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Frequently Asked Questions

Are you allowed to Lane Filter?


Before July 2013 you were allowed to pass a vehicle on it’s nearside if you were indicating left and turning left in the same lane or if you are on the left side of a broken or an unbroken line such as in an adjoining left lane.

You are allowed to pass on the offside if indicating right and you are on the left of either a broken or unbroken line in the same lane or on the right side of a broken line in another lane or overtaking. In other words if the lane is wide enough for you to share with another vehicle you can legally pass on it’s right side if indicating.

However, ARR (Australian Road Rule) 140 says do not overtake when unsafe.

ARR 144 says to keep a safe distance when overtaking.

Does it matter whether the vehicles being passed are moving? No

Since July 2013 the Minister for Transport has changed the law to allow lane filtering by Motor Cycles and Scooters subject to the following:

1. Not allowed in school zones

2. At speeds less than 30 kph

3. Excludes L & P plate riders

4. Not allowed along kerbside or gutter

 

Are you allowed to use Bus Lanes?


Motorcycles, along with Police, taxis, hire cars and buses can use Bus and Transit Lanes.

Buses Only Lanes are restricted to Buses only except when entering or exiting the road.

Of course all can also be used by emergency vehicles like Tow Trucks and Fire Brigade as well as Police and NRMA Road Service (if responding to a call).

 

Negligent Driving/Riding – Road Conditions and why Police Action


The normal procedure by NSW Police in single vehicle crashes is an assumption of negligence on you as there was no one else there to cause it.

These crashes can be caused by lots of things including animals, gravel, diesel, pothole or poor road surface or even water over the road.

Generally the police will make no charge if it is clear from the scene or witnesses that other factors caused the crash … don’t be shy to tell them!

 

Negligent Driving/Riding – No actual Collision


Does it matter if a crash is caused the driver of another vehicle but there is actually no collision? No.

 

Negligent Driving/Riding – Reasonable Man Test


A rider who collided with a back of a car, which had skidded to a halt for a red light, received a ticket for Negligent Driving. Is he guilty?

After a defended Hearing the Magistrate found no negligence on the bike rider and dismissed the matter as he had done everything that a “reasonable man” would have done.

 

Time Limits on TINs (Traffic Infringement Notices)


The Police have six months in NSW to issue Road Transport Act Court process.

Camera offences are given 12 months in NSW

Criminal matters have no time limit

 

Non complying accessories


Who is liable if you have a second hand bike and need the OEM exhaust to comply with a defect notice? If you installed the system yourself or bought the bike as is privately, you are on your own to buy a legal pipe.

If you bought it from a dealer, he may have an obligation to make the bike roadworthy at his expense … it depends on the agreement made at the time of purchase (if any) about the exhaust or what legislation exists in that regard.

 

Good Behaviour Licences


Is it true that after being booked for Speed 30> in NSW that you could drive on a Good Behaviour Licence without being suspended?

It is not true. Speed 30> means three months Statutory Suspension.

A 12-month GBL (Good Behaviour Licence) is only available as an elective option (with the RMS, not the Court) on reaching 13 (14 for professional drivers) or more demerit points within three years.

 

Default Speed Limit


The “Default Speed Limit” of 100kph applies because 60 kph speed limit signs and street lights every 100m or less are absent.

A speed limit expires at the end of a road or at a T-junction. There should be another speed limit sign after indicating a speed limit.

If there are streetlights and buildings near the road, the built up area blanket limit of 50kph (used to be 60) applies but if not, the highway limit of 100kph applies.

 

Statutory Demand


Police can demand to know under Section 177 Road Transport 2013 NSW the identity of driver/rider of a vehicle in a certain place at a certain time and date.

This demand can be made to anyone with knowledge, not just the registered owner.

I believe that where the demand is not refused but an answer is given such as it was stolen, then conviction carrying maximum penalty of a fine of $2200 should not occur.

 

Street Racing


Few seconds at the lights or even the Freeway with two vehicles side by side can and will be classed by the Police and courts as “street racing”. The penalties are severe and include:

  1. Immediate suspension of your licence
  2. Immediate confiscation of your vehicle for three months if your first offence.
  3. Immediate confiscation of your vehicle permanently if your second or subsequent offence.
  4. Liability for payment of tow and storage charges which average about $1200 if #2 above applies.
  5. Automatic disqualification of 12 months plus a fine up to $2200 and 9 months jail.

 

Defence of Necessity


Speeding to hospital in an emergency such as with an injured passenger or one about to give birth allows you to break the Road Rules.

Similarly with other genuine emergencies or duress.

 

Fit and Proper Person to hold a Licence in NSW


Sometimes when incurring non-minor offences like being booked in Victoria for Speed 45 and over you may receive a nasty letter from the RMS intending a suspension in NSW because you are alleged not to be a fit and proper person to have a licence in NSW.

This is in addition to the reasonable fine (by NSW standards), points and a 12 months suspension in Victoria.

Usually the RMS wants the suspension in NSW to be for the same period despite the fact that for example Speed 45> only attracts 6 month suspension in NSW.

You have a right of appeal to the Local Court.

 

Wrongful Charge – Costs Against Police


There is legislation in NSW under s.214 - 216 of Criminal procedure Act 1986 that gives the Magistrate discretion to order costs against the Police in situations including:


• Failure to appear
• Police investigation unreasonable or improper
• Initiated without a reasonable cause
• Conducted in an improper manner
• Exceptional circumstances

 

Habitual Traffic offenders


Habitual Offender Declarations of five years additional disqualification are what you get if you have three Major Offences or Speed 45>s within five years.

You can ask the Magistrate to reduce them by up to three years or quash them.

You are also able to do so even years later as there is no time limit on the appeal as to HTO Declarations.

 

Staying of Police Roadside Suspension


Within 28 days of a roadside suspension you are able to apply to a Local Court near where you live for a stay of the suspension on the grounds of exceptional circumstances.

 

Honest and Reasonable Belief


It is a defence to most traffic infringements and even Major Offences that you had “honest and reasonable belief”.

It has been held not to apply to mistaken belief as to a higher speed limit.



Road Transport Act 2013 - Sect 141


This is a concerning piece of NSW legislation.

It came into being after a well publicized case of RTA –v- Baldock where a Court accepted evidence that the speed limit was not exceeded despite a speed camera indicating the opposite.

So this legislation was passed to stop any evidence except by an expert making it easier for the Police in future to prove calibrated instrument cases like speed cameras etc.

If you get a speeding ticket and want to dispute it…maybe you can’t!

 

Test rides and insurance


What about selling your bike or car and the buyer wants a test ride….. what if he crashes it? Is it insured? What does he have to pay?

There is an old saying with riding motorbikes …. You bend it, you buy it!

Some policies exclude cover for test rides; some insist that you have ID and licence details beforehand; some policies only cover nominated riders.

What if the test rider never comes back?

Think consequences.

 

Drive Manner Dangerous


Speeding for example at about 200kph in a 90 zone and a charge of “Driving at a Speed Dangerous” which is a Criminal Offence. Suspension on the spot.

The charge carries an automatic disqualification period of three years which can be reduced by the Court to a minimum mandatory period of one year but no less; You can also be sentenced to nine months jail or receive a Community Service Order up to 500 hours or a Bond; And you can also be fined up to $2200.

 

Drive with a range of Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol in Blood. (Road Transport Act 2013 - Sect 108)


As an enthusiast motorcyclist I have a firm rule about alcohol – it does not mix with motorbike riding!

NSW Parliament feels very strongly about this and has made tough laws and penalties about it targeting car drivers but affecting riders as well …. And unfortunately it is my experience that the number of offenders is NOT decreasing. Also ladies now days represent almost 50% of offenders – equality of the sexes perhaps but not the norm 20 years ago!

Most people get confused by what is a standard drink i.e. A stubby or schooner of full strength beer can be 1.4 standard drinks whilst a wine bottle usually contains EIGHT standard drinks and therefore an average wine glass of 150ml is almost TWO standard drinks …. Tricky and harder to calculate if you have had a few!

There are four different ranges:

Zero range for L & P platers & professional drivers –Zero alcohol allowed

Low Range – 0.050 to 0.079

Mid Range – 0.080 to 0.149

High Range – 0.150 and up

Your sex, body weight and what you ate whilst drinking makes a difference.

The automatic penalty for the first two categories is 6 months disqualification but reducible by Court to 3 months with a fine up to $1100.

The automatic penalty for mid range is 12 months disqualification but reducible by Court to 6 months with a fine up to $2200…. and jail up to 9 months.

The automatic penalty for high range is 3 years disqualification but reducible by Court to 12 months with a fine up to $3300….. and jail up to 18 months.

If you have had a previous major offence (like drink driving, drive disqualified, drive dangerously) in the preceding 5 years, the above penalties basically double…..

If you drink & drive but particularly if you RIDE you may also die ….so don’t do it, taxis are awfully cheap and safe or make arrangement how to get home before you go out drinking.

 

Meaning of Court Dates


First Return Date - First time a matter is listed before Court

Mention - A short matter for example an adjournment application

Return Date - For production of Subpoenaed material.

Reply to Brief - Telling court whether guilty or not and if not, seeking a Hearing Date with details of witnesses required.

Plea - Entering a plea of Guilty – usually dealt with that day.

Hearing Date - Defended hearing with witnesses giving evidence.

Sentence - Penalty imposed.

Licence Appeal - Appeal against the RMS as to a driving Licence in NSW.

Suspension Appeal - Appeal against Police roadside suspension of a driving licence in NSW

 

Description of Court Personnel in Traffic and Criminal matters


Magistrate - Judicial Officer who decides guilt/penalty.

Court Officer - A person who calls out names of parties and keeps general order in the court room and the court list.

Court Monitor - A person who electronically records dialogue in the court room.

Bailiff - A Sheriff’s officer who keeps peace in the court room.

Police Prosecutor - Sergeant sitting at the Bar Table who acts for Police

Solicitor/Counsel - A lawyer sitting at the Bar Table who acts for the Defendant.

Defendant - A person charged with an offence.



Section 10 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 NSW


You are supposed to only get one of these in your lifetime but it may be granted if:

The offence is not too serious ie., not available for rape, murder, malicious wounding High Range Drink Driving etc…

You criminal or driving record is reasonable

The circumstances are explainable

Mandatory penalties may be too harsh

If granted it means the offence is proven without a conviction and therefore for example there will be no licence disqualification, fine or demerit points.

It will be shown on your record so next time the Magistrate knows you have had one previously.

It is counted as one if you have three Major Offences in five years and thus qualify as a Habitual Traffic Offender meaning additional disqualification of five years on top of the court ordered periods.

You will still be liable to pay the automatic Court Levies totaling $156 in 2013.

There are three types of Section 10’s.

Section 10A – Conviction without further penalty (except the Levies)

Section 10 (1) (a) – Non - Conviction without further penalty (except the Levies) and without a Good Behaviour Bond.

Section 10 (1) (b) – Non - Conviction without further penalty (except the Levies) but with a Good Behaviour Bond for 6 – 24 months. If you commit another serious traffic or criminal offence in the Bond period you will be called back to court to be re-sentenced on the original offence plus the new one.

 

If your enquiry is not one of the topics covered above or you need more info please call Mark Stenberg on 0405 064 087 or email him on mark@lawstop.com.au