Under the Radar

Avoiding fines

Most of us ride to enjoy the freedom and the lifestyle. Every day, once a week or once a month – its always enjoyable. But the freedom and joy can be quickly destroyed through little mistakes that result in Police fines and licence demerit points.

Most of the time we attract Police attention when we have made a simple mistake, lost concentration for a moment, or forgotten the speed limit. Many Highway Patrol Police are riders so they know why you ride and where you ride to get the thrills.

Here are a few tips on avoiding Police attention so you can keep the cash in your pocket, keep your license and enjoy your riding. Police are trained to look for little signs or “cues” that suggest bigger issues might be just a round the corner.  Older, experienced riders develop an understanding of these cues, mostly through hard and costly experience.  Here are a few tips to stay “under the radar”:

  • Tyres – maintain correct tyre pressures and no bald tyres.  It is easy to spot an under-inflated tyre.  When stopped at the lights its also easy to spot a bald tyre.
  • Noise – a loud exhaust may sound good and some people believe it does attract attention in traffic. Some riders have loud bikes but have never been stopped by Police because the way they ride gives no indication that they are speeding or racing, therefore they don’t attract the attention of the Police.
  • Lights – fit legal turn indicators and tail-lights and make sure they work.  If a light is illegal this is just another opportunity to be stopped. And carry a couple of spare light bulbs.
  • Lights – use your indicators when changing lanes and turning.  Remember that the indicators are supposed to “indicate your intention” to change direction.  Get into the habit of using the indicators before your start the lane change or the turn.
  • Gear – wear protective gear – it suggests that you look out for yourself and take care of your machine.  This is an important part of what Police call the “attitude test”.  It may be the difference between getting one ticket and several tickets.
  • Speed – many riders are stopped because they were just 5-10kph over the limit.  Remember that Highway Patrol Police know where people speed.  Speed detection is a big part of their job.  Many of them are also motorbike riders so they know the roads where you will be speeding.  Its much cheaper to speed on the race track.
  • Traffic – stay in the one lane and flow with the traffic – filter when the traffic stops.  Flicking between the lanes attracts a lot of attention and indicates that you may also be speeding and perhaps not using your indicators correctly – two reasons why you might be stopped.

Police can issue up to four separate fines when they stop you. This often depends on whether you pass the “attitude test”. Police prefer to deal with people who admit they have done something wrong and are polite when accepting the fine.

We may not like it but the Police are just doing their job. If you are stopped, co-operate, be polite and you may be surprised when you only get the one ticket when you know it could have been much worse.

Can’t Pay the Fines?

Be warned – if you don’t pay your fines by the due date, Revenue NSW (RNSW) can register you as a bad debt and tell Transport for NSW (TfNSW) to cancel your license and registration. TfNSW will then refuse to reissue your license and rego until RNSW advise that the fines are paid. RNSW can also garnish your wages and sell your car and other possessions to get the money.

Think about what you are doing and how you are riding – ride in a manner appropriate for the conditions and you will have a better chance of avoiding having a chat to the Police.