Speeding fine dismissed

NEWS: VicRoads defends Bagshot speed signs

A MAN's speeding fine issued at Bagshot has been overturned after a seven-month contest through the courts.

There's a fair sense of satisfaction there. - Simon Crawford

University of Melbourne research fellow Simon Crawford said he was vindicated when a Melbourne Magistrate dropped his fine and dismissed all court costs last week.

The speeding charge was found proven but Dr Crawford successfully argued the 80km/h speed signs along the Midland Highway were not clearly visible and did not meet the guidelines of the Road Safety Act.

He said he was prompted to investigate the speed camera when he received a $282 fine for driving at 100km/h through the designated 80km/h zone in June 2013. 

After compiling three binder folders full of notes, he said he felt he received the best result.

"There's a fair sense of satisfaction there," he said. 

"I would have loved for the magistrate to give some sort of finding about the visibility, or otherwise, of the sign. But I was glad I persuaded him of the lack of visibility."

Dr Crawford argued he was within the road rules by travelling at the default speed of 100km/h across the Bagshot railway lines - where the speed cameras are.

The most recent figures showed the Bagshot cameras were among Victoria’s top 50 highest fine generators, collecting more than $8000 a day on average.

In July to September 2013 there were 2936 fines issued from the two cameras - about 32 fines per day, equating to $728,853 over the three-month period.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice, which is responsible for the fixed speed cameras, said the level of infringements reflected the pattern of driver behaviour.

Dr Crawford said dozens of people had contacted him to express their concerns over the Bagshot camera.

"That’s what angers me, the fact that people who have been driving for 40 years without a single demerit point are copping fines because of poorly placed speed signs."

He said he has had emails and calls from people happy to hear about the court result.

"They were encouraged that somebody fought against a perceived injustice and were able to be reasonably successful in defending their case."

Mr Crawford said he would be happy to advise others in fighting to overturn their fines, but he said he was cautious about giving people false hope.

"It’s fine for me to say I got off," he said. 

"Unless they’re prepared to do what I did and get to court with bundles of evidence they may not get off.

"I would advise people to concentrate on showing that the speed limit signs are not clearly visible. That’s the key."

Anyone wanting information from Dr Crawford can email simoncrawford2014@gmail.com

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