What happens if you don’t pay an interstate helmet fine?

johnboy 14 June 2011 30

Over the weekend keen eyed readers might have noticed my absence.

As it happens I went on a 3,000km road trip to a freak bike convention in the Flinders Ranges, where I managed to get pinged for not wearing a bike helmet while riding a chopper dressed as Zorro while wearing my Richard Roughcut freakbike persona.

I intend to write a letter requesting a downgrade to a warning considering I was an invited guest of a bike festival, on a road closed for the festival, and almost no one else was wearing a helmet. Should that be unsuccessful I’ll pay the fine.

But my intellectual curiosity is piqued.

What would happen if I failed to pay an interstate helmet fine?

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30 Responses to What happens if you don’t pay an interstate helmet fine?
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dpm dpm 2:46 pm 16 Jun 11

itsnotmadrid said :

If it wasn´t for helmet laws, we could have bicycle rental, like the rest of the developed world. Of course that would mean restricting traffic in the inner regions….And maybe a tram down Northbourne…..For that we need gutsy politicians….

Conveniently, the Sax oration (re: helmet laws this time) is on next week:
http://www.phaa.net.au/documents/110601FlyerSaxOration2011final.doc

itsnotmadrid itsnotmadrid 3:33 am 16 Jun 11

If it wasn´t for helmet laws, we could have bicycle rental, like the rest of the developed world. Of course that would mean restricting traffic in the inner regions….And maybe a tram down Northbourne…..For that we need gutsy politicians….

matt31221 matt31221 4:12 pm 15 Jun 11

troll-sniffer said :

Firstly, I think there may be some confusion in the comments here about what the authorities can do to JB. I don’t believe that there is any risk to his licence. I’ve never heard of a bicycle offence being cause for licence suspension etc. An offence committed by a nbicycle rider has no influence on a person’s right to drive, conferred by their motor vehicle licence. So unless there’s some strange quirk of the law I’m not privy to, JB need not be fearful of a backlash come rego or licence renewal.

So, it becomes a simple debt for an offence under SA law, the princely sum of $125 being the moot point. The chances of the authorities in SA pursuing the matter are negligible with the costs of recovery higher than the reward. So, if unpaid, the fine will likely simply remain on the SA court records for an indeterminate time, and will only surface if you are detained in SA. I don’t believe that non-motoring fines of this amount are on Australia-wide databases, so getting pulled over in Canberra won’t result in any Bubba time here. There may be some more knowledgeable types lurking here who can correct any of the above of course.

Years ago I used to enjoy taunting the authorities with obfuscatory methods to circumvent the inevitable, I’m sure there are some tricks you could employ to delay and frustrate the SA collection authorities before you finally hand to hand over your moolah.

Years ago I had a fine for $40.00 for some minor traffic matter (parking probably) so I sent in a cheque for $39.95 with a hand-written voucher for a Five Cent Citroen Discount for the month of May. I received a receipt, and a freshly printed demand for 5c, with an official letter that as no such discount appeared in the relevant legislation, it was disallowed, and the remaining amount was to be paid within 14 days or I would be summonsed etc. Worth the $40 just to get the response I reckon!

I am no lawyer but I got my information last night directly from the on-duty constable at Queanbeyan Police station. I even clarified the whole thing to be sure. She was very sure in her conclusions. To reiterate – unpaid no bicycle helmet fine can result in your CAR drivers license being suspended even in another state.

In Canberra, all RTA traffic fines (and parking) are managed by computer that automatically increases the fine when certain due dates are reached without fail – and when it has been too long it raises a red flag for an actual person to follow up on which won’t be missed. I am presuming that the other states use a similar system – so they won’t simply forget about a $125.00 fine. Presumably late fees will accrue on the fine automatically added by a computer system if left unpaid. It could become a nightmare, it is better to simply just pay the fine and wear a helmet next time.

You don’t need to be one of Troll-Sniffers ‘more knowledgeable types’ to come to that conclusion.

nescius nescius 12:02 pm 15 Jun 11

troll-sniffer said :

Firstly, I think there may be some confusion in the comments here about what the authorities can do to JB. I don’t believe that there is any risk to his licence. I’ve never heard of a bicycle offence being cause for licence suspension etc. An offence committed by a nbicycle rider has no influence on a person’s right to drive, conferred by their motor vehicle licence. So unless there’s some strange quirk of the law I’m not privy to, JB need not be fearful of a backlash come rego or licence renewal.

So, it becomes a simple debt for an offence under SA law, the princely sum of $125 being the moot point. The chances of the authorities in SA pursuing the matter are negligible with the costs of recovery higher than the reward. So, if unpaid, the fine will likely simply remain on the SA court records for an indeterminate time, and will only surface if you are detained in SA. I don’t believe that non-motoring fines of this amount are on Australia-wide databases, so getting pulled over in Canberra won’t result in any Bubba time here. There may be some more knowledgeable types lurking here who can correct any of the above of course.

A few years ago I had my license suspended for not paying a fine that was issued for not voting in a council election (in NSW). I had a NSW license at the time and had just moved back to the ACT, which is why I didn’t vote. I only discovered that my license was suspended when I went to change it back to an ACT license and they wouldn’t let me do it. The fine was $90, I sent them (the SDRO) a letter explaining what happened and they waived the fine and reinstated my license. JB may be ok because he (I assume) has an ACT license, but I don’t know if I’d risk it.

djk djk 11:58 am 15 Jun 11

“There are many things that we can point to that proof that the human being is not smart. The helmet is my personal favorite. The fact that we had to invent the helmet. Now why did we invent the helmet? Well, because we were participating in many activities that were cracking our heads. We looked at the situation. We chose not to avoid these activities, but to just make little plastic hats so that we can continue our head-cracking lifestyles.

The only thing dumber than the helmet is the helmet law, the point of which is to protect a brain that is functioning so poorly, it’s not even trying to stop the cracking of the head that it’s in!” – Jerry Seinfeld

phil m phil m 11:45 am 15 Jun 11

I think it is some kind of offense to not pay your fines, but I don’t think anyone prosecutes for it until they build up a bit.

However, unpaid fines are a smear on your record and may pop up one day if you are going for a security clearance, have a court case, do a credit application or decide to go for Prime Minister.

p1 p1 11:37 am 15 Jun 11

troll-sniffer said :

….so I sent in a cheque for $39.95 with a hand-written voucher for a Five Cent Citroen Discount for the month of May.

I really love this approach. It reminds me of a drawing of a spider.

Beau Locks Beau Locks 11:30 am 15 Jun 11

Clasic!! Worth the $125 for the laughs and the story. Prolly easiest just to pay up, methinks.

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 10:32 am 15 Jun 11

The likelyhood of having a warrant of commitment raised is _really low_, but the possibility exists.

Ignore SA for long enough, and it will either be an issue for their SDRO to clear, or refer onwards for warrants.
$125 is the kind of thing any sane public servant would eventually let expire, but SA is the weirdest of places, filled with the weirdest of people.

How much faith do you have in the sanity of public servants, anyway?

The Frots The Frots 10:00 am 15 Jun 11

Thumper said :

Black helicopters, assassins in balaclavas and black clothes late at night when you least expect it.

You have been warned.

Certainly if it’s in Victoria!!! I believe this!

troll-sniffer troll-sniffer 9:56 am 15 Jun 11

Firstly, I think there may be some confusion in the comments here about what the authorities can do to JB. I don’t believe that there is any risk to his licence. I’ve never heard of a bicycle offence being cause for licence suspension etc. An offence committed by a nbicycle rider has no influence on a person’s right to drive, conferred by their motor vehicle licence. So unless there’s some strange quirk of the law I’m not privy to, JB need not be fearful of a backlash come rego or licence renewal.

So, it becomes a simple debt for an offence under SA law, the princely sum of $125 being the moot point. The chances of the authorities in SA pursuing the matter are negligible with the costs of recovery higher than the reward. So, if unpaid, the fine will likely simply remain on the SA court records for an indeterminate time, and will only surface if you are detained in SA. I don’t believe that non-motoring fines of this amount are on Australia-wide databases, so getting pulled over in Canberra won’t result in any Bubba time here. There may be some more knowledgeable types lurking here who can correct any of the above of course.

Years ago I used to enjoy taunting the authorities with obfuscatory methods to circumvent the inevitable, I’m sure there are some tricks you could employ to delay and frustrate the SA collection authorities before you finally hand to hand over your moolah.

Years ago I had a fine for $40.00 for some minor traffic matter (parking probably) so I sent in a cheque for $39.95 with a hand-written voucher for a Five Cent Citroen Discount for the month of May. I received a receipt, and a freshly printed demand for 5c, with an official letter that as no such discount appeared in the relevant legislation, it was disallowed, and the remaining amount was to be paid within 14 days or I would be summonsed etc. Worth the $40 just to get the response I reckon!

Disinformation Disinformation 9:39 am 15 Jun 11

How does one dress a chopper as Zorro?

Eppo Eppo 8:52 am 15 Jun 11

matt31221 said :

My curiosity was piqued also so I called the Queanbeyan police station, and according to the Constable on duty – they have interstate cooperation and can suspend your car drivers licence eventually if you don’t pay the fine.
.

Supposedly, yes. I was caught speeding in NSW about 5 years ago. Coughed up the money and paid my fine, but the point loss or any record of having been nicked never appeared on my ACT drivers licence.

I would think not a lot would happen in reality. It’s not worth chasing some bloke a few states away for $125.

Thumper Thumper 8:33 am 15 Jun 11

Black helicopters, assassins in balaclavas and black clothes late at night when you least expect it.

You have been warned.

Innovation Innovation 8:32 am 15 Jun 11

Answer: You don’t learn your lesson, continue to offend, eventually get splattered, problem solved.

steveu steveu 8:10 am 15 Jun 11

Wear a helmet mate. A head injury isnt worth it. I personally think that if ridden responsibly, bikes are quite safe. I know its a pain but could save you grief one day.

Special G Special G 7:46 am 15 Jun 11

Unpaid interstate fine can see your ACT drivers licence and registrations linked to you suspended. Then RAPID gets to pick you up and hand out $1300 worth of fines.

Gerry-Built Gerry-Built 7:39 am 15 Jun 11

Chief Ten Beers said :

I wouldn’t be surprised if Australia was one of the only countries in the world that made people wear helmets on a bike. nanny state!

Making laws to protect citizens is one of the roles of a government. As long as there are people that continue to be too inconsiderate to do simple, cheap things to prevent self-injury, which has the potential to burden the rest of the community greatly, the “nanny state” argument continues to be an moot point. A bicycle helmet is a piece of basic safety equipment, proven to have saved lives or prevented injuries sustained from being more serious. It should not be seen as a “right” to risk life and limb, as you have a responsibility to everyone else, if not yourself.

If JB feels that the managed conditions of a display ride under closed road conditions changes the potential for injury, perhaps it is worth appealing. I’m more inclined, however, to place it in the same category as “only a few kilometers over the speed limit”.

alaninoz alaninoz 7:08 am 15 Jun 11

Chief Ten Beers said :

I wouldn’t be surprised if Australia was one of the only countries in the world that made people wear helmets on a bike. nanny state!

By the way johnboy, you need to add a referrer link to the login link at the top of the page. It’s annoying.

You don’t want to wear a helmet? OK, fine. Just don’t expect me to contribute to your medical bills, rehab, or support if you sustain a head injury while not wearing your helmet. You know the risks and should be responsible for your own actions. Goes for motorcycles too. Ditto seatbelts.

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