Road Traffic Act and Shared Paths

1talian.steel
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Road Traffic Act and Shared Paths

Postby 1talian.steel » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:08 pm

A friend was issued with a $400 fine for using her mobile phone (as a GPS) while riding on the Shared Path alongside Loftus St, over the Freeway. While s265 prohibits the use of mobile devices while driving a vehicle, is this applicable to a cyclist on a shared path? Should they instead be charged under s229(b) for failing to maintain proper control of their bicycle?

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Thoglette
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Re: Road Traffic Act and Shared Paths

Postby Thoglette » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:32 pm

1talian.steel wrote: while riding on the Shared Path alongside Loftus St, over the Freeway. While s265 prohibits the use of mobile devices while driving a vehicle,

Done like a dog's dinner, I'm afraid.

A bike is a vehicle and the shared path on the road reserve is part of the roadway (IE one can be done for drunk driving on the shoulder).

If you don't like it, you and your friend need to take this up with your local member and get the law changed (somehow).
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queequeg
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Re: Road Traffic Act and Shared Paths

Postby queequeg » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:54 pm

1talian.steel wrote:A friend was issued with a $400 fine for using her mobile phone (as a GPS) while riding on the Shared Path alongside Loftus St, over the Freeway. While s265 prohibits the use of mobile devices while driving a vehicle, is this applicable to a cyclist on a shared path? Should they instead be charged under s229(b) for failing to maintain proper control of their bicycle?


It's not an offence to use her mobile phone as a GPS, on the provision that she doesn't touch the device whilst not parked. I have no idea what the definition of "parked" is for a bicycle on a shared path. I saw this question get raised in VIC, and the police indicated that "parked" meant off the roadway in any legal place for a vehicle to park, and did not require the rider to dismount. For a shared path, I have no idea, as you typically are not permitted to "park" your vehicle on a nature strip, which is typically where a shared path would run.

Maybe your friend should test the law in this regard, depending on the nature of the circumstances that lead to police booking her. I mean, what precipitated the fine? It does seem a little ludicrous given that you can have a Garmin GPS out front, and you can happily twiddle with the buttons or touch screen simply because it's not a mobile phone.
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Cycleops70
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Re: Road Traffic Act and Shared Paths

Postby Cycleops70 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:02 pm

I think it would depend on if the shared path were separate from the road.
This is the scope of the road traffic code. The second part says (if I read it right) they only apply to paths if it is part of the road.
For $400 it might be worth testing to see if the police can be bothered to pursue it.

ROAD TRAFFIC CODE 2000 - REG 4
4 . Scope of regulations
(1) Unless the context requires otherwise, these regulations apply to persons, vehicles and things on roads only, and where a provision of these regulations requires, or prohibits, the doing of any act or thing, that requirement or prohibition relates to the doing of that act or thing, on a road.

(2) Where a provision of these regulations requires, or prohibits, the doing of any act or thing on a path, that requirement or prohibition only relates to the doing of that act or thing, on the path if the path forms a part of a road.

Wixxy
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Re: Road Traffic Act and Shared Paths

Postby Wixxy » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:39 pm

Number 2 reads to me a bike lane (and shoulder) not shared path.

1talian.steel
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Re: Road Traffic Act and Shared Paths

Postby 1talian.steel » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:48 am

Thanks Cycleops70, I think Reg 4 is very interesting, both in what it states directly and what is implied in its construction.

Section 1 explicitly states that the RTA only applies to Roads, "unless the context requires otherwise". 'Requires' is a very specific construction, which implies a high level to be satisfied and does not allow leeway in interpretation. In essence, unless 'Path' is specifically mentioned in the regulations, or the regulation would have no effect unless the interpretation was broadened to include Paths, then the RTA only applies to Roads.

Furthermore, Section (2) explicitly limits the operation of the RTA to paths that form a part of a road. While the primary purpose of S(2) is to exclude paths that are in the middle of no where, this construction implies a very interesting point: this Section would have no point if a Shared Path alongside a Road was synonymous with the Road. In other words, if the intention was to consider a Shared Path on the road reserve as a 'Road' then there would be no such thing as a Shared Path (as it can only be a Path under the RTA if it was alongside a road).

These two sections taken together create a strong sense that the only regulations contained in the RTA that apply to Shared Paths are those that specifically mention Paths. This is further borne out by those specific regulations that are intended to apply no matter what specifically call out Path and Road e.g. s222(2) (on helmets) ' a person shall not ride a bicycle on a road or any path' or s229 (Proper control of bicylces) 'A person shall not on any road or path — (a) ride a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol . . .'

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Re: Road Traffic Act and Shared Paths

Postby Scott_C » Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:11 am

Wixxy wrote:Number 2 reads to me a bike lane (and shoulder) not shared path.

Then you are unfamiliar with the definitions of path and road in the WA Road Traffic (Administration) Act and Road Traffic Code.

path includes bicycle path, footpath, separated footpath and shared path;
road means any highway, road or street open to, or used by, the public and includes every carriageway, footway, reservation, median strip and traffic island on it;

Notably, 'path' definitely doesn't include a bike lane (and does include a shared path) and 'road' includes footways and reservations (i.e. the road reserve) associated with the road.

This is why you see cases like this (drunk ride-on mower operator on a footpath) prosecuted under the road traffic act and associated legislation when they aren't on the carriageway (which, in the terminology of the Act, is the part of the road that most people use the word road to refer to). You should also be aware that the terminology used in WA is not the same as what is used in the rest of Australia which makes it hard to use interstate cases as examples.

I am not a lawyer and cannot give legal advice but, in my opinion, the only possible 'outs' for the OP's friend are- if they were stationary, claiming they were parked; or if the mobile phone had a data only SIM in it, claiming that it isn't a mobile phone because it can't make or receive phone calls (eg. I believe it would be technically legal to have used an iPod touch as a GPS and touched it while riding (as it is not a mobile phone) whereas using an iPhone as a GPS and touching it is technically illegal despite both devices being externally the same and running the same apps with the same functionality).

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Cycleops70
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Re: Road Traffic Act and Shared Paths

Postby Cycleops70 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:22 pm

Scott_C wrote:
Wixxy wrote:Number 2 reads to me a bike lane (and shoulder) not shared path.

Then you are unfamiliar with the definitions of path and road in the WA Road Traffic (Administration) Act and Road Traffic Code.



This is why you see cases like this (drunk ride-on mower operator on a footpath)


I'm not convinced. The road traffic act 1974 is separate from the road traffic code 2000 and not bound by the scope of the RTC.

The RTA with respect of driving under the influence, appears to apply to the act of driving a "motor vehicle" and doesn't give any exceptions (whether it be road, path, or private property).


I'm inclined to take 1Italian Steel's interpretation.

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Re: Road Traffic Act and Shared Paths

Postby cj7hawk » Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:59 pm

Road also includes parking lots, so technically, you can be busted on the drive-through at McDonalds, though I've never heard of the police doing that... At some point they do apply common sense.

Getting it changed would require that we demonstrate we have a reasonable need to use phones while on our bicycles and cannot due to the exceptions excluding only bicycles... We could argue that the lack of an electrical system or possibility to support hands-free kit on legitimate lightweight bicycle helmets prevents us from an alternative as motorcycles and cars do, and that the dangers simply aren't present when comparing a bicycle to a motorcycle or vehicle.

As for GPS... Can be used on a bicycle but needs to be affixed to the frame or handlebars.

I don't like that footpaths and shared paths are included in the phone use provisions, but they are and it's the law :(

Speaking of which, 5 people on the commute home, all heads down at 100 kph, all on phones, three of them texting. :(

David.

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Thoglette
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Re: Road Traffic Act and Shared Paths

Postby Thoglette » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:07 am

cj7hawk wrote:Road also includes parking lots, so technically, you can be busted on the drive-through at McDonalds, though I've never heard of the police doing that...


If I recall correctly, it is only for a specific subset of The Regulations. This was discussed at great length w.r.t. speed limits and when a path stops being on a roadway and then becomes an issue for the council or property owner.
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