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NSW Parked on an ambiguous "clearway"

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by mereHuman, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. Hi guys,

    First time poster, long time lurker here.
    Apologise if my first post is a request for help.

    Wondering if any of the community members can help me with a problem I have. Any advice is and will be helpful.

    I parked my bike yesterday near Domain (Behind parliament house, Sydney), but when I got back, my bike was gone. After frantic moments, and lots of phone calls (thanks to the officers guarding the parliament house), I found out that the bike's been towed away.

    I was told that I parked in the "Clearway" area. To be fair, there are clearway sign clearly displayed, however there are markings on the road that marked that space as motorbike parking, and the space is sitting between 2 concrete slab. Addition to that there are already motorbikes there. All this makes me think that this is a legal motorbike parking area. There are a 3 or 4 other bikes that got taken away.

    I took this picture AFTER I've been told my bike's been towed away.

    Now I've been told to pick up the bike (it's in one of the towyard's impound lot), I have to pay $440 for tow fee + fine (which will be posted later).

    What can I do to avoid the large towing fee?
    Can I dispute the fee and fine because there are ambiguity there?

    I'd also be interested in contacting the other bike owners that got towed away (if they frequented this site).

    Much appreciated
  2. My bush lawyer brain says that the clearway signs take precedence over the marked motorcycle parking bays during the hours posted. That said, it can't be a clearway in the classic sense given the concrete bollards which appear to be permanent. My guess is that it's another Clover Moore stuff-up; the signs should have been removed when the concrete bollards were installed???
    Either way I'd certainly not be rolling over and playing nice.....
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Cheers Horned.

    As you can see, there are space there, and we are not obstructing traffic. I'm quite furious that they towed away the bikes.

    You'd bet I'll try to at least make some noise.
    Already called RMS, Police Helpline. Were directed to call Highway Patrol Surry Hills. They are not available to take up my call.
  4. I definitely wouldn't be sitting idle on this one ! In fact, I find this infuriating !
    Good luck and keep us posted.
  5. He's definately not "Horned", quite the opposite in fact. :)
    • Funny Funny x 2
  6. You could contact the local council and ask for clarification, hope they are sympathetic and also order your bike released.

    The signs in combination with the painted bays contradict each other.

    The issue here is the private towing company make money out of this so the contradiction is great for them terrible for rate payers and visitors to the area.

    Your only other option is to wait until the fine is posted and then appeal the fine at your local court. Hopefully a friendly magistrate will find that the signs and road markings are contradictory and givee you a section 10 and order the bike be release and no cost to you.

    A lot of ifs and you are with out your bike for 2-3 months.

    Alternatively you pay the Tow fee, get your bike back appeal the fine and then make a civil claim against the council to get your $440 plus expenses back.

    I dread to think what the tow company have done to your bike while towing it.
  7. I don't like your chances mereHumanmereHuman Although it appears to be stupid that it is a Clearway in that area by your photos Clearway signs do take precedence. Towing fees are generally paid to private contractors so they will want their money, I doubt if you would be able to get out of the towing fees, although $440 sounds to be ridiculously overpriced or does that include impound fees?

    You may be able to get the fine which in NSW will be between $160 and $230 overturned some discussion of that is available on


    Good Luck (y)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Got to agree with cjvfr on this one but I would still try your luck
  9. I doubt you have much chance.

    Beware this pitfall:

    "There was another bike parked there so I assumed it was OK."

    A lot of us have fallen for it at some point. Though most of us got off with a far cheaper lesson than yourself. Unlucky.
  10. lol. It's clearly a clearway NOT motorcycle parking now. All the parking signs have been removed and replaced for both cars and bikes from behind parliament house for well over a year now. Stopping in a clearway zone is a fine in itself let alone parking in one.
    IMO given the fact that a whole stretch of road behind parliament house is a clearway zone, apply for a warning if you have a clean record or do as iclint has suggested and go to court. Either way, if you do challenge it your going to have to explain why you ignored the road rules and was guilty of the offence.

    When I went to court over a parking meter I found out the hard way how stupid things are. I paid for parking using a credit card, the meter took my money (it's on the bank statement) but the machine never printed a ticket. The parking inspector gave me a ticket, review said too bad so I went to court. The magistrate and council lawyer decided to be nice and suggest I say I was guilty. The reason, the offence is park without current ticket displayed regardless of whether you paid or not. The entire street got booked that day. Also took almost 4 months to resolve.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  11. #11 AyeKay, Feb 20, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2015
    I have seen heaps of riders caught out by this. Has been the case for a while now - the existing motorcycle parking was removed about 12 months ago, like korbail says above - but not very effectively. See below:

    When they changed the Hospital Road parking arrangements (to complete clearway from Hospital entrance pedestrian crossing northwards), they blacked out the car spot lines, and put green covers over the adjacent car parking metres which say "Not in use - check parking restrictions" or something like that. Clear as day for car drivers, although there still is one yellow concrete island where the old car parking was near where pedestrians cross between the Domain and the walkway between Parliament House and the State Library.

    Now for the moto section, it's MUCH less clear. Yes the Clearway signs are there covering all directions, but for some unknown reason they left the NO STOPPING signs pointing outwards from the previous moto parking. Why? I think that's a critical point and adds significant confusion if the entire area is now a clearway in any event. Leaving those directional NO STOPPING signs there, coupled with the fact that they did NOT black out the moto parking lines and logos creates a significant amount of conflict and confusion, small clearway signs notwithstanding.

    They have towed bikes from there a few times now - indicating an ongoing problem with the signage in the area.

    Write to them about the conflicting information and different treatment to the car spaces that were more effectively removed. Ask that given the confusion, now you know you will not park there again, and have advised others of the current situation as well and that given the confusion could they let you off with a warning, or at least a reduction in the amount payable.

    If it helps - the Royal Botanic Gardens has a legal interest in the parking arrangements - at least in relation to the old carparking spots - ie the covers placed over the car parking meters are marked by the Royal Botanic Gardens.

    I saw them moving what was obviously your bike when I went for a run out in the Domain yesterday - there were 3 moto highway patrol cops there at lunchtime. I thought that it was going to end in tears for someone. Sorry it was you.
  12. I'd suggest finding a good lawyer if you want to fight it. But probably cheaper to just pay the towing fine. Argue the Parking find with the council later. Or just pay it as well, still probably cheaper than paying a lawyer.
  13. Still don't get what is unclear. No Stopping means No Stopping. Clearway means No Stopping. Asking for a warning because it's unclear I don't think will work. If they ereected a special event clearway that would have still towed your bike. They don't cover up parking lines for special event clearways do they?

    Asking for a warning because you looked at the road and not the sign might.
  14. I'm pretty sure Signs override street markings (think roadworks etc) ..
  15. #15 AyeKay, Feb 20, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2015
    The NO STOPPING signs are directional only, rather than just normal no stopping signs. The dominant red signs you see first are the NO STOPPING signs pointing away from the area - resulting in a space between them that has the moto parking that is not covered by the directional NO STOPPING signs. These are the old ones that weren't removed from when parking was allowed. Above those is the smaller white clearway signs that now override them.

    I havent parked there since the clearway signs were installed - but can see how it would be very easy to overlook the CW signs given the other, conflicting signage. You generally dont have to look for other signs that overridethe ones you see first unless there are different signs for different times - not the case here - there are no time restrictions or changes. Bikes have been towed on multiple occasions, so there is a clear indication that there is an ongoing signange issue.

    For the life of me I just cant understand why the directional no stopping signs are still there.Two bolts each. Done. They removed the directional No Stopping signs from the car parking area - just not the old moto area. Its just a stuff up that continues to cause issues.
  16. Have a read of the road rules(for NSW) and make up your mind whether to fight it.

    An interpretation may be Rule 176 states the Clearway sign applies to a "Length of Road" - but you were NOT parked on a "Length of Road" From the pictures the area is clearly outside of the edge line of the road/lane and/or clearly marked for parking vehicles. The main purpose of the area is definitely not for driving. The section does not therefore meet the criteria for being defines as a "Length of Road" to which the Clearway signs apply. More so you could argue it wast a "road related area" which is clearly defined as not being part of a "road".

    Details follow:

    Division 4 – Stopping on clearways and freeways and in emergency stopping lanes
    , "length" of road, "park" and "stop" are defined in the Dictionary.
    Rule 165 provides defences to the prosecution of a driver for an offence against a provision of this Division.
    176 Stopping on a clearway
    (1) A driver must not stop on a length of road to which a clearway sign applies, unless subrule (2) or (3) applies to the driver.

    12 What is a road
    (1) A "road" is an area that is open to or used by the public and is developed for, or has as one of its main uses, the driving or riding of motor vehicles. "Motor vehicle" is defined in the Dictionary.
    (2) However, unless the contrary intention appears, a reference in these Rules (except in this Division) to a "road" does not include a reference to:
    (a) an area so far as the area is declared, under another law of this jurisdiction, not to be a road for these Rules, or
    (b) any shoulder of the road
    (The Minister administering the Act may, by order under section 18 of that Act, declare that provisions of the road transport legislation do not apply to a road or do apply to a specified area of the State that is open to or used by the public. The road transport legislation includes these Rules.
    (3) The "shoulder" of the road includes any part of the road that is not designed to be used by motor vehicles in travelling along the road, and includes:
    (a) for a kerbed road--any part of the kerb, and
    (b) for a sealed road--any unsealed part of the road, and any sealed part of the road outside an edge line on the road,

    13 What is a road related area
    (1) A "road related area" is any of the following:
    (a) an area that divides a road,
    (b) a footpath or nature strip adjacent to a road,
    (c) an area that is not a road and that is open to the public and designated for use by cyclists or animals,
    (d) an area that is not a road and that is open to or used by the public for driving, riding or parking vehicles.

  17. Heard that one before. Arguing that there is no road will not get you anywhere. IRRC, refer to Howie v Huss 1989 or 90

    Thread is in the wrong forum, but to answer your questions you need to pay the release fee to get your vehicle back otherwise you incur additional charges for each day that your vehicle remains impounded. If you believe the infringement notice or release fee is unjustified, issued without authority, or is unreasonable, make a complaint to the relevant agency or council.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  18. Howie v Fuss, 31 January 1989.

    You would have a better chance of success showing why the fine and fee was unreasonable than using the argument that the 'parking spots' is not on a road.
  19. Looking at those pics & not being from the area (I'm a proud westie hehe) I would have been caught out if I was parking there.
    I mean C'mon what is a rider not familiar with the area likely to notice at a glance? The white lane dividers on the bitumen + the big red no stopping signs either side of the concrete barriers, or those piddly little white clearway signs high above it all?

    Part of me thinks they kept it this way on purpose. Part of me feels like doing the community a service by riding down there with black spray cans & blanking out the parking lane markings :p
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. nb. No one jas told you yet, but RMS, helpline & highway patrol - Making noise in all the wrong places.