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With the long weekend of double demerits one sleep away, we look into the stranger driving laws, those that operate outside of logic and/or sense.
The long weekend is almost upon us – a cause for celebration, but also a time to exercise caution, with double demerit points being issued. With that being the case, it is only fair and prudent to go through some of the lesser-known and strangest road rules we have here in Australia.
It is illegal to be carrying paint in your vehicle when crossing train tracks in New South Wales
If you’re on your way home from the hardware store and you don’t want a fine to eat into your renovation fund, it might be safe to avoid train tracks. According to NSW law, it is illegal to cross train tracks carrying “flammable, explosive or dangerous goods”, which includes paint.
Beeping your horn “unnecessarily” is illegal nation-wide
In the eyes of the law, the only time you should ever use your car’s horn is when warning another vehicle (or animal) that you’re approaching them. Using it as a farewell, when overcome by road rage or any other reason can set you back upwards of $66 and, depending what state you reside in, points off your licence.
In Victoria, it is illegal not to surrender your unused number plates
No souvenir plates in Victoria, unless you’re cool with paying some holding fees. If the registration is no longer assigned to a vehicle, the number plates have to be returned.
All body parts must stay within the vehicle while it is in motion
In several states around the nation, it is illegal for you to have any body parts outside of the vehicle except for a very few exceptional circumstances (waving to someone and leaning your elbow on the window are not counted as exceptional circumstances). Doing so in Queensland will damage your pockets the most with a $298 fine.
Riding a bike ‘no-hands’ is illegal
This law is active in all states. When riding a bike, riders must always keep at least one hand on a handlebar at all times. Hours of practice wasted, unfortunately.
It is illegal to walk your dog while riding your bike in Victoria
Walk your dog the proper way, says Victoria. They’ve made it illegal to have your dog on a lead while you ride a bike/scooter/unicycle etc., so you must only walk your dog on foot.
You must have a horn or bell on your bike in New South Wales
Your bike must have on it a working horn or bell in New South Wales in order to warn pedestrians or other cyclists of your movement. Don’t worry, I’ve heard it’s cool to brandish a horn on your bike now.
Drivers in Western Australia are prohibited from transporting more than 50kg of potatoes
Unless you’re a member of the ‘Potato Corporation’, it is illegal to transport more than 50kg of potatoes in your car in Western Australia. Consider yourself warned; breaking this law once will incur a $2000 fine. Break it again, and you can expect a fine of $5000. This whacky law is the product of food regulation during the Great Depression and post-war period.
Melbourne taxis must have a bale of hay spare in their boot
Okay, this one was repealed in 1980, but it is an interesting one. It was once technically illegal for a taxi to operate without a hay bale in the boot, a law stemming from the time when horses served as taxis and required a supply of hay for fuel.
You cannot splash bus passengers with mud in New South Wales
Splashing pedestrians by driving through a puddle is perfectly legal in New South Wales. However, if you choose to splash a pedestrian who is waiting for a bus, expect a $165 fine.
In New South Wales, it is illegal to block the free passage of a funeral procession
New South Wales law dictates that a driver must not interfere with nor interrupt the free passage of a funeral cortege or authorised procession, no matter the length of road. The maximum penalty for breaking this law is a $2200 fine.
Parked cars in Queensland and Victoria cannot have any windows wound down more than 5cm
Not only must your windows be wound down no lower than 5cm, but it is illegal to be more than 3 metres away from your car when it is unlocked. These laws are in place to prevent car theft and can set you back up to $360.