More cops, more tickets..

May 4, 2013 at 19:06 | Posted in bicycles | 3 Comments
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police carWell, it happened again. And again, actually – I’ve really had a spectacularly successful run of collecting tickets over the last three weeks, totalling six tickets. That’s about $400 in fines (assuming the ones I contested for various reasons are upheld). But the one that I was going to write about didn’t happen on Pyrmont Bridge, and is notable as it’s the first ticket I have ever received from non-cycling cops. Indeed, it’s the first time in my life I have been pulled over by a police car, complete with flashing lights (no wailing sirens, unfortunately, although I like to think they just forgot to turn it on).

As is usually the case on these occasions, they were very nice, and listened politely as I explained my reasons. The female officer told me she would have to look up my record and decide whether to give me a ticket or a caution. I did ask for a caution, but did have to wryly admit that she was going to find a lot of helmet offences on my file. Whilst she was taking down my details, I had a nice chat with the other (male) officer about fixed gear bikes; he asked me how it rode and why I liked it. He was a cyclist, as it turned out, and we have a very nice chat.

Unfortunately, it was yet another nice chat that cost me $66. And whilst my dealings with the NSW police have (with one exception) been very cordial, friendly affairs, I am starting to wonder whether $66 for each chat is really good value. And so I have been forced into something I really didn’t want to do. No, I haven’t started wearing a helmet.  I have obtained a medical certificate from a doctor that says I cannot wear one for medical reasons. There are plenty of valid medical reasons why wearing a helmet is a bad idea, and plenty of doctors familiar with them who are happy to write out a certificate. The only flaw in this plan is that, unlike in Queensland and Victoria, there is no specific provision in NSW law for such an exemption. That said, last time I was in court the police prosecutor said that if I had such a certificate then the police would not issue a ticket, and the magistrate did say it would be a reason to dismiss the case. So we shall see. So far, though, it seems to be working as since I have had it tucked into my saddle bad, I haven’t seen a single policeman…

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3 Comments »

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  1. Hmmmm. Good luck with the cops.
    Yea, I do wear a helmet. I am car-free 3 decades, cycling regularily (several times per wk.) for last 22 yrs.

  2. Maybe, since we can’t seem to get anywhere with the politicians, we could begin a concerted campaign to change the mind of the police commissioner? If he could be convinced that the enforcement is counterproductive to harmony on our streets, maybe he could tell the constables to lay of the high pressure tactics 🙂

  3. You know I really wonder about why the police organize these stings. Is it self prompted by the police commissioner or subordinates or does it happen due to pressure from the RMS or other government body? I can’t imagine it raises any revenue, so I can only imagine that its prompted by concerns for our safety.

    In which case, convincing someone high up in the police hierarchy about the failure of the MHL would actually work in absence of a change to the law. Maybe one day the helmet law will be an archaic, ignored law like the one about women in paris not being allowed to wear pants (which was only repealed earlier this year).

    Like your work on challenging the MHL by the way.


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