Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Yellow Lights
CCdrive
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Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby CCdrive » Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:42 pm

Has anyone had any success contesting red light fines for the intersection of Royal Parade and Cemetery Road West?

I have been fined $369 for turning right on a red arrow at that intersection and I am going to request an internal review.

I only recently moved to Melbourne so the city is new to me and I am still getting the hang of driving here: hook turns, driving with trams, etc. When I turned right onto Royal Parade on May 16th, it was the first time I had ever seen the intersection. I now know that the intersection is notorious.

Raising millions in annual revenue, it has been described in media reports as the State’s “most prolific red light camera”. In the quarter from Oct-Dec 2014, it was by far the State’s most lucrative camera, issuing 2340 fines - that’s more than 25 fines per day, and 591 more fines than the second top contender on Flinders Street. This machine is working overtime!

Royal Parade is a very wide street (according to Google Maps, approximately 37 metres from one side to the other) with service lanes on either side and centre lanes for trams and vehicles. On the date that I got fined, I was driving slowly, with caution. I was the fourth car to enter the intersection to turn right. By the time the first car reached the service lane that it was turning into, the right-turning arrow had already turned red. This indicates that the green and amber cycles of this traffic light are dangerously short, allowing insufficient time for right-turning cars to safely clear the large, multi-lane intersection.

I understand that the amber light is supposed to last for at least 4 seconds at a traffic light intersection in a 60km zone, like the one in question. Given that this particular intersection is very wide, with separated lanes for bicycles, cars and trams, the 4-second minimum seems insufficient. There is also heavy traffic at this intersection.

I have returned to the intersection of Cemetery Road West and Royal Parade to inspect the changing lights, and the right-turning arrow on the traffic light is actually calibrated to stay amber for less than 4 seconds. In the 3 videos that I have recorded at this intersection, the right-turning arrow only stays amber for 3.25 seconds.

At the risk of sounding cynical, it appears that this traffic light camera has been intentionally calibrated in such a way that unfamiliar drivers, like myself, can and will be ‘caught’ mid-turn, as the lights change to red. Given the disproportionate volume of fines issued by this red light camera, there must be countless motorists who, like myself, have been unfairly snagged at this intersection.

Have any of you successfully challenged fines issued by this hard-working money-maker?

Olokun
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby Olokun » Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:56 pm

Pray tell, so how long was the green arrow duration? You did also measure this among all your other investigations about this intersection?

Hardy
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby Hardy » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:29 am

Cameras can't take photos of vehicles that are "‘caught’ mid-turn, as the lights change to red'. So your complaint is misconceived.

CCdrive
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby CCdrive » Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:09 pm

how long was the green arrow duration


That's a good point - I was more focused on the amber cycle. I will have to recheck the videos. Do you know if there are legal guidelines for how long the right-turning arrow should stay green at a major intersection in a 60km/h zone?

When I say major intersection, Cemetery Road has 4 lanes: 2 of them turn right on to Royal Parade (see pic at link below)

https://www.google.com.au/maps/place/Parkville+VIC+3052/@-37.7899532,144.9588255,92m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x6ad65cd4fe9c3b93:0x4fd04e336a7680ed

Hardy wrote:Cameras can't take photos of vehicles that are "‘caught’ mid-turn


Perhaps the expression 'caught off-guard' better describes the point that I am making. At most intersections with a right-turning arrow, the light stays green for long enough for a few cars to safely enter the intersection and turn right. This particular light cycle seems very rapid - dangerously so. Given that, on average, 25 motorists per day are being issued fines at this intersection, it seems that its unusually rapid light cycle contradicts driver intuition and 'catches motorists off-guard'.

I doubt that the 25 drivers being fined at this intersection daily are all disobedient drivers, deliberately bucking the system. I suspect that many of them, like myself, are driving cautiously and are thrown off by the unusually rapid light cycle. Ironically, in my case, had I been driving fast (and wrecklessly) I probably would have cleared the lights without infringement.

freddie
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby freddie » Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:13 pm

CCdrive wrote:I have returned to the intersection of Cemetery Road West and Royal Parade to inspect the changing lights, and the right-turning arrow on the traffic light is actually calibrated to stay amber for less than 4 seconds. In the 3 videos that I have recorded at this intersection, the right-turning arrow only stays amber for 3.25 seconds.


The guidelines for amber light timing in turning lanes is different to straight through. Its expected that you have to slow down in order to make a turn so an approach speed of 45km/h is assumed for all turning lanes and a 3 second amber guideline applies.

So sounds like there's nothing wrong at that location.

asanque
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby asanque » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:48 am

Anyone had any luck contesting a fine at this location?

I've been driving for 18 years and never previously had a demerit point of any nature.

I have no recollection of going through a red light but apparently was 0.7 elapsed time on red.

The photo shows that my rear tyres of my car are barely touching the white line and I assume that I was travelling at speed (under the speed limit :D ) and went through a yellow light (as unsafe to suddenly stop).

Is there any chance an internal review or court case would be successful?

This is apparently a notorious intersection (that I didn't know of until now!).

Edit: Does 18 years without a demerit point count for exceptional circumstances?

Hardy
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby Hardy » Tue Nov 24, 2015 10:58 am

No amount of exceptional circumstances is going to help you get a warning for running a red light.
But if you really want to win it, then take it to court and set aside $4000 for legal fees.

asanque
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby asanque » Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:37 am

Hardy wrote:No amount of exceptional circumstances is going to help you get a warning for running a red light.
But if you really want to win it, then take it to court and set aside $4000 for legal fees.


Thank you for the feedback :)

Would be happy to run this matter myself but hoping for some precedents!

Looks like the 'warning' is a no go but will give it a quick shot anyway (assuming I don't go to court).

freddie
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby freddie » Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:24 am

asanque wrote:Looks like the 'warning' is a no go but will give it a quick shot anyway


I don't fancy your chances.

Serious road safety related offences are ineligible for official warnings

An official warning will generally not be given for a red light, mobile phone, seatbelt or any serious road safety offence; this is due to the serious nature of the risk that these types of offences pose to all road users. However consideration may be given where a proven emergency situation can be shown.

https://www.police.vic.gov.au/content.a ... t_id=10369

freddie
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby freddie » Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:41 am

asanque wrote:I assume that I was travelling at speed and went through a yellow light (as unsafe to suddenly stop).


The red light system is not armed until the light has been red for 0.5 seconds, so there must be a serious fault with the system if the light was not red when you entered the intersection.

Edit: Does 18 years without a demerit point count for exceptional circumstances?


For a red light offence you could be 88 years without a demerit point, it makes no difference.

The State government has budgeted $777 million dollars revenue from 5 million people this financial year (and lots of them are children so it's hard to extract money from them), so we all need to do our bit.

asanque
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby asanque » Wed Dec 16, 2015 8:46 am

FYI for all

http://m.theage.com.au/victoria/racv-ch ... lo55l.html

RACV has written to Vic roads about the engineering of this intersection. I now intend to challenge and will let you know how I go.

Gravy
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby Gravy » Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:34 am

asanque wrote:FYI for all

http://m.theage.com.au/victoria/racv-ch ... lo55l.html

RACV has written to Vic roads about the engineering of this intersection. I now intend to challenge and will let you know how I go.

"It could be improved" does not mean "all infringements are automatically void".

If your defence is going to rely on a report from a (usually) pretty partisan motoring interest group, you're going to be disappointed in the result.

If I were you, I'd listen to Sean:
Hardy wrote:But if you really want to win it, then take it to court and set aside $4000 for legal fees.

asanque
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby asanque » Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:21 am

Gravy wrote:
asanque wrote:FYI for all

http://m.theage.com.au/victoria/racv-ch ... lo55l.html

RACV has written to Vic roads about the engineering of this intersection. I now intend to challenge and will let you know how I go.

"It could be improved" does not mean "all infringements are automatically void".

If your defence is going to rely on a report from a (usually) pretty partisan motoring interest group, you're going to be disappointed in the result.

If I were you, I'd listen to Sean:
Hardy wrote:But if you really want to win it, then take it to court and set aside $4000 for legal fees.


I'll request a copy of the report from RACV first and see what it has to say.

Obviously there are no sure wins, but at least this will hopefully provide some ammunition.

Like most busy motorists, I have no time to get engineering reports done myself on this intersection.

However, surely it is no coincidence that this notorious intersection is where most Victorian motorists get booked at.

With any luck, on the off-chance I am successful, someone else can use it as precedent in the future and I will let the forum know.

If I am not successful, I am happy to bear the risk as I have no recollection of this incident and I am happy to fight on principle.

I will be going to court, but lets just dispel the myth now that you need to spend $4k on a specialist traffic lawyer for a small infringement to be successful.

It is simply not economical for a small fine (where even if you win, you will be out of pocket).

However, I would have thought this would be a good 'pro bono' case :) If successful, imagine the clients that would come through the door 8)

Hardy
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby Hardy » Wed Dec 16, 2015 2:03 pm

I drove through that intersection twice today. It all seemed pretty normal to me - save for the camera crews there filming motorists in the turn lane.

richard_m_h
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby richard_m_h » Wed Dec 16, 2015 2:30 pm

Sometimes our beloved camera commissioner gets on board with populist causes. Might be worth stirring him up.

Gravy
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby Gravy » Wed Dec 16, 2015 2:41 pm

asanque wrote:but lets just dispel the myth now that you need to spend $4k on a specialist traffic lawyer for a small infringement to be successful.
I didn't mean to imply that you require a specialist traffic lawyer to be successful, only that your chances of being successful without one are much, much smaller than you appear to believe. You're barking up the wrong tree with the RACV report - I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that it's not going to help your case at all.
asanque wrote:Like most busy motorists, I have no time to get engineering reports done myself on this intersection.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that the design of the intersection is on trial here. The intersection may not be compliant with Australian Standards and VicRoads Traffic Engineering Manual, but that means something between very little and nothing when it comes to the application of the Road Rules.

richard_m_h wrote:Sometimes our beloved camera commissioner gets on board with populist causes. Might be worth stirring him up.
Perhaps. Just don't expect it to affect the outcome of any cases before a magistrate.

asanque
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby asanque » Wed Dec 16, 2015 5:04 pm

richard_m_h wrote:Sometimes our beloved camera commissioner gets on board with populist causes. Might be worth stirring him up.


Can you please help me out with the name of the camera commissioner?

I may write to him as well :)

Thanks in advance

Edit: Never mind

Here is the link below
commissioner@cameracommissioner.vic.gov.au

asanque
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby asanque » Wed Dec 16, 2015 6:05 pm

Please find a template below, for anyone wanting to write to the Road Safety Camera Commissioner regarding this red light camera.
commissioner@cameracommissioner.vic.gov.au

Now is probably the best time to get some action on this matter.

Ideally tinker with the language so it doesn't look like too identical :)


['Dear Sir/Madam

I would like to make a formal complaint about the red light camera on the corner of Cemetery Road West and Royal Parade.

This red light camera was the subject of an 'Age' newspaper article today. See below link:
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/racv- ... lo55l.html

This article refers to an engineering report conducted by RACV that identified numerous serious flaws.

Some key points:
'In the four years to October, 28,436 motorists ran the red light while turning right into Royal Parade, being penalised a total $10.04 million in fines' - This is the highest of any red light camera in Victoria during this period

'The review found multiple problems, chiefly the poor visibility to motorists of the three right-turn signals.

Two overhead arrows at the stop line cannot be seen by motorists from close to the intersection and a third, on the far side of the intersection, is difficult to see clearly.'

[insert relevant details relating to your incident]

I believe strongly that there is an issue with visibility and/or timing of this camera/intersection.

These issues are echoed in the comments section of the above article where numerous commuters raise issues with this specific camera/intersection and often have had no other previous incidents. This is indicative of a systematic issue.

I would respectfully request the Commissioner investigate the problems with this road safety camera/intersection (including but not limited to reviewing RACV's engineer report).

Thank you for your assistance.

Kind Regards']

Hardy
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby Hardy » Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:24 pm

However, I would have thought this would be a good 'pro bono' case :) If successful, imagine the clients that would come through the door 8)
yeah, imagine all the tyre kickers and time wasters expecting a freebie.
I won a red arrow case last week and got an order for costs against the police. I don't need to do them pro bono to prove to anyone that I can win them. I do cases pro bono where the client can not afford legal representation (e.g. has a health care card or has been approved for legal aid) and has a good chance of success and an injustice would occur if the client were found guilty. I don't do pro-bono cases as a PR exercise.

To see how the courts will deal with this case for people who defend it by complaining about the intersection or the cameras, take a look at the court results for the dozens of people who challenged fines at the Karen St intersection in Moorabbin. The Camera Commissioner made mention of it in his report.

asanque
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Re: Short yellow light cycle at Royal Pde & Cemetary Rd West

Postby asanque » Thu Dec 17, 2015 11:22 am

Hardy wrote:To see how the courts will deal with this case for people who defend it by complaining about the intersection or the cameras, take a look at the court results for the dozens of people who challenged fines at the Karen St intersection in Moorabbin. The Camera Commissioner made mention of it in his report.


Just looking at past threads for Karen St, the fines appeared to end up getting waived although demerit points were imposed.

That case in 2008 also appears to be different as it involves an issue with the timing of lights.

I'm still trying to get the VicRoads report to see if there are any legs behind the newspaper article.

Will obviously be a tough case but an engineering report citing clear flaws will be pivotal.

Edit: Update: Received responses from both the Age and the RACV and apparently there is no engineering report. Great :roll:

I could have sworn the original article referenced an engineer's report but it appears to have been removed now?

Oh well, apparently VicRoads is looking into it and I guess the Camera Commissioner will provide a response as well.


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