‘First’ rear facing speed cameras?

Rear facing speed camera

Western Australia police claim they have the first rear facing mobile speed camera in Australia for the specific purpose of catching speeding motorcyclists.

However, we checked other police services throughout the country and they say their mobile speed camera vans can scan across multiple lanes and capture vehicles approaching on one side of the road and going away on the other.

In fact, police usually choose to shoot the front of a vehicle rather than the rear as the front number plate is less likely to be obscured by road grime or tow balls.

When they set up their speed camera units, they weigh up the losses of offences for speeding cars because of obscured number plates against the number of speeding riders not caught.

One officer told us they choose front-facing cameras because it gives motorists less time to brake and wash off speed.

Also, it should be noted that all red-light cameras and most fixed seed cameras throughout the country can shoot both ways.

Level playing field

Yet WA Police Commander Scott Higgins and Police Minister Michelle Roberts are claiming they have the first rear-facing mobile cameras to catch riders.

The Minister says the cameras create a “level playing field” between drivers and motorcyclists.

Rear facing speed camera
Photograph supplied by the WA Police department allegedly showing a speeding rider whose number plate could not be photographed. Yet they have blanked its out!

“This is something we’ve wanted to address for years,” she says.

This is typical of the attitude that riders are getting away with speeding offences.

Statistics don’t lie

However, statistics show that speeding cars with obscured number plates are much bigger evaders of speed camera fines than motorcyclists without front number plates.

Early this year we asked for statistics from several states, but only NSW and Queensland replied.

NSW recorded 71,111 speed camera offences unable to be issued because a vehicle could not be identified and Queensland it was 60,332, which represented about 10% of all speed camera offences in each state.

In NSW, speeding fines could not be issued to only 2712 motorcycle riders, or just 3.8% which is fair as motorcycles are about 4% of all road users.

In Queensland, the stats show only 759 motorists or 1.2% could not be recorded because there is no front number plate. Furthermore, not all of those would be motorcycles as some cars, trucks and other vehicles may have been missing a front number plate.

That doesn’t stop police and mainstream media frequently demonising riders by publishing sensationalist stories showing riders speeding past speed cameras.

14 Comments

  1. I think this is just a PR exercise by the WA cops to get their new/old/recycled Police Minister off their backs. Years ago she was Police Minister in the last Labor govt and returned to the job when Labor got re-elected last year.

    Back then she was disgusted that motorcyclists could evade their just desserts by not having front number plates. She asked WA Police to investigate their reintroduction (when pretty much the enitre rest of the world including the other Aus states/territories had decided this was a stupid idea). So my take on this is they (cops) are just trying to manage her pet obsession. Hopefully she’ll shut up about it now.

    Of course WA has had rearward firing cameras for several years now (I’ve been done by one myself). But mainly they still like to use them forward facing I guess for the very reasons stated in the article.

    I’m not anti-Labor, I think they do have some talented people. But Michelle Roberts is not one of them, she’s a dud who should have been replaced years ago in their lineup

  2. related to this are the “Average speed cameras” in NSW (and maybe other States). Do they only photo the front number plate of a vehicle?

  3. To save people’s lives (80% have very bad driving skils and they DO NOT belong on the streets) the speed limit should be 60kph on the hiways and 20kph in the city.

  4. This is just what motorcyclists need to save their lives. Perhaps the next thing they do will be to have the vans shoot out caltrops if the rider is doing more than five kph over the limit that will save even more lives.

  5. If the claims about vans with mobile cameras being able to photograph number plates from the rear on the other side of the road as well as the front on the same side are true, then it begs the question: why are signs warning about the presence of a mobile camera not placed on both sides of the road rather than only on the same side of the road as the camera?

    1. Hi Graeme,
      In Queensland, there was a requirement to place a sign within a certain distance of the seed camera van. The police realised there was no indication in the law on which side it should be placed, so they put it on the departing side! They also lobbied the government which dropped the requirement altogether last year.
      Cheers,
      Mark

    1. Hi,
      Have you driven around this area? There are a lot of ramblers (hikers/walkers) in the country.
      They are probably right that in these areas, these people think it is ok to walk in the middle of the road because the speed is slower. I’ve seen it happen and nearly run over some.
      Unfortunately, it’s not a great example that slower speeds are more dangerous.
      However, the NT example is: https://motorbikewriter.com/nt-restricts-speed-despite-evidence/
      Cheers,
      Mark

      1. Actually it highlights the dangers of the psychological safety bubble that people start to operate in.
        Motorcycles are the safest vehicles in the world because the riders have no false elusions of safety.
        The curse Bloody Volvo driver was born because the drivers would do stupid dangerous things thinking they were save in the Volvo as it was such a safe car! The same goes for all cars the safer they are thought to be the worse driver behaviour they encourage. The same goes for low speed limit areas the lower it is the less safer people Act both pedestrians and drivers alike.

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