‘Illegal’ speed sign detected at Panton Street, Golden Square

UPDATE 5.28pm: Police are investigating how a 60kph street sign came to be posted on a 50kph road in Golden Square.

Bendigo Senior Sergeant Ian Brooks reiterated that posting speed signs where they shouldn’t be, tampering with signs, removing signs, or obscuring signs were all illegal acts.

“People will be prosecuted if caught,” he said.

He said such offences consumed valuable police and council time, not to mention the expense to ratepayers or taxpayers for damaged or stolen signs.

“Changing speed zones might seem like a funny idea at the time, but it could lead to a person being killed or seriously injured as a result of this illegal act,” the senior sergeant said.

“What starts out as potentially a joke or an act of subversion could bring the perpetrators in front of a court facing very serious charges”.

A Department of Justice and Regulation spokesperson said all mobile camera sites were selected by Victoria Police, and operators were required to follow set up guidelines prescribed by Victoria Police.

“Prior to set-up and at the end of each mobile camera session, the specially trained operator conducts a full inspection of the site, including speed zone and site boundary confirmation,” they said.

The operator who carried out the site inspection on the day Mr Bell was fined is not believed to have seen or noted the existence of the 60km/h sign.

“If you receive a fine, it will have a due date by which time you must pay it, or take other action,” the department spokesperson said.

“Options available depend on the stage your fine has reached within the infringements process.”

Options available when a fine is initially received include paying in full, electing to have the fine internally reviewed by Victoria Police, electing to have the matter heard by the court, or applying for a payment plan.

Senior Sergeant Brooks urged anyone with information about the sign at Panton Street, Golden Square, to call the Bendigo Police Station on 5448 1300 or to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. 

To make a confidential report online, click here.

EARLIER: An infringement notice has exposed an illegal sign on a Golden Square street prone to speeding offences.

Lance Bell was booked for exceeding the 50km/h speed limit on Panton Street by less than 10km/h last month.

The Castlemaine resident said he had believed the speed limit to be 60km/h – a belief reinforced by a sign posted on a light pole near the intersection of Panton and Oak streets until last week.

It is not known for how long the sign was in place. It has since been removed.

Bendigo Senior Sergeant Ian Brooks said the 60km/h sign was illegal.

“It is not a 60 zone,” he said.

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The sign between Poplar and Bay streets on Panton Street, facing Bendigo-bound traffic. Picture: EMMA D'AGOSTINO

The sign between Poplar and Bay streets on Panton Street, facing Bendigo-bound traffic. Picture: EMMA D'AGOSTINO

A wide, yellow sign facing Bendigo-bound road users between Poplar and Bay streets indicates the true speed limit on Panton Street.

But Mr Bell said it was partially obscured by a tree, making it difficult to see and read at a distance.

“You just can't see the sign until you're right on top of it,” he said.

Senior Sergeant Brooks said the 60km/h sign near the intersection of Oak Street had been the only one along the entirety of Panton Street indicating a false speed limit.

The yellow sign bearing the true speed limit came after the 60km/h sign, for Bendigo-bound traffic.

In the event a sign was not visible, Senior Sergeant Brooks said people ought to assume the speed limit was the default for residential streets in Victoria – 50km/h.

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Mr Bell intends to challenge the infringement notice, which carried a penalty of almost $200 and one demerit point.

He said the 60km/h sign had been misleading and had the potential to confuse other motorists who did not regularly travel along Panton Street.

Mr Bell said he was aware of a number of other people who had received fines for making the same mistake.

He suggested the yellow sign either be moved to a more visible location along the street, or that the nearby tree be trimmed so the speed limit was easier to see from a distance.

“A high level of speed offences” are detected at Panton Street, according to the sign.