A decision to charge riders for parking in some Sydney CBD areas has been reversed and riders who copped $82 parking fines have had them waived.
Previously the riders were able to park free in the Rocks, Pyrmont and Darling Harbour areas including outside designated bike-only zones as long as they adhered to the time restrictions.
However, the state reclaimed the land in January, according to the council, and installed private company parking meters at the end of August 2019.
The COS website was only changed on 17 September 2019 after several motorcyclists complained, according to Property NSW.
“Disputed infringements issued before the website was updated have been waived,” they say.
After our publication of the unfair fines, they have reversed that decision and now allow free motorcycle parking in those metered areas.
A Department of Planning, Industry and Environment spokesperson told us:
We were recently made aware of inconsistencies between the government and the City of Sydney’s parking policies. We have now revised our parking guidelines and waived infringement notices relating to this discrepancy. Motorcycle and scooter riders no longer need to pay at any of the parking meters in our areas, however, must respect the time restrictions. Our policy is published on The Rocks website.
Day in court
However, Jin Weng says it is no victory for him after having to take a day’s personal leave to fight the fine in court.
“I pleaded guilty despite the inconsistent information published by council because I couldn’t afford the cost of another hearing,” he says.
“Legal counsel indicated it’s unlikely I can claim for my time even if I get a not guilty outcome, this is a shame as the courts should penalise councils and authorities for issuing fines in error otherwise there is no accountability for them to continually do this.
“It is unjust but I can see why most people just pay the fine as its multiple times the cost to challenge.
Another fined Sydney rider, Andrew Johnstone, missed the change on the website and said the fines were unfair as there was not enough notice provided that the change had occurred.
He says the website has now been changed, but it “seems to say no and maybe”.
“Motorcyclists cannot be expected to read the website every day before parking a bike to ensure a road ownership hasn’t changed,” he said.
Update 16 December 2019: Andrew’s fine has now been waived as well.
Loss of Sydney spaces
The change in Sydney motorcycle parking follows the reduction of CBD kerbside parking last year to accommodate bus, pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure.
It prompted a petition for more motorcycle parking space.
Petition organiser and commuter rider Emma MacIver says the city is lagging behind Melbourne and the rest of the world and Motorcycle Council of NSW parking subcommittee claimed council’s lack of consultation with riders on the issue was “disappointing”.
Emma’s petition has gained almost 2000 signatures.