Cycling in Sydney Australia
Today in the mail I received an infringement notice for "Not stop before red bicycle crossing light". Here's the story of how it happened, which I wrote as soon as I got home after the incident:
Today I got stopped at the corner of Oxford St and College St by a motorbike cop because I wasn't wearing a helmet. I showed him my medical certificate, which satisfied him.
But then out of nowhere:
"What about the red light you went through?"
"I didn't go through a red light"
"Yes you did, that one!" he said, pointing to the lights across College St at the intersection with Oxford St.
"It was green"
"But it's a pedestrian crossing"
"No, it's a shared path, with a bike lantern"
"You went through a red light"
"I stopped with all the pedestrians, and we all waited until it went green, and we all crossed together. If you have any footage of it on that camera [he was wearing a body-camera] I'd love to see it"
"It's all on camera, and if I send you a ticket you'll be able to see it"
"You might be getting a ticket in the mail"
I'd love to fight this, and I'm pretty sure any video evidence would exonerate me, although there's a small chance that the light began flashing red before all the waiting pedestrians (with me at their rear) had time to step out onto the road.
Ask for the evidence. If it shows you are in the right then fantastic. If it shows you were in the wrong then you're no worse off.
Is there a way to ask for the evidence before going to court? If not, can I ask for it at court?
Surely the evidence is included in the fine?!
I've never seen an infringement notice contain any evidence, nor refer to any evidence. It's "you did bad thing, now you pay", and that's about it.
Good to see that Australia is stil behaving like a third world country. Obviously angling to get aid to assist in being a developing nation.
The moto cop said that you'd be able to see the evidence so stick with that.
And if they say you can't see the evidence that would suggest to me that there either is no evidence or the evidence vindicated you.
When a motorists gets a fine in the post they also get the option of being able to see the evidence so I can't see why a cyclists isn't given the same privilege (apart from the general anti-cyclist attitude from the state and the police obviously).
I imagine motorists get the option to see the evidence for things like speed camera and red-light camera offences, ie, offences where no cop actually saw the offence take place. My case is a bit different - the cop claims to be an eyewitness.
And his statement that I could see the evidence is probably as reliable as his statement that I went through a red light.
If you elect to go to court, the police are obliged to give you all the evidence they intend to present a minimum of 5 days (I think) prior to the court date.
So yes, you will get to see the evidence. If they do not give you the evidence in advance, and then try to produce it on the day in court, you can object and have it ruled inadmissible, or ask to have the whole thing thrown out on procedural grounds.
Have you taken such a matter to court before? If not, I can tell you how it works.
I'd say you have a good chance the matter will be dealt with under section 42; i.e. the magistrate will accept the evidence, but record no charges and lay no fines.
You can, of course, also present evidence to the court, and you do not have to give this to the prosecution prior. For example, were there any witnesses? Or you could video the way the lanterns work at that intersection and the way the ped and bike traffic flows to show your behaviour was reasonable.
Thanks. I will almost certainly elect to go to court. The only wrinkle with that plan is that I will be out of the country for 2 of the next 4 months.
My concern about video evidence is that the cops will be unlikely to use it, and instead rely on the cop's eyewitness testimony. What chance have I got if I'm effectively saying "the cop is lying; believe me, not him"? Can I demand to see it, and if so, when and how can I make that demand?
I will go and take some video footage of the intersection to show the (possibly non-compliant) bike lanterns in use there. It can't hurt.