also consider the use of the Lidar on a motorist.

  • Was there a clear line of sight for the officer during the duration of the test?
  • Was the required three-second observation and testing likely, based on available distance for the test and the alleged speed? For example if the maximum sighting distance from the officer is 30m and you are meant to be travelling at 30m/second they only have one second to conduct the test which is insufficient time.
  • Was there excessive movement of the unit?
  • Is there the potential for the laser to be reflected back from another surface?

Radar devices

If the radar device uses a Doppler beam, we again consider calibration.

However, there are other contentious issues with a Doppler beam as they are much wider than a Lidar beam.

The old Silver Eagle Radar used to have a beam of about 20x20m for every hundred metres of projection.

This creates confusion over which vehicle provided the speed reading.

I have run cases where a small vehicle such as a motorcycle was traveling in front of a speeding four-wheel drive and may not be the vehicle giving the speed reading.

Police always argue that if there are multiple vehicles in the beam then an error reading should show on the device but that is subject to question and scientific challenge.

We also consider whether there were multiple vehicles in the beam and whether there were many vehicles of a similar size. This raises the question of identity of the offending vehicle.

Use of mobile radars in areas where traffic isn’t sparse raises the issue of target identification.

Use guidelines

LIDAR radar speed gun pulled
LIDAR radar speed gun

Guidelines for the use of Lidar and radar have previously contained prohibitions such as at the bottom of a hill or within 50m of a change in speed zone sign.

Those restrictions on police have now been considerably eased in many jurisdictions, despite public criticism.

However that information may be relevant in a defence or in a plea of guilty.

Also, keep in mind that both these devices can be used in approaching or receding mode, which means they can hide in the bushes and activate the device once you have gone past them and shoot you from behind.

When defending these cases, especially the Lidar, some magistrates wish to have scientific evidence from the defence supporting the basis of the challenge to the instrument.

Disclaimer

This article is for reader information and interest only and is based on New South Wales law. It is not intended to be comprehensive, and does not constitute and must not be relied on as legal advice.

Please be aware that every case is different and the matters raised may not be of specific relevance to your situation but may have a general application. You must seek specific advice tailored to your circumstances. Chris is happy to talk to anyone needing clarification. He can bet contacted on 0418 211074.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Slug riders over regional crashes: Austroads

Regional speed limits should be reduced up to 30km/h and riders slugged with a levy to fix rural roads, according to a new Austroads report.

The worrying proposals are included in the Guide to Road Safety Part 5: Road Safety for Rural and Remote Areas.

It points out that motorcyclist deaths have remained stable in major cities over the past decade, but increased in regional and remote Australia by up to almost 50% in recent years.

The report suggests “safety improvements on popular motorcycle routes” potentially funded by a levy on compulsory third-party injury insurance for riders as well as speed limits aligned with “road attributes”.Austroads regional road safety report

Poor-quality regional roads

Since regional roads are in such a poor state, that means speed limits would come down if Austroads had its way. (Austroads is the prime research authority advising Australian and New Zealand governments and transport authorities.)

The Austroads’ report suggests speeds be set to “minimise the effect of a crash given the current road infrastructure”.

It notes that the ability of riders to survive a crash “decreases rapidly” above 30km/h and says speed limits should be set “within these tolerance limits”.

The report points out that speeds limits in Sweden and the Netherlands are based on “harm minimisation principles in contrast to those set in Australia”.

Road type Australia Sweden Netherlands
Local streets 50km/h or more 30km/h 30km/h
Other streets 60km/h or more 50km/h 50km/h
Undivided road (low quality) 100km/h 70km/h 80km/h
Undivided roads (good quality) 100-110km/h 90km/h 100km/h
Motorways/divided roads 100-110km/h 110km/h 120km/h

It follows a similar suggestion at a Victorian Road Trauma Summit to reduce speed limits on unsealed country roads from 100km/h to 80km/h.

This has been a hobby horse of Victorian Assistant Police Commissioner Doug Fryer for several years as this 2017 video shows.

Rider numbers increase

The report does acknowledge that the increase in regional motorcyclist fatalities is largely due to the increase in the riding popularity.

Rider registrations are up 5% a year while estimated kilometres travelled is up 4% a year.

It also notes that motorcyclist fatality rates per registered vehicle and per kilometre travelled actually decreased by 0.9% from 2008-10 to 2016.

However, the report points out a shift from urban deaths to regional deaths over the same period:

  • Regional motorcycle fatalities increased 15.4% and remote deaths were up a whopping 49.3%;
  • 59% of motorcyclist fatalities occurred in regional and remote Australia during the four-year period 2012-2015, an increase of 53% over the previous four years;
  • Most regional motorcycle crashes were riders running off the road and hitting a tree, barrier, sign or other roadside hazard;
  • The typical motorcycle fatality or hospitalisation in regional and remote areas is a male motorcyclist who is riding recreationally during daylight hours on the weekend and is involved in a single-vehicle crash; and
  • Motorcycles are over-represented in crashes with animals with more than 80% involving kangaroos, but it also noted an underreporting of animal-related crashes.

Speed management

The report admits a lack of data on motorcycle crashes.

Yet it says speed limits in regional and remote areas are “high and do not necessarily reflect the risks of travelling on a given road (eg unsealed surface), or the existing infrastructure (eg unprotected trees close to the road)”.

Speed management is necessary in the absence of adequate infrastructure,” it says.

“The primary means for speed compliance is via enforcement, which is inherently difficult in regional and remote areas due to expansive road networks and a lack of resources.”

It suggests “vehicle-based speed management technologies” which could include speed limiters.

“Any gains in speed management are beneficial,” it concludes.Lower speed limits on rural intersections regional

Safety ‘initiatives’

Austroads reports that “initiatives” to improve motorcyclist safety have included:

Safety suggestions

Apart from a reduction in regional speed limits, the report calls for a number of other moves, particularly targeting riders:

  • National mass media campaigns targeting motorcyclists;
  • riders encouraged to ride bikes with ABS and emerging autonomous emergency braking (AEB) technology that detects imminent forward collisions and reacts by automatically applying the brakes without rider intervention;
  • motorcycle blackspot/black programs for regional areas;
  • use more flexible roadside barriers and signs;
  • install more under-rails on existing barriers;
  • audit regional road hazards for motorcycle-specific hazards, particularly by motorcycles such as Queensland’s award-winning instrumented bike; 

    Brett Hoskin with TMR audit bike
    Queensland’s road audit bike

  • improve regional emergency services crash response times (click here for more details); and
  • examine more graduated restrictions for novice riders including a minimum period with a car licence before motorcycle licensing as in Queensland and “licensing options” for returning riders.

The report states that AEB technology reduces low-speed rear-end crashes for passenger vehicles, but notes that it is not yet available for motorcycles.

“Once AEB technology has been improved and is readily available in Australia, its benefits should be promoted to motorcyclists in regional and remote areas who are looking to purchase a new motorcycle,” it states.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

NSW emergency speed rule extended

Despite criticism from motoring organisations and a motorcycle cop being hit by a driver, NSW has extended its rule to slow traffic to 40km/h past emergency services.

The 12-month trial will be extended to a permanent law on September 26  but with some changes.

It will now include tow trucks and and motorway recovery vehicles, police will stop in visible locations and new warning signs will be deployed by emergency services.

However, it will no longer apply on roads with speed limits of 90km/h or more.

Instead, motorists will have to slow to a “safe and reasonable” speed, give “sufficient space” to emergency workers and “change lanes to keep the lane next to the vehicle free if it is safe to do so” as is required in most US states.

Concerns

Then Motorcycle Council of NSW Chairman Steve Pearce told us when the trial started that it was “just a matter of time until a serious incident occurs as a result of this rule”.

He was right. In December 2018, a NSW motorcycle cop was hit by a car when he pulled over another car on a 100km/h highway.

Cop injured under new speed rule crash police emergency 40km/h extended
Cop injured during speed rule trial

The 70-year-old female driver was one of 936 fined $446 and three demerit points during the trial period.

Steve’s major concern with the rule was that vulnerable motorcyclists, such as the NSW police officer, would be at risk of being rear-ended.

In fact, the person the rule was meant to protect became the victim.

Confusing rule

The extended rule could be confusing for motorists travelling interstate during holidays.

Emergency vehicles are defined as police cars, fire engines and ambulances displaying red and blue flashing lights and/or sounding their siren.

In Victoria it includes all “escort vehicles”. In SA, SES vehicles are included and in WA it extends to all emergency vehicles, including tow trucks, RAC roadside assistance patrol vehicles, and Main Roads Incident Response Vehicles removing road debris and broken-down vehicles.

The rule does not apply if the emergency vehicle is on the other side of the road where there is a median strip.

Fines also vary

Cop asleep on motorcycle extended
Would you slow down for this?

In South Australia, you can cop a maximum fine up to $1007 and some motorists have been disqualified for six months. In WA it is $300 and three points.

Victoria’s fine is $272.05, but there is a maximum court penalty of $777.30 if you unsuccessfully challenge the fine. The RACV says it could be difficult for motorists to see flashing emergency vehicles’ lights over a hill and have enough time to slow down to 40km/h.

The Queensland Government has rejected Police Union calls for a similar road rule.

Tips for avoiding tail-ender

If riders see the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle, there are several things they can do to avoid a rear-ender.

  • Look at traffic behind you to assess the danger;
  • Indicate and change lanes away from the emergency vehicle, if there is a vacant lane to move into;
  • If not, switch on the hazard lights;
  • Brake as smoothly as possible, perhaps activating the brake light on and off to attract the attention of following traffic; and
  • Search for an escape route, possibly between lanes or on the road edge.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Holiday riders caught on covert TruCAM

Brisbane riders who spent Wednesday’s Ekka Holiday riding the famed Mt Glorious Rd may find they have an unwelcome TruCAM speeding fine in the mail in the next couple of weeks.

This video was recorded by rider David Englebright, showing police in the bushes using the TruCAM hand-held laser digital camera to record speeding offences.

Holiday surprise

“Being a public holiday in Brisbane a lot of people were out enjoying a drive or ride over Mt Glorious,” he says.

“They will get a rude shock in a few weeks.

“Little did they know a policemen was hiding in the bushes of the far side of Mt Glorious on a downhill selection of road with a TruCAM taking pics of vehicles going down the hill.

Video TruCAM
David on his Triumph

“This is a section where a billy cart would do more than 60km/h.

“This is no deterrent to speeding, just revenue raising.”

While there is no longer any requirement for speed camera detection signs, the Queensland police website clearly states: “It is not the policy of the Queensland Police Service to deliberately conceal speed cameras.”

Covert concerns

This is yet another incident which may spark debate over the lack of speed deterrence in covert operations while others will argue “if you’re not speeding, you have nothing to worry about”.

Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers says these “sneaky” devices do not reduce the road toll nor stop motorists from speeding.

“Getting a ticket in the mail up to a month after speeding when you can barely remember even where you were back then, has no effect and is quite rightly cynically viewed as revenue raising,” he said.

RACQ technical and safety policy spokesman Steve Spalding says they also prefer a visible police presence.

“Our members have repeatedly told us that over the years, they much prefer to see a police officer use a marked vehicle, not just for speeding, but for all of the other problem behaviours that we see on the road,” he says.

Is covert detection legal?

Police using covert TruCAM laser speed camera impossible
Police using TruCAM laser speed camera in an unmarked car with tinted windows

Well, yes and no. It depends on the state and how the speed detection equipment is deployed.

We asked police in every state for their policies on covert speed detection and most replied.

Victoria Police say mobile speed cameras are “not deployed in a concealed way”, but didn’t answer questions about handheld devices and cops hiding in bushes.

South Australia Police say they make “no apologies about using covert, camouflaged cameras to detect dangerous road behaviour”.

WA Police basically told us it was none of our business: “We use various tools to assist in our traffic enforcement capabilities.  We will not be providing details of specific tools or methodologies.”

NSW Police say they “use a range of enforcement strategies to assist in reducing road trauma”. But, like the WA cops, they say it’s none of our business.

“For operational reasons it would be inappropriate to discuss the guidelines surrounding these strategies. If riders and drivers observe the speed limits, then they have nothing to be concerned about,” they say.

Queensland Police are a little vague, telling us the Queensland Camera Detected Offence Program “utilises an evidence-based mixture of covert and marked camera operations”.

MUARC report

Police Covert speed camera
Somewhere in there is a cop with TruCAM!

Motorists, police unions and motoring groups are fighting a losing battle against covert speed detection.

Politicians and police typically cite a Monash University academic and an Auditor General’s report that back covert speed cameras as more effective at reducing general speeding than high-visibility cameras.

Monash University Accident Research Centre professor Max Cameron says high-visibility speed cameras are only good for reducing speed at a black spot.

Mobile speed cameras were originally introduced to reduce speed at black spots. NSW still has very prominently signed fixed and mobile speed cameras, Western Australia is now trialling more visible speed cameras and England is going all-out to make the cameras much more visible.

However, Queensland has removed the signs warning of mobile speed cameras and a report by Queensland’s auditor-general found they are not always deployed at the right time, in the right location, or in the “right mode” (not covert enough).

The report says only 16.3% of mobile deployment hours is covert because police want to avoid perceptions of revenue-raising.

It recommends that a high percentage of covert deployment would prompt a general deterrence to speeding.

Professor Cameron agrees: “… if you’re trying to affect speeding all the time then the best idea is to make sure the cameras aren’t predictable or apparent and to operate them covertly,” the professor says. “The idea of being conspicuous is really in the wrong direction.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Tips when pulled over for speeding

Motorists sometimes inadvertently convict themselves for speeding when they are pulled over by the police, says NSW traffic solicitor Chris Kalpage.

We have previously offered tips on what to do if pulled over by the police as well as tips from the police themselves!

Now, Chris has offered the following tips on what to do when pulled over specifically by NSW police for speeding, although the lessons are generally applicable around the world.

Chris Kalpage evidence pulled
Chris Kalpage on his Ducati

Recorded

If you are pulled over by a NSW highway patrol vehicle, the conversation is being recorded on both audio and video.

Even if it is not a highway patrol vehicle, the officer will make notes on your responses.

Often people are nervous and say things. It is sometimes safer not to make any admissions, especially if you do not have all the facts.

Even then, be wary of making admissions as they may seriously compromise your potential defence.

For example, where exactly do they say they observed you speeding and how did they assess your speed?

It can be the case that where you were alleged to be speeding is not where you have been pulled over by police. You may not have been speeding at the point they say you were.

In one case I defended, the in-car video clearly showed the bike passed the unmarked police car travelling in the opposite direction some 15km from where the rider was eventually pulled up. The rider obviously had no idea what the officer was talking about. 

Identity crisis

If a police officer comes knocking on your door accusing you of failing to stop, there are clearly issues about the potential identity of the rider, etc.

In another situation on the Wisemans Ferry, a Ducati 748R rider went past a police four-wheel-drive and they accused my client some days later.

We successfully defended the case over the accuracy of the police recording of the bike rego number and whether it was his bike at the scene.

You generally don’t know all the facts on the side of the road so why step on a potential landmine?

Assessing speed

LIDAR radar speed gun pulled
LIDAR radar speed gun

Generally there are four methods police use to assess speed, excluding fixed and mobile speed cameras. They are listed here in descending order of accuracy:

  1. The Lidar, which is a gun-like object which projects a laser beam and is aimed by the officer at an alleged specific target;
  2. The in-car radar which is a radar attached to the police car and uses a Doppler beam;
  3. Check speed which is a police officer following you and assessing your speed by using the car’s digital speedometer. It essentially shows their speed which may not be yours; and
  4. Police officer’s estimate, which has no objective measurement of speed.

Often the police will use one of the first three methods, combined with their estimate. 

Things to consider on the roadsideRider pulled over by police licence checks

If you have the presence of mind, ask the officer where specifically you are alleged to have been speeding and how they assessed your speed.

It is beneficial for you to take photographs of where the incident is meant to have taken place. If you have the capacity on your GPS or phone, record the exact longitude and latitude.

On country roads it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact location weeks later when you decide you want to challenge the allegation.

If the police officer was stationary when they alleged they observed you speeding, try to observe from that vantage point.

That will provide you with the officer’s visibility of your approaching vehicle and their maximum sighting distance.

Again, take photographs from that vantage point. Take notice of anything that may have obstructed the officer’s vision in tracking your vehicle.

Try to assess the distance you travelled from when the officer first observed you to when they started their test. This distance will depend on your alleged speed. Consider the following:

  1. What is the maximum sighting distance the officer had from where they were standing or where their vehicle was parked;
  2. From the maximum distance, how far had you travelled when the officer finished their test? Often we roughly work that out from when they step out on to the road or when they turn their lights on if facing you or if you get shown the reading on the Lidar; and
  3. If they are mobile, we use either when they turn their lights on as they are approaching or, at the worst, the “crossover point”. That is the point at which they go past you and are no longer getting a reading from your vehicle.

Disclaimer

Chris Kalpage evidence pulled
Chris Kalpage

This article is for your information and interest only. It is based on New South Wales law only. It is not intended to be comprehensive, and does not constitute and must not be relied on as legal advice. Please be aware that every case is different and the matters raised may not be of specific relevance to your situation but may have a general application. Seek specific advice tailored to your circumstances.

Chris can be contacted via email (mailto:[email protected]or phone 0418211074.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com