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Police defend incorrect rider fine

Incorrect fine Tim Byrne justice
Tim with footpeg fine

Police have refused to withdraw an incorrect fine for a rider standing on the foot pegs, even though the “commonsense” practice was legalised in South Australia in 2016 and added to the Australian Road Rules this year.

Click here to read about the new ARRs.

Tim Byrne (pictured above) says he was riding his Triumph Tiger through some roadworks in Adelaide in January 2018 and stood up to see over the 40km/h traffic when he was pulled over by police.

“At this point I was confused,” he says.

“The female police officer informed me that standing on the foot pegs was an offence.”

Tim says the officer told him: “We have a zero tolerance about the fatal five and riding without due care or control is one of them”.

“Confused, I sucked it up and rode off with my $190 blue piece of paper,” Tim says.

However, he then found that the South Australia laws were changed in December 2016 to allow riders to stand on the pegs while moving if they have both feet on the pegs and it is safe. THe rules have also been changed in most other states.

Tim officially asked for the fine to be waived on the grounds that it was incorrect according to the updated road rules.

However, he received a reply on behalf off the Police Commissioner that said the fine would not be withdrawn.

“The issuing officer has the discretion whether to caution or issue an expiation notice,” the police reply says.

“I am satisfied that the issuing officer has exercised their discretion appropriately and do not intend to interfere (with) that decision.”

Incorrect fines

South Australian rider representative group spokesman Tim Kelly of Ride to Review says it’s “disappointing to learn that riders are still being charged for offences that are no longer applicable”.

Rode to Review Tim Kelly learn licence licensing plans incorrect
Tim Kelly

“What this means is that even SAPOL aren’t aware of the laws of this state,” he says.

“As such, they could be (or are) fining motorcyclists for offences that commonsense saw end years ago.

“The rider now cops it on the chin or requires legal assistance to determine the validity of the charge and whether it is actually legal.”

Police in several states have been known to issue incorrect fines before due to a lack of knowledge of complex road and vehicle compliance rules.

A recent example is several riders on a charity ride receiving incorrect defect notices for their handlebars.

Click here for more details.

The fined rider in this case says his fine is due for payment on Tuesday and he is unsure whether it is worth the expense of seeking a lawyer to fight a $190 fine.

“I find myself still unable to decide whether to risk and even greater fine in court plus expenses or just pay it,” he says.

We asked South Australian Police to explain how they can refuse to withdraw a fine that appears to be blatantly incorrect. 

They replied that if the rider wishes to dispute the offence and circumstances surrounding the fine, they have every opportunity to do so by contesting the matter in court.

  1. I would be contesting it, you might even find the police public prosecutor would be very much be inclined to drop the fine since I believe he would clearly see it wasn’t illegal at all by law to stand on the Motorcycle foot pegs. A judge would dismiss the case against the rider.
    It’s funny how that the public can’t claim ignorance regarding the law but the police can by claiming that it was illegal when in fact it wasn’t illegal at all.

  2. Why would you need a lawyer?
    Go to court and fight it yourself.
    Claim the days pay it has cost you to attend and get mr piggy a kick in arse if you so confident it’s wrong.

  3. I’ve copped a couple of fines because fighting them in court is too expensive, even just in terms of taking the day off work. But how ridiculous that the police are obviously willing to bet on that even though they are obviously in the wrong. I hope it is fought, someone more senior steps in, or someone gets sacked because of this.

  4. In the wording of many road rules there is the phrase “If Safe To Do So”
    This is their get out of gaol free card as it then becomes a matter of opinion and we all know who’s opinion will count more than your own.
    That said there is nothing unsafe about standing on the pegs and you can furnish video of guys riding up boulders while standing on the pegs to prove it.
    Where this stupidity came about was as a means to combat the people who do tricks on public roads but instead of wording it correctly they just chose the lowest common denominator and then had to correct it when proven wrong.
    Legal advice
    Ask for it to go to court and contact the prosecutor in writing stating that you intend to defend the charge unless he can set it aside as being clearly wrong.
    You used to be able to threaten suing the officer for court costs and loss of wages etc but now most police have been indemnified against such actions unless they knew they were in the wrong and did it anyway.
    The prosecutor will have to show the magistrate any correspondence so your story will be seen by the beak . If the prosecutor can’t quash it himself he’ll request the magistrate do so.

  5. it’s important to fight for what is right and the “law” is actually on your side. Perhaps approach the state Ombudsman and appeal the injustice of being fined for doing nothing illegal.

  6. The, when safe to so, is problematic, because it then becomes a matter of who thinks it is safe. .e.g riding down a straight highway at the speed limit = safe, whereas looking over traffic on a busy road = unsafe. Can’t see him winning this one.

  7. Start a Gofundme campaign and fight. I would chip in. If this happened more often then maybe the cops would be more cautious issuing pathetic fines like this.

  8. I would fight this one. Why was it unsafe to stand on the pegs at the time. And yes go for clim of harrasment and wages etc. Its up to the judge not the coppers and if it is legal then the coppers have a few things to learn.

  9. Depending on what’s written on the ticket, he should fight it. If it actually says it’s because he was up on the pegs, then fight as it’s not a crime and he has a chance, no lawyer needed, just have the road rule paragraph and verse to quote and read it out in court.

    If the ticket is relatively vague and says riding in an unsafe manner, pay the ticket and walk away.

    1. NO – Don’t PAY the FINE – DON’T ‘Walk Away’ from this one – IT is UP to the POLICE to PROVE that you were Riding IN an UNSAFE MANNER – HOW are They to PROVE IT THEN …

      If it is at the Officers Decission then You can ASK the Magistrate to ask ‘What Qualifications Does the Officer have to make such a Decission?’ – Does HE/She have a Motorcycle Licence and How Many Kilometers have they ridden and For How Long have they Been Riding ???

      You can State your case that you Do Have A Motorcycle licence and have done X amount of kilometers and X amount of years of riding Qualifying YOU to DEEM IT SAFE …

      You DO have a VERY GOOD CHANCE to Contest THIS Farcical Fine – BUT ONLY IF YOU WISH TO ….
      The Choice Fight, OR, NOT to Fight – is squarely on YOUR Shoulders …


  10. Do your research and contest it, they rely on the inconvenience of it all to get your hard earned $$$. I fought them in a self representing capacity and beat false charges with 6 apparent police witnesses, that I proved they weren’t even there at the time and had the added joy of dragging their testimony through the mud. People who submit make it difficult for others.

  11. Always contest incorrectly issued fines, first by writing to ask the fine be withdrawn and where that is refused then elect to have it go to court, always let the rider association know the fine has been issued and provide them with the full details, join your State rider association they are there to assist and even where they cannot resolve an individual fine they can build up a picture of police behavior to take up the systemic issue with the appropriate level of government

    The improperly issued NSW/Vic helmet cam fine issue was resolved in NSW by representations with the police commissioner issuing a directive the fines were not to be written and in Vic the loss of court action achieved the same result

  12. innocent until PROVEN guilty. Wonder what the officers experience on Motorcycles is like….

  13. Fight it, I recently had a fine dismissed because I insisted that the issuing officer and the other witnessing officers all attend court for the matter. They didn’t want to attend court for the matter so it had to be dismissed. Use the system against them. Self represent yourself after learning the process, it is not as hard as it seems, plus if you win you can claim for costs.

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