Tag Archives: speeding fine

Rider’s bike impounded after chase

NSW Police have charged a male aged 40 and impounded his Kawasaki Ninja 250R after a high-speed chase in Sydney’s inner-east at the weekend.

On Saturday (3 May 2020), officers attached to Botany Bay Traffic and Highway Patrol saw the motorcycle on Joynton Avenue, Zetland, about 8.15am.

Checks revealed the motorbike was not displaying the correct number plates.

Police attempted to stop the Kawasaki but the rider rode off, leading police on a pursuit through Zetland and Rosebery, allegedly at speeds estimated at up to 120km/h in signposted 40km/h zones.

The pursuit was later terminated at Kensington due to safety concerns.

Bike impounded

About 1.30pm yesterday (Monday 4 May 2020), officers tracked down the motorcycle to a unit complex on Grandstand Parade, Zetland, and impounded it.

“A man approached officers and allegedly verbally threatened them,” police say.

“The 40-year-old man attempted to walk away when informed of his arrest and was restrained following a struggle with officers, where it is alleged, he kicked a constable.”

The man, Frederick Alan Doolan, was taken Mascot Police Station and charged with:

  • Police pursuit – not stop – drive recklessly;
  • Drive recklessly/furiously or speed/manner dangerous;
  • Exceed speed more than 20km/h;
  • Two counts of use unregistered motor vehicle;
  • Two counts of motor vehicle display misleading number-plate;
  • Two counts of drive motor vehicle during disqualification period;
  • Motorbike rider (alone) not wear/secure fit approved helmet;
  • Assault police officer in execution of duty;
  • Intimidate police officer in execution of duty; and
  • Resist or hinder police officer in the execution of duty.

Doolan was refused bail and appeared today in Central Local Court where he was refused bail and the matter adjourned to Bathurst Court on 6 July 2020.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Pandemic leads to speed epidemic

Traffic offences are understandably down as there are fewer vehicles on the road, but the lockdown is also creating lonely roads where motorists are hitting some ridiculous speeds.

We have seen several reports of high-speed police pursuits around there world, but the highest speed was clocked by a Nebraska motorcyclist at 170mph (273km/h).

The rider tried to exit an interstate but lost control of his Honda motorcycle and slid down an embankment. The state trooper dragged him out of a pool of leaked fuel and slapped him with a fine for suspicion of wilful reckless driving and flight to avoid arrest, among other offences.

Aussie hi-jinks

Some riders in Australia are also taking advantage of the lonely roads, often with late-night and early morning high-speed runs. 

Two 20-something motorcyclists riding at speeds up to 200km/h have been charged following two separate pursuits with NSW Police in Sydney’s south west in recent days.

NSW Police say that during the lockdown there has been a 40% increase in high-range speeding offences over 30km/h and 45km/h compared with the same period last year.

Queensland Police gave us three examples of high-speed riders who recently copped high-range speeding offences costing $1245 and eight demerit points:

  • On April 1 around 4.14pm a 31-year-old man riding a Harley Davidson was allegedly detected travelling 194km/h in 100 zone on Logan Motorway at Larapinta;
  • On April 2 around 10am a 37-year-old man on a Yahmaha motorcycle was allegedly detected travelling 126km/h in a 60 zone on to Logan Motorway onramp at Drewvale; and
  • On April 6 around 10.30am a 61-year-old man on a Honda was detected travelling 102km/h in a 60 zone on Tamborine Oxenford Road at Wongawallen.

Test of restraint

restrictionsGoogle Maps shows how far Ipswich riders can go.

This weekend, Queensland will allow riders to travel 50km from their home for recreation.

It is among several relaxation measures that will be used as a test to see if the public can exercise some restraint and control.

Authorities say they will penalise flagrant abuses.

They may also penalise the rest of the community by tightening restrictions again if too many people flout the rules as we saw last week when Sydney opened beaches only to close them again after they became overcrowded.

Meanwhile, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says riding a motorcycle is exercise and therefore legal.

She says NSW Police have not booked anybody for riding a motorbike, “because that is akin to riding an exercise bike”.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

High speed leads to dangerous charges

Riders who are fined for high-range speeding over 45km/h are often also charged with driving in a “manner dangerous”, says NSW traffic and criminal law specialist Chris Kalpage.

Our contributing lawyer says the extra charge is often based on the speed which may not be “objectively dangerous”.

Chris has previously addressed the issues of dangerous driving, negligent driving causing death or grievous bodily harm and a charge of negligent driving resulting from a crash. We suggest you read this in relation with this. See those articles at the end of this article under the heading “Stories You May Also Like”.

In this article Chris addresses the issues of charges of “Speed Dangerous” and “Manner Dangerous” arising out of a high-range speeding charge.

Dangerous charge

Often I will be approached by riders/drivers who have been charged with an over-45km/h speed and have also been given a court attendance notice for ‘drive manner/speed dangerous’.

The basis of the charge is as the title implies the manner and or speed involved in the driving, but sometimes it is purely based on the speed itself, which on careful assessment may not be objectively dangerous. Similarly the manner of driving on cross-examination may not be able to be sustained.

The test as to whether someone was driving in a manner dangerous focuses on the potential danger, rather than whether the actual danger was realised or not. For instance, high speed in a residential area may satisfy a high potential for danger compared with high speed on a freeway in the early hours of the morning.

Severe penalties

The problem in a charge like this is that the penalties can be quite severe on conviction, which can include a period of incarceration and/or a period of disqualification being an unlimited maximum, an automatic of three years, to a minimum of one year.

The other issue is that your licence and potentially plates can be taken on the spot which for some of my clients has resulted in them being stranded in the middle of nowhere.

These cases are serious and we will often start with an investigation of the in-car video (ICV) to view what the officers could see.

Often what they could see is quite different to what they believed they could see. For instance, hearing a bike or car with an aftermarket exhaust that seems loud and their belief accordingly that it was going fast.

Any witness in any criminal case can be influenced by their bias and make assumptions based on their particular bias in what they believe they saw. It is only when you see the ICV that you may get an idea as to what the officer actually saw and what is the filling in of gaps based on their bias.

Often the case involves careful cross-examination of each segment of the alleged offending behaviour to establish that the driving/riding does not constitute manner dangerous.

Police pursuitCops police speed speeding extended

I have had cases where a motorcycle is travelling above the speed limit and the police vehicle, some distance behind has seen the bike and then pursued it for a number of kilometres.

A particular case I did involved a bike traveling down from the mountains on the M4 with an unmarked police car traveling some distance behind.

Initially it was obvious from the ICV that the police officer was targeting another car but then when he saw the bike he decided to target that. The bike was traveling smoothly but at a speed in excess of the speed limit.

The police officer had to speed to around 180km/h to catch up. The bike was passing vehicles smoothly, but the police vehicle was flying up behind vehicles causing cars to dive everywhere.

The officer was of the view that it was my client’s riding that caused vehicles to dart in different directions which was questionable at best, as was the police officer’s estimate of speed.

Despite painstaking cross-examination of the police officer and reference to the video section by section, the court convicted my client. However, the magistrate took into account those issues that had been raised in cross examination and additional submissions made in sentence and gave him the minimum period of disqualification.

Had the Magistrate not observed the cross examination of the police officer and a plea of guilty had been entered based on the police facts as alleged the outcome would have been far worse. Accordingly in some instances there is a tactical basis for challenging the evidence to highlight the exaggeration by police.

Defending two chargesspeed camera radar speeding fines rich rich

Often a manner/speed dangerous charge based on excessive speed will include a charge of speed over 30 or over 45km/h.

We defend these charges with the intention of entering a guilty plea to the less-serious excessive-speed charge (if applicable) in an effort to get police to withdraw the dangerous driving primary charge.

In one case, a rider in a remote country location was pulled over by police using a Lidar. He was alleged to be riding more than 45km/h over the limit and riding in a dangerous manner. His licence was confiscated on the spot and he was charged by field court attendance notice, having him stranded in the middle of nowhere.

We subsequently mounted a defence and ran the case at Holbrook Local Court. Based on our argument that based on the location and time of day combined with traffic conditions it wasn’t dangerous. The prosecution agreed to withdraw the speed dangerous at hearing on a plea of guilty to the speeding offence which was the difference between a potential disqualification of six months as opposed to three years.

In many similar cases, a strong defence involving scientific evidence can achieve a similar compromise.

The court has to take into account all the circumstances of the case, including the nature, condition and use of the road, the amount of traffic, and any obstructions or hazards on the road. When all this is raised by the defence and taken into consideration by the prosecution it may make sustaining a charge of manner/speed dangerous untenable.

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 be contacted on 0418 211074.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

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

German autobahns retain open speed limit

Germany has voted down a Greens party suggestion to limit the speed on some autobahns with unrestricted speed limits.

It is a common misbelief that all German autobahns have open speed limits.

Some do and they will remain unrestricted despite the Greens trying to limit them to 130km/h to “reduce emissions, make the roads safer and strangely make traffic move more freely”!

While the German Government has allowed sanity to prevail, it is a shame Australia lost its open speed limits on the Northern Territory in 2006.

NT speed history

road safety epidemic
Northern Territory 130km/h sign

Despite a zero fatality rate on highways with open speed limits, the Northern Territory returned to 130km/h speed restrictions in 2016.

The NT used to have open speed limits on its highways, but in 2006, the then Labor Government imposed a 130km/h limit.

Instead of accidents reducing, they increased. In fact, 307 died in the NT over the next six years, 15 more than in the previous six years.

In 2015, the NT government decided to allow motorists to choose their own speed on a 336km section of the Stuart Highway after a successful 18-month evidence-based trial.

Despite the trial’s success and the past year’s zero road fatalities, the next government announced straight after the elections that they would remove the unlimited sections.

Traffic counter data from the previous NT government’s six-month trial showed there was only a small increase in driver speed in the trial sections, with 85% of drivers travelling 133-139km/h.

Together with the zero fatality toll on the unrestricted highways surely it proves that open speed limits work and motorists aren’t so stupid as to consistently ride or drive outside their comfort zone.

Statistics

Interestingly, Germany with its unrestricted and high-speed autobahns, has a better record on road deaths than Australia with its ever-reducing speed limits.

Check out this table that shows 2016 road deaths per 100,000 population, 100,000 motor vehicles and one billion kilometres travelled.

Country Deaths/100k pop’n Deaths/100k vehicles Deaths/1 billion km Deaths in 2016
Australia 5.6 7.4 5.2 1351
Germany 4.1 6.4 4.2 3327

Furthermore, German autobahns only account for 12% of the nation’s road death toll.

Veteran motorcycle travel guide Peter Colwell says Aussie motorists are “speedo gazers” whop spend more time looking at their speedos to avoid a speeding fine than observing the road.

NT surgeon David Read supports the restriction, but admits that the Territory has very low seat belt usage and very high drink driving rates.

Peter points out that the vocal medical fraternity are not necessarily experts on road safety.

“Some might not even drive,” he says.

“They cannot claim any more expertise in road safety than the average citizen, perhaps less, given they are among the busiest people in the land in their ‘offices’.

“They repair broken bodies but don’t tell people how to live, so why tell them how to drive? It’s not logical.”

The yo-yo speed limits of the NT over the past few years are a direct result of party politics.

“Why are speed limits political?” Peter asks.

“It’s asinine. The Newell Highway in NSW was dropped to 100km/h under Labor, but went back up to 110 when the government changed.

“That is really ridiculous when you think about it.”

Increase limits

Advocates of increasing the speed limit on some highways say motorists are safer because they focus more when they are driving faster.

In fact, the only drawback in allowing faster speed limits on certain open highways is that fuel consumption increases substantially. The optimum speed for fuel economy on most motorcycles is about 80-km/h, depending on the aero of the bike.

If you’d like to try the NT’s open speed limits before they close again, be aware that the derestricted zone is only on 336km of the Stuart Highway between Alice Springs and the Ali Curung rail overpass.

I’ve ridden and driven on unrestricted sections of German autobahns and found it quite safe.

However, it is very well constructed with banked gentle curves and a smooth surface. Also, the drivers are all well behaved with good lane discipline and extensive driver license education.

Some Australian highways are the equal of the unrestricted German autobahns.

Harley Ultra at a Stuart Highway rest stop speed limit
Harley Ultra at a Stuart Highway rest stop

However, when I last rode the Stuart Highway several the surface was fairly bumpy and the big old Harley Ultra I was riding two-up started bottoming out on some of the bigger lumps.

You also had to watch out for emus running out from behind saltbushes close to the road.

Since then, the NT government has spent $4.4 million upgrading the Stuart Highway to suit higher speeds.

It also allocated $2.5 million to clear vegetation from the edge of the highway, widen curves and improve the marking and signage.

So the highway is now safer, yet slower!

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

Legal defences to a speeding fine

If you have been fined for speeding based on a police officer’s estimate or “check speed”, there may be several defences, 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 which expanded on our article “tips on what to do if pulled over by the police” and even these tips from the police.

Chris Kalpage evidence pulled Legal defences to a speeding fine
Chris on his Ducati at the track

Now, Chris follows up with information a lawyer seeks when defending a rider on a speeding fine based on an estimate:

Collecting information

As I stated in my previous article, photographs of where the incident occurred are a great help as it provides information about what may have obstructed the proper tracking of the vehicle.

Distances will also enable the calculation as to the distance over time and therefore the potential speed.

We usually attend the police station to see the police in-car video (ICV). That video will show in many cases what the officer could see and what you may have said when pulled over.

In a hearing, the officer may produce a transcript of what you said which is another reason to be wary of saying anything.

If it is an in-car radar breach, it provides us invaluable information of what speeds were registering, the time between observation of the vehicle and locking the speed, and any other matters that could potentially affect the Doppler beam or the reading on the radar, in addition to the patrol speed of the police vehicle. 

Check speed

A “check speed” fine is based on the speed the police vehicle was travelling.

In this case, examining the ICV will show whether the officer had the ability to maintain a consistent distance and speed to provide an accurate reading.

In many of these cases I have observed the highway patrol (HWP) vehicle being baulked by slower vehicles that the smaller, lighter and more nimble motorcycle has been able to get around unaware they are being followed.

When the HWP vehicle gets around the obstruction, seconds have gone past and the police have to accelerate hard to catch up.

In the heat of catching up, it has, on occasion, been that the speed alleged is the speed of the HWP vehicle and not that of the bike.

Similarly, if the HWP vehicle is parked on the side of the road and the officer has to accelerate in pursuit, there is often a degree of hard acceleration involved.

The ICV may also show whether the officer was able to view the bike consistently during the test or lost sight of the vehicle, which would put the check speed or estimate in question.

Example case

lLegal defences to a speeding fine
A rider on the Old Pac (Image: YouTube)

I ran a case on the Old Pacific Highway where the officer passes the bike and the radar showed the bike was travelling at the speed limit of 80km/h, as shown in the ICV.

The bike pulls into Pie in the Sky cafe and a number of minutes later the HWP vehicle pulls in. The officer gets out and starts yelling at the rider and charges him with speed over 45.

When I examined the ICV it showed the bike had travelled past the HWP vehicle at 80km/h but more importantly the police vehicle had done a u-turn and did not see the offending motorcycle until it was pulling up.

So how was an estimate or check speed of more than 45km/h made in the absence of seeing the vehicle?

More importantly, why had the HWP been unable to catch up to the bike, which was the other issue, relied on by police seeing the PV had been hitting speeds of 140-150km/h.

On closer examination of the video it was seen that the HWP vehicle was held up when doing its u-turn by several cars pulling out of Brooklyn, including a learner driver who held up the police by a considerable amount of time.

As many riders are aware, if you give someone a 15-second rolling start at the track, it takes a long time and a lot of speed to catch up. We obtained scientific calculations relating to this, which established that the bike could not have been travelling at the speed alleged. Our client was successful at the hearing.

Chris Kalpage defences
Chris Kalpage sets up for a track session

Officer’s estimate

A police officer’s estimate is the least reliable assessment of speed.

Observing the ICV may give us information as to time and distance that the officer had to make their assessment.

I ran a case where two bikes crested a hill on the Putty Rd at the same time as a police vehicle travelling in the opposite direction. The officer saw the bikes and locked on to their speed within a second.

They did not allow for three seconds of observation and testing with the radar, nor did they allow for multiple vehicles in the beam.

When that was challenged, the officer relied on his estimate which was dubious because of the short observation time as the bikes went past.

At the hearing, the officer conceded a lesser speed and our client retained his licence.

The longer the observation, the greater the accuracy of the estimate.

If an officer is coming around the corner as you are tipping in going in the opposite direction we have to challenge the speed estimate over the length of observation time.

Often it is based on a momentary snapshot and preconceived ideas based on the rider’s posture on the bike, noise, etc, not hard facts. Therefore, it is subject to challenge.

Technology

Potentially more accurate forms of speed assessment such as lidar and radar needs more careful analysis which will be covered in a future article.

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

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

Higher speeding fines for the rich?

Is it time for Australia’s speeding fine system to be overhauled so the rich don’t get away with comparatively light fines while working Aussie motorists pay among the highest fines in the world?

According to British website GoCompare, Australians rank sixth in the world with the highest fines and 10th in relation to their average wage.

Ours is supposed to be an egalitarian and fair society, but how can it be fair for a motorist on a low wage to pay the same fine as a millionaire?

The average Aussie speeding fine for 21km/h over the limit is $401. South Australia leads with $771 fine, followed by NSW ($472), Queensland ($435), Western Australia ($400), Victoria ($332) and Tasmania ($163).

Top 10 fines for speeding 20km/h+

  1. Norway $1028
  2. Iceland $750
  3. Estonia $626
  4. United Kingdom $595
  5. Sweden $412
  6. Australia $401
  7. Switzerland $362
  8. Israel $282
  9. Netherlands $278
  10. Canada $275

Rich cop higher fines cops speed speeding radar fast speed camera licence rich

Several countries, such as Britain, Finland and Switzerland, have a system where speeding fines are linked to their wages.

The UK has just introduced a system where fines for excessive speeding have increased to 150% of their weekly income. It is capped at £1000 ($A1770), or £2500 ($A4435) if caught on a motorway.

After all, a rich pro footballer, celebrity or wealthy aristocrat would not be deterred by the average UK speeding fine of £188 ($A333).

Meanwhile, the UK has retained their minimum speeding fine of £100 ($A177) and motorists can chose to reduce that further by attending a speed awareness course.

Switzerland and Finland are much tougher on their rich speeders.

Finland uses a “day fine” system of half the offender’s daily disposable income with the percentage increasing according to their speed over the limit.

In 2002, former Nokia director Anssi Vanjoki copped a $A190,000 fine for riding his motorcycle 75km/h in a 50km/h zone.

But that’s not the world record speeding fine which was handed out in Switzerland in 2010 to a Swedish motorist caught driving at 290km/h.

He was fined 3600 Swiss francs per day for 300 days which worked out to almost $A1.5m.

Click here for our tips on riding in Europe.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

No safety in numbers for speeding riders

Riders who believe there is safety in numbers may be in for a shock when the whole group is pulled over by police and fined for speeding.

The issue was brought to our attention when three of a group of four Brisbane riders were recently pulled over and fined for speeding.

One of the riders decided to challenge the fine because he believed he was not doing the same speed as the others.

His lawyer advised hima group of motorcyclist travelling together can be reasonably considered as all travelling at the same speed, therefore the police only need to confirm one was speeding to be able to apply the same ticket to the rest of the group”.

The rider’s challenge was unsuccessful in Magistrates Court this week.

Queensland Police officer Senior Constable John Wilkins used an in-car radar to record the speed of three of the riders as they approached in the opposite direction to which he was travelling. He missed the fourth rider.No safety in numbers for speeding riders

To back up his observations of each rider’s speed, he used a bodycam to record the vision of the riders and a partial view of their speed on the dashboard-mounted radar unit.

Proving the speeds of several riders in a group seems impossible, yet the Magistrate in this case accepted the police evidence.

The defendant, who has already spent $5500 on the matter, plans to take it further.

No safety in numbersDangers of organised group rides numbers

Many riders may have similar stories of numbers of riders copping the same speeding fine while others may have examples of only one rider being pulled out of a group for speeding.

Both scenarios seem unfair and unjust.

Except for fixed speed cameras, which can pick up individual number plates to issue fines, there does not appear to be any mobile equipment that can do the same.

In this case, the officer backs up his evidence with bodycam video.

We asked police in each state about their operations and policy.

Only Victoria, Queensland and South Australia replied, while the others refused to comment on operational procedures or “hypothetical situations”.

Victorian Police say that “under the right circumstances it is possible for police to intercept and issue speeding infringements to a large group of motorcyclists”.

However, they won’t say what those “right circumstances” are.

It seems police are simply willing to fine group riders and accept the chance that it may be challenged in court.

Police repliesDayGlo Queensland Police helmet camera fined witnesses robbed

Here are the replies from Queensland and SAPOL:

Queensland Police utilise multiple types of speed detection devices that are capable of accurately detecting motorists exceeding the speed limit.  Police remind all road users to drive safely and not exceed the speed limit. A handheld laser speed detection device will enable accurate targeting of an individual vehicle travelling in a group of vehicles. A mobile radar will not allow the individual targeting of a vehicle travelling in a group of vehicles, however it does have a feature that will allow the device to display both the strongest signal returned and the fastest vehicle detected. With regards to both types of devices, it is incumbent upon the operator to make visual observations as part of a valid tracking history to confirm the speed detected is accurate. The observations of the officer are vital in supporting any prosecution.

SAPOL uses both hand-held laser and vehicle mounted radar devices to detect speeds, along with officers observations of vehicles. A laser device could be used to detect speed of a motor cycle rider in a group.  The detection could be used to prove that other persons in the group were exceeding the speed limit, if they were observed by police as travelling parallel to each other.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com