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Blood Boils Over Rising Parking Fines

By Sarah Healey on September 3, 2013 in News

Photo: Keith Binns

Photo: Keith Binns

A warning to all motorcycle and scooter riders: if you’re thinking about parking anywhere in Waverley, make sure to rummage through your change bowl for gold coins before heading to your destination, as Waverley Council rangers will issue fines if you park in ticketed zones without a ticket.

Traditionally, it has been the unwritten practice of rangers to allow motorcycles to park in these spaces for free, assuming they adhere to the time limit, as there is nowhere on motorbike or scooter to securely display a ticket.

Of course, the bike owner can buy a ticket and keep it on their person, and if or when a fine is issued they can mail their ticket and infringement letter to Council and wait for a reply exempting them from the fine, but it’s an exhausting practice.

Motorcycles are an environmentally friendly alternative to cars. They alleviate traffic congestion and improve parking availability. Six motorcycles that are parked 90 degrees to the curb can comfortably fit into one standard parking space alone, and most motorcyclists try to find ‘dead spaces’ to park in, so as to free up the larger spaces needed for their four-wheeled friends.

Waverley Council has suggested that motorcyclists should park in ‘motorcycle only’ parking zones to avoid fines. Unfortunately these zones are few and far between and quite often full.

Motorcyclists are up in arms over the unnecessary fining of their vehicles, and are calling on Council to do something about it. Spearheading a petition to stop Council distributing these fines is concerned resident Uri Auerbach. Uri is astonished at Council’s response to his concerns, having received correspondence from Mayor Sally Betts explaining that, “While motorcycles and scooters are smaller than cars, their presence does impact the number of available parking spaces”.

“It’s mind-boggling to me,” Mr Auerbach said. “It portrays a complete lack of understanding of traffic management.”

“The fact that motorcycles are smaller than cars is the very essence of our argument with current policy. Motorcycles help create spaces for cars, not take them away.”

Councillor Leon Goltsman believes it has been up to the individual discretion of parking rangers to issue these fines.

“We, as councillors, cannot tell rangers who to book or who not to book. The system of parking is actually enforced through the NSW Government legislation. It’s not a Council matter. It’s under Section 12 – Restrictions on Stopping and Parking,” Cr Goltsman said.

According to Mr Auerbach, this in itself can be challenged, as the City of Sydney Council’s policy on their website states: “Motorcycle and scooter riders don’t need to pay at parking meters in central Sydney, Pyrmont, Redfern, Ultimo, Darlinghurst and Kings Cross. Simply park as you would and remember to observe the time restrictions.”

Parramatta and Blacktown Councils have adopted similar policies.

Councillor John Wakefield told The Beast that the real issue has got to do with management flexibility, and he will be putting forward a motion in the next Council meeting to investigate the possibility of motorbikes being allowed to legally park for free.

“There’s plenty of demand for more motorcycle spaces, to the degree where you’ve got to ask yourself: why are we going down the route of just creating dedicated spaces for motorcycles? We should be encouraging motorcycles to be able to park for free anywhere,” Cr Wakefield said.

To have your say, check out the petition at