The NSW police blitz on riders wearing a helmet camera will continue.
After almost two weeks and several phones calls and emails asking for a reasoning for the current blitz on helmet cameras, we finally received a curt NSW police response that didn’t address any of the questions asked.
Our inquiries were in response to riders being fined $311 and three demerit points. This follows a warning from Snr Sgt Tony Grace, Culture Senior Supervisor of the Central Coast Highway Patrol to the Motorcycle Council of NSW which says they will target a range of offences, but specifically helmet offences, including the fitting of cameras.
We asked the following questions through the NSW Police Media Unit to a senior constable who does not wish to be named. The questions were:
- How many fines have been issued for this offence in the past year?
- Why are police targeting helmet non-compliance? Has there been a relevant “safety” incident or crash?
- Is it because riders post footage on YouTube?
- Is this blitz a departmental or ministerial directive?
- Isn’t the ADR about modifications open to interpretation? For example, is sticking a camera to a helmet a modification or an accessory?
- Does this law also affect Bluetooth units?
- If so, why are police only targeting cameras, not bluetooth units?
- How can riders appeal the fine?
- On this occasion the officer who issued the attached ticket offered the rider advice on how to appeal the offence. He allegedly said that the law was not prominent and the rider could appeal because riders could not possibly know of its existence.
- If the law is not well known, why don’t officers just issue a warning?
- Do NSW motorcycle officers wear cameras or bluetooth units on their helmets?
- Isn’t this blitz provocative in the light of the Federal Government Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda to internationalise Australian Standards such as helmets and the coming forum on that matter in particular?
The response which they asked to be attributed to a NSW Police Force Spokesperson reads: “Police will continue to enforce road safety for the benefit of all road users. So far this year 58 riders have lost their lives on the state’s roads, which forms the background for any operation targeting motorcyclists’ safety. Police run regular local and state-wide operations targeting a number of different offences and will prosecute those breaking the law.”
In other words, they answered none of the questions.
Meanwhile, a Victorian Magistrate has adjourned the hearing of what could be a test case for that state on the issue.
The matter could also be resolved at a Standards Australia forum in February at which helmet laws will be discussed.
If you believe helmet laws are misleading, confusing and varied across the states you may like to sign a petition for a uniform approach across the country.