5 May 2022

Ten things you probably didn't know could get you fined

| James Coleman
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Police car

Police are reminding Canberrans of the need to slow to 40 km/h when passing emergency vehicles. Photo: Region Media.

A 40-year-old Canberra man appeared before a magistrate recently. He was charged with drug driving and driving with a suspended licence, but police may not have found him had he not attracted their attention for driving past a traffic stop at more than 40 km/h.

ACT Policing has taken the opportunity to remind drivers of a law passed in 2018 requiring motorists to slow down to 40 km/h when passing emergency services vehicles displaying a blue or red flashing light.

Officers still find many people don’t know about this rule, despite the fact the penalty for failing to slow near emergency vehicles amounts to $257 and two demerit points.

This raises the question: what else are we doing that is actually illegal?

The Gungahlin Light Rail terminal

Boots stay on the ground in Canberra’s public transport. Photo: Damien Larkins.

1. Putting your foot on the bus or tram seat

Fancy a spot of yoga on the bus? Think again. For gracing the seat with your dirty shoe while onboard public transport, it’s a $183 fine for an adult and $75 for a child. It’s the same for spitting and littering on public transport, and even more for offensive language and behaviour.

2. Using your phone to pay at a drive-through

Using a phone to access the internet while driving carries a hefty penalty of $598 and four demerit points. This technically carries through to using the likes of Apple Pay in the drive-through at McDonald’s. Police say you must have the vehicle out of gear and the parking brake activated before reaching for the phone.

It’s a $205 fine for having body parts outside the vehicle. Photo: File.

3. Tooting the horn and waving to say goodbye

We’ve all done it … The family is rolling down the driveway but before they disappear into the sunset and you breathe a deep sigh of relief, the horn toots and windows drop to make way for the waving hands.

Technically, that would be $252 for using the horn unnecessarily and a further $205 for having body parts outside the vehicle. That’s one way to ensure you never host the family Christmas again.

4. Interrupting a funeral procession

We may not tip our hats or wear all-black anymore, but out of respect for the dead, funeral processions are to pass unhindered. Disrupting them by cutting in or making unnecessary noise will result in a $205 fine. This also goes for other processions involving either vehicles or people.

Flashing your high beams or honking your horn at a wedding procession could also land you a total fine of $457 for both using your horn unnecessarily and dazzling oncoming drivers.

Warning oncoming drivers about a speed trap or RBT by flashing the high beams is illegal for the same reason.

Cars parked in Mawson

Make sure you’re in those lines. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

5. Touching the line in a parking bay

Making sure your car is straight in the parking bay isn’t just an OCD thing. For having parts of the vehicle protruding into surrounding car parks or using more than one park is a $125 fine.

6. Speeding up while being overtaken

Pride is easily wounded on the highway, but don’t be tempted to speed up if you’re being passed. It’s a $301 fine, and that’s assuming you didn’t exceed the speed limit. To add insult to injury, you could also cop $481 for racing another vehicle.

For the other driver, cutting in front too early costs $301.

2 bike riders

Cyclists can get speeding fines too. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

7. Speeding on a mobility device or bicycle

Speeding, no matter the vehicle, is an offence, attracting a $154 fine in the case of a mobility scooter or bicycle. It’s the same for not having an adequate warning device such as a bell or horn, while not having working brakes on a bike will cost you $151 or a few teeth, whatever comes first.

8. Not walking against the flow of traffic

When walking along the road’s shoulder, it’s important to make sure you face the oncoming traffic to avoid a $145 fine. This also gives you more time to react if something goes awry on the road ahead.

Horses are vehicles too. Photo: Region Media.

9. Not giving way to horses

Horses were the only way of getting around for the longest time, and even today, it turns out they’re still classified as vehicles. Normal road rules apply.

10. Leaving the engine running

It might be tempting to let the car warm up before heading off to work in the morning, especially as winter sets in, but this is illegal on several fronts. It’s a $205 fine for leaving the key in the ignition, $205 for not restraining the car adequately, and $252 for making unnecessary noise.

Even in summer, police recommend you never leave any windows open.

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While the one misdeameanor that is signposted everywhere, ‘Keep left unless overtaking’, is universally ignored; it’s terribly dangerous and disruptive but is never fined. Road sense is the one education metered out only by inaction.

It certainly is a miss understood road rule. In Canberra there are not many roads where it does actually apply law being 90 and above.

The vast majority of roads in the ACT being 80 or less and even where there are signs on roads with an 80km/h limit those signs don’t actually comply with the rules so not really enforceable.

And on the roads where it does apply many ignore the second part of the rule that says it doesn’t apply when roads are congested.

Anyway rant over, keeping left regardless of speed limit should be common sense and common courtesy.

A few years ago I had an inconsiderate neighbour who used to start his truck early in the morning, pull the throttle stop so it was revving not just quietly idling for 1/2 an hour to warm the cab up while he went back inside and had breakfast. This was 5 mornings a week. Every time I spoke to him about it he’d refrain for a few mornings then get back into it.

I rang the cops at one stage and asked them to come and book him for leaving the keys in the ignition “That’s not illegal” was the b******* response.

If they are doing it before 7 AM and it exceeds 35 dB there is a five minute limit on idling, not mentioned in the article above.

And I thought we were a ‘free’ country!

@marg51510 Free does not equal lawless!

ChrisinTurner5:27 pm 12 May 22

“Making unnecessary noise $252” is a joke because it is never enforced. Motorbikes with their mufflers completely removed are everywhere.

But “loud pipes save lives” unless they are so bloody loud the motorcyclist can’t hear what’s going on around them.

Government could make millions of dollars by just sitting at stop signs in Barton. 90% of vehicles don’t stop at them – some even speed up to go through them.

#2 – drive through at Macca’s – ah, that’s a private driveway, not a public road. The road rules don’t apply. You don’t even have to be a licensed driver to be in the driver’s seat of a car at Macca’s paying with your phone.

I think you’ll find, in Canberra, under the definition of the ACT, it does constitute a Public road

I wish one of the rules was that people should use their lights at dawn, dusk or whenever visibility is poor – particularly if they are in a dark coloured vehicle.

So many people seem to think that if they can see the road, then that’s all that matters. Of course, the flip side of that is actually being visible i.e that other drivers can see you as well.

Please use some courtesy, or you are likely to cause accidents as you suddenly appear where another driver wasn’t expecting anything.

It is already a law – between sunset and sunrise you must use headlights, not parking lights, not one headlight (unless you’re riding a motorbike). Like all the others, there’s virtually no chance of being caught or fined in Canberra.

Yeah think the poster knows it is already the law going by the way they quoted the law near verbatim.

It is something that is getting worse each year.

I personally put it down to modern cars with auto head lights. Seems some cars the turn on threshold is quite low so they won’t come on at dusk when as the posted said it’s not important for them to see but important for others to see them. Others cars like my WV are at the other extreme and come on when there is light cloud cover which of course is a much better problem to have.

The other issue these days is bright day time running lights. These are often dark enough to seem like headlights are on. And whilst they obviously help with being seen, that only applies at the front as the tail lights don’t come on when the running lights are on.

You’d have to be a pretty lousy copper to fine someone in a drive through. Perhaps chasing dangerous crims would be a better bet

Futureproof, that’ll never happen chasing dangerous crims doesn’t return a profit it requires expenditure and police resources plus more for the crims legal aid and incarceration, much more profitable to collect $$ not spend it. But that is the perspective of government not the actual police who never chase these type of ‘offences’ because they are focused on real police work.

ACT tackling the big issues.

No none is getting fined for them for the most part. You would have to be doing something else and then give plod attitude to get done for
some of these.

Hi Riotact, refering to trivial matter like parking in the lines as “an OCD thing” is not best practice and futher reinforces the stigma and misinformation surrounding OCD. Flippant references such as this undermine the impact that this illness has on many people within the community and minimises their experiences.

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