Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

VIC Tailgating as assault?

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' at netrider.net.au started by коннор, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. Something occurred to me recently: assault is defined as action which causes fear of harm, and a car tailgating a bike could easily be construed as threatening. Much more thorough explanation of assault. Here's my reasoning:

    1. In a collision, motorcyclists have a high chance of being injured (in comparison to someone in a car, at the very least).
    2. The above is obvious; a person could reasonably be expected to be aware of it.
    3. A reasonable person would expect a motorcyclist to feel threatened by a car or other larger vehicle tailgating them.
    4. The driver has perceptible means to enact violence immediately.
    5. Tailgating is illegal, anyway, so I strongly doubt there is anything which could be used to excuse it.
    EDIT: 6. If the motorcyclist is travelling at the speed limit, their ability to legally escape the situation is very limited.

    So, I'm wondering if tailgating a motorcyclist would, indeed, be grounds for prosecution. Even if it isn't strong enough to be taken to court, if there's enough there for cops to charge the idiot (but drop it later), that'd still be cool :D.

    Could any of our lawyery types provide some input? Its not particularly relevant to me right now (don't have anyone I could try it on 8-[), but its an interesting idea, and I figured it'd be worth bring up.

    P.S. I did a search on 'assault', checked at any threads which looked like they might be related, but found nothing.
  2. it probably could be, as a death threat, but it's your word against theirs
    i believe it is illegal to threaten to kill or harm someone.
    perhaps you could get an intervention order taken out so as the offending tailgater could not come within 50 meters haha.
  3. I can't see the point in trying to prosecute them for assault.

    If they get done for tailgating, they'd face a small fine. However, if they get done for assault the judge will them them how sorry he feels for them because they didn't get everything they wanted as a child, give them a cuddle and send them away with a lollypop.
  4. Yes, in most cases it would be hard to prove, but plenty of people ride with cameras, and video which catches their numberplate and face is hard to argue with ;). May only get a very small percentage of tailgaters, but it WOULD get them, and sends a clear message that people would probably spread around. This is, of course, assuming its possible.

    Depends on the judge. But its a hassle and expense for them, makes it absolutely clear that tailgating is bad/dangerous, and if they get convicted (even if the sentence is non-existent) they'll have it on their record. And a fine of a grand or two would be on the table, too.

    Personally, I would see it as a far better revenge than roadragey stuff that could get you done for assault. Best served cold, and all that.
  5. He "might" get busted for assault, but I believe he'd also get your name, address etc in the proceedings regardless of conviction...
  6. Certainly they'd get your name but address, occupation, phone numbers etc are normally left off the documents that go to court when a matter is sent to court by the cops.

    126 ARR: "Keeping a safe distance behind vehicles. A driver must drive a sufficient distance behind a vehicle travelling in front of the driver so the driver can, if necessary, stop safely to avoid a collision with the vehicle."

    Just tailgating is unlikely to warrant anything other than a fail to keep safe distance traffic infringement (if seen by a cop), but if they were menacing you by accelerating up to your bike and braking hard or swerving at you causing you to take evasive action then something else may be warranted.

    That then might fit under something like "Acts endangering life" (ACT legislation) which includes using an offensive weapon such as a car in a manner likely to endanger human life or cause a person grievous bodily harm.

    Either way, would be quite hard to prove in court and without a bunch of witnesses or video evidence it would be extremely unlikely to even get looked at by the local cop shop due to the lack of evidence.
  7. The key element to an assault is a threat, followed by a genuine fear of harm. Whether or not the police would take you up in pressing charges is another thing. They would want evidence. You could pursue them to be charged with the criminal offence privately, but this is a rare, expensive, lengthy task, requiring the same evidence.

    NiteKreeper you should know better. In a criminal prosecution the accused will never receive that information of their accuser.
  8. I did an advanced driver course maybe 5 years ago, I remember the instructor saying that you can be charged with intimidation for tail gating. He also said you need 1 witness to make a complaint. So if your riding in a pack or have a pillion you might be able to take someone to court. Although he might have said it as fear tactics to stop people driving too close.
  9. I hope you're right - just something I was told by a copper after a violent home invasion...
  10. It wouldnt be assault because its more of a traffic related scenario.

    I think youre looking more for predatory driving
  11. i was allways under the impression that the defense has the right to be able to question the evidence, if the evidence is made by a person the defense would have to recieve a copy of the statement or be able to question the person in court to be able to refute there account of what happened , therefore they would have to under discloser of evidence provide those details wouldnt they ?
  12. We don't have that in the ACT. Sounds fine in theory but one of the proofs is intent "to cause a person in the other vehicle actual bodily harm" which is extremely difficult to prove. I hope there is another charge where the level of proof is negligence/recklessness rather than intent.
  13. As I said earlier, I had in mind people riding with cameras, and I would think video footage fairly strong proof of their behaviour. Though I'm not under the false belief that would automatically make it all go according to plan. It would show what they were doing, but other things would still need proving.

    The link I provided in the OP says, "An assault is any act which intentionally or recklessly causes another person to fear immediate and unlawful violence.". It wouldn't be applicable to all tailgaters, but occasionally there's one who really stands out as unpleasant (I haven't had one, myself, but a search should turn up a few incidents). More common are the ones who insist on following you closely, even when they have ample opportunity to overtake or drop back.
  14. It's not assault unless there was contact. In my experience tailgating whilst intimidating has never actually caused collisions.

    Better ways to deal with these drivers than try to get them on something that is likely to be thrown out. I usually just slow down and wave them back, and keep going slower until they move back.
  15. You DO NOT require physical contact for 'assault'. Please, never make the mistake of believing that your acts in the absence of physical content will not amount to an assault.
  16. Ok maybe I am wrong.

    Still think that it is a long stretch, someone should go for a ride with a cam and test it.
  17. The first is wrong, as Smokae pointed out. The second is pretty much what I do, too.

    Other possible charges I have come across are Reckless conduct endangering serious injury (VIC, but similar laws exist in other states) and Careless Driving (VIC),
  18. I had a copper tailgate me through an 80 to a 100 zone. Then we came to a 40 school zone that continues back to 100. He was tailgating reasonably close, less than a car space between us.

    So as it came to the 40 zone I just throttled off...boy did he get pissed off doing 40 in a 100 zone. I had every plausible excuse - I don't have a watch to look at and my only clock is on a mobile phone, illegal to operate while riding.

    He broke in what seemed under 10 seconds, overtook on double unbroken lines, across a bridge, and sped off down the road. Didn't see the wanker after that.

    Mind you he pulled a good one appearing out of nowhere on my rear. Only the 2nd time they've ever got the best of my keen eyes ;)
  19. #19 MONKEYMAN, Jan 1, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2014
    haha, see how he waits until enough of us have posted crap, so he can get a high body count.

    ok, whadabout having them arrested for stalking, that could work, yes i think so
  20. Sometimes I'm on the ball, sometimes I'm not :shrug:. I did, however, realise and acknowledge that it would be a stretch, I was just wondering how much of a stretch it would be, bearing in mind the vulnerability of a motorcyclist, and with particularly unpleasant tailgaters in mind. And yesterday, before your post, it did occur to me to look for other, more applicable laws.

    And, yeah, in hindsight I should have done a web-wide search, but it obviously didn't occur to me at the time. On the bright side, there now is a thread about it on these forums, so later searches should turn up answers before they're asked.

    Anyway, while I would respond to the rest of your post if I had time, I've got a day's travel ahead of me, so thanks for pointing my stupid, and have a nice year :).