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Old 11-06-2003, 15:38   #1 (permalink)
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Speed Kills? Or Speed Saves a Life?

Article on a motorcyclist who is taking his case to court:

http://carpoint.ninemsn.com.au/news/newshome.asp#news1
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Old 11-06-2003, 15:39   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Speed Kills? Or Speed Saves a Life?

Here's the text of the article (just in case it gets moved):

------------------------------------------------------
Court case challenges "Speed Kills"
A Victorian motorcyclist is taking on the State Government over a speeding fine in a case that could have serious consequences for the State's speed camera focused road safety campaign. The 61-year-old safety con******t, who asked CarPoint not to reveal his identity, believes he was wrongly penalised for avoiding a collision with another vehicle in an incident in Mansfield, in rural Victoria in November last year.

According to the motorcyclist, he was approaching an intersection on his BMW motorcycle when a ute pulled out in front of him. He swerved and accelerated to avoid a collision, but was photographed by a speed camera placed near the intersection for doing 67km/h in a 60km/h zone.

The rider maintains that he had to accelerate beyond the posted limit in order to prevent injury to himself and the driver of the other vehicle, and he is determined to fight the charge as a matter of principle.

"I feel that in this case I have to put my side to a court," he told CarPoint. "I was within a whisker of getting T-boned and injured and it was the only way I could avoid a collision," said the biker, who has been riding for 36 years.

He told CarPoint he is basing his case on the defence of necessity, which, in effect allows defence of a charge on the basis that illegal actions were needed in a specific time and place to prevent injury or loss.

He has already had an appeal to the State's Civil Compliance Office refused and will have his day in court this week in the Mansfield Magistrates Court. The rider has hired a motorcycle-riding lawyer to help with his defence and will be calling expert witnesses to bolster his case.

"If I hadn't taken the action I did, I could have been injured or killed," he said. "Acceleration is a valid means of crash avoidance and I intend to fight the charge on that basis."

If successful, this case could have ramifications for the Bracks' government's much-criticised reliance on speed cameras and the revenue they raise. The door would be open for other motorists to use the case as a basis for their own defence against the ever-increasing number of speed cameras on the State's roads.

The Government continues to maintain that there is no defence for exceeding its posted speed limits, regardless of the circumstances or road conditions. Its approach has been labelled oppressive and punitive by many of the State's motorists, who will be eagerly watching the outcome of the case.

Sources close to the case believe this could be a major step to getting road safety policy back on track. "Could it be that speed doesn't kill, that judicious use of speed may, in fact, save lives?"

CarPoint will have a report on the case next week.
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