How much should traffic fines be

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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby find_bruce » Sat Sep 21, 2013 7:46 pm

mikesbytes wrote:Interesting in that we have divided views on this, the pattern I'm seeing;
- fines the same for all road users including pedestrians
- fines in accordance to the risk that mode of transport (including pedestrians) presents
- differential within a class of transport unworkable (Large motorbike vs scooter)

I'm for fines being in accordance to the mode of transportation, no variation between class as too hard to administer.

So those who agree with me, what should the differential be between the modes of transport say;
- Foot, ie Pedrestrian's
- Non motorised - bicycles, skateboards, roller blades etc
- All motorised

I seem to have avoided electric bicycles :wink:

What I find interesting is that in NSW we don't fine all motor vehicle users the same & no-one seems to have a problem with that

Eg speeding not more than 10 km/h above the speed limit applicable
Class A (<4.5 tonnes) $106
Class B (>4.5 tonnes & <12 tonnes) $319
Class C (>12 tonnes) $319
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by BNA » Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:04 pm

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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby human909 » Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:04 pm

I must say threads like remind me why cyclists are sometimes their own worst enemies.

Honestly it floors me that cycling enthusiasts to have fines for minor road infractions increase simply to harmonise it with motor vehicles. To what end?
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby Mulger bill » Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:12 pm

human909 wrote:...To what end?

More easily obtainable than a cilice?
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby Baldy » Sat Sep 21, 2013 9:38 pm

Mulger bill wrote:
human909 wrote:...To what end?

More easily obtainable than a cilice?


Nice little religious insult against forum members who have a different opinion to you. Maybe next time just give your boy Human a hug in private and keep your offensive one liners to yourselves.
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby Xplora » Sat Sep 21, 2013 9:43 pm

Ross wrote:Only exception would be a child, whatever age a "child" is deemed to be.

And this fundamentally undermines your entire point - it's the same impact on society, the kid is the same danger to the public as someone twice their age for a number of offences (particularly red light running). I think that's got to be the critical issue - is the purpose of the fine to deter, or to punish?
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby jcjordan » Sat Sep 21, 2013 9:58 pm

Ross wrote:I agree with Baldy. Cyclists should incur the same penalty as motorists for breaking laws. Only exception would be a child, whatever age a "child" is deemed to be.

Bicycle riders can't pick and choose when they are classed as "just a bicycle" or a "vehicle" just on a whim to suit themselves. My view is if they ride on the road they are a vehicle and in a perfect world (of course it isn't but dreams are free!) they should be treated fairly and equally - this includess application of the law as well. It is not relevant to say a bike does a lot less damage if it collides with something/somebody after going through a red light or Stop sign. As Baldy said, a small 4cyl car driver doesn't pay any less of a fine than a Hummer driver. A moped rider pays the same fine as a Harley Davidson. Rego is different of course but that's another topic that's been discussed in depth in other threads.

Yes, pedestrians should be fined the same amount as well.

Human909, I have to disagree with your views on this subject.


Well said Ross.



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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby mikesbytes » Sat Sep 21, 2013 11:33 pm

[quote="find_bruce"]Eg speeding not more than 10 km/h above the speed limit applicable
Class A (<4.5 tonnes) $106
Class B (>4.5 tonnes & <12 tonnes) $319
Class C (>12 tonnes) $319[/quote

Didn't know that Trucks incurred a greater fine than cars. That seems to have been overlooked in the article when comparing bicycle fines with car fines
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby Ross » Sun Sep 22, 2013 6:31 am

Xplora wrote:
Ross wrote:Only exception would be a child, whatever age a "child" is deemed to be.

And this fundamentally undermines your entire point - it's the same impact on society, the kid is the same danger to the public as someone twice their age for a number of offences (particularly red light running). I think that's got to be the critical issue - is the purpose of the fine to deter, or to punish?


But children aren't aware of the dangers or consequences of their actions as much as adults so an allowance has to be given.

find_bruce wrote:Eg speeding not more than 10 km/h above the speed limit applicable
Class A (<4.5 tonnes) $106
Class B (>4.5 tonnes & <12 tonnes) $319
Class C (>12 tonnes) $319


I wasn't aware either that trucks pay a different amount.
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby mikesbytes » Sun Sep 22, 2013 12:13 pm

So if trucks pay a different amount, then shouldn't bicycles and pedestrians pay a different amount too
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby Xplora » Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:15 am

mikesbytes wrote:So if trucks pay a different amount, then shouldn't bicycles and pedestrians pay a different amount too

Would love to know if this has changed any opinions. The current laws provide for different penalties based on severity of consequences. A child's infringement is no less serious than an adult trick driver in the land of equal punishment being advocated. A bicycle is penalised differently because it creates a different result. It flies in the face of the current legislation objectives to make rider penalties equal to cars.
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby mikesbytes » Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:26 pm

It's good to have different opinions, without that debate would be pretty boring. The trick is to see all of the angles from each others viewpoint and respect that they may be different to ourselves.

With this debate we have fallen largely into 2 boats;
1. Fines the same
2. Fines in accordance the risk they entail.

So for those who say "Fines the same", should they all be raised to match that of trucks, matched to current car penaltys or some others.

For those who say "In accordance with the risk" or the like, what should the proportion be?
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby high_tea » Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:16 pm

I'd like to float a third boat, so to speak:

A uniform fine for a given offence, regardless of the offender's choice of vehicle. The rationale is pretty simple: the incentives for not going to court are pretty much the same as far as either the Crown or the putative offender are concerned.

As far as different penalties for offences specific to cyclists or pedestrians goes, I don't see a problem there.
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby human909 » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:25 pm

high_tea wrote:A uniform fine for a given offence, regardless of the offender's choice of vehicle.


So should the attitude to driving a 70 tonne truck after a few drink be the same as riding you pub bike home? Should stealing a grape from a supermarket or a DVD from JB be treated with the same punishment as somebody stealing a $50,000 jewellery?

Why are the roads so unique that you feel there is a need to ignore the "punishment must fit the crime" basis for punishment? There is a clear and significant distinctions between the legal responsibility of a motor vehicle users and cyclists, pedestrians and other legal road users.
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby RonK » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:37 am

human909 wrote:"punishment must fit the crime"

Nailed it.
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby high_tea » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:44 am

human909 wrote:
high_tea wrote:A uniform fine for a given offence, regardless of the offender's choice of vehicle.


So should the attitude to driving a 70 tonne truck after a few drink be the same as riding you pub bike home? Should stealing a grape from a supermarket or a DVD from JB be treated with the same punishment as somebody stealing a $50,000 jewellery?

Why are the roads so unique that you feel there is a need to ignore the "punishment must fit the crime" basis for punishment? There is a clear and significant distinctions between the legal responsibility of a motor vehicle users and cyclists, pedestrians and other legal road users.

Your legal examples are weak; neither DUI nor theft is dealt with via fixed penalties, not where I come from anyway. And it's not me who wants to ignore the circumstances of the offence. It's the bright spark who came up with fixed penalties. I don't think that different penalties based solely on vehicle type really make the situation appreciably better.
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby Xplora » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:56 am

In fairness, HT implied choice of MOTOR vehicle, since bikes and peds were addressed separately in the post.

I think the easiest way to define it, mikebytes, is to just add up the maximum legal speed x maximum mass and work from there - momentum is the best indicator of likely damage to people and property. Peds can only achieve 20kmh x 100kgs, so 2000 units. Cyclist does 50kmhx100kgs, so 5000 units. Car does 150kmh x 3000 kgs (have to use the landcruiser to be fair to all cars), so 450,000 units. The B Double gets you another factor, so 4,500,000 units. Even if you chose to halve the motor vehicles maths, down to 75kmh, you are still leaps and bounds in front of the cyclists and peds. Simple fact is that cars are huge battering rams when compared to human bodies. This would create one of two regimes - no penalties for ped/cyclist behaviour, or excruciating penalties for motor vehicle misuse.

It's essentially impossible for this rubbish to be penalised appropriately, BUT perhaps a better approach would be to enforce a bond for all motor vehicle users to cover the penalties, and automatic withdrawals if penalties are accrued? Similar to the current toll road regimes. If you had 5000 dollars set aside for possible penalties, and perhaps no further amounts taken away each year for indexation/CPI, that would provide a substantial improvement to the current "maybe you'll get caught, maybe you won't" system. You would have to dump licence fees and registration fees for cars to accommodate the system. I think it's preferable because the fees are meaningless.

To accompany this, automatic mandatory jail time for people driving without licences or the bond paid up. The car is a death machine, and must be treated that way. If you don't want to be involved in this regime, ride a bike, catch a bus, walk. I agree this puts pressure on the poor, but the current system puts pressure on the poor already AND makes them suffer the most if they are the victims of car accidents. CTP cannot cover the true cost of the suffering.
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby InTheWoods » Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:33 pm

Xplora wrote:I think the easiest way to define it, mikebytes, is to just add up the maximum legal speed x maximum mass and work from there - momentum is the best indicator of likely damage to people and property. Peds can only achieve 20kmh x 100kgs, so 2000 units. Cyclist does 50kmhx100kgs, so 5000 units. Car does 150kmh x 3000 kgs (have to use the landcruiser to be fair to all cars), so 450,000 units. The B Double gets you another factor, so 4,500,000 units. Even if you chose to halve the motor vehicles maths, down to 75kmh, you are still leaps and bounds in front of the cyclists and peds. Simple fact is that cars are huge battering rams when compared to human bodies. This would create one of two regimes - no penalties for ped/cyclist behaviour, or excruciating penalties for motor vehicle misuse.


Sorry but your maths is waaay out. To calculate the kinetic energy of a vehicle, its 0.5 x mass of vehicle x the square of the speed.

Note the square of the speed! If you rework your numbers now they will look very different ("worse" actually) :)
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby Xplora » Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:39 pm

Momentum does not equal energy. We could use energy, would end up with different numbers, but the key is that motor vehicles massively outshoot human powered transport for seriousness of impact - which we'd totally agree on, yes?
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby find_bruce » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:48 pm

high_tea wrote:Your legal examples are weak; neither DUI nor theft is dealt with via fixed penalties, not where I come from anyway. And it's not me who wants to ignore the circumstances of the offence. It's the bright spark who came up with fixed penalties. I don't think that different penalties based solely on vehicle type really make the situation appreciably better.

While there is plenty of room for criticism of fixed penalties (see for example the excellent paper by the Law & Justice Foundation) the biggest reason for them is sheer weight of numbers.

A few quick figures for NSW for 2012/2013, just looking at the largest areas of penalty notices issued for vehicle offences

Speeding 405,686 = $105,590,703
Red light 142,324 = $57,701,680
Seat Belt 20,522 = $6,277,683
Mobile Phone 36,584 = $10,979,846
Parking 1,335,705 = $179,085,494
Total 1,940,821 = $359,635,406

Just to underline the point, in NSW drink driving is by far biggest number of accused dealt with by the local courts. Up to date stats can be a bit hard to come by but in 2009 & 2010 that was 45,894 ie 22,947 per year

I shudder at the size of the bureaucracy required to consider the circumstances of each offence to decide an appropriate penalty for nearly 2 million offences a year.
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby Xplora » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:21 pm

COnsidering that parking is by FAR the most innocuous of the penalties in that list, the greatest crime is that it is the most prevalent! Probably makes a simple enough test - if it's not worth putting a police officer in charge of the ticket, it's not worth writing.
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby il padrone » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:46 pm

Xplora wrote:COnsidering that parking is by FAR the most innocuous of the penalties in that list, the greatest crime is that it is the most prevalent! Probably makes a simple enough test - if it's not worth putting a police officer in charge of the ticket, it's not worth writing.

I'd take a differing view on that. In view of the harm caused by routine street-side parking and doorings, and the hazards it presents in the design and execution of high quality bicycle facilities, I'm more than happy to see it prosecuted. In Australia we are far too lax in the regulation of automobile parking.
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby human909 » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:19 pm

Xplora wrote:COnsidering that parking is by FAR the most innocuous of the penalties in that list, the greatest crime is that it is the most prevalent! Probably makes a simple enough test - if it's not worth putting a police officer in charge of the ticket, it's not worth writing.


That comes down more to the incentives and bureaucracy of enforcement than to legalities. Parking offences almost exclusively councils matters and their incentive to enforce stringently is strong. Also parking offences are less about crimes more about charging for parking and enforcing the needs of the commons.

Really parking fines shouldn't be considered in the same category as other traffic offences. They are simply an economic rent seeking for the commons. The other offences have the potential to kill.


(Part of me loathes them as I've receive around one a year. Though I recognise that they are a necessity.)
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby mikesbytes » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:17 pm

It the fine is for overstaying the permitted parking time, then it is not a penalty based on safety, but if its for parking on a no stopping zone, then safety probably comes into it.
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby Xplora » Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:35 pm

That would make for an interesting adjustment, mike. Safety fines for parking vs convenience fines. I don't have any issue with safety, but fining people large amounts of money for overstaying is bogus. Give them alternatives. Build better bike racks!
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Re: How much should traffic fines be

Postby mikesbytes » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:44 pm

Are taxi's allowed to stop on no stopping zones?
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