Police in USA enforcing passing distance

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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby RonK » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:13 am

high_tea wrote:Please cite the exact bit of this statute that reverses the onus of proof. I'm aware of some deeming provisions, but that's a whole nother thing.

This is the current Queensland Legislation - the other states no doubt have similar legisation. https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/T/TrantOpRUA95.pdf

Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 Chapter 5 Road use Part 7 Detection devices Section 114.
It is a defence to a camera-detected offence for a person to
prove that—
(a) the person was not the driver of the vehicle at the time
the offence happened; and


And here is the amendment bill. https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/Bill ... mdB96E.pdf
Reversal of Onus of Proof:
...Onus is then on the owner to prove that he or she was not the driver of the vehicle at the time of the offence.


You can argue until you are blue in the face, but the reality is that in the magistrates court where cases involving traffic offence are usually heard, the opinion of a police officer will be accepted unless you can prove otherwise.
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by BNA » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:30 am

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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby RonK » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:30 am

cyclotaur wrote:It's amazing how quickly an interesting threat can be made boring by bush lawyers and/or serial pedants .... :roll:

Re: the OP, the main upside to the on-road enforcement by patrolling police is to gradually change the culture of 'priority road-use entitlement' by drivers.

The enforceability of minimum passing distance legislation is a key argument. So this discussion is absolutely relevant.

For example, Bicycle Queensland's submission the Queensland Parliamentary Inquiry opposes legislated mandatory passing distances as follows:
Effectiveness and enforceability are clearly shown in international research to be problematic.

The story shows that mandatory passing distance law can and is being in enforced, contrary to BQ's statement.

I find it astonishing that the self-proclaimed "peak cycling body" in my state is so out of touch with grass-roots cycling.
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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby cyclotaur » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:35 am

RonK wrote:The enforceability of minimum passing distance legislation is a key argument. So this discussion is absolutely relevant.
....

Well, I said it was 'boring' rather than 'irrelevant'.

But thanks for proving my point. :lol:
Last edited by cyclotaur on Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby high_tea » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:42 am

RonK wrote:
high_tea wrote:Please cite the exact bit of this statute that reverses the onus of proof. I'm aware of some deeming provisions, but that's a whole nother thing.

This is the current Queensland Legislation - the other states no doubt have similar legisation. https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/T/TrantOpRUA95.pdf

Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 Chapter 5 Road use Part 7 Detection devices Section 114.
It is a defence to a camera-detected offence for a person to
prove that—
(a) the person was not the driver of the vehicle at the time
the offence happened; and


And here is the amendment bill. https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/Bill ... mdB96E.pdf
Reversal of Onus of Proof:
...Onus is then on the owner to prove that he or she was not the driver of the vehicle at the time of the offence.


You can argue until you are blue in the face, but the reality is that in the magistrates court where cases involving traffic offence are usually heard, the opinion of a police officer will be accepted unless you can prove otherwise.


That doesn't make a police officer's opinion conclusive or create a situation where "[o]nce a ticket has been issued the offender has been found guilty". It's a deeming provision that applies to a particular element of particular offences.

But meh, I'll leave it at that. I'm a serial pedant, no doubt about it. But I'm trying to give it up. Just not very hard :D

Better a serial pedant than a cereal pendant, that's what I reckon.
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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby exadios » Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:37 am

cyclotaur wrote:It's amazing how quickly an interesting threat can be made boring by bush lawyers and/or serial pedants .... :roll:

Re: the OP, the main upside to the on-road enforcement by patrolling police is to gradually change the culture of 'priority road-use entitlement' by drivers.


The problem is that neither you or the original poster has presented any evidence that the 3' rule and the patrols have done anything to change the cutture of 'priority road-use entitlement'.
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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby TimW » Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:40 am

exadios wrote:
cyclotaur wrote:It's amazing how quickly an interesting threat can be made boring by bush lawyers and/or serial pedants .... :roll:

Re: the OP, the main upside to the on-road enforcement by patrolling police is to gradually change the culture of 'priority road-use entitlement' by drivers.


The problem is that neither you or the original poster has presented any evidence that the 3' rule and the patrols have done anything to change the cutture of 'priority road-use entitlement'.


How about you ring the Austin Police department and report back to us, :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby Bah77 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:52 am

exadios wrote:
cyclotaur wrote:It's amazing how quickly an interesting threat can be made boring by bush lawyers and/or serial pedants .... :roll:

Re: the OP, the main upside to the on-road enforcement by patrolling police is to gradually change the culture of 'priority road-use entitlement' by drivers.


The problem is that neither you or the original poster has presented any evidence that the 3' rule and the patrols have done anything to change the cutture of 'priority road-use entitlement'.
To quote pantene "It wont happen overnight".

You have to start somewhere, you can't just say "oh well it hasnt worked in the five minutes we tried it, better not to try"
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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby exadios » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:24 pm

Bah77 wrote:
exadios wrote:
cyclotaur wrote:It's amazing how quickly an interesting threat can be made boring by bush lawyers and/or serial pedants .... :roll:

Re: the OP, the main upside to the on-road enforcement by patrolling police is to gradually change the culture of 'priority road-use entitlement' by drivers.


The problem is that neither you or the original poster has presented any evidence that the 3' rule and the patrols have done anything to change the cutture of 'priority road-use entitlement'.
To quote pantene "It wont happen overnight".

You have to start somewhere, you can't just say "oh well it hasnt worked in the five minutes we tried it, better not to try"


But, to use your formulation, the people who propose a 1 or 1.5 meter rule are proposing that we start no where. That's the problem.
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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby jules21 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:00 pm

everything HT has said here is - in my limited experience - correct. while i'm not a lawyer, these are fairly basic principles.

with enough political will - anyone can pass a law. but the minute someone successfully challenges it on the basis of evidence which is fundamental to upholding the law, it is no longer worth the paper it's printed on.

this has always been the problem with a 1m rule proposal. people are seeing a rule change as the victory, whereas it's not, necessarily. it could easily be adopted, and then never (successfully) enforced.

i've seen the example of what they're doing in the US, and i have to say - it's odd. this is like putting police in a bank, dressed up as bank staff, and waiting to be robbed. it's not really effective until you can enforce it happening to cyclists who are not undercover police officers.
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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby Mulger bill » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:36 pm

RonK wrote:I find it astonishing that the self-proclaimed "peak cycling body" in my state is so out of touch with grass-roots cycling.

Welcome to the rest of AU Ron :(
jules21 wrote:...it's not really effective until you can enforce it happening to cyclists who are not undercover police officers.

If word can get around wide enough that the rider you are about to shave just might be packing Freddie then you might think twice, that'll do me for now.

(NB, "You" is used in the generic sense.)
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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby jules21 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:39 pm

Mulger bill wrote:
jules21 wrote:...it's not really effective until you can enforce it happening to cyclists who are not undercover police officers.

If word can get around wide enough that the rider you are about to shave just might be packing Freddie then you might think twice, that'll do me for now.

(NB, "You" is used in the generic sense.)

i admit i enjoyed the idea of what they're doing over there. but the problem is - drivers are often quite good at evading detection. they know a couple of cop-looking people cruising around st. kilda may be cops, but that some roadies with Rapha gear and Pinarellos heading out to the Dandies probably aren't.
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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby g-boaf » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:40 am

Then put cops in Lycra gear, perhaps Castelli or Santini and on road bikes.
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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby exadios » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:26 pm

g-boaf wrote:Then put cops in Lycra gear, perhaps Castelli or Santini and on road bikes.


And?
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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby g-boaf » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:11 pm

Send them out on the regular cyclist routes.

Blend in with cyclists and have police cars hidden at the right points and catch the lawbreakers - both cars and bike riders.
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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby exadios » Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:01 pm

g-boaf wrote:Send them out on the regular cyclist routes.

Blend in with cyclists and have police cars hidden at the right points and catch the lawbreakers - both cars and bike riders.


Trouble is that it would all come to a screeching halt as soon as the first court case exposes the obvious evidentiary problems.
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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby Philipthelam » Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:29 pm

exadios, stop being so negative :D


How does contesting a fine for a different road violation (e.g. running a red light, not stopping at a stop sign (I know this has happened to someone)) differ from a fine from passing too closely? Considering there is video footage (article said that the police had GoPros running)

I think it is a good idea. Not only does it act as a deterrent but it helps to educate drivers because "violators can take a defensive cycling class at Municipal Court in lieu of paying the fine" and "Others know the law, but say they didn’t realize they were passing so closely. "
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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby jules21 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:03 pm

Philipthelam wrote:How does contesting a fine for a different road violation (e.g. running a red light, not stopping at a stop sign (I know this has happened to someone)) differ from a fine from passing too closely? Considering there is video footage (article said that the police had GoPros running)

it depends on the basis on which the fine is (and if it is) dismissed. if that basis is fundamental to upholding any and all fines issued for the same offence, then you can't issue any more fines - at all.
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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby high_tea » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:09 pm

jules21 wrote:
Philipthelam wrote:How does contesting a fine for a different road violation (e.g. running a red light, not stopping at a stop sign (I know this has happened to someone)) differ from a fine from passing too closely? Considering there is video footage (article said that the police had GoPros running)

it depends on the basis on which the fine is (and if it is) dismissed. if that basis is fundamental to upholding any and all fines issued for the same offence, then you can't issue any more fines - at all.


I don't know what this fundamental basis would be, but I'd be crazy to claim that it couldn't possibly exist. I have heard it claimed that the laws relating to drink-driving were re-written because certain barristers had become entirely too handy at picking holes in them :shock:

Historically, the pattern has been that if the executive (here the police and/or the crown prosecutor) go to court and lose because the court has essentially struck down a piece of legislation, the legislature - if it gives a tinker's cuss - up and legislatively overrules the judiciary. They have been at some pains to make things like speeding and DUI easier to enforce over the years. When there have been setbacks, the result hasn't been either the police or the legislature giving up, the result has been that the law gets changed.

So I do not accept that some kind of doubt over the validity of a law constitutes any kind of reason not to enforce it(not that I'm saying this is your argument, jules21). This argument - that it's better not to try at all than to go to court and lose - comes up a bit, and I absolutely reject it. If you don't bother enforcing the law, it's a dead letter anyway. The police in the original article seem to have accepted this and are doing something about it. Kudos to them I say.
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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby exadios » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:12 pm

Philipthelam wrote:exadios, stop being so negative :D


How does contesting a fine for a different road violation (e.g. running a red light, not stopping at a stop sign (I know this has happened to someone)) differ from a fine from passing too closely? Considering there is video footage (article said that the police had GoPros running)

I think it is a good idea. Not only does it act as a deterrent but it helps to educate drivers because "violators can take a defensive cycling class at Municipal Court in lieu of paying the fine" and "Others know the law, but say they didn’t realize they were passing so closely. "


Actually I'm not being negative. I do support a change in the law. The change that I can support is the, in order to pass, the passing vehicle must change lanes. In that way a binary condition, which is plain to all parties at the time, is established (in exactly the same way the a traffic light is either red or not at any particular point in time).
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Re: Police in USA enforcing passing distance

Postby jules21 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:28 pm

high_tea wrote:They have been at some pains to make things like speeding and DUI easier to enforce over the years. When there have been setbacks, the result hasn't been either the police or the legislature giving up, the result has been that the law gets changed.

there are limitations on that, though. in those examples, the police have invested heavily in technology/equipment to justify deeming provisions (i think) which constrain how a court may judge their status as evidence. there are checks and balances at the law-making stage which should prevent 'unjust' laws being passed.

high_tea wrote:So I do not accept that some kind of doubt over the validity of a law constitutes any kind of reason not to enforce it(not that I'm saying this is your argument, jules21). This argument - that it's better not to try at all than to go to court and lose - comes up a bit, and I absolutely reject it.

i have a different view on that. criminal laws are not instructions. they provide enforcement agencies with the power to penalise people for wrongdoing. there is a common view that laws have intrinsic value as a form of instructions for people - a moral code. i don't subscribe to that - there is evidence that they are disregarded by people who don't support them and believe the risk of detection for breaching them is low. an example are those pesky 'cyclists dismount' signs.

i think that a key issue with passing distance laws is confidence that they can be enforced.
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