Cycling in Sydney Australia
Just wanted to let you know that the "boys in blue" are targeting the intersection of Murray and Pyrmont Bridge Road in Pyrmont - just at Pyrmont Bridge. They were there this morning at about &:30 am 28/2. My details were taken for running the red light while in the cycle lane when the roadway had a green light. Based on my research it's going to be a $57 fine - but no loss of points.
Such a good use of Police resources...
Was the pedestrian green phase on at the time? If ti was you could contest the ticket, on the basis that the detector loop did not trigger the bike phase. Woudl be pretty easy to get some witnesses to attest that the detector is unreliable, and also introduce as evidence correspondance from the RMA on the same topic.
You can either ask the SDRO to review the ticket on that basis - there's nothing to lose in doing this, but it's relatively unlikely they will drop the penalty.
Alternatively you can elect to go to court. There are thhen two further options:
- plead guilty and enter mitigating circumstances
You can do this in writing, so it's not a big drama. However, by pleading guilty you are hoping that the magistrate sees that the charge is very trivial, and drops it under section 10. I have had a 50/50 success with this approach; however if you are not successful you will probably end up with a fine of around $120.
- plead not guilty and go to court to represent yourself
This is all very exciting, but also rather stressful, and takes a whole day out of your life. There are acouple of possible defences, although note that the detector not working might be a tricky defence. Alternatively, you could say you simply went through by accident, as you saw the green roadway light, and assumed the bike light would also be green - and it wasn't until the cop stopped you you realised it was red.
Both of these defences rely on section 10-1 part 3 of the the NSW road rules that state:
a person is not liable to a penalty for any offence under these Rules if the person proves to the satisfaction of the court dealing with the case that the offence:
(a) was the result of an accident, or
(b) could not have been avoided by any reasonable efforts on the person’s part.
Detector loop failure comes under (b) - there was no way to avoid going througn on red as the detector was faulty. 'Didn't see it' comes under (a) - it was an accident. (Yes, amazingly, this also means that SMIDY is actually an allowed defence under the NSW road rules...)
Think about what you said to the officer, though, as if you said to him 'I don't care; it's just a red light and I blow through them all the time', you don't stand much chance in court!
Suggest in future you pull out of the bike onto the road prior to the junction, then go through on the green...
Agree with the go on the road advice Dan, and thanks for explaining the SMIDSY defence.
That's something we might seek to improve eh.
I find the bicycle lantern hard to pick out. Myopia and specs mean they are over the specs and too insignificant among everything else in the blur. The regular greens which are powerful and numerous are easy to see, and dominate. If you want me to give evidence to that effect Wandy pse do feel invited to PM me.
(a) the result of an accident
is something like being rear-ended and pushed through a light, it is not for failing to see an unobstructed light.
The detector is a difficult issue. It is visibly installed incorrectly, as it does not cover the entire lane. It is probably possible to get off on that one.
I have called the RTA/RMA a few times to complain. They say they will send someone to look at it, but it clearly has issues.
I think the biggest problem is that where there is a large number of people waiting, you don't know if the person at the front is on the sensor. That is, assuming the sensor is working, which in my experience it mostly doesn't.
Or you could just ignore the fine and join the other $850 million in unpaid fines that SDRO is trying to deal with :-)
Thanks so much for your comprehensive answer Dan. You have given me a lot to think about.
It’s funny, in the context of your last statement;
“Suggest in future you pull out of the bike onto the road prior to the junction, then go through on the green...” I thought about doing that as well, however are the bike lanes compulsory for bikes? Could I have been pinged for using the road when there was a bike lane available...?
The CoS lanes are not bike lanes, thay are cycleways. They are not compulsory.
Compulsory bike lanes are drawn onroad - not behind the kerb, and have start / end cycle lane signs. ie you aren't required to use the COS cycletracks.
If you go through the intersection on the road using the green non-bicycle traffic light, what happens when you want to go onto the bridge? Do you have to pull over to the curb, dismount, walk over the footpath and then start cycling across the bridge? In the eyes of the law, is the red bicycle traffic light also controlling the other side of the intersection and the gutter ramp entry for bicycles going onto the bridge?
I did this in front of the cops last weeks. Just dismounted briefly to get over the curb then started riding again. All of the bridge from the length of the curb eastwards is shared space from what i can see, or at least nothing is there to delineate shared space from exclusively pedestrian space.
Am pretty sure the cops saw me do it and they seemed ok with it.
btw I got pinged for riding on the bridge over Sussex st at the eastern end of pyrmont bridge, going slower than the walkers, so you need to be careful there as well.
I feel for you, as I did the same thing on the Bourke St cycle way this morning after riding onto what I thought was the sensor area then rolling backwards a bit to wait in the shade. I was furious when the cars got the green but not the bikes (especially as it was at an intersection with a one way street where no car could turn left) but I'd be more furious if I got pinged for it. Surely a faulty sensor where no one is at risk is grounds for contesting this.
In a year of cycle commuting I have 100% success with the Bourke St sensors (end to end), bar the northbound (downhill) one at Liverpool St Darlinghurst. I head into the car lane there if no one is around to grab the car lane green - which works.
Stupidly if you dont stop AND remain on them till the cycle moves to amber on the cross road they will assume you have solved the space-time continuum conandrum and have teleported somewhere else... stupid. I find you have to stop right on it and stay there until the lights change, well that's what I assume as it works for me.
Not very user friendly, but I also hate that the ped lights might get a green, but the bike lane doesn't. Why, it wont affect traffic as they have the red arrow to cross the ped crossing anyway, that way if a bike hasn't dotted all the I's and crossed all their T's they still might get the green.