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 RTRA eNewsletter
November 2016

Issues

Confiscation Laws

Places

Pinjar

Events

Pinjar Maintenance Morning - December 3






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Dear Member

An important, and urgent, issue has arisen and we need your help. Please read this month's lead story on the proposed new confiscation laws. We mentioned this at the AGM last week and we're ready now to take action.

Horrific New Confiscation Laws 

The Police Minister's new confiscation laws have had their second reading in Parliament.

These laws have the potential for extremely serious consequences which could cost families thousands of dollars for doing nothing other than riding on bush trails.

Here's what the law will allow:

1. Police can impound any unregistered motorcycle caught riding on any road, if the motorcycle has not been registered within the past two years. (Section 80O)  Note: a 'road' as defined by the Road Traffic Act is just about any public place and includes all state forest tracks.

2. Police can impound a motorcycle if they 'reasonably suspect' that the unregistered motorcycle was ridden on a road. (Section 80O). No burden of proof there.

3. Police can issue a surrender notice up to 28 days after they 'suspect' an unregistered  motorcycle was used on a road, and once served the owner of the motorcycle must surrender the vehicle to police. (Section 80P)

4. If a motorcycle is impounded, its owner can claim it back within 14 days ONLY if they can prove that a) they were not riding it, b) that they are not a member of the rider's immediate family and c) the illegal use of the motorcycle occurred without their knowledge and consent. (Section 80S)

5. Once a motorcycle has been impounded, and unless the owner can satisfy the conditions above, the motorcycle is automatically deemed confiscated and the property in the motorcycle 'vests absolutely in the State, free from all rights, titles or claims in or to the ownership or possession of the motorcycle'.  In other words, consider it gone. Forever. (Section 80T).

6. There does appear to be some mechanism for getting a motorcycle returned, but only by applying to a Magistrates Court for an order that the item be returned.  (S80V) The legislation says nothing about what circumstances would lead a Magistrate to grant such an order, so in the absence of any legal reason it is difficult to see how a Magistrate could justify returning the vehicle.

The RTRA does not condone riding unregistered motorcycles on suburban roads, however as it is written, this law applies to all and any roads where the Road Traffic Act applies, including quiet bush trails and unofficially condoned riding areas such as Metro Road.  In an extreme case, a policeman could spot a car and trailer at Metro Road, look up the licence plate, pay the owner a visit, see that the kids all have unregistered bikes, 'reasonably suspect' that those bikes were used at Metro Road, and confiscate them.

We're not saying that this is the intent of the law - we know it's intended to help get rid of hoons in suburban areas. But the potential for serious abuse is there and the consequential penalties could be insanely out of proportion to the 'crime'.

We are unlikely to be able to get this law rejected, but we may just still have time to get an amendment incorporated that would reduce or eliminate the risk of the situation outlined above.  There is a mechanism in other parts of the act, relating to hoons in cars, that define a 'confiscation zone' as a place where the speed limit is 50kph or within a school zone.

If this confiscation zone concept were to also be applied to the section relating to confiscation of motorcycles it would enable the intent of the legislation while protecting recreational family off road riders.

The RTRA has written to all government and opposition Ministers and we are seeking an urgent meeting with the Minister for Police.

We urge all members to take action on this issue.  We are preparing a letter template you can use to write to your local MP, and the draft legislation is available on the RTRA web site.

We'll keep members up to date with developments.
                  

RTRA AGM and Social Night

This year's annual AGM and Social Night was another successful event, with food, drink and prizes - plus three varied and interesting guest speakers.

Tamara Kabat, co-owner of Overlander Adventure Equipment, shared her story of a 'pint sized adventure' - solo across Australia (and back again) on a DRZ250.

Ed Pitman gave us an insight into the economies, challenges and natural beauty of trail bike riding in New Guinea.

John Staines provided an update on West Coast Trail Bike Park since the trees have been harvested and the future plans for this popular facility.

Members were also given an update on the activities of the Association over the past twelve months and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

There was plenty of bench-racing afterwards and most people left with a prize, kindly donated by the evening's sponsors:
  • Steve's Motorcycles
  • Cully's Yamaha
  • Overlander Adventure Equipment
  • MX Retreads
  • KTM
We also auctioned off two autographed Jess Gardiner t-shirts, direct from the ISDE in Spain and kindly donated by Stacey Pike.

If you haven't yet attended one of these events, look out for it next year. They're a great opportunity to socialise, get inspired, and stay up to date with issues relevant to riders.


Committee Changes

We were delighted that all but one of our Committee members from 2016 re-nominated to serve the RTRA again in 2017.  We thank the retiring member Paul Prince for his contribution to the Committee.

And with two new nominations from the floor at the AGM we have a net gain!  

We welcome Lauren Mebberson who is moving to Perth from Queensland, and local rider Don Martin.
                     

Pinjar Maintenance Morning - December 3

Our next Pinjar Maintenance Morning will be 9am Saturday December 3.

This day will enable us to do a general cleanup and address any trails issues ahead of the school holidays.

If you're thinking about coming to Pinjar that weekend please put it in your diary and be there by 9am.  If we have enough volunteers it should only take an hour to get everything done and then we can all go riding before it gets too hot.

The RTRA relies on volunteers for these Maintenance Mornings to demonstrate to DPaW that riders are prepared to spend some time working on the place.  This helps justify the budgets that DPaW set aside for trails maintenance and improvements.


Minimal Impact: Dieback doesn't Die.

In Spring and Summer when the weather dries out it's easy to assume that we don't have to be as careful with dieback.

Unfortunately this isn't the case. Dieback spores which can easily be picked up in mud or puddles remain 'live' even when the mud dries and can then be shaken loose further down the trail and start a new infestation.

So make sure your bike is properly clean before each ride, stay out of known Disease Risk Areas and try to avoid wet areas. Dieback is a huge problem and we all need to play our part in preventing its spread.


Help Spread the Word

New to the RTRA?  Here are the four key objectives the RTRA pursues:
  • To protect and extend quality, safer off-road riding opportunities for Western Australian recreational trail bike riders of all ages.
  • To promote and encourage safety and responsible riding attitudes, including minimising noise and trail damage.
  • To actively pursue the needs of trail bike riders with State and Local Government, landowners and other stakeholders.
  • To improve the perception of trail bike riding as a recreational activity.
If you think the RTRA is having a positive impact for riders, just think how much more effective we'd be if we had double the members.  It's actually not that hard - all it takes is for each member to find one other rider to sign up.  

If you have riding buddies who are not yet members of the RTRA, please forward them this email and give them a prod to join up.


Recreational Trailbike Riders' Association of WA Inc 
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