Victorian Police have withdrawn a fine against a rider for not having an external compliance sticker on his Australian-approved motorcycle helmet.
But don’t get too excited just yet that VicPol has seen the light and understands the rules which say a helmet only needs an internal label.
Rider Alasdair “Ted” Cameron challenged the $371 fine and took the issue to Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.
Senior associate Katie Minogue said she was confident her client had a “strong enough case” and was looking forward to their day in court.
However, at the last minute, VicPol have withdrawn the fine.
That means the issue has not been dealt with in court so no legal precedent has been set.
So police are still at liberty to use their erroneous reading of the rules to issue fines and harass riders.
Ted says he felt harassed as soon as he was pulled over in April 2018 on his 2016 Harley-Davidson Dyna Low Rider S about 200m from his Geelong home by one of two police officers patrolling on dirt bikes.
“I hadn’t done anything wrong, so I asked, ‘what’s up?’.
“The cop says ‘you’re riding a motorcycle in Victoria’, so I knew this guy was not up for a chat!”
The officer then told him his helmet was not compliant because it did not have a sticker on the outside.
“I just agreed with him and didn’t enter into much conversation or argue with him,” Ted says.
While Ted politely accepted the ticket without argument, he decided he wanted his day in court.
However, he has now received a phone call to say the matter has been dropped because it was “trivial”.
“The copper that picked me up rang and I didn’t answer as it was a private number, so he left a message saying who it was from the Solo Unit,” Ted says.
“He said something like ‘the matter has been not authorised, it will just disappear, you do not have to do anything, it was just being trivial’.
“He was clearing his throat a couple of times so he must have been struggling to say it.
“That message just threw me.”
Ted contacted his lawyers who have contacted police to ask for the official notice of the withdrawal.
“I feel a bit better now and want to thank you (Motorbike Writer), Guy (Motorcycle Council of NSW helmet law expert Guy Stanford) and the lawyers for everything you’ve done to help me,” Ted says.
“But I wanted my day in court. It would have been good to really stick it up them.”
(Maurice Blackburn Lawyers took on Ted’s case pro bono – no charge.)
While there is still no legal precedent, Guy Stanford advises that there is no need for an external sticker so long as there is an internal sticker or label.
It doesn’t matter if the label has faded with wear.
Ted says his internal label was difficult to find, but was shown to the officer who still issued him the fine.
Katie says the Victorian Road Rules state that an approved helmet must be marked with the official standards mark.
“It does not specify where this mark needs to be,” she says.
“We say there is no obligation in the rules that the sticker needs to be on the outside of a helmet.”