105km/h in a 40km/h zone? CQ test-ride gone wrong
THE MOUNT Morgan range is notorious as one of the few stretches of road in Central Queensland for motorbike enthusiasts to go for a real ride.
But a 105km/h test-ride on a Yamaha cost one rider over $1000.
Billy-Joe Ryan Siddins pleaded not guilty in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court on Wednesday to one count of speeding and one of contravening the direction of a police officer to pull over.
Siddins, representing himself, was not arguing against the speed or 'try to get off the charges based on a technically'.
Instead, the Frenchville accountant argued that where the speed radar detected him doing 105km/h was not in a 40km/h zone as police alleged, but in a 100km/h zone.
He also argued that while he saw the police car's headlights flash at him, he thought it was a warning about a hazard up ahead or to reduce speed rather than to pull over.
Siddins said he was on a test-ride of a Yamaha motorbike, designed for track racing, for the second time when he took it for a spin down the Mount Morgan Range on February 26 around 8am.
He said the staff from a Gladstone Yamaha store had driven the bike up to the range for the test ride.
Siddins said the range was a preferred test route and popular road for motorcyclists, including the corners between the bottom rest area and the top lookouts.
"In Central Queensland, there's limited areas as a motorcyclist to ride a nice piece of road," he said.
Siddins told the court he rode the bike down the range from the top outlook. When he got to the bottom he pulled over into a rest stop, adjusted levers and other parts of the bike to suite him.
He said he then pulled out into a 100km/h zone.
"Almost immediately after pulling out into the 100km/h zone I came around a right hand bend and saw the police car," Siddins said.
After looking at the speedometer on the bike, which he said indicated he was doing 100km/hr, he decelerated to 40km/hr.
The court heard the stretch of road in question goes from 100km/hr to a warning sign about a 40km/hr zone ahead and then to the 40km/h zone.
Previously, there was an 80km/h zone, but signs had been taken down some time before this incident.
Siddins said the rest area he stopped at was 300m from the 40km/h zone and the detection took place 250m from the rest stop.
Magistrate Cameron Press asked Siddins how he expected to be able to decelerate quick enough to be doing 40km/hr by the time he reached the 40km/h zone if he was doing 100km/hr 50m out from it.
"The motorbike I was riding can decelerate from 100 to 40 in 10m, if required," Siddins responded.
He said he saw the police car's headlights flash, but no other signals from the car to pull over and thought the officer was warning him about a hazard ahead on the road.
Siddins said he indicated to pull over at the next available stopping spot on the range road, of which there were four between the detection point and the top of the range, but changed his mind after looking in his rear view mirror and not seeing flashing lights or the police car do a u-turn to follow him.
Instead, he continued until he reached the rest area at the top of the mountain, where a second police officer stood with a hand held radar and motioned him to pull over and wait.
After he was issued with the infringement notices, where he had pulled up at the top of the range, he rode the bike back to where the staff were waiting and they pulled the on-board Communication Control Unit and GPS data from the bike.
He said the data indicated the only sudden breaking he had carried out on the run up the hill, after he saw the police car, was in the 100km/h zone.
Siddins offered to tender the data to the court as evidence.
However, Mr Press refused to accept it without an expert witness to answer questions about the data.
Siddins said it would be cheaper to pay the fines imposed by the court than to get an expert from Yamaha's headquarters in Japan to appear.
Sergeant Mark Dean, who was the officer-in-charge of the Mount Morgan Police Station at the time of the incident and was the officer in the marked police car that issued Siddins with the infringement notices, gave evidence.
Sgt Dean he and the second officer were patrolling the range for motorcycles after many complaints of bikes "racing up and down the range" and a crash the previous day.
The court heard Sgt Dean was a qualified mechanic before becoming a police officer, and a qualified pursuit motorcycle police officer when he was working in Western Australia years ago.
His extensive experience with motorcycles lead him to be able to determine that when he first heard Siddin's bike, it was continually running at 5000-6000 revs.
Sgt Dean said it was because of this, he activated the RAPTOR mobile radar.
"I observed a motorcycle come around a right hand bend and into a straight," he said.
"That motorcycle appeared to be travelling well in excess of the 40km/h speed limit."
Sgt Dean said the radar detected the bike travelling at 105km/h so he activated the flashing lights and headlights on the police vehicle to indicate the rider pull over.
During cross-examination, Siddins raised a guideline in the Queensland Police manual about signalling motorists to pull over which states use of "physical or audible signal or warning lights and sounding an alarm".
Sgt Dean admitted he did not have a reason for not activating the siren on the vehicle to indicate his direction to the rider to pull over. This evidence lead Mr Press to dismissing the charge of contravening the direction of a police officer.
However, Mr Press found the prosecution to have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Siddins was travelling at 105km/hr in a 40km/h zone, stating he found the evidence of Sgt Dean to be persuasive, persistent and unequivocal.
He found Siddins guilty of the speeding offence and ordered he pay the infringement of $1137 and a conviction be recorded. Before sentencing, the court heard about Siddins' speeding history which dates back to 2006.