A Perth rider who took off his gloves and loosened his chin strap to talk to police who pulled him over is challenging a fine he received for not having his chin strap done up securely.
Julian Collis says he wrote a letter to police the same day – 30 May 2018 – advising he would not pay the fine and has not yet received a reply.
He says he has been offered free legal assistance and will challenge the fine in court.
Regulation 244 of the Western Australia Road Traffic Code 2000 states that a motorcycle must not be ridden unless an approved helmet is securely fitted and fastened to the head of the rider. The fine is $550 and four demerit points.
Strapped over strap
“I initially thought they were trying to get me for speeding as they put their speed gun on me,” Julian says.
“I had taken my motorcycle gloves off and put them on the console and loosened my chin strap to take off my helmet but I kept it on when I was told I wasn’t being done for speeding.
“I was speaking to him with my helmet on and the visor flipped up.
“He wasn’t rude or anything, but he said he thought my bike sounded a bit loud.
“I keep my bike (1981 Shovelhead Harley) in remarkable condition and standard as possible as it’s worth more as a collectible item when it is standard, so that wasn’t the issue.”
Julian says the officer was still inspecting his bike when a second officer joined them.
“The second cop came over and stood in front of me and gave him a nudge and said ‘look at his chin strap’.
‘The first guy said ‘I’m going to have to give you a fine for that. It’s as bad as not wearing a helmet at all’.
“When I saw the fine and the points I told them straight away that I’m not paying it but I held my tongue back from telling them what I really thought.
“He said, ‘I’ll see you in court’.”
A Western Australia police spokeman says he cannot comment on this case, but offered advice for riders.
“I can’t comment on this incident specifically as I understand the person may consider disputing the matter in court,” he says.
“As per the infringement notice, any person who disputes a traffic infringement notice can elect to have the matter heard in court where an independent decision will be made.
“If the person believes they were unfairly targeted they can elect to make a complaint through the Police Complaints and Administration Centre, where the matter will be reviewed by a person independent of the infringing officer’s business unit.
“WA Police Force regularly run operations targeting unsafe motorcycle rider behaviours, including (not just) speeding, drink/drug impaired driving, but also riders not wearing or incorrectly wearing helmets. Helmet use is a major factor in the outcome of a fatal or serious crash – either from not being worn or being worn incorrectly.”
Julian says the officers were both wearing body cameras and he will ask police for copies of their video, if it was switched on, as it would exonerate him.
“The 2nd guy said he saw that I didn’t undo the strap, but he was dealing with another person at the time,” Julian says.
We will update with progress of Julian’s challenge.