Driver rages over $387 fine issued after six-second moment

The motorist said the parking signs on the street are confusing, and called for the government to grant him some leniency.

A furious motorist says he's the victim of a cash grab after he was slapped with a $387 fine for a "six-second stop" in a quiet CBD street.

Sydney resident Michael was dropping off his partner in Darling Harbour in what he thought was a 15-minute parking zone in early January only to later learn he'd broken the law, copping a hefty fine and two demerit points.

He was told he'd stopped within 10 metres after a crossing which Revenue NSW told him was a "serious" safety risk. Photos of the offence show the vehicle was close to the crossing, however adjacent to a parking bay. Michael said he was unaware he needed to pull in and believed he was allowed to stop where he did.

Michael's white car in two photos taken by a ranger.
The moment Michael dropped off his partner in a quiet CBD street, resulting in a $387 fine. Source: Supplied

The chronological photos supplied to Michael by Revenue NSW as evidence, which are all timestamped with 8.23am, show his vehicle in a series of positions on Zollner Circuit, indicating his vehicle had not pulled up long enough for the inspector to capture images of his car stationary. Michael says the lack of two photos of the car in the same position means there is not sufficient evidence to even prove he stopped.

"It's a flawed set up with the crossing being so close to the 15-minute parking," Michael told Yahoo News Australia. "If I was a metre over in the vacant bay I would have avoided the fine. But the signage is just not clear.. and that bay itself is within 10 metres of the crossing, so how does that work?"

In the photos there are also no pedestrians visible, asides from Michael's partner, despite Revenue NSW stating in an appeal rejection the offence endangered them. The appeal rejection also stated stopping would be allowed if a sign indicated so, which Michael believes there is.

The parking sign next to where Michael pulled up. Source: Supplied
The parking sign next to where Michael pulled up. Source: Supplied

While Darling Harbour is located in the City of Sydney LGA, a council which has faced accusations of encouraging rangers to meet a quota for parking fines, the area is managed by government-run Place Management NSW, with one of their rangers detecting Michael's vehicle.

A Place Management NSW spokesperson told Yahoo there are bays available to do exactly what Michael desired. "It is an offence to stop on or near a pedestrian crossing," they stressed.

Michael questioned why there was no level of leniency with his offence, particularly amid a cost-of-living crisis and such a large fine involved, however Yahoo understands clear breaches of road laws will not be granted any.

"There's no one around and I was there for six seconds... it just feels like someone was having a bad day and waiting to make a name for themselves," Michael argued.

Aussies taking action over fines

Earlier this month, a female driver made national headlines when she was fined $644 for parking in a disabled spot after rushing to the assistance of a friend in labour. Following media coverage, the fine was later quashed. And while an appeal on the fine was initially rejected Yahoo understands arguments on medical grounds will be considered and appropriate action taken.

Data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research shows there was a 31 per cent increase in the number of drivers contesting parking fines in court in the 12 months to September 2023, The Daily Telegraph reported. Place Management NSW noted taking the matter to court was still an option for Michael if he was not happy with the decision of his appeal.

The NSW government has also vowed it plans on alleviating the financial burden struggling families are facing when it comes to fines, however changes to a fine forgiveness scheme have yet to be finalised.

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