As we move toward the end of the year and start dreaming of holidays, take a few minutes to review some of the more unusual offences to be found in our great State, when out and about on the roads.
The weird & wonderful lesser known road rules in Queensland
- We’ve all seen people on esplanades or on the local boardwalk taking their dogs for a walk while riding a bicycle. Harmless exercise? Think again. It is actually illegal. Bicycle riders must not lead an animal, including tethering the animal to the bicycle.
- Playing a game on a Queensland street or on a road is illegal such as the typical neighbourhood street cricket games.
- Cyclists must have at least one hand on the handlebar and must face forward if the bicycle is equipped with a seat. According to RACQ, in the first 6 months of 2016, ten cyclists were fined for failing to keep at least one hand on the handlebar.
- When driving in a built-up area with a speed limit of 70 km/h or less, drivers must give way to a bus displaying a “give way to buses” sign and indicating to enter traffic from a bus zone, bus stop, bus stop bay, road shoulder or left side of the road. The maximum penalty for the above offence is $2,438.
- In several states, it is illegal for you or your passengers to have any body parts outside of the vehicle, except for very few exceptional circumstances. That means it’s actually an offence to wind down the window and wave goodbye, wistfully dance your fingers in the wind or lean your elbow on the window on a hot day. The fine for this offence in Queensland is $298.
- In Queensland, it is illegal for you to leave your car unlocked if you are more than three meters away from it. Your windows must also be wound up with a gap of no more than five centimetres. These laws are in place to assist in keeping the number of car thefts down. The penalty for committing this offence can result in a $40 fine.
- While road rage affects even the most subdued of drivers, you should avoid the temptation to hit the horn unless you are warning another vehicle (or animal) that you are approaching them. It is an offence to use your horn for any other reason unless it is part of an antitheft or alcohol interlock device in your vehicle. The ‘illegal use of a warning device’ can get you a fine upwards of $66 (Queensland), and some states will even take points off your license. No more friendly beeps goodbye!
- In most Australian states, it is illegal to make a U-turn at an intersection unless there is a U-turn permitted sign or a green U-turn traffic light. Only in VIC can you make a U-turn in the absence of the sign (It is only illegal when a U-turn prohibited sign is displayed).
- For the cowgirls and cowboys in Queensland – did you know it is illegal to crack or use a whip to annoy, interfere with or endanger a person, or frighten or interfere with an animal – other than an animal the whip-wielder is controlling?
- For the SUV and 4WD owners in Queensland – it is illegal to drive on a traffic island, unless it is the central island in a roundabout or designed to be driven on.
- Drivers should be mindful of forgetting to turn off their indicators. According to RACQ, 11 people were fined for failing to cancel their change of direction signal in the first half of 2016.
- Failing to give way to a “restive horse” is an offence. Restive means restless, uneasy or likely to balk. The rule applies if the person in charge of the horse gives a signal, by raising a hand and pointing to the horse. The driver must keep as far left as possible on the road, stop the engine and not move the vehicle until there is no reasonable likelihood the noise of the motor or movement of the vehicle will “aggravate the restiveness of the horse”. Giddy ‘up!
- It is, or at least should be, well known that talking or texting on your mobile while driving is a big no-no, but did you know that holding or touching the phone is classified as ‘using a handheld device’ and incurs the same penalty? It is also worth noting that this includes a GPS.
Last Fun Fact: it is NOT ILLEGAL to drive in THONGS. Hooray! It is however, advised by safety experts to drive barefoot, rather than wearing your thongs so your feet can grip the pedals.
As always, people should educate themselves about the road rules as ignorance is not an excuse for breaking the law. Hopefully we have brought to your attention some of the more obscure regulations, so you can avoid the dangers (and fines) of improper road use over the coming holiday season.
To request information about our available legal services, or to discuss your personal circumstances with one of our experienced lawyers, please do not hesitate to contact Turner Freeman Lawyers on 13 43 63.