Score one for the motorcycle rider with a smartphone.

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Score one for the motorcycle rider with a smartphone.

Postby Oxford » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:56 am

Score one for the motorcycle rider with a smartphone.

I know this is a cycling forum, I'm only posting this as the traffic copper I came across was firmly of the opinion that cyclists are also not allowed to do what I did this morning. Nice to be able to educate a traffic copper on traffic regulations, sad that I had to though.

Well today I got pulled over in traffic on the moto. In a way I knew I was waving a red flag and would be pulled over, but nothing like making a point about what you are doing when you are doing nothing illegal.

Basically the scenario happened here (click link). I had just turned left from Buckland Road onto Sandgate Road (scroll up the map). There were cars in each lane at least 2 to 3 deep. In the left lane (right of map picture), there was a car and a traffic motorcycle copper. I rolled slowly past him and the stationary vehicles in the second lane from the left (lane next to him) to the left of the vehicles in that lane, ensuring I did not cross the solid white lane dividing line, or stepping over it and also ensuring I stopped behind the stop line.

As I stopped, I saw him pull in behind me, beep his horn and tell me he wanted me to pull over. I nodded that I had heard. I took off from the lights ahead of the traffic and pulled into the shopping centre car park, found a safe place to stop and dismounted, whereupon we had a 20 minute discussion. I saw him start his voice recorder, so I made it obvious that I had started mine as well (entirely legal in Qld and does not need consent of the other party).

He explained to me that he thought what I had done was illegal and unsafe and that it would be a ticket of $154 and 2 points. He said overtaking cars stationary or otherwise was dangerous, he tried to trap me into saying it was filtering, I did not agree to that, I constantly referred to it as overtaking as that was what was in the traffic regulations. He said filtering was slang for it, but I insisted that I was overtaking as defined in the regulations. I respectfully disagreed with him and his interpretation of what I did. I told him that I had done my research and that it was my opinion both legal and safe to do what I had done.

He then said why should I be able to ride past him while he is sitting in traffic. I simply said I cannot answer for why other people do what they do they make their choices.

He then said what if an occupant opened their door. I said well then they would be charged with an offence as it is an offence to open a car door and endanger other road users. He then said but why not avoid it, to which I replied if I took that approach I would never leave home as it is too dangerous. Trying to avoid every hazard in life would be ludicrous. I said I can only do so much before other people have to take responsibilities for their actions, I cannot think for others and be responsible for what they do. He also at various times said he has to attend accidents involving moto riders and it would be nice if it didn't happen. I just didn't buy into that discussion, it had nothing to do with what I did so was basically unresponsive to his comments.

He asked me why I thought it was legal and then I offered to show him the regulations and explain my interpretation. I had to stop the voice recorder (he didn't know that) to open the copy of the Traffic Regulations I keep on my phone for just such an occasion. Yeah people have laughed at me and scoffed at it, but I guess I'm laughing right back now based on the result of today. I will however now use the iPod instead for the regulations as it is easier to navigate the document on it than the phone. The phone will then remain as my voice recorder.

He had the section number (S140) based on the offence he was going to ticket me with, so I scrolled down (I have quoted S140, S141 and S142 for completeness below for reference). And we discussed S140 at length (5 minutes or more), whereupon he was still going to write out a ticket. I then asked him to continue reading and to read S141. After a discussion of S141, he conceded without actually saying so that I had done nothing wrong. It was at this stage that his version of events began to change. Now he had apparently only just come to a stop when I was approaching and the cars were moving as I passed them. This was not true as there were at least 2 to 3 cars stopped behind him. Besides which I only overtake stationary vehicles (in 1st gear with engine revving loudly) as this prevents them from being able to move sideways into me and enables them to hear me approaching.

The upshot of this adventure was that I did not get a ticket. And I did not get a ticket for two basic reasons. One, I had been able to clearly articulate why I thought what I had done was not wrong and was able to provide him with clear, precise and reasoned points that my interpretation of the regulations was correct (not just his interpretation of S140), he was not able to counter the provisions of S141, except to change his version of what had happened. Two, I was not rude at all, I just simply wanted him to understand that I had a sound basis for what I was doing and that what I was doing was based on a clear assessment of the environment, the variables and factors surrounding me. I think he also realised I would contest the ticket if he wrote it, something he would want to avoid as that is just a day of his time in court not doing his job on the road.

He asked if I had ever had an accident or been injured on the bike to which I replied no in years of on and off riding as I go to great lengths to ensure my own safety. I do advanced rider courses and practise the skills I learn to make sure I'm on top of my game. I also showed him the "S.E.E"* sticker on my dashboard to remind me to be constantly vigilant and also the "Conquer Cancer" slogan, "Stay Alert, Stay Alive" that is on my GPS unit.

He said that I had gone above and beyond what most motorcycle riders would do in that I had taken the time to research and read the traffic regulations. He was impressed, appreciated my candour and my willingness to discuss the matter rationally instead of rolling out a line of well I see other riders doing and I was told it was okay to do it.

He was quite critical of some of the motorcycle training schools who tell their students its okay without any basis for it. I informed him that I chose/choose my riding instructor(s) carefully as I wanted someone who is/was serious about motorcycling and safety.

So where to from here. Well just in case he decided to follow me I did not filter again this morning, no point poking the bear. But I will be waiting with bated breath for my Contour HD to arrive this week. Next time I want video evidence that bears out my version of events particularly if I ever need to go to court, because next time I may not have a traffic cop that is as reasonable. DVRs on my bicycle were a god send** and will be on the moto too I'm sure. It sucks that you may have to record your riding to show you did nothing wrong, but I consider the investment in a good DVR setup to be invaluable.

What advice can I give to others? Know your road rules, the information below is extracted from the Queensland Traffic Regulations which are loosely based on the national version (which are a suggestion for national acceptance/compliance and not actual laws or regulations). For instance I know WA has a set of traffic regulations that is nothing like the national version. Be polite, you never know your luck. I personally have an intense dislike for the police in general over matters that have happened to me and my family in the past, but that doesn't mean they are all bad, but they do have to earn respect quickly, if they start out aggressive they will get it in kind in return. Most of all don't ride like a dick. What I did this morning I did safely and in complete control, so I could claim what I did was safe and that I was in complete control. If you ride erratically, then it can be claimed you're riding in an unsafe manner and you only have yourself to blame.

Thanks for reading if you got this far.

140 No overtaking unless safe to do so
A driver must not overtake a vehicle unless—
(a) the driver has a clear view of any approaching traffic;
and
(b) the driver can safely overtake the vehicle.

141 No overtaking etc. to the left of a vehicle
(1) A driver (except the rider of a bicycle) must not overtake avehicle to the left of the vehicle unless—
(a) the driver is driving on a multi-lane road and the vehicle can be safely overtaken in a marked lane to the left of the vehicle; or
(b) the vehicle is turning right, or making a U-turn from the centre of the road, and is giving a right change of direction signal and it is safe to overtake to the left of the vehicle; or
(c) the vehicle is stationary and can be safely overtaken to the left of the vehicle.
(2) The rider of a bicycle must not ride past, or overtake, to the left of a vehicle that is turning left and is giving a left change of direction signal.
(3) In this section—
turning right does not include making a hook turn.
vehicle does not include a tram, a bus travelling along tram tracks, or any vehicle displaying a do not overtake turning vehicle sign.

142 No overtaking to the right of a vehicle turning right etc.
(1) A driver must not overtake to the right of a vehicle if the vehicle is—
(a) turning right or making a U-turn from the centre of the road; and
(b) giving a right change of direction signal.
(2) In this section—
turning right does not include making a hook turn.
vehicle does not include a tram, a bus travelling along tram tracks, or any vehicle displaying a do not overtake turning vehicle sign.


*S.E.E - Scan/Search your environment, Evaluate your environment, Execute your decision.

** I was struck from behind by a car last year bicycling and suffered spinal injuries, front and rear DVRs caught the whole event including the aftermath (me screaming in agony) and all of the events and dialogue between me, the driver and witnesses. Let's just say her version, the witness version and my version all differ, but only one is accurate, mine. It is a transcript of the footage.
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by BNA » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:10 pm

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Re: Score one for the motorcycle rider with a smartphone.

Postby Big_Red » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:10 pm

+1 for being in the know Oxford, and keeping your cool under pressure.

The scenario you describe is readily applicable for bicycles too, so it is good to be aware of, however, i'm now confused as to what "filtering" actually is. The legislation you cite is available * here * in pdf format so, now resides on my android smartphone accessable via a pdf viewer.

While it has been nearly 3 years since there has been any changes to the Qld road rules, the page about Changes to Road Rules is one to be mindful of too.
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Re: Score one for the motorcycle rider with a smartphone.

Postby Oxford » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:29 pm

Filtering is what the police call it to demonise it. I didn't give in to that, I was overtaking and whether I had done it on a bike or a motorbike, it was completely safe and legal to do so. In fact as long as it is safe you can legally do it with moving vehicles, but is really asking for trouble IMO, moving vehicles can move sideways and motorbikes take longer to pull up than bikes in my experience.
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Re: Score one for the motorcycle rider with a smartphone.

Postby find_bruce » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:34 pm

Gee Oxford, you had a rational discussion with a copper based on actual law rather than gut feel. I am in awe!
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Re: Score one for the motorcycle rider with a smartphone.

Postby Oxford » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:37 pm

find_bruce wrote:Gee Oxford, you had a rational discussion with a copper based on actual law rather than gut feel. I am in awe!

I'm still amazed myself, my last experience with a traffic cop was far from pleasurable. it ended up in court, with me winning. total abuse of the system IMO, but nothing I could do about it, they had made their decision.
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Re: Score one for the motorcycle rider with a smartphone.

Postby void » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:22 am

So if you had gone into the left lane you could have received a ticket? I guess this is where most motor cyclist go wrong as the swap lanes when 'filtering', that and they get stuck when the traffic starts to move again.

Well done on standing your ground.
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Re: Score one for the motorcycle rider with a smartphone.

Postby The 2nd Womble » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:10 am

I have a question Ox regarding the copper being a "Bear". Was the officer immaculately presented and wearing tightly fitted pants, or are you in the habit of labelling outwardly straight men just because you don't like them? i expect more from you.
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Re: Score one for the motorcycle rider with a smartphone.

Postby Oxford » Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:17 am

The 2nd Womble wrote:I have a question Ox regarding the copper being a "Bear". Was the officer immaculately presented and wearing tightly fitted pants, or are you in the habit of labelling outwardly straight men just because you don't like them? i expect more from you.

LMAO, you're a worry. And surprisingly he was not wearing the jodhpurs that we usually associate with motorcycle coppers. Wearing normal textile safety gear.
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Re: Score one for the motorcycle rider with a smartphone.

Postby human909 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:26 am

I have prepared myself for a similar discussion in case I get pulled up on my bicycle by a booze bus and asked to give a breath test. :wink: I have only at one stage ridden through a booze bus while over 0.05 (though in my opinion in no way intoxicated). They simple waved me through with a smile. :mrgreen:

If I ever get caught going through a red light on my bicycle then I'll cop it sweet. It is a law for a reason. However I've only ever gotten 1 ticket in over a decade on the roads.

I did manage to blatantly (but safely) cut off TWO POLICE cars the other week in my car and then I was face with quite a stern cop. It was quite hilariously law breaking in front of two very obvious cop cars. After politely explaining the innocent error and poor road marking I was told I 'MAY' get a ticket in the mail. Nothing has appeared. :mrgreen:
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Re: Score one for the motorcycle rider with a smartphone.

Postby KonaCommuter » Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:39 am

human909 wrote:I did manage to blatantly (but safely) cut off TWO POLICE cars the other week in my car and then I was face with quite a stern cop. It was quite hilariously law breaking in front of two very obvious cop cars. After politely explaining the innocent error and poor road marking I was told I 'MAY' get a ticket in the mail. Nothing has appeared. :mrgreen:



Maybe they're doing a whip around at the station to get you a lotto ticket?
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Re: Score one for the motorcycle rider with a smartphone.

Postby Peacewise » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:31 pm

Cool story Oxford, thanks mate.
Keep flexing, spinning, rolling, coasting, pushing, pulling, drafting, sprinting, time trialling, touring, climbing, descending, hot dogging, crit-ing, racing, weaving, dodging, dropping, tanking, chasing... but most of all - just keep f'ing riding!
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