Mountain Biker Cops $1600 Fine For 'Unnecessary Travel' & This Is All Getting Very Confusing
Locals in Victoria have been copping a whole lot of coronavirus-related fines in recent days. First, there was the 17-year-old learner driver who was fined for “unnecessary travel” while going out for a lesson with her mum. Then, a group of five mates outside Melbourne were fined for playing a game of 'backyard cricket' except from the park?
And now, the latest to be told off by police is a man on his way to do some mountain biking. Yep, mountain biking. Which, obviously is a form of exercise. Which is something we're allowed to do..? We're confused.
Pat Riordan from Bonbeach in south east Melbourne, told The Age he’d been driving for about 15 minutes when cops pulled him over for questioning.
“I had my bike in the back of my car,” said Riordan. “I was on my own. I was just headed off to the trail to have a ride and do some exercise.”
Still, though, Riordan landed himself a $1652 fine for 'unnecessary travel' and was told he shouldn’t be leaving home unless it was for work. The fine was later rescinded because it actually goes against Victorian police's own official stance on this (that you can drive somewhere to exercise).
Another guy reportedly got a fine in NSW for grabbing a kebab after having a run and presumably stopping to eat it..? The WA premier thought this one was quite funny when he was asked about it - check out his response to the kebab sitch below.
All of this stuff goes to show just how confusing this is. There's a lot of differing information out there about what we can and can't do right now, and each state has different rules. Here's the latest on whether, in your state or territory, you can or can't drive somewhere to go do exercise, as per The Guardian's reporting a few days back.
So, how far are you allowed to travel for exercise?
Well, states right now don't have specific rulings on the distance you can travel outside, instead asking people to use "common sense" and all ask people to stay in their local areas.
In NSW, you are allowed to drive across town to go to a local park, but you aren’t allowed to travel hours out of the city.
In Victoria, the Premier Daniel Andrews wrote in a Tweet that exercise should be kept to your local area and not “driving for miles and being out all day”.
In ACT, there aren't any official limits around this yet, but people have been asked to avoid unnecessary travel, and avoid areas where they would likely come into close contact with others.
Officials in Queensland and Tasmania both haven't provided any specific deets around this, on the whole, the government urges residents to use common sense and avoid unnecessary travel.
In WA, exercise should be limited to your region, and unnecessary travel also avoided.
In SA and NT, there are actually no restrictions on the reasons for leaving your house, but govt urges you to not travel unless it's essential.
As we've seen with our biker pal up above, the enforcement of these rules is really up to each officer's discretion, and the info changes quickly too. For more on what you can and can't get up to during lockdown, head here.
As of this Thursday morning, Australia has passed 6000 total coronavirus cases with 105 new cases recorded on Wednesday. Authorities are urging us to only leave home if absolutely necessary over the Easter long weekend.
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