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New measures to protect road users

By Michael Reid - 10 June 2016 10

cycling

New laws will make it illegal to put the safety of drivers, riders and passengers at risk by throwing objects or placing them in their path.

The laws were passed in the ACT Legislative Assembly on Friday as part of the Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill put forward by attorney-general Simon Corbell.

Road safety minster Shane Rattenbury said the laws would help protect the capital’s road users from irresponsible and dangerous actions, such as throwing rocks at cars or cyclists.

“Throwing objects at cyclists is unfortunately a relatively common practice, and many regular cyclists will have a story of being hit or nearly hit by an object thrown from a car,” he said.

“These days, with the popularity of , a quick internet search will bring up videos of cyclists being subjected to dangerous behaviour.

“The consequences of this type of behaviour could be potentially catastrophic and any person found guilty of this offence now faces up to two years imprisonment.

“We strive to be a jurisdiction that is open and friendly to people using all forms of transport – in fact, we want to particularly encourage people to use more sustainable and active means of travelling.

“It is really important that, in encouraging more Canberrans to choose active travel, we have laws that ensure our roads are safe for everybody.”

Rattenbury said the government had implemented several safety and accessibility measures for vulnerable road users, such as minimum passing distances when overtaking cyclists, allowing cyclists to cycle over crossings at low speeds, and a trial of motorcycle lane filtering.

“We have also made a number of infrastructure improvements, such as the completion of the civic cycle loop and the new Bunda Street shareway.

“Initiatives like these aim to improve accessibility and connectivity, improve safety and raise awareness of cyclists on our roads.

“The new offence also applies to throwing objects at other vehicles, and covers actions such as car drivers throwing objects at other car drivers, or pedestrians throwing objects at cars or trucks. This is all extremely unsafe, criminal behaviour, and it is appropriate that our laws recognise it. People need to be able to travel around our city safely.”

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10 Responses to
New measures to protect road users
Tenpoints 11:19 am 14 Jun 16

dungfungus said :

Having a large number of totally redundant laws only makes the law courts work harder, makes more wrong convictions/sentences as it generates more inconsistencies. Plus there is probably better things for the assembly to do.

It depends whether the existing laws can accurately describe the situations we are trying to prevent.
For example, under previous legislation, did the act of throwing debris from a car more often attract the relatively minor penalty of “littering”, irrespective of the trajectorial proximity to other road users?

It may be such that the existing laws aren’t specific enough or aren’t severe enough compared to the magnitude of damage. Does “offensive conduct” sound like an appropriate punishment for people who drop boulders off overpasses into fast moving traffic?

Now that we have a specific law for this, it should be easier, not harder to actualise punishment for the offenders.

I would expect that the penalty scales with the severity. So perhaps throwing a water bottle at a car from a bike or on foot would not attract the same penalty as throwing a water bottle from a car at someone on a bike, with enough kinetic energy to send that person falling to the ground. But if you actually maim or kill someone by throwing something at them, then grevious bodily harm/murder/manslaughter is probably a more appropriate penalty to apply.

rommeldog56 8:53 am 14 Jun 16

dungfungus said :

No wonder they need more assembly members.

Correct. I can not wait to see what ACT Laws, regulations and “levies” are imposed on ACT Ratepayers and voters by the newly expanded ACT Labor/Greens (or Liberal) Gov’t Ministers and their bureaucrats.

They will all need something to do to justify their existence and snouts in the public purse…….

switch 10:00 am 12 Jun 16

dungfungus said :

Having a large number of totally redundant laws only makes the law courts work harder, makes more wrong convictions/sentences as it generates more inconsistencies. Plus there is probably better things for the assembly to do.

No wonder they need more assembly members.

gooterz 1:03 am 12 Jun 16

shirty_bear said :

rommeldog56 said :

So we need a law against throwing stones?

Is the cyclist at fault if they leave themselves in the path of an oncoming car?
Although this sounds like its about cars in sure we already have have common laws around this.
Perhaps not for the example of a stick on a path.

Why only for cyclists then. If the laws are insufficient for covering this, wouldn’t a general law about putting others in danger be more appropriate?

*A cyclist should always look where they are going anyway.

Or you could actually read what you’re commenting about, specifically:

“The new offence also applies to throwing objects at other vehicles, and covers actions such as car drivers throwing objects at other car drivers, or pedestrians throwing objects at cars or trucks.”…

Or the first line?
“New laws will make it illegal to put the safety of drivers, riders and passengers at risk by throwing objects or placing them in their path.”

I’m not quite sure what your meaning. If I’m not mistaken it was already an offence to throw things at cars..
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/teenagers-arrested-for-throwing-rocks-at-cars-at-emu-bank-belconnen-20141002-10p9sa.html

But perhaps you are right and up until now we’re just been saying “Sorry we don’t actually have a law against throwing stones you are free to go”.
Our common law started in the 12th century, based on the English common law. Maybe in this period no one has ever thrown a rock at a moving vehicle?

Having a large number of totally redundant laws only makes the law courts work harder, makes more wrong convictions/sentences as it generates more inconsistencies. Plus there is probably better things for the assembly to do.

Postalgeek 2:57 pm 11 Jun 16

rommeldog56 said :

Judges would say that cyclists just fail to look where they are going.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/cyclist-loses-in-appeal-over-17-million-damages-payout-for-canberra-crash-20160609-gpfren.html

I guess when you get to a certain point on the path to senility a cyclist avoiding debris in a cycle lane looks a lot like a projectile deliberately thrown by someone at someone else. Time to retire the judge.

Postalgeek 2:53 pm 11 Jun 16

rommeldog56 said :

So we need a law against throwing stones?

Is the cyclist at fault if they leave themselves in the path of an oncoming car?
Although this sounds like its about cars in sure we already have have common laws around this.
Perhaps not for the example of a stick on a path.

Why only for cyclists then. If the laws are insufficient for covering this, wouldn’t a general law about putting others in danger be more appropriate?

*A cyclist should always look where they are going anyway.

Or you could actually read what you’re commenting about, specifically:

“The new offence also applies to throwing objects at other vehicles, and covers actions such as car drivers throwing objects at other car drivers, or pedestrians throwing objects at cars or trucks.”…

Maya123 12:28 pm 11 Jun 16

From experience it can be hard (if not impossible) to get the number plate of the offending car, so as to report them to get them charged. Something hits you, or a can of drink sails past (If you are lucky, as I’m sure it was intended to hit) your head and by the time you turn around the offending car full of cowards have sped away shouting illegible grunts and the number plate can’t be taken, especially if this happens in the dark and you are riding a bike on a bike path a few metres from the road.
Some people complain that’s it’s unfair that bicycles don’t have number plates, when in fact this only evens it up with cars speeding away in the dark, making the fact that they have number plates irrelevant.
Great piece of legislation, but it’s going to be hard to enforce, because even if you managed to get the car number plate the occupants are going to all grunt denials.

gooterz 12:21 pm 11 Jun 16
bigred 11:28 am 11 Jun 16

So if I almost get runover on a pedestrian crossing and throw a water bottle at the offending car, I am exposed to a greater penalty than the driver of the car under this daft law. Guess it is purely academic because unlikely to be enforced anyway.

gooterz 9:17 pm 10 Jun 16

So we need a law against throwing stones?

Is the cyclist at fault if they leave themselves in the path of an oncoming car?
Although this sounds like its about cars in sure we already have have common laws around this.
Perhaps not for the example of a stick on a path.

Why only for cyclists then. If the laws are insufficient for covering this, wouldn’t a general law about putting others in danger be more appropriate?

*A cyclist should always look where they are going anyway.

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