NSW Stop at Road and Parking Fines - Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Traffic Law Forum' started by brednog, 1 November 2017.

  1. brednog

    brednog Member

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    Hi there - first time poster here with a question about whether I should fight a parking ticket in court.

    Here's the story.

    * I parked the car in Mosman on Sunday, on a quiet street (Plunkett Rd - Google Maps),

    * There were no parking related signs (ie no timed parking, "no stopping" or "no parking" signs etc). I carefully checked for these at the time of parking.

    * There were loads of other cars parked on the same street section.

    * It was in front of a reserve / park.

    * There were no nearby cross streets or driveways.

    * The section of road is on a bend and a hill, but it is a wide street with plenty of visibility

    I went and had lunch with my family, returned several hours later and found a ticket on the car - $257 for "Stop at road with continuous yellow edge line". I was shocked - never heard of such a thing, and I've been driving in NSW for 30 years.

    I had a look at the road and only noticed the faint yellow line painted right next to the gutter /curb then - it was hard to see when pulling up and parking the car as there were other cars parked all around me at the time!

    And I didn't look down at the road when getting the kids out of the car etc, as I have never thought to or needed to! I took a few photos and so on to show where the car was parked, and that there were no "no stopping" signs, a dozen other cars parked in the same area (they all had tickets as well FYI!).

    When I got home I googled the offence and discovered 2 things.

    1) Under the national road rules it became an offence in NSW in 2012,

    2) But it wasn't until 2015/2016 that a select few councils (eg Mosman, Pittwater) started to paint these yellow lines on the road and remove / not install any "No Stopping" signs, in the name of street beautification and the removal of sign clutter.

    I live in a different council area that is not doing this, and rarely visit Mosman, so have never before encountered yellow lines on the road before and the absence of "no stopping" sings.

    I have already asking for a review of the matter, attached photos etc, but if the review is not successful, I would like to know should I fight this one in court? I would like to!

    I know that "ignorance of the law" is no excuse, however in this case it just seems completely unfair and unreasonable! The following would be my arguments I think:

    1) The yellow line rule is recent / new for NSW, unknown to most drivers, has not been widely publicised and is not widely used in NSW

    2) The absence of "no stopping" signs. Note that other "No Stopping" areas further down the same street have both signs and the yellow line (I checked).

    3) The area where I parked, is not near an intersection, driveway etc. While the road curves around a corner, it is not that sharp a corner, and the parking spaces are quite "straight". Ie I do not see even what the safety issue is or why the areas is designated "no stopping"? Is every street with a curve to become a "no stopping" zone in Sydney soon?

    4) I'm pretty sure (but need to confirm) that before the yellow line was painted in the last 12-24 months, the area was a legal parking zone.

    5) As a conscientious driver, who has not had a parking or traffic fine in 20+ years, I applied due care and diligence when I parked. I checked for parking restriction signs - there were none. I observed loads of other cars parked in same section of street (my space was the only one empty at the time within sight).

    6) The yellow line was obscured by all the other parked cars, and therefore non-obvious. Of course I never even thought to look for it as I was completely unaware of this rule!

    So any thoughts? If this has to go to court what are my chances - ie do I have an argument for leniency? Am I risking a greater cost than the $257 fine if I lose due to council court costs etc?

    I'm guessing that I would need to plead guilty to the offence, but offer an excuse / request leniency? Given that it turns out the council does have the legal right to paint a yellow line, remove all signs, then fine the crap out of dozens of cars everyday who innocently park in that area? It stinks, but apparently is legal, so therefore I don't think I can please "not guilty" can I?

    Any/all help will be much appreciated!
     
  2. Rob Legat - SBPL

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    I doubt you'd get very far arguing against this.

    1. Ignorance of the law is not a valid defence. It's also not that recent a change.
    2. Generally, road markings trump standing signs.
    3. This is irrelevant. Some 'expert' will have made the decision and the cost of engaging your own expert to fight it out makes the whole process moot.
    4. Irrelevant. It's there now.
    5. Also irrelevant. The line is there.
    6. See 1.

    Are you risking more money taking it to court? Yes. Substantially quite a bit more.

    Does it suck? Yes. Pay the fine and get on with positive things.
     
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  3. Clancy

    Clancy Well-Known Member

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    I have never heard of this rule?

    Get a recent learner driver handbook from the RTA and check if the rule is described in there..... if it is not, then you can use the handbook as evidence in court and on that basis you should win since it is an up to date handbook!

    The other possibility is if the quality of the marking is below standard? I do not know how you would work that out?

    You have a small point on 'consistency' with other areas being marked with signs but not this area, but its not a huge factor.

    I would say, if the rule IS marked in the up to date driver hand book and you cannot prove the marking was of a quality below standard, then pay the fine.
     
  4. brednog

    brednog Member

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    Thanks all for the replies so far.

    Clancy - I just looked at the latest RTA driver handbook online, and it contains info on the "yellow line" rule as follows:

    "Unbroken (Continuous) Yellow Kern Line An unbroken yellow kerb line is a No Stopping line. You must not stop for any reason except a medical or similar emergency."

    So no dice for me there unfortunately :-(

    The thing is, I genuinely had never heard of this rule. And clearly I am not alone, based on how many cars were parked next to the same line that I was. There were literally a dozen cars or more parked all day in this "no stopping" zone. I bet it happens every weekend as well - a nice little money earner for the council for sure.....

    Historically in Sydney "No Stopping" areas are very clearly sign-posted, and tend to be at locations where it is obvious why it would be a no stopping zone.

    to Rob or anyone else, if I were to elect to take this to court, and plead "guilty" with a request for leniency due to the circumstances, are you able to quantify at all what the the extra financial risk might be? The fine is already $257! The same as running a red light! It seems to me I should have the right to contest a matter like this in court if I choose without being dissuaded from doing so by the risk of excessive costs?
     
  5. Rob Legat - SBPL

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    The general way these things work (without checking the particular provision for this one) is that the maximum fine could be in the order of, say, five times the amount of the ticket you've received. The authority is allowed to issue an allegation of infringement (which is your notice), for a proportion of the maximum fine allowed by law.

    If you 'plead guilty' by paying the fine, the amount on the ticket is actually the leniency allowed by the law for not contesting it. If you go to court, you open yourself up to the possibility of the maximum fine. I doubt you'd receive that in this case, but you also need to factor court and witness costs. Without a good basis for going there, I can't imagine most magistrates would be pleased to deal with the matter and may issue costs against you out of spite.
     
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  6. Clancy

    Clancy Well-Known Member

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    The rule is in there is it?

    Its nice for authorities to have that little 'no excuse for not knowing the law' thingy. Basically it is a license to sucker responsible people like you and me whenever they feel like it by sneaking in a new rule.

    Reminds me of that story a while back where the police were fining people for doing a left turn outside the times allowed by the sign, then it turned out the sign was made up by a resident!!!!! So we know the system is set up in a manner that is not focused on road safety at all, but blind obedience to rules weather they are fair or not, or even real!!!!! Welcome to Australia.
     
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