Cyclist fined for passing a stationary car
The Age, 22 October 2016
It’s something that hundreds of cyclists do every day. Most of the time, it goes unnoticed. But seasoned cyclist Laurie Duncan was shocked when he was slapped with a $152 fine for passing on the left of an unmoving car in Melbourne’s CBD.
Mr Duncan, 65, said the car was stationary at the corner of Swanston Street and Flinders Lane. It had its left-turn indicator on but wasn’t going anywhere because of a stream of pedestrians crossing Flinders Lane in both directions.
Under the Road Safety Road Rules 2009, regulation 141 (2) states, “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”.
Mr Duncan, a long-time member of Bicycle Network, said while the car had its indicator on, it was not moving when he passed.
He said it had been unsafe to pass the car on the right.
He was stunned when he was stopped by a police officer from the Melbourne Bicycle Patrol and asked why he had overtaken on the left.
“I was unaware I was doing anything wrong,” Mr Duncan had replied, according to his police statement.
“I didn’t think it was dangerous.”
Bicycle Network hired a lawyer to contest Mr Duncan’s infringement but lost the case in the Melbourne Magistrates Court last month.
Mr Duncan said if the law was rigorously enforced it would stop the flow of traffic and hundreds of cyclists would be fined.
“Hundreds of cyclists do exactly what I did every day of the week, in the CBD alone, and the police do nothing about it because they know that if they enforced this interpretation of the law it would cause chaos,” he said.
“I get, 100 per cent, that if you pass on the left and there aren’t pedestrians there you’re an idiot because you’ll get knocked over.
“But when a car is stationary and can’t turn because either there’s a red light or there’s pedestrians there, it happens thousands of times a day that cyclists stream past cars.
“If they enforce this law, what’s going to happen now is that cyclists will have to get off their bike and just wait there. It will be just ridiculous.”
Bicycle Network’s senior policy adviser Garry Brennan said VicRoads was reviewing the left-hand turn rules as it applied to cyclists.
“VicRoads has commissioned a study to Monash University, which has set up cameras at intersections to observe behaviour and analyse what is actually happening,” he said.