12 August 2021

Been pinged on Northbourne Avenue? Here's what you can do about it

| Lottie Twyford
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Speed camera and 40km/h sign on Northbourne Avenue

New speed cameras and a 40km/h zone have been controversial new additions to Northbourne Avenue, but there are a few things you can do to lessen the financial pinch if you get stung. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

If you’re one of the many thousands of Canberrans who has recently received one, or multiple, unwanted speeding fines in the mail, read this before you pay.

Raking in $1.6 million and catching more than 6000 drivers per week, the large swathe of Northbourne Avenue and Barry Drive which is now a 40 km/h zone has quickly become a real pain point for motorists – as the 24,050 infringement notices issued from 5 July to 3 August attest.

But people with a burning letter in their hand should know that Access Canberra offers several possibilities to lessen the immediacy of the financial penalty, or alleviate it completely.

You can take action online, but you must do something within 28 days or face an additional fee.

Options include applying for a withdrawal, entering into a payment plan, or disputing the fine.

Generally, individuals who have a good driving record can apply for a withdrawal. It means you accept, in all likelihood, an infringement did occur, but you won’t have to pay it.

READ MORE No excuses for drivers flouting city slowdown

This requires a clean record of at least five years, and if you hold an interstate driver’s licence, you’ll have to provide the ACT Road Transport Authority (RTA) with a copy of your clean driving history from the relevant jurisdiction.

If this isn’t an option, and you’re concerned about paying the fine, or fines, in one hit, you can also apply to enter into a payment plan.

When you do this, the demerits will all be applied in one go, but the fine can be paid off in manageable instalments instead of all at once.

There’s also the possibility of entering a work or development plan, but there are quite significant criteria you have to meet, such as having a mental or physical disability, illness, or being subject to domestic violence or homelessness.

Experiencing financial hardship is also grounds to apply for a waiver. But once again, quite significant conditions apply to this, and you’re required to submit some detailed evidence to support it.

Screenshot of Access Canberra webpage

Before you pay a speeding fine, it helps to know you have a few options. Image: Access Canberra.

If somebody else was driving your vehicle at the time of the infringement, you must complete an online declaration to notify the RTA before you pay the fine. But once the fine has been paid, the associated demerit points will be applied to your licence and cannot be transferred to the responsible party.

There’s also the option of disputing the fine.

This should only be picked if you don’t think you’re liable for the infringement because, in these instances, Access Canberra will refer the matter to the courts.

You can also request more time, either because you can’t pay it yet, or you can’t yet decide which of the options you want to take.

Fines start at $260 and range up to $1830. Motorists caught driving between 15 km/h and 30 km/h above the speed limit can face fines of more than $438 and three demerit points.

READ MORE New Civic speed cameras 44 times more lucrative, claims Parton

Canberrans do not need to attend an Access Canberra Service Centre in order to pay, manage or dispute their infringement, but should be advised that all service centres are cashless.

Payment can also be made at your local post office, or by cheque via post.

If you do require assistance, you can call 13 22 81 or visit one of the five service centres in Tuggeranong, Woden, Gungahlin, Dickson and Belconnen.

A spokesperson for Access Canberra described the new 40 km/h zones as imperative to maintain a safe environment for all pedestrians and road users.

“Preliminary data shows we have already seen an approximate 36 per cent reduction in the number of crashes since the new 40 km/h zone was introduced,” said the spokesperson.

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James-T-Kirk2:08 pm 09 Oct 21

You have to be careful with any statistics that the ACT government provides.

Our state is one of the few that includes accidents from pushbikes on bikepaths as part of the overall accident statistics. A friend of mine broke a bone on a pothole on a bokepath in Curtin, and was interviewed and had bloods drawn for DUI testing by police at the hospital.

That accident was certainly reported as a vehicle accident in Curtin, inflating the actual ROAD Statistics with motor cars and motor bikes.

On the subject of bikes, how many of them are speeding at greater than the 40?

James-T-Kirk1:57 pm 09 Oct 21

I would love to see the ACTUAL raw data that their 36% is based on…

36 percent may be a typo and maybe they meant 33%. If that’s the case then is they had three crashes last year and it reduced to two this year that would be a 33% reduction….

The raw numbers matter.

Briezee David, I hope the bus was OK

Liz Blackwell1:22 pm 11 Aug 21

I’m totally ok with being fined for going over the 40km limit, what I am annoyed about is that going at 46 results in a $301 fine. Surely a small amount over should be a small fine?

Jimbo Lambert9:11 pm 10 Aug 21

A 36% reduction in accidents is not surprising. If they reduced the limit to 5km/h, they would probably realise a 95% reduction in accidents! So why stop at 40? There should be a 3 month grace period for any speed limit reduction. For someone who has been driving in ACT for 30 years, you don’t expect new speed limits.

“There should be a 3 month grace period for any speed limit reduction. For someone who has been driving in ACT for 30 years, you don’t expect new speed limits.”
Even after 30 years you don’t seem to know much about driving, Jimbo. You do understand you are meant to drive to the conditions don’t you – be that weather or temporary changes in speed limit. Why do you need 3 months to recognise a speed limit sign? So if a new Give Way sign is added – do you want a month to get used to it before you have to give way?

I haven’t been into the city for 6 months, came down Northbourne, saw the 40 sign and slowed to 40. Got a fine for going 48, turns out I didn’t see the first sign, which is behind a bush/tree on the right hand side of the road. It’s pretty rude.

Karen Harmer1:40 pm 10 Aug 21

If it is not a cash grab by the ACT Government, but a safety measure, then why didn’t they do what the Queensland Government has done when they introduced new cameras recently and offer a ‘Grace Period’? “Those caught by the new cameras will be given a warning as part of a three-month grace period before penalties are enforced from 1 November.” https://www.racq.com.au/Live/Articles/MR260721-New-mobile-phone-laws-and-camera-launched-in-Qld

Having driven in the city for the past 25+ years, I have been pinged doing 48 in the 40 zone – I had no idea that the speed limit had changed.

Apparently there was a grace period.

Umm – when you saw the signs with the red circle and 40, Karen Harmer, that didn’t give you a hint as to the change? Especially as the signs and the camera had been in place for two weeks before fines started to be issued. Seriously, if you didn’t notice any of the signs then you are a perfect example of why the speed limit needed to ge changed – you were driving and not paying attention to the task at hand. Don’t blame anyone but uourself

rationalobserver12:43 pm 10 Aug 21

Can we see the stats on how many cyclists have been fined for exceeding 40 kph through there?
As a stretch goal, how many cyclists have been fined for running red lights there as well?

Ummm, rationalobserver – an obviously irrational question: how are you proposing they be identified from the speed and/or red light camera?

limestonecowboy11:44 pm 09 Aug 21

“A spokesperson for Access Canberra described the new 40 km/h zones as imperative to maintain a safe environment for all pedestrians and road users”……….Absolute drivel where is the evidence?
Not here: “Preliminary data shows we have already seen an approximate 36 per cent reduction in the number of crashes since the new 40 km/h zone was introduced,” said the spokesperson.”
36% of nothing is nothing I do not buy this at all.
The nanny state marches on.

I actually responded to your post this morning, limestonecowboy, but apperently using the abbreviated form of the colloquialism for bovine faeces won’t make it through the moderators. So, I’ll try again.
With all due respect, limestonecowboy, I have to take issue with your comment “36% of nothing is nothing I do not buy this at all. Are you suggesting that there have never been crashes in the high pedestrian traffic areas? Seriously? Nevertheless, I trust you will placate nanny by obeying her speed limit. Otherwise, as I responded to another poster, she will gratefully accept your donation.

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